I just read an article on CNN about a guy who killed and injured people and then himself. ( Secret Files Reveal NIU Killer’s Past, 02/13/2009, Abbie Boudreau/Scott Zamost http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/13/niu.shooting.investigation/index.html )
I do not support putting guns into the hands of people who can’t reasonably handle them.
I am, however, the ugly cousin of “Pro-Choicers” … i believe society has to live with the consequence of a tiny number of tragedies to allow the wider-spread good of freedom to persist.
In 2007, a friend of mine that i’d lost touch of years before got drunk, killed his wife, shot up a courthouse, killed a police officer and then a church worker, and several hours later, himself. I knew (from our prior friendship) that he liked guns, but was not aware he owned any (he probably didn’t when i knew him). He had been violent, a little abnormal in his temperament, and had a prior criminal history (he claimed he and some friends used to run arms from mexico into arizona or something), but girls loved him, he was a hard worker, and was really entertaining. Most who knew him back then wouldn’t have called him “strange”. I don’t think he could have legally owned firearms, but he somehow got a hold of some.
For months afterward, i had difficulty dealing with the situation. I’d lost touch almost 15 years prior, i went to school with his wife, and though in retrospect he probably ‘fit some of the profile’, he wasn’t a “loner” or “weirdo” like a lot of these kids are made out to be.
I would consider myself, though not physically present, a victim of his gun crime. It left a scar on my soul.
I commented on the news item (the NIU killer) with the following:
1. the nation with the highest suicide rate? Japan, which band citizen ownership of ANY firearms. They also have mass murderers … who use knives and poison.
2. cities/states which have strict ‘gun laws’ and bans (Washington D.C., California, Illinois, New York, etc) … also have (by far!) the highest violent crime rates (homicide, armed robbery, rape). Washington D.C., for example, saw a 400% increase in violent crime beginning immediately AFTER their 30 year gun ban was put in place … and their crime rates continued to rise even while the rest of the nation’s crime fell.
3. like others have said, taking guns away will not reduce murder or suicide. MOST homicides are not committed with firearms (shocking? look up the stats!), and someone bent on killing themselves has numerous ways to do so. how about banning guns, aspirin, rope, tall places, razors, bathtubs, cars …
4. banning guns in neighborhoods with schools is foolish too … i mean, how many (non-college0 school shooters lived next to a school?
5. prohibiting law abiding citizens from owning guns is like prohibiting black men from being outside their homes at night when a white woman is walking by, or like banning all single men over 40 from being near children because they “might” commit a crime. we know that black men in general are not dangerous to white women, we know that older single men in general are not a danger to children … why are we trying to suggest someone who owns a piece of metal that uses directed explosions to propel a projectile is more likely than anyone else to commit a crime?
ON BEING ‘BIZARRE’:
‘abnormal’ behavior is defined by society, and varies widely from culture to culture. in our society, leaving your dying grandmother in the forest to be devoured by wild beasts might seem weird. in some cultures, drinking the body fluids of cattle might seem weird (got milk?). elsewhere it is accepted to believe in ghosts, and schools and office buildings are evacuated when someone ‘sees ghosts’, yet here, a person would quickly be committed.
this guy was obviously ‘sick’ – he harmed others as a result of his abnormality. does that mean anyone different than what YOU consider “normal” should be locked up and their rights taken away?
these two topics addressed by this tragic story illustrate something frightening in itself: a growing trend of severe, unwavering bigotry in the ranks of the “open minded” and “social conscious”. with prejudiced fingers they point and attack under a battle cry of “celebrate diversity”.
is everyone else blind to that irony?