Tuesday, April 9, 2013

BAD COUPLE OF DAYS FOR FOLKS NEAR FOUR YEAR-OLDS WITH GUNS... (terrorists should get an NRA-like lobby)

          I'm going to dispense with my usual snarky commentary for these two stories from the news, because there's just too much of this sort of thing happening in this country for it to be treated as anything but tragic.

          On Saturday night, a Wilson County, Tennessee, Sheriffs Department deputy's wife was shot and killed by a four year-old boy at the woman's home during a cookout.  The deputy had taken a relative into his bedroom to show him a rifle he had purchased.  In order to get to the rifle, the off-duty deputy had to take a pistol from the closet, which he then placed on the bed.  His wife and a four year-old boy entered the room, the child picked up the gun and it discharged, killing the woman instantly.  No charges are expected to be filed, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

          In Toms River, New Jersey, a four year-old boy found a loaded .22 rifle in his parents home, then took it outside where he shot and killed a six year-old who was standing 15 yards away.  The child's parents were not home at the time of the shooting.

          They say "Guns don't kill people, people do".  They say that a lot.

          But in these two tragic cases, what are the odds that this kind of thing could have happened had there not been guns within reach of children?

           Tennessee's one of the nation's worst states for accidental gun fatalities, according to this chart:

StateAccidental firearm deaths 1999-2010Rate per 100,000 people
West Virginia1470.67
South Dakota490.53
South Carolina2530.49
U.S. Total8,3390.24
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

           A slew of GOP Senators is threatening to filibuster any gun control legislation, even though over 3,000 Americans have been murdered with guns since the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut last December.  In less than four months, more people have died from gun related deaths than were killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. 

             Where's the gun control equivalent of The Patriot Act for those people?  Why aren't our legislators as eager to protect our citizens from one another as they were to protect them from terrorists?

             Maybe terrorists should get a lobby as powerful as the NRA, then they work with impunity in America.



Leslie Parsley said...

Let's prosecute parents who don't lock up their guns. Isn't that part of what being a "responsible" gun owner is all about?

Patricia said...

Oddly enough Squat, I work in Toms River, it's very sad that so many "tragic incidents" like this happen. In my neighborhood, read it and weep,
Oh and it gets better, people are so gun happy here, check out Shooters!
Guns, guns and more guns. I am kind of happy I'm not teaching anymore. Who knows what will happen next? We can regulate the crap out of abortion, but God forbid we do it with guns. Ugh. Great post!

Mister Ornery said...

I'm waiting for the Wayne LaPierre/NRA response to the knifings at the campus in Texas. Probably either start an NKA (National Knives Association) or say, "if only one of the victims had been (fire)armed, this wouldn't have happened."

Got to love the security code words. This one looks like ogypieds which is no doubt some new species. And there are 2085 of them.

Anonymous said...

19 regresnniICTopA question should be asked: have these dreadfull killings happened in houses-families-where guns have been present for years or were these events in houses of new gunowners?
Were these guns accessible to the kids because owners were negligent, stupid, or so paranoid that a gun has to be at the ready in every and any room of a house? Palli

squatlo said...

Palli, I can't speak to the details of either case I've cited here, but in the local incident of the deputy sheriff's gun being available it's been reported that he kept his guns locked away at all times. Only in this incident, and for a very brief instant, did he have the gun within reach of a child. But, sadly, an instant is all it takes.
This has been going on for fifty years in America, and it doesn't seem to be anywhere close to ending.

Anonymous said...

My, how Lebanon has changed! In '97, when I lived there, it was such a quiet, sleepy little town; absolutely nothing ever happened there. And now, an accidental shooting of a deputy's wife. I wonder how many viewings of gun shootings that 4-yr old has seen, to know how to point a pistol at someone and pull the trigger? It's not an action infants are born knowing how to do. He obviously had to have seen it on TV many times, but was not personally aware of the result of such an action. He IS, now. And that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

J. Collins said...

bravo well said. it is tragic. a 9/1 1 every 1/3 of one year. massive numbers for stronger laws, and a few R pols threatening to not even allow discussion and debate in Congress because... Freedom! How free was that six year old? why isn't that child's freedom at issue? worst thing is those friggin guys are probably raising shit tons of money off this. 90% for universal background checks, and they act like they're the ones with 'murka on their side. crazy.

squatlo said...

J.Collins, I don't think we can start locking up pre-schoolers just because they pick up a weapon an adult has left within reach. But I've got a theory about what might happen if we started locking up those adults: they would by god be more careful with their firearms.

If your teenage son takes your car out and wraps it around a tree in your neighbor's yard, or worse yet, kills a child who's walking along the road, you and your insurance company are on the hook for the property damage and/or criminal liabilities for wrongful injuries or death. Why can't we require gun owners to purchase liability insurance for their arsenals? A man who owns a shotgun for hunting pays one rate, maybe more if he has children in his household. A man who owns a collection of pistols would pay another rate. A man who owns assault weapons and semi-auto pistols with extended magazines and a sound suppression device? He'd pay through the nose, per weapon.
Then, when that guy, or someone who gets a grip on one of his weapons and hurts someone with it, the insurance company has to pay for the damages and that guy has to pay for the civil penalties involved.
If my son hits a baseball through a neighbor's window, I'm on the hook for the repairs. Why should a kid's baseball and bat hold financial liabilities, but a handgun or assault weapon don't?

naomi666 said...

Squatlo, I favor liability insurance in all those cases. As one Sandy Hook mother said on 60 Minutes, "that's just common sense."

However, we haven't heard underwriters lobbying for that remedy. Why?

First, I will say that I haven't looked for it. And lobbyists are like prostitutes -- they operate in the dark and in dimly lit rooms.

But I suspect that even insurers are afraid of this remedy. If I was an underwriter, with a healthy understanding of "human nature", I'd back away. No way could I envision a good outcome. On the one hand, the buyers would bring HUGE income. OTOH, the bottom line might be worse than gambling the money in a 'Vegas casino...

Anonymous, I now live in Lebanon. And it is still the same old sleepy southern town, with the same seven antiques stores on the Square.

But the shooting? Like a best-kept secret. No one's talking about it. I'd hate to think that we're suffering from Newtown-fatigue. I, for one, still cry when I listen to the Sandy Hook parents. (Right this minute, I have Maddow on and Senator Manchin is tear-choked while meeting the parents in his office.)

This is 9/11 in slo-mo.

squatlo said...

Naomi, the 9/11 in slo-mo comment might explain why we can't get anything of substance through Congress. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were captured on film, and the ghastly images of victims jumping from the buildings is etched in our memories forever. Maybe if someone acquired the security cam footage from Newtown or the crime scene photos were published we might see more of a reaction.

And I don't live far from Lebanon myself and can attest to the "sleepy" part. Slow and sleepy is how I'd describe most of the residents, too... (some of my best friends are products of Wilson County Schools and I like to tease them about the "slow" part)

I thought I was the only one tearing up whenever those parents speak about their lost kids...

naomi666 said...

I forgot to mention this: if we use a rounded figure of 3,000 dead since Sandy Hook and we anchor it there and project it to remain steady for one year, by 12/14/13 we will have lost the equivalent of FOUR 9/11s.

Maybe I'm just reaching...

squatlo said...

Naomi, you're not "reaching" when you extrapolate numbers to fit a calendar. It's "reaching" when the NRA attempts to claim some sort of majority in our Congress while 90% of the people have a contrary position.