So what is one to do on a hot, lazy, Sunday afternoon? Well for a news junkie such as myself the answer is simple. Crank down the thermostat on the AC, shut all the blinds, and turn on some classical music while cruising the net for more reports of people having fun with guns.
It didn't take much to find a numbingly long list.
First off smiling Jared Loughner, the guy who shot congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Tucson, reportedly wants to plead guilty on Tuesday. He has been under the care of prison psychiatrists since the attack and NBC News reports his doctors are prepared to testify that he is now mentally competent to make the plea. The judge will ask Loughner a series of questions to determine if he's aware of what he is doing. That list of queries would include one that makes sure he understands a guilty plea means he gives up all rights to appeal no matter what sentence he is handed. Giffords was wounded so severely she had to spend months in rehab and retire from her seat in congress. Six others were killed.
A week ago in Jonesboro, Arkansas an officer pulled over a pickup truck for a traffic violation. He found baggies and an amount of marijuana on board. Twenty-one year old Chavis Carter was a passenger in the truck. When police ran a check on him they found he had an outstanding warrant in Mississippi. Mr. Carter was promptly patted down and his hands cuffed and double locked behind his back. He was then placed in a squad car. According to police reports officers then heard a shot. Police believe, or say they believe Carter had managed to get hold of a hidden gun that they had missed during their body search. Then in an incredible act of contortion he shot himself in the right temple, committing suicide. The FBI is now involved in investigating the shooting. Chavis Carter's mother is on record as saying her son was left handed, not suicidal and that the cops murdered her kid.
Here in OKC sixteen year old Avery Myers, who is accused of shooting 8 people after a NBA playoff game, is pleading self defense. He claims to have felt threatened by a group of girls who were confronting him about a stolen cell phone. Proving he isn't the greatest of shots, young Mr. Myers missed the girls at nearly point blank range while hitting all manner of innocent passersby, including Norman Richards II. Richards spent 33 days in the hospital and lost portions of his stomach, lower intestines, and pancreas. Myers public defender says the girls are more culpable than prosecutors are saying and that they loved to fight. The girls, all of them in their mid teens, were unarmed.
Down in Florida--where else?--Cristobal Palacio also plead self defense in the 2008 shooting death of Paul Winter. Mr. Winter was married to Mr. Palacio's ex-wife. In a moment of pure deja vu Palacio claimed he thought Winter, who was unarmed, was going for a gun. "He comes out like he's so pissed off," Palacio is reported to have testified. The jury wasn't buying it and convicted Palacio on two counts of 2nd degree murder and two counts of child abuse. Defense attorney Michael Walsh was out raged. He was quoted as saying, "I don't know what case they (the jury) watched. I don't know what facts they listened to." Mr. Winter was shot six times, including twice in the back. The child abuse convictions were because Cristobal Palacio committed the crime in front of his ex-wife's two kids.
And that brings us to today where the breaking news is that at least four people, possibly more, were shot at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The shooter is apparently still on the loose. He is described by witnesses as being a heavy set, bald, white guy wearing a sleeveless tee shirt. The attack occurred about an hour and a half before religious services were to begin.
Americans love their guns. Unfortunately we also love to use them. Actually I'm surprised we don't all have one. So is the ancient rocker Ted Nugent who claims that this brutal nonsense would stop if everyone was packing a piece.
I guess if we were to follow that sage advice all these self defense pleas would hold more water. Think of it, if everyone had a gun there wouldn't be any more inconveniently unarmed victims would there?
Oh well, I suppose we can't have everything. It is an imperfect world at best.
Onward into the week.