On Monday we had to deal with yet another school assault. Michael Landsberry, a teacher was shot to death as he tried to talk a 9.mm Ruger semi automatic pistol out of the shooter's hand. Two Sparks, Nevada Middle School students ended up wounded and the twelve year old perpetrator died of a self inflicted gun shot. It turns out the still unnamed youth got the firearm used during the deadly affair from his parents. Police have been quoted as saying the mother and father are fully cooperating with the investigation. When asked if they could be charged with a crime if it was found they were negligent in keeping the gun out of their child's hands, police said it was a possibility.
Almost lost in the news on the next day was word out of south east Texas that a five year old boy, John Allen Read, accidentally shot himself in the head with a .40 cal. hand gun. His live in baby sitter, Melissa Ann Ringhardt, 19, told police she was carrying around the weapon because she was scared to be in the home alone.
In fact she was so terribly frightened she decided to take a nap in the bedroom, while leaving the loaded weapon on a coffee table in the living room. Unfortunately, she really wasn't in the home alone. Young John Read was there with her, as was a six month old infant. At some point, while she snoozed away, the child found the gun and discharged it. Ringhardt discovered his body after she woke up. Because there wasn't a working phone in the home, she carried the mortally wounded Johnnie Read, along with the uninjured infant, down the street to a grandparent's house to make the call to 911. She has been charged with "abandoning, or endangering a child," and bond has been set at $250,000.
Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy, Clint Hodgkinson was quoted as saying, "People have the right to bear arms and with that comes great responsibility. If someone somehow puts a firearm in a place where a child is able to get that weapon, you've committed an offense."
Yeah, well there is a lot of that going around lately.
Last week in Fayetteville, NC a two year old girl got her hands on her father's hand gun and shot herself to death. Dear old dad is currently facing manslaughter charges.
Two months ago in Dundee, MI a three year old found a .40 cal handgun belonging to a friend of the family on the floor of a closet in his parent's home. He was also killed by an accidental shot to the head. Proving that Michigan is a tad more lenient when it comes to this sort of thing, the owner of the weapon was charged with "careless discharge of a weapon" which is a misdemeanor.
In June a New Orleans five year old girl found a .38 cal. weapon at home while her mom was out shopping. After the accidental shooting the mother was charged with cruelty to children. However, later, after her child died at a hospital, prosecutors upped the ante to 2nd degree murder, which a judge promptly threw out. The D.A.'s office says it plans to appeal the ruling.
Of course there are other ways a kid can end up dead from guns. Yesterday in Santa Rosa, CA, Sonoma County deputies spotted a 13 year old boy walking down the street with what appeared to be an assault style weapon. A department spokesperson told members of the media the deputies repeatedly ordered him to drop the rifle, but for reasons we'll never know he didn't. They opened fire, killing the child. The "weapon" was a toy replica. As the deputies unsuccessfully administered first aid they found a plastic gun in his waist band.
Welcome to the American paradigm. It is designed and carved in stone by an all powerful lobby called the National Rifle Association. It makes everyone feel like they must have a weapon. There are no tests to see if you're as stupid as a lump of clay, or as crazy as a bed bug on acid before you buy one, because the NRA doesn't want there to be one. And despite what they say over and over in their perverse and unceasing propaganda campaign, the NRA doesn't give a rat's ass if you're responsible with a weapon or not. The epidemic of gun violence has become so wide spread the police aren't taking the slightest chance with anyone, even 13 year olds. Despite having a three year old crawling around the home, people don't lock away their hand guns because they're convinced they'll need them in a hurry if some stranger begins banging on the door. Yes, now it is shoot first and ask questions later. Paranoia and freedom have become one and the same. A few dead toddlers and 8th graders are simply the price we pay for both.
The NRA might not cause people to go crazy, or be stupid, but they certainly are enabling them to buy weapons without any questions asked--which allows the nuts and dolts to shoot up a school, or leave a .40 caliber pistol laying around the house so babies can blow their heads off.
The National Rifle Association has managed to shape this society into their own image and, like them, we've become crude, deadly, and utterly dystopian.
The truth is we should all be ashamed. We aren't though. We're too busy cleaning our guns to worry about things like that.
sic vita est