Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Meanwhile, back home....


A 7 year old Houston, Texas boy was shot by his 5 year old brother with a .22 rifle after Mom left the two of them alone in the bathtub for a few minutes.

The parents are being investigated for violations of criminal law.  Under Texas law, leaving a gun where a child can get it and use it is a Class A misdemeanor when somebody gets shot because of such negligence.  The parents could face a fine of up to $4000, and up to a year in jail.

Which I guess is what the NRA means by "enforcing the laws already on the books."

Of course, anyone stupid enough to leave a loaded gun in the house where children can easily access and use it, is stupid enough not to pay attention to this story and consider their own liability.  Or, more importantly, the safety of their children.

But, you know, freedom, 'n' stuff.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Sherri said...

The story out here was about an off-duty police officer who left his loaded gun in the cupholder in his minivan with his 4 young children while he and his wife stepped out to run a quick errand. His three year old son picked up the gun and shot his 7 year old sister, killing her. He was charged with second degree manslaughter, but the jury deadlocked 7-4 for acquittal, with the defense arguing for a tragic mistake, nothing criminal. Prosecutors elected not to retry him, figuring they weren't likely to do better, but the Marysville police department has fired the officer.

I know LEOs believe they need to carry weapons even off duty, but I question the validity of that belief. How many lives of LEOs have been saved by carrying off-duty? How many innocent lives have been lost? We probably don't have any data, because the NRA has made it difficult to even collect data about firearms.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, anyone stupid enough to leave a loaded gun in the house where children can easily access and use it, is stupid enough not to pay attention to this story and consider their own liability. Or, more importantly, the safety of their children.

It certainly is stupidity, but I don't think it's just stupidity. I really believe that underneath all this carelessness with guns, all thiscrying about wanting to do whatever they feel like, all this screaming that the government isn't going to tell THEM what to do lies the puerile impulse of an errant, undisciplined child that's never been resolved by maturity. It's people with stern daddy issues screaming at the government "You're not my real dad! I don't have to do what you say!"

I had an experience with guns and irresponsible parents that has given me some insight into this impulse. At thirteen years old I spent a week at the hunting camp to which my dad belonged. The camp had about a dozen members, four of whom were policemen from the Detroit area while the rest were locals from rural northern Michigan where the camp was located. One night all the men departed to the local bar to drink, leaving three kids behind: myself, another cop's son named Darren who was fourteen and the son of a local kid, Eric, who was sixteen or so. Soon after they left Eric busted into the hard liquor and proceeded to get rip-roaring drunk, something that was just an unthinkable move if you were the son of a policeman. The kid eventually became crazed and out of control from the booze, screaming and jumping on tables and throwing things - and then he went for the gun case.

We tried to dissuade him to no avail. He went outside and began firing a rifle indiscriminately into the air and into the woods, whooping and screaming the whole time. There was little two young teenagers could do to stop it without risk of getting shot by a disturbed and practically psychotic older teen; we were just praying he didn't start firing into the bunkhouse. We couldn't call for help as there was no phone in the bunkhouse, cellphones didn't exist yet, and we didn't drive. So we just hunkered inside and hoped for the best, deciding to go to bed and wait for all to be over. [cont.]

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The next morning my dad and another cop noticed that the rifles in the case had been tampered with and questioned us about. Darren and I explained what had happened. They calmly confronted the father of the perpetrator while we were in the room. To my surprise he was not angry at his son for putting us in danger nor was he apologetic to us. On the contrary he was furious at the suggestion that his son had done anything wrong. "No one's gonna tell me my kid cain't drink!" he yelled to my baffled amazement. When my dad and his friend assured him they weren't concerned about his drinking (which of course they were but knew they weren't going to get anywhere on that issue) but just about the dangerous handling of the guns while drinking the man set his jaw and turned away, mumbling some defense about the kid knowing what he was doing and that was that. He believed that he and his son had the right to do whatever they wanted without regard to the law or the safety of anyone else and that was that - and if pressed any further the world was going to face his wrath.

For the gun owners like this gun and his son who lack impulse control, and whose desperate resistance to any constraints whatsoever the law - any law - disempowers them. They squirm under the yoke of rules. Laws crush their spirit, strangle the feeling of ultimate freedom that they crave, that sense of being out from under daddy's stern thumb and being their own man. And so they ignore them. They poach and they trespass and they log and dump illegally and they speed and drive drunk and join the NRA and militias to be around like-minded people and justify their behavior, to boost their self-esteem and maintain their perceived status in the tribe. The idea of taking away their right to own, carry or shoot whatever guns they want whenever they want is tantamount to castration in their minds. I've seen the desperation firsthand.

My conservative father quit the NRA over a decade ago when he could no longer ignore how radical they'd become. He stopped hunting a few years back due to age though he is still friends with many of the guys from the hunting camp and now lives up in that area with them. He is becoming increasingly estranged from those lifelong buddies, though, as they've made it very clear that if the federal government enacts gun laws - any laws- these guys in their seventies and - their sons and grandsons - will engage in armed rebellion. And that is something my father who spent his life upholding the law and being faithful to the government could never countenance.

Windhorse

1:19 PM  

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