Friday, December 08, 2006

Guns

This happened yesterday here in Phoenix:
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 8, 2006 09:20 AM

PHOENIX - A 2-year-old boy who was accidentally shot by his 9-year-old brother has died, authorities said Friday.

The older brother apparently was playing with a .357 handgun that belonged to his mother's boyfriend when he shot his younger brother, Eric Sanchez-Velasquez, said Phoenix Police Lt. Tracey Miller.

The boys' mother drove the wounded boy to a hospital. Eric was taken by helicopter to another Valley hospital, where he died about 11:25 p.m., authorities said.

The accident happened about 9 p.m. on the 18000 Block of 40th Avenue between Union Hills Drive and Bell Road. The older child took the firearm from a closet and was handling it when he fired and struck Eric, who was in the same room, investigators concluded.

The boys’ mother was at home at the time, but not in the same room when the shot went off, said Detective Stacie Derg, a Phoenix police spokeswoman. A third child, a 12-year-old girl, and a family friend who lives in the house were also home but not injured.

I could go on a long-winded and sourced rant about our country's love for firearms but frankly right now I don't have the patience. All that I want to do is scream and to slap the shit out of any moron that tries to tell me that about their inalienable "right to bear arms". You are scared, weak-minded people that try to compensate by owning guns. And who pays the price? Not you. No, it's two year old kids who pay with their lives and nine year old kids who will bear the guilt of what they should never have had to worry about doing for the rest of their lives.

20 comments:

Laura said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly about guns. However, there is another layer to this story that is being missed. The fact that this woman and her children were associating with a man who brought a gun into her home without proper security measures (lock boxes, ammo separate, etc). Granted, she could just be stupid. More likely though, she felt she didn't have the power (social or economic) to insist that her boyfriend do anything against his will. This sort of thing happens all the time, especially with poor women. Women are economically and socially dependent on men, and therefore do not have (or feel they do not have) the power to insist on anything (wearing of condoms, not brining a gun to the house, not hitting their kid... etc). How many times do we hear this story? A kid killed by his mother's boyfriend, or shot by his mother's boyfriend's gun? 9 times out of 10 the women are either poor, minority, or both. What does this say about the situation of poor and minority women? I have a hard time assuming that all of the women in these cases are simply too stupid to realize the danger. There's something else going on there. You can't protect kids unless you enable their mothers the economic and social resources to be independent if they are in a bad situation. Sorry to go on a diatribe, but that is a layer between the lines of this story.

dbackdad said...

Laura -- diatribe on. Thanks for adding some important context. That's a point that conservatives like to dismiss. They see the reactions (terrorism, inner city violence, etc.) but rarely think about the steps that led people to those points. If that makes us touchy-feely liberals, so be it. Their method of only dealing with the reactions sure isn't working.

Jewish Atheist said...

This story is really tragic, but...

All that I want to do is scream and to slap the shit out of any moron that tries to tell me that about their inalienable "right to bear arms".

What do you say to people who've been attacked by skinheads and argue the following:

All that I want to do is scream and to slap the shit out of any moron that tries to tell me that about their inalienable "right to free speech".

Jewish Atheist said...

(Meaning that skinheads shouldn't be allowed to speak in public, not that beating is speech.)

dbackdad said...

Ah, JA, ever the master-debater (masterbater? lol).

First of all, I think that you are trying to equate the 1st and 2nd amendments and say that they are on the same footing. That is where I would disagree. I don't believe that the intent of our founders was for people to just have guns for the the hell of it. What is a "well regulated militia" anyway? This amendment is an anachronism. I believe that the NRA and too many conservatives have misinterpreted the 2nd Amendment.

Secondly, my statement was an immediate, visceral response to the senseless tragic death of a youngster. I wanted to put the figurative "pen to paper" as soon as I could because I wanted to capture my frustration in that moment. I knew if I took a longer period of time to write something, I'd lose that. Most of the time I want to have longer well-reasoned and documented posts about subjects. But sometimes, I want the exact opposite. I don't want to overthink some things. And by that same reasoning, don't overanalyze what my meaning may have been.

I wholeheartedly believe in free speech. I'll go to the wall to defend anyone's write to say what they please ... including skinheads. I am largely a pacifist and could hardly "slap the shit" out of anyone even if I wanted to. Again, in my moment of anger, I spoke in hyberbole to express my frustration.

shrimplate said...

The main point of all this is that it would not have happened if there were no gun in that house.

Statistically, you are really taking on a bad risk by introducing weapons, even properly stored ones, into a household in which there are children.

Start here.

dbackdad said...

Shrimplate,
Welcome. Thanks for visiting. Great point and link.

Jewish Atheist said...

First of all, I think that you are trying to equate the 1st and 2nd amendments and say that they are on the same footing. That is where I would disagree. I don't believe that the intent of our founders was for people to just have guns for the the hell of it. What is a "well regulated militia" anyway? This amendment is an anachronism. I believe that the NRA and too many conservatives have misinterpreted the 2nd Amendment.

I agree the Amendment is worded strangely, but the plain meaning appears to me (and I'm no lawyer) to be that "the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." I see the first half as just a reason, not a restriction.

Secondly, my statement was an immediate, visceral response to the senseless tragic death of a youngster.

I totally get that. But immediate, visceral responses are of course not always correct.

shrimplate:

Statistically, you are really taking on a bad risk by introducing weapons, even properly stored ones, into a household in which there are children.

I agree with this. That doesn't mean guns should be illegal, though.

dbackdad said...

JA said, "But immediate, visceral responses are of course not always correct." - how true. But they are telling. I'm not only trying to get at the truth of things but I'm trying to get at the truth of myself. If I can figure out why my immediate response was such that it was, I'll know more about the subject and myself. Your erudite comments here are a big part of that and as always are welcomed.

The unexamined life is not worth living. -- Socrates

Plus, I consider my blog an experiment in styles. I don't want to get in a rut: quote-link-excerpt-rant-quote. :-)

CyberKitten said...

JA said: That doesn't mean guns should be illegal, though.

I think that the fundamental question is: Why do people need to own firearms?

Jewish Atheist said...

CK:

Let's set aside the fact that it's the second item in the Bill of Rights. Our founders believed that every person (well they probably meant white males, but regardless) has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I don't see how one can have a right to life without a right to self-defense. In fact, one can't have any rights without the right to defend themselves.

Personally, I'm lucky enough to be able to live in a relatively safe area with nearby police. I have no stalkers. I'm a male of decent size. Basically, as shrimplate alludes to, owning a gun would almost definitely be more risky for me than not owning one.

What if I lived out on a ranch in the middle of nowhere with police response taking up to an hour? With bears and horse thieves around? What if I were a small woman with a crazy ex-boyfriend?

Would the country be better if nobody had guns? Probably. But (as I've seen someone write online somewhere) unless there's a magic gun fairy that's going to get rid of all the guns that's not a realistic possibility.

Then there are of course the hunters and collectors. Their reasons to own guns aren't as compelling, of course, but in America we demand a good reason to restrict a right, not a good reason to have one. (The war on drugs seems to be an enormous, and in my view, misguided, exception to this rule.)

vern said...

All that I want to do is scream and to slap the shit out of any moron that tries to tell me that about their inalienable "right to bear arms". You are scared, weak-minded people that try to compensate by owning guns.

I guess you'll be needing to slap me then. However, prior to slapping me you musty know that I don't own any weapons that are able to fire. I have an Italian carbine circa 1935 and a 410 circa 1920. (Actually, the 410 probably could fire but never has for 30 ears and never will again)

I realize that "us touchy-feely liberals" hate the line that it's our inalienable right and that the problem isn't the gun but the owner, but that is the truth.

At 5 years old I knew enough about guns (not from my touchy-feely liberal father but my touchy-feely liberal cousin) to know how to insure the 410 rifle was empty prior to aiming at the neighborhood bully and making him crap his pants when I pulled the trigger.

That's not a proud moment in my life but it does serve to remind myself and others that were it not for the education about guns I may well have killed someone.

It also serves as a reminder that most people aren't careful enough about storing weapons.

My rifle and carbine are safely tucked away from my children. Whom manot even learn of their existence until they are into their teens...

But I don't feel that my father's or my recklessness would have been averted by increasing the anti-gun laws of this nation.

Mind you, I'm also increasingly strict-Constitutionally minded.

I don't think anyone needs to own automatic weapons.
I don't think everyone should own a handgun.
I don't think houses with children should have handguns.

But I'm not going to assume the right or responsibility of making those decisions for everyone.

That, to me, is distinctly as un-American as you can get.

vern said...

I think that the fundamental question is: Why do people need to own firearms?

How's that matter?

Are we only going to allow abortions if the reason is acceptable?

Are we only going to allow vehicle ownership if the purchaser can provide convincing evidence of a need?

It's about personal freedoms. And if we believe that we can better decide if one should/shouldn't have a gun, why shouldn't we decide if one should/shouldn't own a car?

And where does it end?

CyberKitten said...

JA said: I don't see how one can have a right to life without a right to self-defense. In fact, one can't have any rights without the right to defend themselves.

..and yet... most of the rest of the world doesn't seem to hold it as necessary to own firearms to protect themselves from other people with firearms. America seems pretty unique in that sense.

JA said: Would the country be better if nobody had guns? Probably. But (as I've seen someone write online somewhere) unless there's a magic gun fairy that's going to get rid of all the guns that's not a realistic possibility.

Indeed. Getting rid of *all* guns is difficult at best. We've tried it over here and have failed so far. However, you might be able to get rid of 99% of all guns. Just think how many lives that would save.

Is an armed populace *really* that good an idea?

CyberKitten said...

vern said: It's about personal freedoms.

Really?

The freedom to own automatic weapons? Sniper rifles? Anti-tank rockets? Ground to air missiles? Nukes?

vern said: And where does it end?

Too often @ the cemetry I think...

vern said...

he freedom to own automatic weapons? Sniper rifles? Anti-tank rockets? Ground to air missiles? Nukes?

Your argument immediately descended into unrealistic visions of terror vs. realistic visions of personal freedoms.

Are you aware that no other country suffers from the rate of gun deaths that America suffers from, yet Canada, for instance, has a gun-ownership rate per-capita that is several times America's?

Why take the guns away when they are obviously not the problem?

Jewish Atheist said...

CK:

..and yet... most of the rest of the world doesn't seem to hold it as necessary to own firearms to protect themselves from other people with firearms. America seems pretty unique in that sense.

Could be. It probably has a lot to do with our history -- especially how we were formed and how so much of the country was frontier for so long.

Is an armed populace *really* that good an idea?

That question is only relevant if the gun fairy exists. The guns are here -- the only question is if people should be allowed to own them *legally* or not.

The war on drugs is a perfect example -- marijuana's been outlawed for a long, long time and yet it's still easier for a high school student to get some pot than it is to get alcohol.

dbackdad said...

The right to bear arms ... as always, a contentious issue even among people that are of a like mind in most other things.

My post and comments are less about whether we should have the right to bear arms (I'm willing to concede it as a necessary right) but rather why we feel the need to glorify it. It's that glorification and that NRA cowboy mentality that differentiates us from countries like Canada.

Isn't it ironic that the same people that preach "abstinence-only" would take their 10 year-olds out hunting? Is that "gun" in your trousers more dangerous than the one in your hands? We need to get over our hang-ups with sex and drugs and get over our love affair with violence.

Laura said...

I think the largest point of contention that I have heard from pro-gun people is the inherent mistrust in the government they have. You have to have guns in case you need the Michigan Militia to mount an offensive against your government. That said, I think that is an outdated way of regarding government. And besides... there is no way a militia could defeat the US Army on US soil. Unless the militia was content on taking thousands of innocent lives in the process through guerrilla tactics.

Jewish Atheist said...

Isn't it ironic that the same people that preach "abstinence-only" would take their 10 year-olds out hunting? Is that "gun" in your trousers more dangerous than the one in your hands? We need to get over our hang-ups with sex and drugs and get over our love affair with violence.

Great point. You've got people trusting 10 year olds with rifles who don't trust 17 year olds with condoms.


Laura:

I think the largest point of contention that I have heard from pro-gun people is the inherent mistrust in the government they have.

Maybe it's outdated, maybe not. That was clearly the view of the founders, having themselves just revolted against tyranny. I think they saw it as the ultimate check on government. I agree it's hard to imagine the U.S. actually turning into 1930s Germany.

And besides... there is no way a militia could defeat the US Army on US soil. Unless the militia was content on taking thousands of innocent lives in the process through guerrilla tactics.

The militia couldn't defeat the army, but the army probably couldn't defeat the militia either if a substantial portion of the country revolted. Well, I guess the army won in the civil war, but at great cost. Depending on the cause, the army might lose enough soldiers to defection that the militia could win.