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The Other Side of the Tracks blog by Word Press

Fighting For the Right to Kill

A view from the other side of the tracks...since 2002

A view from the other side of the tracks…since 2002

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary by Perry Redd

 

It makes no sense, no matter how you cut it.  Gun rights advocates vehemently fight tooth-to-nail to protect the right to own, carry and use guns, but never fight for the rights of those who want to be protected from the terror and tragedy that guns cause.  All guns are for is killing; killing something, anything. 

Every week during my preparation for my radio show, I lengthen the thread of documentation on instances of gun violence.  No matter how horrific, gun proponents paint them as a lack of mental health evaluations or a need to get guns out of the hands of felons. Once you scrutinize the events one-by-one, you find that neither is commonplace. But this is the defense—and excuse—for the right to kill.

We’re told that mental illness or criminal past are the common factors that precipitate gun violence.  Facts on the ground dictate otherwise. The reality is that guns are the common thread to gun deaths.  People with guns—whether mentally ill or visually sane—are the cause of gun deaths.  People without guns find it really hard to shoot anyone…don’t you?

Sure, people without guns kill, murder and maim, yet their effective murder rate is exponentially less than the American emboldened by a gun.  It’s funny how guns give people the kind of courage—“liquid courage”—people get from alcohol.  We see that courage dramatized in Hollywood movies. People act it out in real life.

But more to the point, guns do nothing but kill.  They rarely save.  Gun advocates argue that guns save people from gun-wielding maniacs who might’ve killed more if not for a law-abiding gun carrier who stopped them.  But when you cut straight to the truth, there would be no need for the law-abiding gun carrier if there was no gun violence to begin with…that all began with a gun.

Whether assault rifles or handguns, they’re all meant to kill.  What makes that a plus for a “civil” society?  Hand guns figured in the Virginia Tech shootings, Binghamton massacre, Fort Hood massacre, Oikos University shooting, and 2011 Tucson shooting. Assailants with multiple weapons committed the Aurora Theater shooting, and the Columbine High School massacre. In 2010, 66.9% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm; that’s a majority. 

Though those were high-profile cases I listed, the low-profile shooting is just as tragic. A man was fatally wounded when his 4-year-old son fired a gun he found while they were visiting a residence in Prescott Valley, Arizona.  Justin Stanfield Thomas, 35, and his son made an unannounced trip to the home of a former roommate. Moments after arriving at the home, the boy picked up the small-caliber handgun and asked his father and other adults in the room what it was he was holding. Seconds later he pulled the trigger.

Officers and emergency crews arrived and found Thomas, of Phoenix, with a single gunshot wound to the chest. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. I just can’t find the good that that gun served.  The four-year old was neither mentally ill, nor a previously convicted felon—neither of which have anything to do with gun violence.

Guns are like drugs: once in hand, the effect is intoxicating power.  I recount the recent case of the Arlington, Virginia deputy sheriff who was arrested and charged with murder by Alexandria police in the shooting death of a 22-year-old man named Julian Dawkins. Police arrested the off-duty officer Craig Patterson, 44, for fatally shooting Dawkins, a shuttle driver for “PBS NewsHour.”. Patterson, was reportedly was arguing with the younger man, got mad, left the scene and returned with his gun.  Now, he’s facing a life sentence.  A gun emboldened this man to do this.  A good old-fashioned argument just isn’t enough anymore.

By the way, that off-duty officer was not a previously-convicted felon, but I do argue that anyone who has a gun is subject to mental illness.  It’s crazy to even want to kill someone!  But who can diagnose that condition before-hand?  Day after day, there are shootings by the very people the gun lobby neglects to target—white males.  They paint the mental image of Black and Latino folks as criminals, or bad guys and the only ones to rescue the rest of us are white males.  It’s over the top and highly inaccurate.

We must stay vigilant to ward off this guise of fighting for the Second Amendment.  It’s simply people arguing for the right to kill…just ask George Zimmerman.

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