A former employee of a Virginia CBS affiliate killed reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward this morning, shooting the two journalists and their interview subject at close range before turning the handgun on himself. Bedford’s WDBJ described the shooter, Bryce Williams, as a disgruntled former employee. If only Ward and Parker had been armed, they might have seen Williams preparing to shoot them and shot him with their superior training and reflexes. Or—and I know this sounds crazy—maybe we could stop selling devices that give every adult in America the power to kill somebody else.
Ask any child, and he’ll tell you that there’s only one way to prevent deaths from school shootings: ban school. But what if there were something else we could do—something that might protect our children without impoverishing their minds even further? Had you asked me that question two weeks ago, I would have thrashed you for a lackwit. But then Peter “The Vulgarian” Franke told me about the Protecht Bodyguard® bullet-resistant blanket, which “can provide a quick, simple solution for maximum protection against a school intruder.” How many deaths from school shootings will this literal security blanket prevent? Well, it covers about 90% of a child’s body, so…
Last week, police arrested Gary Drake for brandishing a shotgun at his neighbor, who was teaching his seven-year-old daughter how to ride a bicycle at the time. Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. According to the father, Drake began yelling at him from the porch and, when dismissed, said, “If you don’t like my advice, get off the street.” He went inside and returned with a Remington 870, which he pointed at the father, threatening to kill him. Be sure to read down to the last sentence of the story: “Charging documents state that Drake admitted to drinking all day, but he denied that it influenced his actions.”
First of all, if help is 20 minutes away, don’t beg for an easy death. Forestall death for 20 damn minutes, ideally by not getting into a cover-fire situation in front of a window at the top of an enclosed stair. Second of all, why do Markus Kaarma and his ilk live in a world where violence is both imminent and kind of awesome? After telling his hairdresser that he was “waiting up nights to shoot some [funky] kid,” Kaarma killed an unarmed exchange student in his garage and claimed self-defense. The penalty for burglary is death. The penalty for trespassing is death, provided you carry out the sentence in your home. Which would you rather live with: the knowledge that you killed another person, or the knowledge that you lost property out of your garage? Montana law protects people who choose the former.
In April, gun owners gathered outside the Michigan state capitol building in Lansing for an Open Carry Rally, in which they showed off their loaded guns to urge Michigan legislators to loosen gun control laws. “It’s wonderful to be around like-minded people who understand how the government should work,” attendee Johann Deffert told Michigan Live, adding that the crowd was very diverse. In theory, of course, our system of government works entirely on the basis of like-minded people. In practice, a little over half of Americans support tightening gun control laws, and only 8% think they should be loosened. As an open carry rally reminds us, however, that 8% is politically engaged and heavily armed.