It makes me wonder

Jared Lee Loughner Ruled Incompetent to Stand Trial

Now that US District Judge Larry Burns has ruled that Jared Lee Loughner is incompetent to stand trial, I’m left to wonder about a few things.

In case that you’ve forgotten, which Americans have a tendency to do, especially about events that reflect our violent and gun loving culture, Jared Lee Loughner shot 19 people in Tuscon, Arizona, killing six and wounding 13 others. Among those that he murdered were a Federal Judge, the 9 year old granddaughter of a baseball personality, and a member of the United States Congress. It makes me wonder, who remembers their names?

No one mentions Columbine anymore, and 13 of our children were shot and killed there. I wonder if it’s just too painful for us as Americans to remember or are we just ashamed that Americans haven’t taken the fight for gun control to Congress, the gun lobbyists and the NRA. It makes me wonder.

What happened to Loughner that caused him to explode that fretful day in Tuscon? How was he able to masquerade his mental illness without anyone noticing? How did he slip through the cracks? How many more powder kegs are there walking through the streets of our cities, invisible to us all until they, like Jared Lee Loughner, explode? It makes me wonder.

Why does the average law abiding citizen or gun enthusiast need to have high capacity ammunition clips, such as the one Loughner used that day to murder six Americans whose names we do not even remember? Those are clips that even the police can’t carry. And why do they fight so hard against making them illegal? It makes me wonder.

Why are there more and more cities across this beautiful country of ours passing open-gun carry laws? Are the Mayors of these cities going to deputize the citizenry to assist the police in rounding up the illegal immigrants? Or are the Mexican drug cartels going to attack the USA? It makes me wonder.

And finally, where will the next Columbine, Tuscon, or Fort Hood occur? It’s no longer a question of if. There’s no doubt about it happening again. When will a homegrown Islamist terrorist, armed to the teeth with assault rifles and semi automatic handguns that were acquired through a straw purchase in Georgia or Virginia (or even perfectly legally), walks into a terminal at one of our busiest airports and proceeds to double or triple the body count of Tuscon. It makes me wonder.

5 responses to “It makes me wonder

  1. What I wonder is how restricting gun ownership among responsible people, will stop criminals from finding and using guns. If we have reason to fear homegrown terrorists and crazies who shoot up gun-free zones, wouldn’t an armed citizen already on the scene be better able to stop them than the cops?

    There were conflicting reports, but is it true that one of the people who tackled Loughner was armed and prepared to shoot shoot him, if he could do so safely?

    Responsible, law-abiding gun owners rarely commit gun crimes, but they are prepared to defend themselves and their property against those who do.

    If restricting gun ownership stops gun violence, why is there still gun violence in Chicago and Boston? How long do we have to wait for the thugs to realize that they’re supposed to follow the rules, like the rest of us?

    If I should be forbidden to carry a gun because of how unstable, irresponsible and stupid people misuse guns, then I’ afraid it’s long past time to ban automobiles. Those thing are dangerous!

    I do hope this entire post is facetious.

  2. Suz, I appreciate your comment but I’m afraid you’ve misread my post. I’m not advocating that you should be “forbidden to carry a gun” – I’m in favor of responsible gun ownership by citizens who have training on how to use them. I’m saying that you really have no need for an extended clip for that gun. There is no reason to have an extended clip that fires 30 rounds unless you are trying to kill many people at once. You don’t need it for self-defense, you don’t need it for recreational shooting.

    In Arizona, in fact, several bystanders were armed, yet none of them were able to stop Loughner from killing all those people. One of them actually almost shot the wrong person (you can read about that here) and said he was “really lucky” that he didn’t happen to shoot the guy who was tackling the shooter instead of the real shooter. So the theory of “armed bystanders make all of us safer” doesn’t really hold water because even with all those armed bystanders (there were several people there with guns), the only way they were able to stop Loughner was by physically tackling him.

  3. Thanks for clarifying your views on ownership. I did notice that you were asking thought provoking questions, rather than stating a specific position. The issue is so thoroughly dominated by emotion that people end up leaving logic out of it. My sister is a fed and my dad is a retired cop, yet for years I rarely mentioned my own guns, because I didn’t want people thinking I’m a “gun nut.” (gun nuts included)

    Don’t you think the large capacity clip issue is a red herring? It’s only one of several ways to have excessive firepower. It seems silly to make a law against it when we don’t effectively enforce the gun laws that already exist. At this point, I believe the only new gun law we need is one to require training for owners (even though all the gun owners I know practice every chance they get.)

    Regarding armed bystanders, of course there are many situations when it’s not safe to use a weapon, but there are two points worth noting: in stopping an “active shooter,” it’s one more tool, and a good option to have. Also, most responsible gun carriers are exactly the type of people who would know and use more than one method of stopping a criminal.

    I would like to see gun training made more readily available, and more affordable. And I’d REALLY like to see gun stereotypes GO AWAY!

    • Suz, before thanking and embracing me I think that you should know that my opinion of what the criteria should be for responsible gun ownership may be a little too stringent for the gun enthusiast.

      I think it’s very difficult for people to speak about this issue without any emotion. The end result of the actions of irresponsible gun owners, gun dealers, and individuals like Jared Loughner are death, destruction and the shattering of the lives of those that survive and those that are left behind. It’s hard not to get emotional about a dead 9 year old.

      You’re right that there are other methods of having excessive fire power.  But I can’t think of anything more functional, concealable, and easily handled as a semi automatic firearm with a large capacity clip. And once again, if the men and women who are on the front lines fighting crime can’t carry them, then I don’t see what vital purpose they serve for an average citizen.

      I do agree with you that training is an important element and should definitely be required. When the NYPD cycled over to automatics, we were required to go to the range four times a year. They are still required to go twice a year. I would like to see training for civilians similar to what most police departments use today, incorporating tactics such as combat shooting, cover and concealment, and target recognition. With that said, I think it’s important to mention that even cops with all of the training that they receive don’t always fare too well in combat situations. From personal experience, I can tell you that shooting at a stationary target that poses no threat to an individual is totally different than a combat life or death situation.

      Before we can even discuss intelligent and fair solutions to gun control and responsible gun ownership, individuals on both sides of the issue have to be willing to come to the table.

  4. …”It’s hard not to get emotional about a dead 9 year old.” I agree. I would also ask why we care so much more about 9 year old shooting victims than we do about 9 year olds killed by other means. There are so many ways to maim and kill, especially a small, relatively weak person, why do we focus on guns? How many registered sex offenders, who prey on children, are walking free even though we know they are not “cured?” The number of convicted drunk drivers still on the road (let alone those who don’t get caught) makes my blood run cold. Guns may be a preferred tool of violence because they are small, effective and concealable, but violent people will find other tools if need be, and people who have no regard for the law will always find ways to get the “right” tools. Just like they get illegal drugs. There is not a single licensed meth dealer in the U. S, yet there’s plenty of meth, and if legal guns become harder to get, they will simply circulate along the same routes taken by illegal drugs. Indeed, they already do.

    As long as violent people have guns, innocent people should have the right to defend themselves, and there aren’t many weapons that are effective against a gun. That shouldn’t be an emotional issue; a gun is a tool, and its only danger lies in how it is used.

    That said, I strongly believe that open or concealed carry permits should be limited to people with a LOT of training, because the “testosterone factor” is real, but in the privacy of the home or private business, perhaps less. Thugs aren’t deterred by the threat of prison, or even the death penalty, because they know they have a good chance of not getting caught; if they do get caught, they can look forward to a good firm slap on the wrist. Thugs ARE afraid of armed victims, because the consequences are swift and painful, if not deadly. And armed victims don’t negotiate with public defenders.

    Again I ask, why is this an emotional issue? Unless I’m mistaken in some details, these are simple facts. Personally, I get into a much bigger snit over cars. Most 16, 17, and 18 year-olds are not responsible enough to drive, unless they’ve had hundreds of hours of supervised practice – their brains are simply not mature enough to consistently make good judgments. I think teens should not be allowed to drive unsupervised unless they indicate responsibility by having a job or being on the honor roll. How many of us have ever met a victim of gun violence? How many of us personally know victims (and perpetrators) of dangerous driving? Automobile deaths personally affect millions more people than do gun deaths. Of course, stringently restricting drivers would be terribly inconvenient to a LOT more people than restricting guns. Sorry for the length of this rant…

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