The United States is saturated with guns. We have a population of more than 300 million and there are nearly enough guns in this country for every child, woman, and man. Thankfully out of that 300 million, only a minority own guns (source). Unfortunately, among that minority exists a number of people who are irresponsible gun owners. Whether its improperly cleaning a gun, carrying a gun into a bar, shooting someone’s pet out of anger, shooting a spouse because they don’t perform housework, or shooting someone because your religious beliefs prohibit the consumption of clamato juice, many gun owners demonstrate a lack of responsible handling of firearms. Here are five recent examples:
Sauget Police Chief Patrick Delaney called the killing senseless.
Delaney gave this account of what happened:
At 5:20 a.m. three men were standing in the walk-up line at the liquor store to purchase a 12-pack of beer. After they bought the beer, a man pumping gas walked over and asked for a can. The men told him he would have to pay for it.
One of the men dropped a beer and it sprayed on the shoe of the man who had asked for a can. The man whose shoe got sprayed went back to his car, then returned to the walk-up window, pulled out a gun and shot Carbajal. He then fled.
“You talk about a senseless killing,” Delaney said. “The victim wasn’t the one who dropped the beer. You can only assume he was upset that they wouldn’t give him a beer or that it was over the spilled beer on his shoes.”
Senseless is right. I mean, I’ve heard people make flippant comments about not wanting their clothes to get dirty or damaged. I’ve heard people say “if you get my clothes dirty, I’ll kill you”. But those people were [most likely] being hyperbolic. They likely wouldn’t shoot someone for getting their clothes dirty, probably bc they recognize that such an extreme reaction is disproportionate to the offense. It should go without saying-spilling beer on someone’s shoes shouldn’t be cause for punishment, let alone murder. This guy literally values his shoes more than the life of another human being. I just can’t fathom that. I don’t know how the thought processes of such an individual works. I know there is an answer somewhere. I know the shooter isn’t some incomprehensible monster whose motives can never be understood. But right now, I don’t have any answer. I can’t comprehend this violence without knowing more, which makes it all the more scary. All I can do is sit here slack-jawed in sheer horror at yet another example of the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.
One does not have to look far to see how alcohol consumption is promoted in USAmerican culture. From billboards littering the cityscapes to 30-second commercial spots during top rated television programs, advertisements for alcohol are omnipresent. So it’s no wonder that people in the US love alcohol. Unfortunately, for all that we love our alcohol, there is insufficient attention given to educating the populace about the responsible consumption of alcohol. It’s not like teens are taught about alcohol in high school. And while some people probably learn how to drink with care from their parents, I suspect the vast majority of people start drinking without a crash course in how to do so responsibly. Where are people supposed to learn about drinking in moderation? At what point to teens learn about blood alcohol levels, and the legal point of intoxication? What about the penalties for drunk driving? When do they learn that the average alcoholic beverage containing 1.25 oz of alcohol takes roughly one hour to burn its way out of the system? Who teaches young adults that certain factors-age, sex, food consumption, body size, and more-can affect the rate of intoxication? How do teens learn about the responsibility they have to ensure that any sexual activity they engage in is done with the clear consent of all parties involved? Who teaches teens that mental impairment prevents an individual from granting informed consent? As far as I know, these lessons are never taught to people. They’re things you just learn as you go. And that’s a really fucking shitty way to about the ups and downs of drinking.
Similarly, our culture is obsessed with firearms. As can be seen in Hollywood, the video game industry, and even the toy industry, the U.S. citizens love firearms. Unfortunately, far too many people fail to treat them with the seriousness they deserve. This starts at a young age, when many children are given toys that mimic guns, or parents introduce their child to a firearm to teach them hunting skills. There is also a strong social connection between manhood and gun ownership whereby many young boys feel that possessing a gun is a rite of passage. But where are the checks and balances on gun ownership? Where are the classes that teach children that guns-by their very design and purpose-are deadly weapons that can easily injure or kill people? Who teaches children and young adults to have a proper respect for human life such that they keep the humanity of others in mind when owning a gun? How are young adults to come by the knowledge of how to properly carry, store, or clean a gun? FFS, teens have to take courses in how to drive , but there are no mandatory classes one must take prior to owning a gun? There are no national standards that every gun owner must meet before being allowed to own a gun? One of the horrible results of all of this is that too many people possess these weapons of destruction, but lack the training and responsibility to use them wisely.
The levels of irresponsibility demonstrated by many USAmericans when it comes to consuming alcohol or owning a firearm are horrible enough on their own. That terror is amplified when the two are mixed, as one Arizona man recently found out:
For Reece and six of his friends, Tuesday, September 2, probably started like any old regular night of bar hopping:
“They were partying in the Valley, and then when the bars closed around 2 or 3, someone said, ‘Let’s go to the high country and shoot guns,’” Molesa says.
This next one-Oh boy! There’s this Texas woman who was taken into custody during a drug bust. Drugs were found inside the car of a man she was riding with. While en route to jail, she informed the arresting officers that she had a gun. In her vagina:
Ashley Castaneda, 31, was also charged with methamphetamine possession. She was in a car with a man that was pulled over for a traffic violation and officers found the drugs inside the vehicle, police said.
On her way to jail, Castaneda told police that she had concealed the handgun in her vagina, making the disclosure out of fear it could go off during the trip, according to police.
“Officers immediately stopped and a female officer searched Castaneda discovering she had in fact placed a loaded Smith and Wesson pistol inside her body cavity,” police in the central Texas city said in a statement.
“The weapon had a round chambered and a full magazine of bullets,” police said.
Loaded and chambered?! She’s lucky it didn’t go off. It’s obvious she was trying to carry a concealed weapon in such a way that it would be difficult to find, but in doing so, she placed her life at risk and potentially the lives of those around her.
And finally we close out with the story of yet another person who can’t seem to deal with his problems without resorting to violence. A 26-year-old New York man was irritated at construction noise and pulled out his pellet gun and shot a construction worker:
According to police, Timothy Burzynski shot the gun from a window at his home at 123 Frederick Avenue at 11:50 a.m. because he was ”being disturbed by the noise” from construction work going on across the street.
The construction worker was taken to the hospital for treatment of a wound to his upper back, police said.
Police recovered the pellet gun in addition to seven other firearms and assorted ammunition, police said.
Burzynski is charged with second degree assault, fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon and third degree criminal possession of a weapon. He will be arraigned on Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead.
I don’t understand why people think they can do things like this. Actually, scratch that. I think many times people aren’t thinking rationally. They get angry, they want to reflexively lash out and eliminate the source of their frustration. And when there’s a firearm (or in this case a pellet gun) around, that reaction can so often turn deadly. This is why people need to develop ways of dealing with their anger nonviolently–so that others aren’t harmed by unthinking, knee-jerk reactions. It’s also why easy, quick access to guns is not a good thing.
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