Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Evolutionary collateral damage



Idiots come in all shapes and sizes but when they play with guns the results can be especially deadly and here in the South we seem full of them. Growing up in the rural South I was exposed to rifles, shotguns, and pistols at a young age and quickly learned that they were never to be considered toys. My grandfather for whom as a child had to hunt for his food was the one who instructed me on the safe and proper use of any weapon that I might have a chance to try. From the very beginning when I was just shooting a simple BB-gun he would make it very clear that whenever the weapon was loaded I was to have it pointed toward whatever target we were using because for him safety was the number one concern.
Any horse play with even an unloaded weapon would quickly result in it being taken away and a spanking if my behavior even came close to endangering another person. While serving in the army I would often chuckle at the sergeants running the various weapon ranges because the tone they carried and the extent they went to assure that no one would get hurt sounded so much like my grandfather.
Because of this weapons to me do not really hold the glamour that many civilians seem to endow in them. Sure, I occasionally enjoy watching some show on the Military Channel showing off the latest development in weapons but such shows quickly lose my interest after the basics are revealed. Heaven forbid I possibly sound elitist but I'm far more interested in things that lead to constructive and beneficial developments to the country and world.
But for many civilians weapons hold a glamour that I frankly find disturbing at times. Wannabe Rambos and War Geeks who never served look to their collection of rifles and pistols as the defining items of their manhood. They boast of what would happen to some stupid criminal that had the temerity to break into their homes. It isn't hard to get such people to delve into their darker, surreal fantasies of the federal Bogeyman out to take their weapons and what they would do to oppose such actions.
Most of these people are full of bluster and hot air but it would be a drastic mistake to not understand that there are many hardcore types for which the words: "they will get my guns when they pry my cold, dead fingers from them" is a brutal honesty. These people have that insane gleam in their eyes that I'm sure has excused a whole manner of atrocities all across the world all in the name of God, gold, or some greater abstract glory.
While it might seem strange for me to write the most terrifying of those in "love" with their weapons are those for who never learned that no rifle, shotgun, or pistol is a toy. The best, and least destructive, example I know of this happened in the late 1980's. During this time my grandfather had retired and had taken a part-time job as a security guard at one of the gated condo communities close to the beach. His job was simple, just wave the residents whose car had a sticker attached to the windshield through and stop those who didn't. It wasn't long before he was joined by a young guy who had once been employed as a police officer by one of the nearby small towns. This fella while on duty one night had taken to twirling his pistol like a cowboy before inserting it back into his holster in a snappy motion. Sometime that night while continuing to act like Roy Rogers this sad excuse for a cop shot a co-worker while twirling his weapon. The other guy was okay, it was only a minor leg wound, but the shooter soon found himself beside my granddad waving rich, Jaguar driving guys through the gates to see their mistresses.
Given how my granddad viewed being careful with any firearm he could not stand the guy who even then all he could talk about was his collection of guns in his trailer back home. While the shooter, and the guy he accidentally shot, got off lucky others have had far more tragic outcomes. I may be accused of being heartless when I like idiots with guns prove the Darwinian effect and cull the shallow end of the human gene pool. However, such people all too often don't solve the problem of their problematic existence but instead hurt the innocent.
ARJUN RAMACHANDRANJanuary 5, 2010 - 8:13AM
A four-year-old boy has been killed by a falling bullet that was fired into the air during New Year's Eve celebrations in the US.
Marquel Peters was playing a video game inside a church in the state of Georgia when the bullet pierced the roof and hit him in the head, local media reported.
He collapsed on the floor alongside his parents, bleeding, and was taken to hospital where he died.
"I saw his Nintendo game fall on the floor, and I heard a sound and I heard him scream a little bit and I looked around and all I saw was blood coming from his head," Marquel's mother Nathalee Peters told a local TV station."
"He was my only child ... I miss him, I loved him, he was so sweet," she told Sky News.
Ballistics experts told local media the bullet had most likely come from an AK-47 assault rifle, and may have been fired into the air up to five kilometres from the church.
Police believed the shooter may be unaware someone had been hurt by their bullet.
Marquel's family planned to return to the church - where they were regulars - for his funeral, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"I'm a faith believer, but it's just hard," his uncle Garry Peters said. "Why at church?"
According to the Journal-Constitution, the 350 people gathered inside heard a "loud pop" when the bullet pierced the roof .
"No one knew what it was," Mr Peters said.
After Marquel was taken to hospital, the congregation said a brief prayer for him before continuing with a planned concert, not realising his injuries were life-threatening, senior pastor Lloyd Phipps told the paper.
Soon after Marquel died, a six-year-old Italian boy was also shot by a stray bullet in Miami.
Andrea Fregonese was celebrating New Year's Eve with his family - only hours after authorities had urged people not to fire their guns in the air in celebration - when he was shot in the chest, apparently by a falling bullet.
His family were sitting at an outside restaurant at the time.
The mayor of Miami Tomas Regalado arranged for toys to be brought to Andrea at hospital, where he was in a serious but stable condition, to show "that we care and that we're sorry".

My question after reading that article is why haven't I heard about this story on American news?

37 comments:

sunshine said...

That is so sad about that little boy. Same age as my Massimo.
I can't even imagine what his parents are going through. :(

Growing up, I lived on a hobby farm. My dad had a rifle to kill groundhogs and that was it. I can remember my brother shooting pop cans too of course.

I never even think of guns. In terms of protecting my home and family .. never even considered it!
Of course here in Canada, gun regulations are super strict and you just don't keep your gun in your drawer beside the bed. You do that .. you lose your gun and pay a huge fine.

Sigh..
I don't know Beach. People are in awe of things that go Boom! They're nuts and they don't care about anyone else really.
If that gentleman that shot his partner felt badly about what he had done, he never would have touched a gun again....

((Hugs))
Laura

Vigilante said...

Yeah, Sunshine. Canada had a frontier history, too, didn't it? And they are mature about control of fire arms. Why not us in the USA?

Vigilante said...

I may have more to say on this post (a good one), Beach. Just have to move on right now....

Übermilf said...

I don't see why people don't have to earn the right to own guns the way they have to in order to drive a car. Does that make me against the "Second Amendment?"

Vigilante said...

Nobody should pull a gun unless he means to shoot it; no one should shoot unless he means to kill. Guns are not play things, Übermilf, and neither are cars!

MadMike said...

Vigil I disagree with your statement. While I am opposed to civilians owning handguns and assault rifles the idea of never pulling a weapon unless you intend to use it, i.e. shoot someone, is silly. It is important to be prepared to use it but the mere presence of a firearm is more often than not a deterrent. No one should shoot unless they mean to KILL??? Do your "rules" apply to law enforcement?

Vigilante said...

Absolutely.

Jack Jodell said...

Beach Bum,
I loved (and was not the least bit surprised at) the sensible nature of this post.

I cannot understand the nation's fascination with and love for guns. The paranoid far-right and NRA enthusiasts all think and act as if there is a government agent armed with a submachine gun right outside their door, waiting to shoot or imprison them. Utter nonsense. I look at it this way: if we had taken 10% of all the money spent on guns and rifles over the past 50 years and had put it into medical research or infrastructure projects instead, cancer, diabetes, and autism would all be cured and our roads, bridges, and buildings would be in pristine shape. There are enough guns in circulation to kill every person alive today many times over. WHY???

Marja said...

Very scary Here in NZ lots of people hunt as well I was surrounded with rural people on a first aid course and even the way they talked about how to kill (an animal) gave me the shivers. Even
if safety standard is high I think guns shouldn't be permitted to children Here the legal age is 18
and you need a permit.
Anyway I come to wish you a very happy and fantastic 2010 Take care

Randal Graves said...

Did anyone ever think that that kid was playing video games in order to train for high-tech terrorism once he grew up? Some patriots you all are.

Beach Bum said...

Sunshine: Far too many people view guns as some sort of cure all as far as protection is concerned. Sure, I can find stories about someone using a weapon to stop some criminal but they can be easily matched with a story about someone killing a friend or loved one the mistaken as an intruder.

I have no answers here, I was raised around weapons, don't think too much about them, know they are dangerous tools, and that they need to be kept locked away even when unloaded.

Vigil: Why not the USA? Not to defend gun ownership but there was a time when gun accidents were very rare. Even now the same care and concern for safety around weapons can be found at the vast majority of hunting clubs and target shooting competitions. I wasn't joking in the least that my grandfather hunted for the meat to put on the family table as a child.

It seems to me this crazy gun culture began when the movies and television started glorifying the random use of guns making them a status symbol.

UberMILF: You are not against the Second Amendment by wanting a gun owner to be properly screened and educated. I have no issue with the responsible owner but no one should just be allowed the ability to buy a gun like a computer or television. Of course that attitude makes me an enemy of those crazies who think a gun makes them a man.

Vigil: I agree with Mike, but along the lines of the mere presence. If someone aims a weapon at someone and does not pull the trigger that person better be ready for a whole world of shit to come down.

MadMike: Because of that I have always been told never pull a weapon unless my life is threaten.

Jack: Like I wrote above the gun culture didn't exist as we see it now at least during my grandfather's childhood. He and others used guns for hunting, assault weapons designed to kill didn't exist and even if they did I find it hard to believe they would have found much use. An AK-47 just doesn't serve well as a hunting rifle, although I know nutcases that swear by them.

Marja: Your insight has been missed and you are right. Children in this day and age don't hunt simply to survive. Exposure to weapons very much need to be in a controlled manner under intelligent adult supervision.

Randal: You know that worries me very much, I see my son and his friends play combat video games and come away thinking they actually know something. I try and talk with my son about how silly they really are and that they don't show the death and destruction of real life under such situations. I don't know how effective I am but at least I try.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm surprised that more people aren't killed and injured by stray bullets. There are just too many idiots with too many guns out there.

Mike said...

I was just reading a comment from a guy on a forum that had just moved to a small town in SC. He was talking about going out for walks at night and carrying his pistol with him. I could not believe what I was reading, but I guess to each his own.

I am a gun owner. I enjoy owning them and have always been responsible with them. I resent it when I get punished becuase some folks can't be responsible, but I guess that is the way it goes in the world these days.

Still, is there ever a need to carry a handgun when you are out on a walk in a small town in SC.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Hello Beach!

Difficult in these circumstances to be joyous. Read this piece of staggering news. Quite horrendous.

But life goes on...Happy New Year to you and yours!

TRUTH 101 said...

Big money in guns and ammo. Money talks. Money has no conscience.

Colonel Colonel said...

I have no problem with folks owning guns, but cannot help thinking that the NRA is to blame for the current state of affairs. Instead of being constructive they have elevated ownership of any gun by anyone to fetish level and refused to take any sort of responsible positions, as well as encouraging the scary gun "lovers".

Beach Bum said...

Will: You know the very idea that a random bullet fired miles away could suddenly drop from the sky killing one of my kids is damn scary. Yeah, its a wonder its doesn't happen more often.

Mike: I have heard many say something similar. They are always looking for a reason to carry their weapons.

Hill: Best wishes to you and your family. I pray such stories are rare this year.

Truth 101: Absolutely, and far too many people have lost their souls cause of it.

Colonel: Met a guy once who based any vote he made on who would best protect his guns. He was a NRA lifetime member and a very strange man.

sunshine said...

I was reading your comments section.
I often think about the kids playing video games too.
My boys (especially the oldest) seem to think they know all about weapons just because they kill their buddies online.
I think that my oldest, who wants to go into the military as you know.. believes that he will be doing what he does in games!
Worrisome indeed..... :(

((Hugs))
Laura
P.S. Sorry I said your (you know) was a (you know what) on my blog today. I was just in a bad mood. I apologize.
You seem like a good guy. A good family man. I can't understand why there would be a problem with you wanting to do somethings that you love every so often.
Blah! There I go again... shut up Laura!!!!

Mycue23 said...

Beach,
I've certainly had the conversation with people before about the constitutional right to own a gun. I personally believe that the founders never considered what it would mean beyond having citizens armed to repel a possible invasion from the British. That ship has sailed however. It doesn't matter what the framers meant at this point. I still see no reason why people are allowed to own assault weapons. They only have one purpose, and that is to inflict as much damage as possible to the human body in as short a time as possible. I just don't see how people justify owning a M-16 or an Uzi. What exactly are they protecting themselves from? Anyway, keep up the good work and we've added you to our blogroll. I have no idea how we allowed such an oversight to go on for so long.

MadMike said...

Vigil you are completely clueless on this one. If law enforcement officers were required to shoot every time they pulled their weapons, one of two things would happen: Someone would get shot when they didn't need to be shot, or the police officer would be shot for failing to draw his weapon as a deterrent. Good grief Vigil.

SJ said...

OMFG.
That's the first time I've ever used that acronym but that's all I could say after reading this.
I read of a guy in Los Angeles who was waving goodbye to his friends from a drive way, when he suddenly collapsed. His friends rushed back and as they tried to give him aid, they realized he'd been struck in the armpit (by a falling bullet they'd find out later) which hit his heart and killed him.

This was a great post BB. I've worked on movie sets where handling guns are treated with about a much thought as you'd give to twirling a set of keys.
-and I'll say it at the risk of sounding like a thoughtless jackass. I love guns. I honestly do. I went to my first firing range (the Seventh Avenue Rifle Club NYC) in the 1980s. but I think the licensing process should be about 20 times more stringent than it is for a driver's license.
Too many f'ffing idiots out there.
-SJ

Distributorcap said...

beach

what a great post -

i dont get the gun thing at all - and no matter what anyone says - this would be a better and safer country if there were less guns.

how many families have lost loved ones due to accidental firings - even from secured guns. one is too many

the power of the NRA and the complete idiocy of the 2nd amendment are major reasons why this country is just stuck in some sort of surreal world..

i keep getting letters from the NRA to join - even when i sent them back some cat poop - they still havent stopped asking for money

Hill said...

I'm being friendly and saying "Hi!"

:)

It is always a tragedy when innocents are wounded and killed. Always.

On the flip side, I live out in the country. Lots of wildlife out here, especially deer. We NEVER allow hunting of any sort on our property and we certainly don't shoot the wildlife.

That being said, I'm glad I own a rifle. Last year, a doe got one of her hind legs twisted up in some barbed wire. It was obvious she had been that way for several hours as her leg was literally almost torn off. I shot her, Beach. 'Bout killed me, but I did. She was suffering so...

I put her down.

Brings tears to my eyes to remember the agony she endured before her misery was mercifully over.

Flame away, folks.

That's just how it is when you live in the country.

Vigilante said...

Mad Mike is not a careful reader, at least when he reads anything I write. Nuances he doesn't get.

MadMike said...

On October 27, 2008, at 11 AM, I shot and killed my German shepherd, Kiowa, my avatar. He was my best friend. I shot him with my service weapon, a Beretta 9mm, awarded to me as part of my retirement package.

He had bitten several people, and almost killed one of my puppies. I am a professional trainer, and a damn good one but I couldn't work the kinks out of Ki. He was a threat to my neighbors, and their children, even though they were not close geographically. I spent over 30K on fencing and electronic gates and cameras. It was not enough.

I even took him to the vet and had him checked for thyroid dysfunctions and other possible deficiencies. I had him neutered, despite the evidence that this procedure has less than a 30% success rate, with regard to limiting aggression. I did everything I could.

On that terrible day, after I told him to sit and lay down, and after I pulled the trigger of the gun that was pointed between the eyes of my beautiful dog, I screamed, a primal and sobbing song of love. I then buried him and got drunk, very, very drunk. I miss him to this day. He was my best friend.

I put that Beretta back in its case and haven't touched it since. I will someday, but not for a long time.

That's my story. I am not sure why I told it here. Perhaps because so many good people stop by. Perhaps it is because my best friend, Hill, stopped by....I dunno know..It is just a good place....

Hill said...

(((((((((MM)))))))))))

Big, big hug. Big hug.

Tiptoes....

Rhiannon said...

Beach Bum...I'm sorry but I made a really "elstupido" mistake and made a comment about this post in your last post...got a bit confused..so if you want you can go to the post below this and read my comment..........about this post...he he..

Gee, what a way to start off the New Year...dazed and confused...must be that love bug that's hit me of late..falling in love can do that to one. At least I'm happy.

Hope your New Year is going much better than the last one!

Blessings,

Rhi

Malicious Intent said...

My ex had guns. Thus, my ex. I don't allow any fire arms in my house. The folks I know who have guns have a very healthy respect for firearms and treat them as such.

But some folks should not be allowed to:

1. reproduce
2. use guns
3. reproduce

Border Explorer said...

Love your post. "Bowling for Columbine" explained it all for me.

Beach Bum said...

****Sorry I'm late responding to y'alls comments. This past weekend had far too much in the way of wife and kids wanting everything done at the exact same moment. Was able, somehow, to get a post written but it was not easy.******

Sunshine: Just from my personal experience and seeing how others reacted any "glory" in going into the military ends as soon as you have to clean a latrine. While the military does force guys to be neat and clean simply living with about thirty other recruits in an open barracks environment makes it an ongoing and hopeless adventure.

If you can, push him toward the air force.

MyCue23: I have read enough that the Founders were worried about an overreaching central government with the Anti-Federalists rallying around the concern that the sovereignty of the states might be destroyed.

I personally have grave concerns about civilians owning assault weapons. Damn near all the civilians I know who own one I would not want them to own a BB-gun much less such a lethal rifle. They are all caught up in macho fantasies about seizing the country back from the godless liberals.

Now I do know a few exceptions and I have taken their reasons to owning an assault weapon at least half sane. These exceptions are gravely worried about how people react in both natural and man-made disasters. For them it’s not about the "evil" government but keeping their families safe. Whether they are right or wrong I can't decide, especially after the utter failure of the federal government after Katrina. Now throw in a possible deadly pandemic which has the country shut down and gangs roving the streets and the illogic of civilians owning those weapons ain't so black and white.

MadMike: Be nice, Vigil may have been talking just about civilians.

SJ: I completely agree on a far more stringent licensing process just for the reason you mentioned. Maybe after such a process some sanity might be restored to a few of these people.

DCap: I understand your point very well and sympatese. Although from my own experience and knowing others for whom owning a weapons is important to them for protection or food I don't think it is workable.

Now the NRA I completely agree, they have set a course for some distant La-La land and have lost all touch with reality.

Hill: I find myself torn far more after this post than before. As I stated, I grew up with weapons for both hunting and simple shooting at targets. I have owned many weapons, even an assault rifle I eventually sold to buy a wet suit, but I am very turned off by many who make such items important parts of their manhood.

How someone reacts to such deadly tools tells me a lot about them and while I would restrict ownership to those who passed a licensing process the very reason you stated in your comment is reason for people to own a weapon. I simply don't know sometimes.

Vigil: Let’s all be friends and take a minute to read and look at the point of view others have which may be different from our own.

Madmike: My deepest sympathies. I have no words to express at your loss other than you will be in my thoughts.

Hill: I'm right with you although mine will be the manly type. Don't want anyone to think I might want to go pick out curtains or china patterns. Not that there is anything wrong with that....like Seinfeld said.

Rhiannon: No worries, I'm almost always dazed and confused. Just sit back and relax and you actually come to enjoy it.

Malicious Intent: Now that would be a real advancement in human civilization. Far too many people, both rich and poor, have no business being anywhere around children.

Border Explorer: Yeah, I like Mike too except that he simplifies things a little too much sometimes.

Vigilante said...

Beach, my mind is always open to the views of others and my judgments are unfailingly objective!

Beach Bum said...

Vigil: check your email.

lime said...

what an awful thing. so completely avoidable if people had been responsible.

MadMike said...

I apologize for being unkind to the Vigil my friend. Then again, he did say that his theory of shooting every time you draw included law enforcement, by using the word, in response to my question "absolutely." Then again I may not understand nuances, thick head that I am....

I love blogging! :-)

Vigilante said...

I choose my words more carefully than you read them, Mike. Alas....

MadMike said...

LOL Vigil.

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