Saturday, July 26, 2014

39 bullets?

I suppose I should be used to it by now, but such is the state of journalism these days that you can be sure that most of what you see and hear and read is not only in error but usually tendentious, intended to mislead, to create an impression, to add emotion for a purpose.

Whether it's about automobiles, health and nutrition and especially if it's about firearms, you can almost be sure the story is misleading and often intentionally so.  Certainly every story about firearms needs to be salted with buzzwords even if they don't apply. Anyone with more than two guns, for instance has an arsenal and even though it's common to buy ammunition in boxes of 250 rounds or more, the story must always stress how many "bullets" the owner has, (most often they're "high caliber, high velocity and armor piercing) and how frightening that is.  

So although there are several important things to discuss, several questions to be answered in the story of a Darby Pennsylvania shooting of a social worker and a psychiatrist, the headline reads that the deranged shooter was carrying "39 bullets" in his pocket and obviously intended to reload his ".32 caliber revolver."  Now to me, the question worth asking is how a convicted bank robber with many felony firearms convictions in his portfolio was walking about free, had a gun at all and got into a hospital with it.

Frankly I'm suspicious that the writer really doesn't know a revolver from an autoloader since .32 revolvers tend to be antique and use ammunition that hasn't been made in a long time, but it doesn't matter, the man had a gun, took it to his psychiatrist's office, flew into a rage about signs prohibiting firearms, shot a social worker at close range and shot the Doctor too, but only wounded him.  Now if you believe the story, he was attempting to reload says the story but he was also tackled by two men and he was also shot three times by the psychiatrist (with a .32 autoloading pistol.)  Will the real story please stand up?

Why did he need to reload after two shots?  Was he really using a two barrel Derringer?  Was he tackled after he was shot three times and critically wounded?  Will the psychiatrist, who had a concealed weapon permit get into trouble for having a gun in a restricted area? Will he have to face trial, lose his job for saving his life?  Do Pennsylvania laws require him to have run away instead of standing his ground?   Perhaps he will be prosecuted, perhaps not, but our Federal and State gun laws are very complex, very tough and often punish the innocent, despite what you hear.

We can be assured that the NRA will use this to argue for more guns in hospitals and we will guffaw in righteous indignation, but the fact remains that Dr. Silverman saved his own life and likely that of others by having a gun, terrible shot although he appears to be.  Democrats will fail to be embarrassed by the axiom that people cannot protect themselves with guns.  We'll be demanding "tougher" and more strict laws without really having an idea what they might be or knowing what already is in place, but apparently we won't be asking why all those regulations designed to keep guns from crazy people with violent and lengthy criminal records are walking the streets and finding ways to get and carry guns illegally, seem no more effective for all the severity. Some will go on insisting there are no regulations or restrictions of any kind and perhaps one of those will post an angry comment, as they so often do.

It's not about 39 bullets, it's not about the childish terminology, its about the reliance on legislation to make crime stop, it's about reliance on severe and inflexible sentencing instead of  spending money on security and enforcement. It's about refusing to look at statistics concerning types of weapons used in real crimes instead of hypothetical and highly inventive speculation.  Everything this killer did was illegal and I want to know if he bought this weapon under the table and if so, from whom.  I want to know if he passed a mandatory background check and waiting period -- if so, why and how and I want less hooha about ending crime by making it illegal. Murder has been illegal for a very long time.

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