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A good man with a gun

January 21, 2013 - Harry Eagar
Just hours after Gov. Rick Perry invited New Yorkers with guns to move to Texas, where guns are regarded as a good thing to have around, a Texas man shot his wife, then himself. At his daughter's 16th birthday party.

Sweet 16.

A good man with a gun, by Rick Perry and NRA standards, since he apparently (police were still checking) had no criminal record. Whether he was crazy -- apart from taking a gun to a teen birthday party -- was not reported by Raw Story.

That gets the number of Americans shot to death since the Newtown massacre up to around a thousand, and the number saved by gun-totin' hunnerd-percent 'Muricans to -- zero.

The Texas party follows, by a very short interval, the slaughter of a family of 5 in New Mexico and of another family in Kentucky (plus who knows how many others haven't crossed my computer screen in the past 96 hours?).

In none of these cases was the home invaded by scary black dudes, or by anybody else. All this shooting was homegrown, with guns kept around the house. The New Mexico house was found to be full of firearms.

During my 45 years as a newspaper reporter, there were uncounted little domestic slaughters like these in the circulation zones of the papers I worked for. The very first news story I ever reported for a daily newspaper concerned a 13-year-old boy who shot his father in the back with the family shotgun.

It is just possible that this shooting did halt a murder, or at least some serious violence. The father was chasing the mother around the house with, at least, mayhem in mind. Of the scores, perhaps hundreds -- I wasn't keeping a list -- of similar domestic slaughters that happened on my watch (not necessarily ones that I reported), I cannot recall another that even potentially prevented other violence. And while some may have slipped my mind, I recall only one of these family murders that did not involve a gun -- a women stabbed her boyfriend in the back with a butcher knife.

How many people were shot to death in these family get-togethers? Hundreds, at least.

And how many times during a period of 45 years did an armed citizen stop a murderous attack, at home or at some public place where he was lawfully in attendance? Never.

That's right. Zero, nil, zip, nada, nothing.

It happens from time to time, somewhere, but compared to the millions of Americans shot to death, not to any extent worth mentioned.

Let's state the obvious: Some parts of the Constitution, like having state legislatures elect senators, were ill-conceived. The Second Amendment was one of these mistakes, and we ought to repeal it.


Article Comments



Jan-30-13 5:27 PM

So "truthout" is gospel? Right….. Please, read some real history and the real reason for the second amendment. Spoiler alert! It wasn't for hunting! How many people are killed each year by automobiles? Do you see the outrage from the media? No, hummm, why not? How about drinking? How many died because of that? They did try to regulate that once and what happened? Utter failure. Do you really think that law abiding folks will let the fed’s take what is legal and constitutional away? Especially with the tyrannical man in office?


Jan-22-13 6:50 PM

But, but, but . . . you mean it wasn't about letting the common citizen resist government tyranny, like the gun nuts keep telling us?

I have seen the truthout version and have my doubts.

There were others besides slaveowners who wanted firearms. Ben Franklin for one.

The colonial government of Pennsylvania, run by Quakers, would not countenance armed forces on the frontier, which was subject to Indian attacks. Franklin organized a private arsenal to help arm the frontiersmen.

At the time the Constitution was written, both the English and Spanish governments were sponsoring terror on the borders of the 13 colonies (kind of like Iran and Lebanon today). There was no national army and the colonial forces were, to put it mildly, uninspiring.

So there was some colorable reason for Americans to want firepower.

In practice, it didn't work. Until Fallen Timbers, the militia was routinely slaughtered by the Indians; afterward, the militia slaughtered peaceful Indians.



Jan-22-13 5:57 PM

You are always fascinating reading, Harry. Here's another take on the 2nd Amendment. "The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says 'State' instead of 'Country' (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote." -- From truthout****


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