“A lot of the people who keep a gun at home for safety are the same ones who refuse to wear a seat belt.” George Carlin
“Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.” Martin Amis
I would LOVE to know if Charlton Heston, when playing with his grandchild, was ever shot at while playing near their swing set? Since when does the right to bear arms “offer the absolute capacity to live without fear” when you are playing in your yard and narrowly missed by a stray bullet?
Often, as a child, I would wonder what it was like to live in the days of Annie Oakley, the Lone Ranger, the Wild, Wild West, McCloud or even the Little House on the Prairie. What was it like to be a ‘quick-draw’? Was it safe to walk down the street with people shooting at one another? Heck, what happens if a bullet came flying through your window?
Recently I learned how exciting living in the wild-west could be when a stray bullet missed hitting my four year old granddaughter or me by roughly 15 feet while we were playing on her swing-set. Needless to say, my son-in-law went tearing up to his neighbor’s home to let them know of the near miss. It turns out that the neighbors have a problem with groundhogs on their 100 acre farm, as if the cattle step in the groundhog’s hole, they might break a leg. The neighbors, an elderly couple, invited a friend to bring some friends to come on over and hunt the groundhogs. So we had heard several shots prior to the one that missed us. Supposedly the friends knew how to hunt.
The problem is that the neighbor’s farm is up on rolling hills across the street from and above my daughter’s and son-in-law’s home on 10 acres. The range, where the cattle graze, rolls up the hill into a wooded area where elk, white-tailed deer, and wild turkeys roam. The men shooting were at the top of the hill shooting down the hill. The problem with this is that further down the hill and across the road my granddaughters and I were playing. A stray bullet could have hit a vehicle traveling down the road or it could have hit one of us. Fortunately it didn’t as the bullet hit my son-in-law’s shed instead! I can still hear the “ping” as the bullet hit the shed.
The University of California at Davis did a study regarding “Victims of Stray Bullets.” In the study, Garen Wintemute, Professor of Emergency Medicine and the Director of the Violence Prevention Research Program, said “Victims of stray bullets are essentially ‘collateral damage’ as they are usually disconnected from the events that lead to their injury or death. They are innocent bystanders, who typically have no opportunity to flee or take any other preventative measures.”
In 2009, the study team identified 284 stray-bullet shooting events, in which 317 people were killed or injured. The study also stated that nearly one-third of the victims were children and nearly half of those were female. Additionally, a bullet can travel many miles if shot into the air, and the distance varies depending on the caliber of the gun. In the case of my granddaughter and me, we were approximately a half mile or less from the men shooting. Sadly, typical of ignorant people, they didn’t bother to ask if the neighbors were home or if they had children. They also probably had no idea of how far a bullet can travel especially when they are shooting down a hill. Instead, they should have been facing the hill and shooting so that the bullets hit the ground on the farmer’s property.
I so truly would love to see people lock away their guns or stop manufacturing guns. However, if they have to hunt it would be a wise idea to find out if there are other people in their area. I did tease my son-in-law that if he had to hire a “hit man” to take out his mother-in-law that he at least hire a better shot. Fortunately, my son-in-law and I are friends! Plus, the problem with the groundhogs has been solved as my son-in-law and a friend of his, who know how to hunt safely, will be hunting the groundhogs from now on, so that no one’s life will be at stake in the future.
Since weapons evidently are here to stay and since people carrying weapons are not always very smart, I truly would love to see “smart guns” invented. Technology has brought so many changes to the world, like “smart cars, “ cars that can drive themselves, or cars that automatically stop if you are about to hit something. Why can’t “smart” guns be invented so that the gun turns off when it is in the hands of a person who doesn’t know what they are doing… like a child or an ignorant person not familiar with guns?
Today, at Seattle Pacific University, one student shot and killed another student, and wounded several other students with a gun. Why can’t we program guns to be smarter than their handler? If a car can drive without the driver, let’s fix the guns so they can’t hurt innocent people.