January 14, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
Chad Oulson, age 43, was sitting with his wife Nichole at a Tampa, Florida movie theater watching Lone Survivor. Ironically, he didn’t survive the film. Ex-Cop, Curtis Reeves shot and killed him, apparently, because he wanted Mr. Oulson to stop texting during the movie.
Well, at least Reeves had a reason, right?
For all the seemingly endless back and forth we endure in this country when it comes to guns, we often seem to, well, miss the point. When more and more people have immediate access to guns and weapons of lethal force in everyday situations more and more pointless, gun violence happens. As sure as a bullet from a fired weapon will land and cause damage somewhere the reality is that it’s not just the certifiably deranged or dangerously violent or even the convicted felons that will use violence at some point.
Regular folks who are seemingly rational, upstanding types will inevitably lose their cool, draw their weapon in anger, pull the trigger in a fit of rage and then regret it for the rest of their life. Of course, they’ll more often than not at least be alive to feel regret, their victim will not be so fortunate.
I say we miss this simple point about human nature because it may be more reassuring for us to discuss gun violence in the third person. As in “they” or “others.” You know, the criminally insane, the social outcasts who harbor a grudge and plan a bloody exit or the felons who are beyond rehabilitation or the gangbanger or drug lord who uses guns as simple but deadly tools of their trade. The way a dentist uses a drill or a plumber a wrench. It’s just how they conduct business.
But the reality may be less reassuring and more unsetting. “They” and the “others” may be the rest of us if we, being human, snap at some point and happen to have a lethal weapon at our fingertips when we do.
I used to think it was other folks like I’ve described. If I could just see them coming I could avoid them and hopefully be safe. But exactly whom should I or you avoid?
I’ve seen adults start shooting at each other over a parking space at Wal-Mart. Been on a NY subway when the doors opened and a gang member shot in the car just ahead of me during a “hit” attempt and I lost a colleague to a drive-by shooting in DC that was intended for someone else.
Curtis Reeves was a retired police officer who apparently just snapped. And he was armed at the time. And Chad Oulson wouldn’t stop texting when Reeves demanded he stop. I guess he will now.
I am sure we will hear how maybe if Chad were also armed he could have defended himself against the shooter. And we’ll also hear how if we had stricter gun control this may have never happened.
I am increasingly tired of the arguments from both sides to this never-ending debate.
Since 1990 there have been 8.2 million active gun carry permits approved in the state of Florida alone. The Geneva Small Arms Survey estimates that there is 275 million guns in the US or about 90 per every 100 citizens. This isn’t even counting another 3 million registered guns including 500,000 machine guns and 2 million incendiary devices like grenades.
The US is by far the most heavily armed civilian population in the world. Serbia and Yemen are next and they are not even close. Hurray for us.
By the time you finish reading this blog another 90 US citizens will have died as a result of gun related violence. By the time this new year becomes old another 32,000 of our fellow Americans will have died from guns.
I know that guns don’t kill people but people do. Sadly, someone always seems more than willing to pull the trigger.
Just don’t kid yourself that the shooter will always be one of “them” or the “others.”