Community View: Increased access to guns spells trouble

By Jerome Heyes

This afternoon I thought of writing a letter pointing out that every gunman responsible for his share of the last month’s carnage had the legal right to own a gun.

The officers killed in Pittsburgh? Their shooter was a registered gun owner. The eight killed at a nursing home in North Carolina--he owned his gun legally. The family of five killed in Washington, the 10 in Alabama--the shooters were all signed off as responsible citizens with full rights to their firearms.

But we’ve all heard the comebacks: Guns don’t kill people, people do. If someone set someone else on fire with gasoline, do you outlaw gasoline? I thought, yeah, enough of that debate. It never goes anywhere.

However, in the hours I sat drumming my fingers in contemplation, a gunman opened fire at a church camp in California, killing one and wounding four and an Alabama man shot and killed himself and his family of five, just days before his divorce hearing. And minutes later, as if not to be outdone, a Florida woman at a shooting range shot her son at close range, then turned the gun on herself.

Each of these massacres actually creates more support for guns in the home, guns in the glove compartment, guns in the teacher’s desk. The idea is that if only one of those convalescent hospital employees or immigration center teachers had thought to bring their AK-47 to work with them, then the crazy shooter would have been dead after a round or two.

Which raises the question: Who are the crazy shooters? Well, those other people. Not the good gun owners. The crazy shooters are those that have trouble controlling their impulses, who wake up feeling that they have nothing to live for, who come home from work in a rage, and decide to make others as miserable as they are.

You know, those misfits have a fight with their boss and wish they could do something about it once and for all. Funny thing. I feel that way about twice a week. When that happens, I reach for my … video games, punching bag, gym membership card. No guns.

I’m one of those increasingly rare people who realizes that access to a firearm can only lead to trouble.