Monday, September 26, 2016

Houston ‘Active Shooter, Active Shootee’ Incident

Some of you may have seen this incident on your local news; if not, you'll surely see it on your national news.

It's one thing to read/view a story about an active shooter incident in a somewhat upscale residential and commercial neighborhood, the shooting focused first on a very nice condo, then on a tidy strip center with nice stores and a post office. It's another thing altogether to have a direct association with the place, though not with the incident.

I once considered it as a place to live, but the prices were beyond my means. Nonetheless, Stella and I have a pair of PO boxes at the post office in the aforementioned strip center, both boxes left over from our respective independent-contractor days. Stella headed out to work this morning with our rent checks to mail. But her car refused to start: we had to call AAA and buy a new battery.

The delay may have saved Stella's life.

A lawyer whose firm was failing financially filled his Porsche with a lot of guns (yes, he owned and carried them all legally), parked outside the very nice condo which apparently contained his home, took a position behind a large tree, unpacked several guns (handguns and rifles including, it is believed, a semiautomatic) and plenty of ammo and clips... and started shooting. At anyone. People he didn't know. People who just happened to be on the street before sunrise, on the way to work, or taking their kids to school. People driving cars: the shooter pointed straight at their windshields, and once those were shattered, directly in the faces of their drivers and/or passengers. Several neighbors risked their lives, not merely to call 911 but to inform their neighbors face-to-face... yes, the shooter was firing through the windows of his neighbors' condos... that they needed to GET DOWN within their homes, below window level, immediately.

Police and firefighters were quick to respond, literally dozens of cars full of them, equipped with robots on the chance that the crazy was distributing bombs. The neighborhood was basically cordoned off as a crime scene; traffic is still being routed around the area, and residents are observing an obligatory shelter-in-place.

Amazingly, as of the time I began writing this post, none of the victims had died, though one was in critical condition and another in serious condition. It's a good thing Houston has a lot of fine hospitals, which in turn have personnel well-trained in emergency response.

Both of us are safe and well, not even as shaken as people who were actually in the middle of the incident.

I read this week in The Guardian that "half of all guns in the US are owned by 3% of Americans." IMNSHO this is more than a mere statistic; it's a substantive fact regarding gun ownership: no one really needs 17 guns (that's the average among the 3% of gun owners who own half of all individually owned guns) for any legal, sane, societally nondestructive purpose. My farmer Granddad owned two shotguns and two rifles; he and my Dad and I had plenty of guns to go hunting together (I hated that activity), with one to spare if Mom, should she choose to participate. (Do not mock my mother's skills with a firearm! She might return from the grave to haunt you!)

Is it too much to ask that the 3% who own half the guns come in once a year and re-qualify in the use of those weapons? Is it too much to ask that every few years they come in for a psychological screening to show that they still understand the social limitations on the uses of such firepower? Is it too much to restrict automatic and rapid-fire weapons to use by military personnel and police? The 2nd Amendment assures you the right to "keep and bear" arms as part of "[a] well-regulated militia," but I still haven't seen the clause that permits you to use them to shoot your fellow citizens dead because you had a bad day at the office.

Remember: the 2nd Amendment was intended to protect the freedom and personal safety of the citizenry. Modern firearms, used as they are being used in real life in America today, are not contributing at all to that goal.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Get this. The name of the street full of condos is... Law. Oh, the irony!

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! Scary that it was so close to you. Glad you and Stella weren't in the area at the time. These incidences really bring home the fact that we should be more afraid of the lone American male (with all of his 17 guns) than of foreign terrorists.



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