Gun-crazy America: My top five awards

    Gun reform, if indeed there is any, will likely do little to change American culture. To understand why, look no further than my Second Amendment Well-Regulated Militia Awards.

    Granted, the new year has barely begun – but already we have a random list of Militia winners. Or perhaps the better term is Militia losers. The envelopes, please…

    Fourth runner-up: In Michigan, a retired county sheriff was hired to boost armed security at a charter school. The NRA would consider this armed guard to be one of the “good guys” enlisted to protect little kids after Newtown. Nine days ago, this good guy went to the bathroom, did his business, and proceeded to leave the bathroom…but forgot to take his gun. Ooops! A school official said that leaving the gun in the john was “a breach of security protocol.” A parent said, “I know people are human and they make mistakes. That’s kind of a big mistake.”

    Third runner-up: A woman in Queens – so far she wins the award for Mother of the Year – told police that, last Wednesday night, she placed a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a magazine with 10 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition, and 14 additional rounds, into her seven-year-old son’s Batman backpack, but forgot to remove the gun and ammo before he headed off to school on Thursday morning. After this Militia arsenal was discovered at school, Mom was arrested on a slew of gun-related charges. The big mystery, unaddressed in the news coverage, is why Mom decided to lock and load the Batman backpack in the first place. And how she could possibly forget to remove it. “Gee. What on earth did I do with that .22?”

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Second runner-up: At a home in Richmond, Virginia 10 days ago, somebody left a loaded gun on the kitchen table. A four-year-old picked it up and shot his great-uncle in the head. Bye bye, great-uncle. The local district attorney said the tyke thought the gun was a toy. A neighbor reportedly said, “Nobody knew that was going to happen.” Well, gee. if a Well-Regulated Militia member leaves a loaded gun in plain view of a curious kid, that does tend to heighten the odds of someone getting plugged in the head. Anyway, authorities said the four-year-old is legally in the clear.

    First runner-up: At a Texas community college yesterday, two guys got into a heated argument. One of them decided to resolve the dispute in manly Second Amendment Militia fashion, by whipping out his piece and firing away. The shooter wounded a janitor, wounded the guy he was arguing with, shot himself in the hip while mishandling his gun, precipitated a campus wide panic, and triggered a security lockdown at all the nearby schools. The shooter violated Texas law, which bans concealed guns on campuses – but no worries, because a Texas lawmaker last week proposed making it legal to carry concealed guns on campuses. Meanwhile, one of yesterday’s traumatized students told the press, “I didn’t think something like this could happen.” Really, pal?

    Grand prize winner: This tale of roguish Militiamen qualifies as a parody of itself. Last Saturday, which gun-rights folks dubbed “Gun Appreciation Day,” five gun aficionados were wounded by guns at three gun shows. In North Carolina, some guy was unzipping the case that held his 12-gauge shotgun when – ooops! – the shotgun discharged and three people were hit by pellets. Two of them were taken to a hospital. Authorities said, aw shucks, it was just an accident. Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, a guy was trying to load his .45-caliber semi-automatic as he was leaving a gun show (loaded personal weapons were verboten inside the show, which of course explains why this guy was jonesing to load as soon as he was outside the gate). Anyway, while in the act of loading, he shot himself in the hand and wound up in the hospital. Authorities said, aw shucks, it was just an accident. Meanwhile, in Ohio, a gun show dealer was showing his newly-purchased semi-automatic to a buddy – but, in doing so, he pulled the trigger (there was a round in the chamber), the bullet ricocheted off the floor and struck his buddy in the arm and leg. Authorities said, aw shucks, it was just an accident.

    Memo to gun reformers: Good luck, folks. Knock yourselves out.


    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1



    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal