Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Shoot

I'm sure most people have heard of the horrific shooting at a family Christmas Party in Covina, CA that has left at least 8 people dead. While this is the most sensational shooting for December 25, 2008, it is certainly not the only one. In doing a search on Google News utilizing the search terms of "Christmas shooting", I found scores of results of murder by gunfire.

While I realize that the NRA and other gun rights advocates will come unglued at the following suggestion, I make it nonetheless. I don't think individuals should be allowed to own guns. I'm not saying individuals can't use guns -- just not own them.

Many years ago a friend of mine in state government came up with a novel and interesting idea: if a person has a legitimate need to use a gun and they meet certain eligibility requirements, allow them to check out a gun from a local repository just like a person would check out a book or video from the local library.

From my vantage point, one of the chief problems with personal gun ownership is that it allows people to make rash decisions that often have deadly consequences. You become enraged with someone and rather than trying to work things out, you shoot them. You can do it without much forethought. You can do it without much effort. Once you've done it, you too often can't simply say, "My bad. Sorry 'bout that." The damage is already down.

In essence, guns become the easiest answer for dealing with angst and conflict.

I know one of the most immediate responses by many will be that only criminals will have the guns and we won't be able to defend ourselves. While I will grant that this line of reasoning does have some merit, you only rarely hear on the news stories of people using their guns for self-defense. Ninety percent or more of the reports are of people using a gun for aggressive purposes, not defensive ones.

More importantly, a lot of these horrific shootings of late involve individuals with no criminal record. The alleged gunman in the Covina shooting, Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, seems to be such a person. As the Associated Press reported today,
Pardo, 45, had no criminal record and no history of violence, according to police, but he was angry following last week's settlement of his divorce after a marriage that lasted barely a year..."I'm just — this is shocking," Detanna told the Times. "He was the nicest guy you could imagine. Always a pleasure to talk to, always a big smile."
Had Pardo not had such easy access to guns, do you think he would have gone to the party armed with a knife? Heck, let's even grant that he was so upset that he would have committed the crime armed with a knife. He would have been a lot easier to bring down under those circumstances than trying to wrestle down a man shooting two different guns.

Okay, I've said my piece. Now I await the onslaught of incredulous comments.


  1. I like that 'check out a gun' idea. You'll get some comments about how that's not much good if a robber breaks into your house, but most of the time the gun in the house is the murder weapon in the event of a break-in.

  2. Sorry, kidz.....this isn't going to happen to me or mine....

    If you're ok with the risk, be my guest. If me or anyone like me are around I promise we'll try and save you too. In spite of yourselves.

    ASpieboy, not everyone keeps and carries a gun to protect things.

  3. If possessing guns was truly a deterrent to these types of events, why do we have so many of them in America? It seems that not a month goes by when there isn't some type of mass murder and many of the shooters are people with easy access to guns.

  4. Taoist,

    I think you may have made the wrong assumption that Pardo was a legitimate gunowner. You don't know whether he possessed that gun legally or took $500 and went to Santee Alley in Los Angeles to purchase it. Chances are the latter, because I read that he had a restraining order against him, which would have required him to turn his guns into the police and produce proof of that within 72 hours to the Court. He could not have then purchased a gun legally since such orders are registered with the police (I am a family law attorney and am familiar with this process).

    So disallowing personal ownership of a firearm is unlikely to have stopped him. However, had someone been armed in that house, maybe - maybe - Pardo would have been stopped.

    So long as people can obtain guns illegally, so much more the need for personal gun ownership. I cannot rely on 9-1-1 to respond in as timely a fashion to protect me and my family. So until they get there, the "bad guy" will just have to face down a woman who spends the time and money to (a) be a legal gunowner and (b) be a proficient one at that.

  5. DH,

    I thank you for offering a reasoned and calm response. I'll have to investigate the issue more re Pardo, but I still favor no personal gun ownership.

  6. DH: I have a question for you. If Pardo already owned several guns and, later, a restraining order was issued, who or how are his legally-purchased guns removed from his possession?

  7. A restraining order carries with it automatically the terms that any guns must be turned in to either the police or a registered gun dealer. The restrained person must produce proof that this was done; however, this is not something the court will follow up on and this is something left to the protected person or his/her lawyer.

    An owned gun can slip through the cracks, without a doubt. No one does a background check with DOJ to determine how many guns are registered to a restrained person - and, even then, that assumes the person legally owns such guns.

    However, I think Pardo's case still serves to make the case for personal gun ownership. Let's say Pardo had no access to guns - this is a man who had the knowledge to build by himself an incendriary device AND boobytrap his car, which demonstrates he was determined to kill regardless of any lack of a specific tool to do so. There was something - call it psychosis, call it evil - already hardwiring his brain to accomplish his mission. The police are not going to know when a person like that will "snap" and sometimes we are forced to be responsible ourselves for our own protection.

  8. DH: Believe it or not, I hear what you're saying! That doesn't mean I agree with you, but it provides me with a better ability to see this issue from your point of view.

    I want to return to a point I made in reference to SondraK. If your theory of the need for mass gun ownership is true, then why is America plagued with these kinds of tragedies? We have the greatest personal gun ownership in the world, yet this fact is not reflected in the ongoing occurrences of these types of events.

    One would think that a super-armed citizenry would continuously thwart the attempts of people with murder and mayhem on their minds. But that doesn't appear to be the case at all. So, what gives here?

  9. One would think that a super-armed citizenry would continuously thwart the attempts of people with murder and mayhem on their minds

    It happens all the time.
    Recent example:
    a rape victim shot and killed an attacker in Cape Girardeau, MO when he broke into her home to rape her for a second time this week. The 57-year-old woman shot 47-year-old Ronnie W. Preyer, a registered sex offender, in the chest with a shotgun after he cut the power to her apartment and then broke through her locked basement door. Preyer had previously broken into the woman’s home, punched her in the face, and then raped her in her bedroom. The county prosecutor has stated that the woman acted properly in defending herself, and will not face charges.

    As for the rest of your need to ask lawbreakers and deranged people to whom rules and regulations mean nothing.

  10. What do you propose we do about peanut butter?

    Or "blunt objects" ?

  11. Is peanut butter considered a blunt object?

  12. SondraK: You certainly can do better than that particular example! For starters, the victim stopped one rape, but she didn't stop the first one. In addition, owing to the fact she survived the first rape, it appears the rapist's intent was not to kill her.

    And yes, I acknowledge that there ARE cases in which a crime is thwarted by use of a gun in self-defense, but that wasn't the point of my question. Since we're the most armed citizenry in the world, why then do we have the greatest crime and the most murder?

    If guns in homes and on persons is such a great deterrent, why doesn't it seem to stop criminals from attempting to rob and kill people?

  13. I suspect she was more of YOUR mindset the first time when she didn't kill him. Some folks need to learn the hard way.

    I suspect you would find some way to justify your attacker. Even the second time around.

    Don't defend yourself, it's your right.

    If guns in homes and on persons is such a great deterrent, why doesn't it seem to stop criminals from attempting to rob and kill people?

    It does. But there's not much that'll stop a sociopath.

    Your crime stats are a bit skewed.

    Look, zen yourself out of an attack all you want.

    You have all the answers here and my example was a perfectly good one. You don't want to see the other side and won't.

    I know that law abiding citizens obey laws and crimninals don't. It's that simple.

  14. I suspect you would find some way to justify your attacker. Even the second time around.

    Exactly how did I justify the attacker?

    It does. But there's not much that'll stop a sociopath.

    Not every criminal is a sociopath. In fact, I would surprised if more than a very small fraction met that definition.

    Your crime stats are a bit skewed.

    The US leads the world in overall murders and has the highest per capita rate of the western industrialized democracies. More people are murdered by weapons in the US than any other country. We also have more rapes and we're ranked 3rd in robberies (behind Spain & Argentina).

    So, I again return to the previous point. If having an armed citizenry provides more protection and, thereby, should dissuade potential criminals from committing crimes, why is our crime rate so high as compared to the rest of the industrial world?

    You have yet even to attempt to answer this question.

  15. Is it a crime to mutilate your daughter and cut off her clitoris? Is it a crime to detonate yourself to murder shcoolchildren? Murder your wife for showing her face in public?
    Are you able to count how many crimes were thwarted by being armed?

    I could go on....but see, we can't determine your international crime statistics until we determine that every country is keeping track of the same crimes as we are........

    So no, I won't answer your question because your logic makes it impossible for anyone to answer.

  16. That's a clever dodge in an attempt to obfuscate the topic. Of course, different societies, religions and nations have differing legal definitions of crime. So, if you want to go barking up that tree, then it makes it next too impossible to compare almost anything!

    Heck, within the borders of this country, legal definitions of crimes are different. What might be considered the basis for a 2nd degree murder charge in one state may be considered a form of manslaughter in another.

    By the way, the crime statistics I cited come from our own CIA.

  17. It doesn't matter where the stats come from....they're moot in this context.

    It doesn't matter what I say here.
    I answered your question. It matters.

    There's not a disingenuous bone in my body and if my time here is going to be wasted then there are 6483897836 other things I should be doing, 83884763426 other things that I could be doing and 39239873467235244256373489540048734563 that I'd rather be doing......

    Good luck with your blog here.... "I agree with your points" makes for riveting comment reading but I really have to move on. I've invested too much energy as it is for naught. You don't WANT to glean from others and you already know it all so what's the point?



Comments are unmoderated, so you can write whatever you want.