Out with a bang

December 31, 2008

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The biggest understatement about Ventura County, in my estimation, is that 2008 has gone out with a bang … literally. This year we’ve seen some of the most heinous crimes involving the use of firearms than ever before.

Earlier this month, a man was shot and killed, defenseless, at the Oxnard car lot where he worked … after he handed over his money and valuables … and while his son watched.

Talking about Oxnard, where gang gunfire is commonplace, let’s not forget about the man shot and killed at an Oxnard ATM for his troubles. One story that stuck with me was the woman motorist shot, in the face, while at a stop light of an Oxnard intersection. And Larry King? The Oxnard teen blown away by a peer in the middle of a classroom made national headlines.

But the worst was saved for last, and in this office, and countywide, we’re still reeling from the unprovoked killing of a Circle K clerk last weekend, shot point blank by a rifle-armed gunman, simply for showing up and doing his job.

The debate over the usefulness of handguns will never cease. In the wake of these tragedies, we hear the same polarzing rhetoric. On one side, anti-gun activists want to do away with all firearms, with the belief that the extinction of guns will naturally lead to an evolution of less violence and more civilized behavior. The other side, crying for a “call to arms” and a bullet-stocked defense of the Second Amendment. 

Just in the last two days we’ve even seen examples of people fighting back. A band of employees managed to overcome five young thieves from making away with some merchandise at an Oxnard clothing store. And here in Ventura, a woman shot a burglar who broke into her house.

The collage I found for this posting raises a lot of questions about the situation. Is the problem that guns are too easy to obtain by the unstable members of our society? Is the solution about enacting stricter guidelines, or is it about eliminating guns altogether? And are we really reduced to slaves if we become defenseless? And are we defenseless if we’re weaponless?

I think it was author Martin Amis who said it best:

“Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.”

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