Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Is America even interested in breaking the cycle of gun violence?

Post by Brian O'Neill on Sep. 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm with 10 Comments »
September 23, 2013 12:40 pm

As Apple rolled out its new iPhone and Tacoma employees learned that flip-flops were not proper work attire (who knew?), gunshots and explosions took scores of lives in some of the world’s most violent places.

Africa: Alleged al-Shabab terrorists used explosives and gunfire to kill as many as 62 people in a Kenyan shopping mall on Saturday, an incident that has yet to conclude (TNT 9/23).

Iraq: News reports indicate 120 people were killed in several explosions in Baghdad last week (TNT 9/22) in the latest round of sectarian violence.

Pakistan: Two suicide bombers killed a reported 78 worshippers at a Christian service in Peshawar. At least 120 others were critically injured, including women and children (TNT 9/22).

No wonder we don’t like to read the news. The world is going to hell, we tell ourselves, content in the knowledge that life in such places is cheap. Unfortunately, that justification leaves little room to explain the following stories from this past week:

Chicago: Thirteen people, including a 3-year-old boy, were injured during a drive-by shooting, the latest in a string of gang-related shootings in that city.

Washington, D.C.: A mass shooting by a lone, deranged gunmen left twelve dead in a naval facility located in the heart of the nation’s capital (TNT 9/22).


While the number of recent deaths in the U.S. don’t come close to those in the Middle East and parts of Africa, these statistics are still shocking – and embarrassing. For a country which purports itself to be the leader of the free world, our rate of gun homicides has many other nations, developed and otherwise, wondering why the U.S. seems to blithely tolerate the rampant victimization of our citizens in public places by deranged, angry and often well armed lunatics.

Good question. In the past few days, columnists have been tripping over each other to ask, and, of course, to answer it.

Charles Krauthammer points out that the Naval Yard shooter was only armed with a shotgun (forgetting about the other firearms he collected during his rampage) and that he would have locked up the shooter, Aaron Alexis, in a psych ward well before he could have harmed anyone.

Kathleen Parker laments the killings while citing mass shooting statistics as a miniscule percentage of gun deaths. What a relief that must be for the families of slain victims.

Leonard Pitts shakes his metaphoric head and wonders if we as a country are, perhaps, insane. Future historians may get a laugh out of that one, before adding the “Duh.”

Even a TNT editorial looked at the faulty mechanism which gave the shooter access to a secure naval facility in the first place. Interesting question, but if Alexis truly had murder on his mind there were plenty of unsecured malls packed with ready made victims from which to choose.

What should be obvious by now is that this latest iteration of the mass shooting is simply one more example of Einstein’s apt view on insanity –  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Isn’t that what we have been doing?

The astute reader will note that I have not provided a solution myself. What would be the point? We have already exhausted the rhetoric on gun control, already debated enhanced background checks, and pummeled the assault rifle and magazine limitations legislation into the ground. It has gotten us nowhere.

Yet if our goal is to reduce gun violence, then we must recognize that the status quo is not working. If we are truly the noble and inclusive society we would like to think we are, one should expect we would all be willing to try something – anything – different. We should all be willing to give up something, to find compromise, to take a risk or a leap of faith on a different game plan in the hopes that even a partial solution might be out there.

If not, that rising number of gun homicides (11,078 in 2010) will soon have a new location and body count to add to places like Washington, D.C., Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech, etc., etc., etc. And our country will continue its pointless bickering.

And the world will shake its head.



Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. simonsjs says:

    People die everyday. I see you have no concern for the 800 that die everyday from the food they consume. You just won’t quit with your anti-American propaganda (you wouldn’t have a column if you actually thought like an American civilian). Guns are the great equalizer and keep the American people free from would be tyrants who want to take away rights every chance they get. Guns will never be taken away from the American people. They (guns) are the only reason we are free. Without guns in the civilian population, we would have a Dictator or commie running this country by now. It’s very unfortunate that unnecessary deaths occur from guns but the same, except worse, can be said about automobiles. No one is suggesting we take those away or suggesting we find a new way. These anti-gun columns are nothing more than a shallow way of thinking and an attempt to disarm the public which of course will only bring in a tyrant or a commie or something worse. Enough of this nonsense already!

  2. Brian O'Neill says:

    Wow, take a deep breath, simonsjs. It must take a lot of energy to misquote someone that poorly. Where to start.

    Over 10,000 people were murdered with guns in 2010 – not food, guns.

    The basis of American thought is freedom; freedom to think and believe what one wants, not what some other person wants us to believe (you would be that other person in this case).

    Exactly how many American tyrants have been scared off by an armed populace? My high school history book suggests the number is about zero.

    Automobiles do kill people – lots of people – but our vehicles are registered, inspected and transferred from one owner to the next in accordance with local and state regulations. You can buy a gun off the Internet from a private individual and no one will know.

    Lastly, nowhere in my column did I suggest a course of action that in anyway resembles gun control. That was you reading into it. Rather than shoot the messenger (no pun intended), perhaps you have an idea how to lower the rate of gun homicides?

    Or are these statistics simply acceptable losses?

  3. smokey984 says:

    Why is it the article starts out with overseas suicide bombers and their magic carpet ride to Allah via the latest technology in boom-vests and ends with gun violence on the streets of america? unless of course your relating to the continued decline of moral/ethical/religious values of humanity…

    Heres a good one: Has zero tolerance gone too far?

    Last week, in the wake of the Navy Yard shooting in Washington DC, we predicted that we’d see another wave of knee jerk overreactions to anyone doing anything with any object that even remotely looks like a gun – sadly we were right.

    The latest incident occurred in Virginia, where a seventh grader and his friend have been suspended from school for playing with a toy gun, in the boy’s own front yard, outside of school hours.

    WAVY-TV reports that while waiting for the school bus, the boys were fooling around with an airsoft replica handgun, shooting plastic pellets at a target attached to a tree, with a safety net rigged up to catch any off target pellets.

    A neighbor saw them and called in a complaint to police. The caller even acknowledged that the gun wasn’t real, telling the 911 dispatcher “This is not a real one, but it makes people uncomfortable. I know that it makes me (uncomfortable), as a mom, to see a boy pointing a gun.”
    When the Virginia Beach City Public School System got wind of the incident, the principal of Larkspur Middle School, decided to suspend the two boys, Khalid Caraballo and Aidan Clark, for the next nine months, and even recommended that the boys be “expelled for a year” for possession, handling and use of a firearm.

  4. smokey984 says:

    In the latest Law Enforcement gone wild news;

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Investigators say an unarmed man was shot 10 times by a Charlotte police officer.

    Police said Monday that officer Randall Kerrick fired 12 times at 24-year-old Jonathan A. Ferrell early Saturday while responding to a breaking and entering call. Ten of the bullets hit the former Florida A&M University football player.

    Officers say Ferrell had been in a car wreck and sought help at a nearby house. A woman called authorities when she didn’t recognize the man.

    Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter. He is out on bond and expected in court Tuesday.

    Ferrell’s mother says she forgives the officer accused of shooting her son and is praying for him, but also says he should have never been hired if he could act so recklessly.

  5. smokey984 says:

    Are these statistics acceptable losses? or do we need to reference more? i have hundreds of examples saved on my favorites tab..

  6. Brian O'Neill says:

    Whether one is blown up or shot, murder is murder. When tragedies such as the one at the Naval Yard occur, American citizens should offer sympathy and work together to collectively arrive at solutions. Instead, most people simply rush to either vilify or defend guns.

    Sad on both counts.

  7. smokey984 says:

    Agreed, and i will add its unfortunate with the continued dumbing down/spoon feeding of our great country’s citizens that folks no longer understand the real issues of our time.

    AND passing uneducated, and most importantly unlawful, although well intended legislation, is not the answer.

    AND i believe our ancestors WORKED TOGETHER TO COLLECTIVELY ARRIVE AT SOLUTIONS in the months prior to The first ten amendments (along with two others that were not ratified at the time) proposed by Congress on September 25, 1789, and were ratified by the necessary three-fourths of the States on December 15, 1791. These first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.

  8. simonsjs says:

    Brian, food kills way more people than guns, that is true.

    Freedom of thought and you’re saying I’m the one, really? You are the one pushing your nonsense about guns on a regular basis and you say I’m the one. LOL

    How many tyrants have been scared off by armed Americans? You say the number is about zero? How can zero be about? It’s obvious that no tyrants have succeeded only because Americans are armed. If you can’t see that, no one can help your thinking. The entire world knows tyrants don’t succeed in America because of the guns Americans own.

    Your suggestion about cars being registered and inspected obviously does NOTHING to stop the deaths that occur from them. Are we supposed to believe registering guns will be any different?

    Yes I have an idea on how to lower the gun death rate. Start by ending the war on the people, aka war on drugs. This is the number one contribution to gun deaths. 80% of gun homicides are gang killings. They use the illegality of drugs to finance themselves. If drugs were no longer illegal, gangs would have ZERO financing and would gradually go away.

    You say you didn’t say anything about gun control yet in your comments you say just that by suggesting that guns can be bought without anyone knowing.

    Do you even think about what you write? Do you think beyond your first thought about what you write or just go with your first thought? If you at least take the time to think about what I write you might have a more clear view of what I’m saying. So far you show you don’t or don’t want to have the capacity to think outside of the box you’ve put your way of thinking into. I know you’re were a cop but for God’s sake, things aren’t working they way they should be so maybe it’s time to think differently.

    I’m almost positive you will dismiss my thoughts without any deep thought, but at least I will have made you think momentarily. You have a voice in the community, please look at things from a different point of view.

  9. guthriejp says:

    Brian fails to properly catagorize the statisitic he uses. 10k +, but if your really break that number down, then it tells a far different story. Forget them for now and recall that most of the recent “mass” shootings were by deranged and or troubled men that needed help. The real tragedy in american society is our utter lack of a comprehensive mental healthcare program to help these individuals. That the TNT has the moxy to address this, bravo. Not a progun stance, but a dose of reality.

    There is a lack of a process to identify and prevent these people from obtaining guns. Why? Money. SO we have to lament the killings, blame the gun and go on about our lives. Brian doesn’t offer a solution because there is no solution. Only abatement. We are a gun culture. Maybe someday that will change. Not on my watch Brian. Not when the police are under staffed, courts release people due to lack of funds and our justice system is so bogged down in buearacracy, it fails to focus on keeping the criminals and violent mentally ill from harming us.

    BTW, the reason there is ZERO American Tyrants in our history – the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed!

  10. smokey984 says:

    Never forget, even for an instant, that the one and only reason anybody has for taking your gun away is to make you weaker than he is, so he can do something to you that you wouldn’t let him do if you were equipped to prevent it. This goes for bunglers, muggers, and rapists and even more so for policemen, bureaucrats, and politicians.

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