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"Time to unload on gun stupidity"

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Beren, Aug 4, 2006.

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  1. Beren

    Beren Moderator Emeritus

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    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/15193409.htm

    John Grogan | Time to unload on gun stupidity
    By John Grogan
    Inquirer Columnist

    The funeral, all these years later, sticks with me.

    There had been an accident involving two boys and a loaded handgun, and I had arrived early for the service. Outside, the undertaker paced, waiting for the family to arrive, and a priest smoked a cigarette, ready to pray. Inside, I stood alone beside a small casket holding an 8-year-old boy, shot through the forehead by his best friend.

    The details of the death should have been shocking, but they were numbingly familiar: yet another gun brought into a home for protection, only to be found by curious children.

    The boy's name was Ronnie Diaz, and I stood over his simple pine box, thinking it was a school day and he should be in class, learning about rain forests and fractions.

    The boy's teachers should have been in school, too, believing in the future. But here they were, arriving red-eyed to say goodbye.

    That funeral was in Florida in 1996, but I have been thinking about it a lot these past couple of weeks as history repeated itself yet again, this time 30 miles east of Pittsburgh at the home of a popular state legislator.

    Sen. Bob Regola (R., Westmoreland) was in Harrisburg with his family July 21 receiving the Legislator of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Sheriff's Association.

    A boy and a gun

    He had left a key to the house with a 14-year-old neighbor boy who was pet-sitting. According to police, the boy found Regola's unsecured 9mm pistol. The boy's body was found the next morning in a woods behind the house, a single gunshot wound to the head, the gun beside him.

    Investigators still have not determined whether the death was an accident, suicide or homicide, a state police spokesman said yesterday. District Attorney John Peck has said Regola will not likely face criminal charges.

    This much is certain: Another child found another gun. And the drumbeat of senseless loss goes on, resonating across the American landscape.

    Regola, a member of the National Rifle Association, surely is asking himself painful questions in the aftermath of the death. What if he had kept the gun in a locked case? What if he had secured it with a trigger lock? What if he had removed it from the house for the weekend, knowing an unsupervised teenager would be there?

    What if the father of three simply had decided a home with children is no place for lethal weapons?

    Perhaps Louis A.J. Farrell would be alive today instead of a statistic.

    Is the right to bear arms really worth this price? The price of our children's blood? Blood on the streets of North Philadelphia? Blood in the woods behind the home of a respected member of the legislature?

    Someone tell me, please, what right are we protecting? The right to bear unbearable grief? What freedom? The freedom to place ourselves and our loved ones in needless peril?

    A national embarrassment

    When it comes to controlling guns, Pennsylvania is a national embarrassment. Our legislature proudly refuses to place even the most superficial of restraints on gun buyers and owners.

    After a suicidal man bought a shotgun at a Horsham Wal-Mart in 2003 and shot up his former workplace before killing himself, I tried an experiment. I walked into a Bucks County Wal-Mart and tried to buy a shotgun. By answering a few rudimentary questions and submitting to an instant background check, I had my gun - or would have had I agreed to pay. The entire process had taken 27 minutes.

    No required safety courses, no cooling-off periods. No trigger locks. Not even a limit on how many guns one person can buy in a month. Insanity.

    I know I will hear from the gun nuts and firepower freaks, and they will scream the same old bellicose rant. I'm tired of hearing it.

    I'm tired of standing over coffins. Of seeing schoolchildren caught in the crossfire and little boys killing playmates. Of teenage pet-sitters found with bullet holes in their heads.

    This state has a problem its political leaders are happy to ignore. Now, that problem has come home to roost, right at the doorstep of a gun-supporting lawmaker. How many more wake-up calls will it take?
     
  2. mike101

    mike101 Member

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    Owner Responsibility

    This is another rant from an anti-gun crazy, and I am tired of hearing IT!

    This isn't brain surgery. If you have a gun, and kids in the house, yours or anyone else's, THE GUN NEEDS TO BE LOCKED UP! :fire: This is just common sense.

    People need to be held responsible for what happens with their guns. When a tragedy like this occurs, go after the gun owner. Prosecute his brains out. If someone is too damn dumb to realize that you don't leave an unsecured gun around kids, they are too damn dumb to own one. But you don't go after the guns, or penalize other gun owners. Making an example of people like this guy will do alot more good than passing more gun laws. This is the way to go, since you can't mandate common sense.

    As a member of the NRA, this guy knew better than to leave his gun unsecured. He should be tossed out of the organization.
     
  3. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

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    Mike,

    I don't think getting tossed out of the NRA would quite do the trick, bro.


    Perhaps a charge of child endangerment perhaps...each and every firearm that isn't secured in some form or fashion in ones house, and that person has children in his/her house...well...they ARE asking for trouble.


    But then flip the coin...who are we going to allow inside our house to inspect our security measures for our firearms?

    Both sides can scream infringement with this...its enough to give a sane man...hell, an INSANE man even, a headache. :(

    D
     
  4. mike101

    mike101 Member

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    No, tossing him out of the NRA is certainly not enough, nor did I mean to imply that it was. As I said, prosecute his brains out. The NRA should kick him out for not paying attention, and giving guns, and gun owners a bad rep.

    I don't think it needs to come to officials of some kind inspecting our homes to oversee the way we store our guns. As I said, make an example of people like this, and make sure it gets alot of press. The word will get around.

    Part of the problem is that the law is reluctant to prosecute someone who has already had to deal with the worst tragedy imaginable to a parent. I can certainly understand feeling compassion for someone in this situation, but I think a serious penalty is the only solution.
     
  5. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    Bad things happen to innocent uninformed people who think the world is a bed of thornless roses.

    Careless and stupid people do careless and stupid things.

    I am not my brothers keeper, nor do I turn over my life to him for safekeeping as long as I am capable enough to live a fruitful existance (and even then I prefer to ask assistance from my children, should the need arise).

    Ownership of a firearm bears great responsibility. I accept that charge and have taught several dozen young Americans, some who were not my children, firearms safety and responsible handling. As I have taught young Cub Scouts to swim and my children to drive automobiles.

    Sad that some children die, beit from a loaded firearm left someplace where they can find it, being left in a locked car in the summer heat, poor foster parental care, swimming pool or auto accidents. Children need to learn that the world is a hard place and need some guidance until they reach the brow of their first hill. Some do not survive that trek.

    I refuse to give up any of my freedoms in order to make the world a safer place for stupid behavior of others. The world is not a safe place. Deal with it as best you are able. Sometimes that requires ownership and wise use of a firearm. Sometimes it does not.
     
  6. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    More emotional whining from the anti-civil rights movement.

    So, is anyone else tired of the anti-civil rights movement using tragedy to advance their cause?
     
  7. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Member

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    I spent summers on my Grandfather farm in Northern Michigan. We had
    the usual trouble with packs of wild dogs, foxs, wood chucks, Deer and
    whatever else you can think of on a farm. My Grandfather had a Marlin 30-30
    sitting at the front door and a .270 sitting at the back door. He had his small
    .38 pistol in his night stand next to the bed. Grandma had a .22 mag pistol
    under her corner of the bed (just in case:D ).

    We grandkids (All 19 of us) KNEW better then to touch those weapons without
    my grandfather with us. My grandfather, my father and my Uncles made sure
    we grandkids knew better then to touch those weapons. We knew what they
    could do. Those weapons where sitting by the doors, Unlocked, for 35 YEARS!
    At the age of 87 my grandfather gave some of us grandkids those weapons
    because he decide it was time to stop hunting and he didn't need to worry
    about the dogs, foxs, wood chucks and Deer anymore.
    In 35 years, those weapons never once harmed us (unless you count the
    kick of that .270. that hurts when you are 14 years old).

    It comes down to one thing - Personnal Responsibility, on the part of the
    gun owner (he should have locked it up when he wasn't there and someone
    was watching the house) and the foolish young man who should have know
    better then to go looking through someones house when he was pet sitting.
     
  8. whm1974

    whm1974 Member

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    When I was 14 I knew better then to shoot myself. My stepfather had loaded guns around the house so learn early.

    It wouldn't make the world safer anyway. Most of the people in a nation at any given time are sheep.

    -Bill
     
  9. Low-Sci

    Low-Sci Member

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    This was a hard thread to come up with a halfway-decent response for, because its hard to not agree that its a load of ponyloaf. Also hard to not dismiss it out of hand as not worth my time, which I usually do.

    It is, but at the same time its not a particularly outrageous pile of crap. I mean, we've all seen worse.

    This is a textbook example of anti logic though, which is to ignore statistics and numbers and zoom in on a handful of problems, making them look like the only side to the story.

    Its also a hard opinion to combat publicly without coming off as callous and cold, maybe even emotionally dead. Its important when refuting stories like this to neutrals that we don't come across as nutty and callous and concerned only with numbers.

    So to go about refuting it publicly, I would say something like: Yes, its a tragedy when children are accidentally killed because they find their parents' inappropriately stored weapon. Thats why storing your weapon inappropriately where children might find it is punishable under law. Its also important that we educate our children about what firearms are and what they are for, so they better know how to handle themselves if they do find one. We have to protect our children from all kinds of threats, and protecting them from accidental shootings is best done with education and proper storage. This means that no loss of rights is required to keep our kids safe, and we have the means to keep them safe if their home is ever invaded by someone who wants their death to be no accident.

    Yes, the writer will probably stick to their guns (or lack thereof) on the issue, but at least we've voiced another opinion in a way that's respectful of emotion, but also yields to the facts and offers a different solution.
     
  10. joab

    joab Member

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    Bad, bad article

    But yet

    If it is not certain how the kid died how can it be certain that he found the gun,

    There are a hundred possible scenarios, that have nothing to do with unsecured guns and 27 minute shotguns from Wal-Mart.
     
  11. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    No.

    Pennsylvania is mainstream.

    NJ, CA, NY, MA, MD, IL, HI are the national embarassments.
     
  12. Riktoven

    Riktoven Member

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    The way I see it, there are two ways to look at this situation.

    A.) It really was an accident involving the dead 'child' and perhaps a peer. If this is the case, I can't help but point out that the kid was 14. Unless he's literally retarded he knows what guns do and it's classic Darwinism if he shot himself. That may be harsh, but it's the truth...some people really are too stupid to live.
    If it involved a peer, who would have been the shooter, that 'child' is likely old enough to know what guns do as well, and more importantly old enough to know NOT TO TAKE THINGS THAT DON'T BELONG TO ONESELF!

    B.) I do find it odd that a politically highlighted gun advocate would have such an unfortunate tragedy on the same day as recieving his award. Coincidences do happen, but they make my scalp itch under my tinfoil hat. It's entirely possible that one of the desperate anti-gun nuts out there siezed the opportunity to enter Mr. Regola's home, take the weapon, shoot the boy and let the media spin. I'm not saying this scenario is likely, but the gun was found several feet from the boys body and if it was kids having an accident while fooling around, I don't see the (supposedly child) shooter wiping his prints from the gun.

    Just trying to keep an open mind. An unloaded or locked gun, is an expensive club and ueless in an emergency. Demonizing people who have unlocked loaded weapons in thier home with thier kids is ridiculous. If someone threatens my kids, I want them to be able to defend themselves. Teach your kids about firearms. My step boys are still too young for firearms (so says their mother), but we break out the safety goggles from time to time and shoot plastic cups with airsoft. They love it. They help me clean our real firearms. They love that too. Gets the kids involved, remove the curiosity, instill the knowledge.

    The fact that Mr. Regola gave someone else's child keys to his home is the only reason to even superficially evaluate his method of gun storage.
     
  13. rev214

    rev214 Member

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    Pennsylvania--minus Philadelphia--is the mainstream.
    Grogan is a MSM Philly Inquirer moonbat, trying to put some steam into Mayor Street's anti-gun propaganda from a few days ago...
     
  14. silliman89

    silliman89 Member

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    It is common sense. I own two gun safes and a couple of gun locks myself. But I disagree with the logic that this is what is required to prevent children from shooting themselves. Education and responsibility is what is required.

    Up until the last 20 or 30 years there were no such thing as gun/trigger locks, and safes were where rich people put their jewels and gangsters put their cash. No one locked up their guns and no kids shot themselves because they stumbled across daddies gun.

    My Dad kept a 12 guage, a 30-30, and a .22 in his bedroom closet. He stored the ammunition in his underwear drawer. I was probably 6 or 7 when I found them, but I never shot myself or the neighbor kids that I would periodically get into fights with. It never even occurred to me, because I knew it was wrong. Also, my Dad had already taught me how to shoot the .22. Later so did the YMCA and the Boy Scouts, but my Dad taught me first.

    If parents aren't going to teach their kids right from wrong, or simple safety precations (don't chase your ball into the road, you'll get hit by a car; don't drink the poison under the sink, it'll kill you; don't play with guns, they're not toys...), then schools should.

    The author is right about one thing, it's a shame kids aren't being taught enough to keep themselves alive anymore. It's a shame no one loves children enough to prepare them for life, so instead they die young.

    P.S. The original news reports on this said that the police found the other guns in the house were responsibly stored. Also, the house was not empty, the 16 year old son was at home.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=212403&highlight=Regola
     
  15. One of Many

    One of Many Member

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    This is a topic that was covered in previous threads on multiple message boards a few weeks ago. The Senator's 16 year old son was at home that night, and had talked on the telephone with the 14 year old at 11:30 PM the night before the morning the 14 YO was found dead.

    It is speculation that the 14 YO found and stole the gun. It is speculation that the 14 YO killed himself; the police have not been able to say from the available evidence that the single shot was fired by the 14 YO, and a gunpowder residue test should be able to determine that. The gun was found near, but at a distance from the 14 YO; if a suicide was the cause of death, the gun should have been in the hand or practically touching the 14 YO, and gun shot residue on the hand of the 14 YO.

    This death is what I would call suspicious circumstances, and possibly a homicide. The 14 YO boy's body was found by his father, who tried to resusitate him, and in the process, destroyed evidence at the site. That may allow a killer to escape punishment, for what may have been accidental, or even intentional death of the 14 YO.

    The fact that insufficient evidence has been found to determine what happened, is likely evidence of someone tampering with the evidence at the scene. The gun should have had fingerprints on it, that would indicate it was fired by the 14 YO, or someone else; for the police to be unable to determine how the 14 YO died, is indicative of a problem with suicide as a cause.

    The police have decided that the Senator was not negligent in the storage of his gun; details of how the gun was stored were not released to the public, so it is an assumption that the gun was unsecured - it may have been secured, but accessible to the 16 YO son of the Senator.

    When this situation first became public, we knew it would lead to diatribes such as the one that started this thread. The person that wrote the article is not looking for facts, and is not using logic and reason to explain what happened. He is using emotion, to try and sway gullible readers into agreeing with his agenda; he knows that emotion will overpower the reasoning ability of a majority of his readers.

    We should be prepared to provide factual information to counter emotion. This author has left as much fact as possible out of the article, to enable him to maximize the emotion of his readers.
     
  16. shooting time

    shooting time Member

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    I agree with Riktoven said. i was brought up in NYC my dad and grandfather hunted and taught me how to .I raised my kids the same way started teaching them about guns at a early age .they knew not to play with them.They understood the damage they could inflict.if everyone was educaited about guns there would not be as many accidents.Once when visiting someones home my daughter who was 8 at the time was with their daughter who was a couple of years older playing in some room of the house came running out to us sitting at the kitchen table and told me "dad we were playing and she climbed up in a closet and got down her fathers gun.The father goes in there and sure enough his daughter has his loaded ruger 44 mag.If my kid didn't know about guns it could have turned into a tragedy.
    Also who knows what that kid did he could have searched the house looking for who knows what or just been curious and found a gun,maybe he found some liquor too. maybe he was bored and had nothing to do and figured he would root around this guys house he was supposed to be watching.Maybe the gun was locked up and he found the keys for it.who will ever know?
     
  17. bakert

    bakert Member

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    I would suggest this John Grogan, whoever he might be, go somewhere else to spout his feelings of grief and outrage over people who own guns.
    I've got to go along with Baba Louie's response to Grogan. The death of any child is sad but actually fewer kids are killed by unsecured guns than by other acts of stupidity by adults. The gun deaths get more press and outrage by or because of people like this Grogan and others who talk of "wake up calls", "if we could save one child" and all of the other outpourings of gun haters.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2006
  18. orangelo

    orangelo member

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    He can ESAD. Maybe his mouth, hands, feet and anything else that can write a so-called 'news article' should be kept locked up until he demonstrates to the Bush administration that he can responsibly use his 1st amendment rights. That's what he suggests for the 2A. Good for the goose and gander right? Mass media has already proven it can't be trusted to use the 1st responsibly. With the Michael Bellesiles, Michael Moores, Jayson Blairs, Dan Rathers of the world, and now we find out the Qana 'massacre' was staged by hezbullah and their media allies. Those hacks think they are some special class of citizen immune to prosecution and subpeonas.

    If 2A supporters attacked media hacks with the same zeal that they attack gun owners it'd be a real short fight.

    The real victim is the congressman. If the punk hadn't STOLEN the handgun in the first place he wouldn't have been able to commit suicide with it.
     
  19. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    Uhhh, bakert, Beren just posted Grogan's article. I don't think he feels this way since he is a moderator on A GUN FORUM... but I could be wrong and cannot speak for Beren.
     
  20. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Bakert,

    Beren's not an anti gun troll who is ranting.

    He's a moderator, and firm RKBA supporter, who posted up a newspaper article.

    Rule4: Be sure of your target. ;)
     
  21. FrogClan

    FrogClan Member

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    Hah! Beat me to it. I'm surprised at how often people respond to a post they haven't really read.

    One of Many makes some good points. Sounds suspicious to me.

    On another tack, if it had been beer and a swimming pool would we be advocating the prohibition of pools from residences?
     
  22. bakert

    bakert Member

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    Mister Beren , I hope you will accept my sincere apology for putting my foot in my mouth.
    Baba Louie and others, I'm extremely embarrassed about mistaking Mr Beren although I knew he just posted and didn't write the article. Old person moment and not reading where it states Moderator or being more informed before writing. I get too upset by articles like the one by Mr Grogan to think straight it seems.
     
  23. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

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    If you substitute "pool" for each occurance of "gun," "handgun," or "weapon," it would describe a tragedy just as sad and 50 times more likely to occur.
     
  24. AnthonyRSS

    AnthonyRSS Member

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    If someone is still a child by the time they are 14, they must be <literally>
    retarted. There is no reason for an adolescent to accidentally or purposely shoot himself, although in this case, himself it may not be.
    badgun0nr.gif
     
  25. rev214

    rev214 Member

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    that's what's great about THR forums...it gives you the opportunity to read and work out your thoughts on these issues...:)

    Grogan was spewing his garbage to try to keep his side of the story in play in the MSM, cause John Street's antigun/it-takes-a-village ploy from the other day was DOA after it left his big mouth...
     
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