The shootings of the day

Gun violence is a contemporary global human rights issue. Gun-related violence threatens our most fundamental human right, the right to life.

Gun violence is a daily tragedy affecting the lives of individuals around the world. More than 500 people die every day because of violence committed with firearms.

Anyone can be affected by firearm violence but in certain situations gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of colour, women and other marginalized groups in society. – Amnesty International

You can track shootings by type and location at the Gun Violence Archive. The information here is updated daily and includes cumulative data throughout the year. All of the information here is disturbing, especially the listing for what’s happened during the last 72 hours. I appreciate the work of this group, though I find it sad that we need this group. Yet, according to Amnesty International, “There are 8 million new small arms and up to 15 billion rounds of ammunition produced each year.”

Personally, I’m tired of hearing that if we restrict gun ownership and the right to carry guns, only criminals will have guns. And yet, most of the mass shootings appear to be caused by individuals considered non-criminals prior to the shootings.

The problem has a lot of socio-economic overlays, but it’s generally believed that the precipitating factor is easy access to legal and illegal guns.

What surprises me is the fact that we–as a nation–put up with it. I suppose we’re burying our heads in the sand with the viewpoint that if the violence doesn’t kill us or people we know then it’s not our problem. And yet, it is, because the failure to enact legislation that will put a dent in gun violence is allowing it to happen. In that regard, most of us are at fault.


‘Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?’

When I was in grade school, everyone knew the answer to this question: “the shadow knows.”

“The Shadow” was a radio drama that aired between 1937 and 1954 with tie-ins to comic books and novels. The show featured crime fighter Lamont Cranston who was a great detective with a few unusual powers. A few films followed the end of radio programs including Alec Baldwin’s in the 1994 version that lost money and wasn’t well received. I no longer remember whether I listened to any radio episodes when I was a kid; it’s possible because when I was home sick from school there was plenty of stuff on the radio to keep my attention.

Now James Patterson has bought the rights to the material, kicking off the story with The Shadow (2021) co-written with Brian Sitts. The novel is lightweight fiction compared to Patterson’s Alex Cross series so, while it was fun to read, it was a bit more of a spoof than a hard-boiled detective novel.

From the snippets of the radio show I’ve heard, Patterson and Sitts will have to ramp up the action if any sequels are produced for this first one, which has been said to be setting the stage and doesn’t have the ambiance of the original radio series.

So far, the storyline just isn’t edgy enough to hold up as a series. This is the look and the tone I want to see.

Patterson and Sitts have their work cut out for themselves. “As you sow evil, so shall you reap evil! Crime does not pay…The Shadow knows!”


Teens kill Uber Eats Driver

So far, news stories about two teens, 13 and 15, who botched an apparent carjacking attempt  Washington, D.C. near the Naval Yard are unclear. The story I read said they attacked 66-year-old Mohammad Anwar with a stun gun and then said they attacked him with a taser. (Which was it? They aren’t the same thing.) There is video available, but I won’t watch it.

UbereatsThe family of the driver describe him in their fund raising campaign as a hard-working Pakistani immigrant working for Uber Eats. At present, the campaign appears to have pledges for over $900,000. Needless to say, that money won’t replace the man.

We know nothing about the suspects. They are underage and that means their names are generally withheld. We know that neither one is old enough to legally drive a car. Did they have a motive other than joyriding? We may never know. We can hardly say they “were just kids having fun.” Maybe that’s what they thought it was, but subduing a man with a stun gun goes past the harmless prank usually referred to by “kids having fun.”

I have zero tolerance form crimes like this. In fact, I don’t quite know what to make of this crime because, while I know there are a lot of streetwise homeless kids who commit various crimes in order to survive, killing a man to swipe his car is so much more than “mere survival.” One report–which I can no longer find–said one of the kids was more concerned about getting her phone out of the car that showing concern for the victim.

The fact that two teens would even consider doing this bothers me. Is their crime a symptom of an expanding souless society, and entitlement society, bad or missing parenting, or something else? Whatever it was, I’m tired of hearing excuses and other justifications because none of those bring back those who die or help those who mourn or stop the runaway lawlessness.

Perhaps such crimes have always happened and escaped our notice before we had 24/7 news. If so, the situation is no less sad.


We’re all at risk

There are so many shootings we can hardly keep track of them. They seem random, and perhaps they are. If they are, any one of us could have been a victim. Or might still become one.

Wikipedia photo

On the morning of March 22 in Boulder, Colorado, the following people got up and began attending to the chores of the day that included a trip to the grocery store on Table Mesa Drive: Boulder police Officer Eric Talley, 51; King Soopers store manager Rikki Olds, 25; store employee Denny Stong, 20; store employee Teri Leiker, 51; Neven Stanisic, 23; Tralona “Lonna” Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

They died at 2:30 p.m. because Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa killed them. His defense attorney says he might be crazy.

Where will some crazy guy strike next? We don’t know. Since we don’t know, any one of us might be “there” buying a pack of hotdogs, dancing, eating our first meal out in months, attending a concert. . .

Most of us assume the next shooting will happen somewhere else. I’m sure the victims at the King Soopers store on Table Mesa Drive thought that–until they were gone.

We continue to debate whether these shootings are caused by rampant hate, rampant insanity, or bored people with a lot of guns. As long as we do nothing but debate the “why” of all this, the answers will continue blowing in the wind.