The Common Factor in "Wrong Place" Shootings
People need to be allowed to make mistakes. They need to be able to knock on the wrong door, pull into the wrong driveway, open the door to the wrong car, or set foot on another person’s lawn, without being shot. We need to be granted the space to make minor fuckups without some asshole trying to murder us. There were four cases in which those scenarios occurred in the past week.
The victims in these cases did nothing actually wrong. None of them did anything harmful or illegal. None of them were threatening in appearance or actions.
The argument made by the scumbag who shot 16 year old Ralph Yarl was that the boy’s height made him fear for his life. Yarl doesn’t look particularly tall in any of the photos I’ve seen. Some random-ass website estimates he’s 5’9”. That’s not tall. Certainly not intimidatingly tall. He’s an average-sized teenager who did nothing wrong but ring the wrong shitsack’s doorbell.
The scumbag who shot a 6 year old girl and her parents because she went to retrieve a basketball that had rolled onto his lawn can’t possibly have felt threatened. Neither could the scumbag who stood on his porch and shot at a 20 year old woman and her friend in a car trying to turn around in his driveway.
The scumbag who followed and shot a 21 year old girl and an 18 year old girl for the former having mistakenly gotten into his car before quickly getting out and apologizing, sure didn’t feel threatened. No one is afraid of cheerleaders. Not unless they’re zombified and/or wielding chainsaws. I don’t mean to make light of the situation, but cheerleaders accidently showing up in your car sounds like a porn trope and at worst would make for a funny story. It for damn sure isn’t a reason to be enraged and try to murder the cheerleaders.
While race almost definitely played a role in some (at least one or two) of these four high profile shootings, not all the shooters or victims were white or people of color. We have a white man shooting a Black boy, a Black man shooting a white child and her parents, a white woman was shot by a white man, and a Latino man shot a white girl and a light-skinned (I think) Black girl. Racism and racist violence are and have always been major problems in the US, but not the central problem in this instance. The problem here is guns, and the assholes whose first response to any mistake made by another person is to lose their fucking shit and try to shoot them to death. The common factor in each of these shootings was that fucking hateful, cowardly assholes with guns shot people who didn’t deserve it.
These cases are further evidence, as if it’s needed, because the evidence mounts daily, that many, probably most, people should not have guns. As of this writing, there have been 12,800 gun deaths, 5,494 of which were non-suicides, and 10,034 gun violence injuries so far this year. There’ve been multiple shootings every day, and more than at least one mass shooting per day this year. There have been tens of thousands of killings, injuries, and suicides by guns every year on record, with an average of 43,375 dying by guns every year. Those statistics point to tens of thousands of people who should never have owned guns.
No one who is so cowardly or quick to anger that they shoot people in incidents such as these should ever have been able to possess a single gun.
The right to own guns, if any jackass that wants a gun is able to get one in this country, cannot be without restrictions. I don’t give a fuck if free universal gun ownership is permitted by a skewed reading of the Constitution; every other amendment has limits and restrictions. The government prohibits speaking about certain issues (i.e. “national security”) and state governments across the country have passed laws prohibiting peaceful assembly. Speedy trials and impartial juries sure aren’t guaranteed. People’s homes can be invaded and ransacked with, at most, an unfounded, unjustified, and utterly bullshit warrant. So why is the right to have guns so fucking sacrosanct?
It’s not just assault rifles and automatics, the usual focus of activists, pundits, and politicians, that are the problem, as handguns are more commonly used. The problem is all guns. You can blame the people who use guns for bad and violent purposes (as opposed to all the good and peaceful purposes that all the good folks use guns for), but then you have to do something to determine whether those people are qualified to have a gun. If you’re going to blame the people, then you have to evaluate, register, and regulate the people. Otherwise, the only solution is to get rid of all the fucking guns.