law, true crime

A routine traffic stop turns deadly… and now a man is on death row…

Yesterday, while we were waiting for Arran’s chemo appointment, I found myself watching a video about a true crime that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 29, 2020. I didn’t seek out this video and, in fact, hadn’t even heard of this case before yesterday. I landed on this video entirely by chance, and was about halfway through it before I realized how shocking this case is. It made me realize why police work is so very dangerous, even when it seems like a traffic stop is totally mundane.

It was about 3:00 am on that fateful June night. David Anthony Ware was driving a car that had expired tags. He also ran a stop sign and failed to yield to Officer Aurash Zarkeshan, who then turned on his lights to signal to Ware that he was being stopped. David Ware pulled over, and Officer Zarkeshan began to question him, asking for identification, proof of insurance, and other information. At first, the stop seems to be going on in a routine manner, although Ware is clearly eager to be on his way.

Zarkeshan checks Ware’s background and finds that he has a police record and is a convicted felon, which Ware claims was supposed to be expunged. Soon, Sergeant Craig Johnson is on the scene. Zarkeshan asks Ware to step out of the vehicle. Ware then becomes agitated and uncooperative. He demands to speak to Zarkeshan’s supervisor, who happens to be Sergeant Johnson. Johnson identifies as Zarkeshan’s boss, and demands that Ware get out of the car. Ware continues to refuse to get out of the vehicle, so Johnson starts to yell at him, his voice growing more and more forceful and angry. He threatens to use his Taser and Mace. In spite of that, Ware doesn’t comply, probably because he was a convicted felon, and he knew that if he got out of the car, the police would find his gun, and that would mean going to jail. If he was under the influence of drugs, that might have also contributed to his mental state.

I heard Sergeant Johnson’s insistent shouts turn to screams, as he uses profanity and deploys the Taser. Somehow, the device doesn’t manage to stun Ware into compliance, and neither does the Mace. Ware had prior drug charges and given that the Taser and spray weren’t effective, my guess is that he was under the influence of drugs during that stop. That would have also made him dangerous behind the wheel.

Ware then gets on his phone and calls his friend, Matt, who shows up as the traffic stop is truly escalating and both cops are trying to force Ware to get out of the car as he screams for help. Unfortunately, the police officers were so focused on getting Ware out of the car and Ware’s friend, Matt, on the scene, that they didn’t see Ware reach under the driver’s seat and pull out a handgun. Ware was able to fire a few rounds into the officers before they knew what happened. In the below video, the visuals are thankfully redacted, but you can hear Johnson start to say, “What the fuck.” as he realizes he’s been shot at close range. Ware shoots him again in the head. Zarkeshan was also severely wounded, but not killed, as Ware jumps into Matt’s car and leaves the two police officers for dead.

Ware’s friend, Matthew Hall, was charged with two counts of being an accessory to a shooting with intent to kill. He pled not guilty. Last year, Mr. Hall was convicted of both charges. He is now serving twenty-four years in prison. Prior to June 29, 2020, Mr. Hall had no criminal history. It just goes to show how, in a moment of poor judgment, a person’s life can be changed forever.

In May of 2022, Mr. Ware was convicted of the capital charge, first degree murder and shooting with intent to kill. He was also found guilty of shooting with intent to kill, possession of a firearm after former felony conviction, unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, and obstruction. I assume that “shooting with intent to kill” is separate from the capital charge, since a person can shoot another person, intending to kill them, but not actually succeeding in killing them. Ware did kill Sergeant Johnson, but he did not succeed in killing Officer Zarkeshan, hence the separate charge for his crime against the surviving officer.

At the end of Ware’s trial in April 2022, the jury recommended the death penalty. Judge William LaFortune agreed, and in May, Ware was sentenced to death, as well as life in prison for the shooting with intent to kill charge, 30 years for possession of a firearm after former felony conviction, 25 years for the drug possession charge, and one year for obstruction. There are also massive fines, which will probably never be collected. Ware was already scheduled for the death chamber in August of this year, but as is standard in these cases, there’s an automatic appeal. Ware’s attorney, Kevin Adams, filed documents in support of overturning the verdict. He said that in Oklahoma, there’s about a 50 percent rate of overturning death penalty punishments, while the prosecutor said that he hoped the penalty would “deter people” from disobeying law enforcement and using firearms against them.

Special thanks to the Line of Duty channel for sharing this video.

I played this video for Bill last night. Bill was horrified for the cops involved, and although he is mostly against the death penalty, he said he felt it might be justified in this case. Personally, I disagree, because I am more against the death penalty than my husband is. I really think it should be reserved for cases in which a person represents a truly severe danger to the public, such that releasing that person will result in more people being killed. Frankly, I would be more inclined to sentence someone like Darrell Brooks to death than David Ware. Brooks, to me, has obvious disdain for other people and clearly has no sorrow for what he did. He also killed more people in a less humane way, and injured dozens more people. That mindset won’t be fixed with rehab. I don’t think Brooks can redeem himself, as being the way he is is likely due to his personality. Ware, on the other hand, might be salvageable if he got clean.

Mr. Ware does not strike me as being as obviously cold and callous as Brooks is. Even though he could have avoided the escalation simply by complying with the cops, I can hear genuine fear and anguish in his voice as he screams for help. According to the US News & World Report:

“The truth is that when David Ware shot Officer Zarkeshan and Sgt. Johnson, he was in fear for his life,” Ware’s attorney Kevin Adams said. “Sgt. Johnson and Officer Zarkeshan beat David Ware, they kicked David Ware, they tased David Ware, they maced David Ware as he pleaded and begged for somebody to help him.

“And when it got to the point that he felt that he was about to lose his life, he shot Officer Zarkashan and he shot Sgt. Craig Johnson.”

Ware said that he meant to shoot the officers in their body armor in the hopes it would incapacitate them long enough for him to escape. But then he shot Sergeant Johnson in the head after both officers were on the ground.

Having watched and listened to the video a few times, I can agree with Kevin Adams that Ware “lost it” and the crime escalated because he feared for his life. Yes, he absolutely should have complied with the officers, and he should certainly be in prison for the rest of his life. But Ware probably hadn’t planned to hurt or kill anyone that night. He committed a driving infraction and was pulled over, and if his luck had been better, he would have gone home without taking anyone’s life. When he was threatened by the police officers, he probably did literally fear for his life. I’m not saying it was a credible fear that Ware would be killed by the cops, but I believe that he did experience that fear, and that influenced his extreme actions.

Darrell Brooks, on the other hand, clearly meant to hurt and kill people when he drove his SUV into a parade route at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. What he did was clearly premeditated, and he obviously had no fear or remorse whatsoever. He’s a very callous individual who seems to hate the world. To me, that indicates that Brooks is a lot more dangerous than Ware is. I think he would be a better candidate for execution than Ware is.

However, unlike Brooks, David Ware committed his crime in a red state, where the death penalty is strongly supported by the citizenry. He also killed a police officer, and in a lot of death penalty states, that will result in a death sentence. I doubt the death penalty in this case will deter anyone, though. These types of crimes often happen when someone is highly emotional and not thinking clearly. What might make this type of crime less likely to happen is if the United States got much more serious about gun control and limiting public access to weapons. But that will probably never happen in my lifetime. Even if it did, there are so many guns out there that it probably would take a long time before the public’s access to them would be diminished enough to make a difference.

I feel very sorry for Sergeant Johnson’s family, especially his wife and two children. He was clearly a brave man, and it’s obvious from the video that he didn’t want to use the Taser. He gave Mr. Ware multiple opportunities to comply, and warned him several times before deploying the Taser. Maybe it would have been better if he had been a little bit colder, and not given Ware a chance to prepare before popping him with the Taser. But I’m not a cop, so I really don’t know. And again, as is obvious from the video, there was a lot of emotion going on at the time of the shootings. All three of the men engaged in that fight were operating on high adrenaline and instinct, rather than rational thought. It’s truly a terrible thing that it turned out this way, as three men’s lives were forever altered and shortened, and one man’s life was ended way before his time should have been up.

Anyway… given how the death penalty is, my guess is that David Ware still has some time to spend thinking about what he’s done. I don’t think he intended to be a murderer, even though that’s how it worked out for him. If he hadn’t had a handgun in his car, he almost surely wouldn’t be on death row in Oklahoma. Darrell Brooks, on the other hand, strikes me as someone who would easily kill again if he ever walks free. Hopefully, the state of Wisconsin will keep Brooks put away for the rest of his life. And I have no doubt that Ware’s days as a free man are over, and he probably will be executed as planned.

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communication, politicians, politics, Trump

Beto O’Rourke… a man who really speaks my language!

It’s probably not a secret to those who know me that I enjoy cussing. I always have. I don’t know why I like swearing as much as I do, especially since I have a well developed vocabulary, compared to a lot of other people. I just think that sometimes, a good cuss word puts just the right mood into a statement.

I’ve been especially cranky lately, because it’s very hot and dry in Germany right now, and I have a stuffy nose, cough, and am sneezing a lot. That makes me grumpy. Actually, a lot of things make me grumpy nowadays. If cursing is all I do, that can’t be too bad, can it? At least I didn’t try to shoot up the local FBI office, right? Trump supporters are exhausting.

Anyway, I was delighted yesterday, when I saw an article in the Washington Post about a speech that Texas Democrat Beto O’ Rourke gave on a campaign stop. Beto was very passionately talking about gun violence in school, particularly the 19 children and two teachers who were murdered by an unhinged young man in Uvalde, Texas this past May. A Greg Abbott supporter heckled Beto, laughing at him, when Beto suddenly whirled around and said, “It may be funny to you, motherfucker, but it’s not funny to me!”

Go Beto!

Now, I am technically a resident of Texas, even though I’ve lived in Germany since 2014. I am in Germany on SOFA (status of forces agreement) status, so that means I am not a resident of Germany, even though I’ve lived here for years. That means I vote in Texas, even though for MANY reasons, I don’t ever want to live there again. The fact that Greg Abbott is the governor there is one reason I would not want to move back to San Antonio or any other Texas city. But… if Beto wins, maybe I’d reconsider. I like him. I even gave him money! And the fact that he uses the word “motherfucker” to a MAGAt at a campaign rally is just icing on the cake.

Below is a more complete video, showing the moron Abbott supporters, holding up their signs and LAUGHING at Beto, who is speaking about something that could easily affect them personally. They totally deserved to hear Beto cussing at them. At least they survived the verbal assault, right? We can’t say the same thing for those poor children in Uvalde, or their brave teachers, who perished because of Texas’s ridiculous gun laws. Meanwhile, Greg Abbott wants to force women to give birth in that Godforsaken state.

Yea!!!

I really hope Beto wins. I’m going to do my best to help him in his quest to become governor. I’m sick and tired of the complete craziness unleashed by Donald Trump and his minions. I’m tired of reading about violent people with guns, threatening law abiding citizens and killing children who are just trying to learn. Especially when women’s rights to privacy and competent healthcare are also being threatened! So I’m with Beto. Fuck MAGA… Fuck Donald Trump and the empty headed people who still follow him, as he allegedly sells national security secrets from classified documents that he stole. Fuck the white supremacists who want us to go back to 1950. Fuck ’em all. Beto gives me some hope. May we see, and HEAR, many more like him as November approaches.

As for Trump, and the allegations regarding what was searched for and found in his tacky home in Mar-a-Lago, I don’t yet know much about it. I just got up a little while ago, and haven’t had the chance to research it. What I did hear and read is that it’s possible that Trump took documents that threaten our national security. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did it just to make more money… or because one of our enemies has him by the balls and he’s doing it because otherwise, he might end up murdered. I think Donald Trump’s presidency is the biggest political disaster I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. I may never see the United States fully recovered in my lifetime. It will take decades to undo the damage, and that is not to mention the many family relations, friendships, and romances that were ruined due to Trump’s divisive rhetoric.

Last month, I lost my uncle, with whom I had not communicated since 2017, when he berated me for not being a Trump supporter. It broke my heart that he called me names and verbally abused me, just because we had different political beliefs. There was a time when he was one of my favorite relatives.

My uncle had four sons, one of whom is also not a Trump supporter. As his father was dying, my cousin sent me a private message on Facebook, lamenting that his youngest brother– as much of a Trumper as my uncle ever was– wanted to argue about politics while their dad was crossing the bar. My cousin said that he really didn’t like his brother… actually, he wrote “really don’t like this person anymore.” Knowing them both as I do, that really struck me. They were always close, but Trump and his crazy bullshit have driven them apart. That’s just one example of what I mean.

I remember that George W. Bush was an unpopular president, but even he never caused as much polarization and division as Trump has. It’s refreshing to hear someone speak with passion, conviction, and compassion as Beto has… and yes, that includes hearing him call a heartless Abbott supporter a “motherfucker”. I hope he keeps it up as he marches to victory… something else Beto can literally do, but Abbott can’t. 😉

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book reviews, healthcare, law, politicians, politics

Today, in the United States of Gilead…

Special thanks to my friend “Naphtalia” (not her real name) for today’s featured photo!

It’s another very warm morning in Germany. I kind of hate this time of year in Germany, because while it rarely gets as hot here as it does in my native Virginia or God forsaken Texas, air conditioning is a rarity. That makes for some uncomfortable days when it’s high summer, even with all the shades pulled down and a couple of portable air conditioners. I never run both ACs at the same time, either, because I don’t want to run up a big electric bill. They do electric bills differently here, though. Instead of charging different amounts based on monthly use, they do a yearly average and adjust at the end of the year. But still, I don’t want to be an energy hog, if I can help it.

Bill just bought oil for our house, to get us through the winter. This year, it cost about $1000 more than it did last year, thanks to Putin’s war against Ukraine. Fortunately, we’re able to afford it pretty easily. We stay in Germany largely because Bill makes really good money over here, but also because the lifestyle is much nicer, people are saner and less violent, and it’s cool to be able to drive to so many countries. That doesn’t mean I don’t think of home often, though. Missing my uncle’s funeral the other day was another reminder that I’ve been gone a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of beloved relatives for the last time. The United States is my home, but it doesn’t feel much like home anymore. People seem to be absolutely batshit nuts.

Still, I was delighted to read about Kansas yesterday, and voters’ decisions to vote for allowing abortion access. I think that was a rude wake up call for the more sensible Republicans out there. They overplayed their hand, and they will probably pay for it with some really tough elections. I have read about some scary elections results in Arizona, though, and apparently the Trump loyalists, drunk on the stolen election Kool-Aid rhetoric, are leading the way to Gilead inspired insanity. Not surprisingly, reasonable Republican, Rusty Bowers, who heroically testified in the January 6th sessions, was defeated by his Trump supporting opponent. I watched Bowers speak about January 6th again, the other day, and noticed that he was almost moved to tears. I was almost moved to tears listening to him, even though I don’t like his politics or religious beliefs. Bowers is a man of integrity, and those types are rapidly leaving the Republican Party.

I don’t think people realize that the power mad conservatives want to enslave them… keep them disenfranchised and begging for jobs that don’t pay enough. Keeping people pregnant, especially if they aren’t financially or health wise prepared for pregnancy, is certainly a big part of keeping them poor. The abortion bans are already proving dangerous for people who legitimately need to terminate pregnancies for health reasons, that they should be allowed to keep private. Personally, I am less concerned about no access to abortion than I am that politicians will soon push an agenda that makes healthcare privacy a thing of the past.

Health information is a very powerful asset, and getting people comfortable with the idea of giving up their confidentiality when it comes to health matters is a big step toward keeping them down. I don’t believe these folks will stop with denying abortion and contraception access. They would like to tear apart legal privacy protections for the citizenry, so they promote bullshit about the “sanctity of life” as a reason to deny abortions to people who want or need them, while idiots like Colorado legislator Lauren Boebert crow about their ridiculous gun control theories. Yesterday, I watched a video about how she claims people in Venezuela are eating dogs because they can’t have guns. Seriously!

Well worth watching, if only because the guy who made this video is awesome. Lauren’s personal assets don’t include having a functioning brain.

I read last night that extremely pro-life Indiana Representative Jackie Walorski, just two weeks shy of her 59th birthday, died in a car crash. Two of her staffers died with her. I didn’t know anything about Walorski until last night, when I saw the article from Reuters. I went to her Facebook page, where she had just recently posted about visiting a “crisis pregnancy center” in Indiana. Crisis pregnancy centers are places where a pro-life agenda is pushed. The goal is to get the person considering abortion to change their minds, sometimes by the unethical use of misinformation or religious dogma.

The comments were pretty bananas, as people squabbled over their respective political views. One guy was especially disgusting toward the pro-choice women who were commenting. Only a few realized, at that point, that Ms. Walorski is no longer among the living and won’t be pushing her pro-life agenda anymore. I only hope that whoever replaces her is more moderate in their views. Like a lot of people, I am tired of being held hostage by politicians who think their religious beliefs have any place in making laws that affect everyone. On the other hand, I see some really ugly comments about her sudden death, including the one below…

No matter what I might think about Jackie Walorski’s politics, I’m sure she had many loved ones. This is not any better than the awful things conservatives say to liberals.
Ouch.

I don’t cheer for Jackie Walorski’s sudden death, but I really hope with all my heart that whomever takes her place will have more heart and sense for moderation. The country is being torn apart by extremism, and it will lead to even more very ugly things in the future, if something isn’t done soon.

Last night, I finished reading Black Beauty to Bill, and once again, I was shocked by how relevant that book is, even today. It was written in 1877, but it addresses animal rights, politics, and religion, and how politics and religion can turn people into insufferable assholes. Here are just a couple of quotes from the book, one of which I recently shared a few days ago.

“Your master never taught you a truer thing,” said John; “there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast it is all a sham—all a sham, James, and it won’t stand when things come to be turned inside out.”

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 46). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“Well, a man who gets rich by that trade may be all very well in some ways, but he is blind as to what workingmen want; I could not in my conscience send him up to make the laws. I dare say they’ll be angry, but every man must do what he thinks to be the best for his country.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 142). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“My boy, I hope you will always defend your sister, and give anybody who insults her a good thrashing—that is as it should be; but mind, I won’t have any election blackguarding on my premises. There are as many ‘blue’ blackguards as there are ‘orange’, and as many white as there are purple, or any other color, and I won’t have any of my family mixed up with it. Even women and children are ready to quarrel for the sake of a color, and not one in ten of them knows what it is about.

“Why, father, I thought blue was for Liberty.” “My boy, Liberty does not come from colors, they only show party, and all the liberty you can get out of them is, liberty to get drunk at other people’s expense, liberty to ride to the poll in a dirty old cab, liberty to abuse anyone that does not wear your color, and to shout yourself hoarse at what you only half-understand—that’s your liberty!”

“Oh, father, you are laughing.”

“No, Harry, I am serious, and I am ashamed to see how men go on who ought to know better. An election is a very serious thing; at least it ought to be, and every man ought to vote according to his conscience, and let his neighbor do the same.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 143). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

I announced to some Facebook friends that I was reading Black Beauty to Bill, and one of them, a British lady who used to teach school in Britain, said it would have him in tears. Sure enough, it did. Black Beauty has a happy ending, but it really is a very good book that tugs at the heartstrings, and it’s surprisingly relevant today, on many levels. I’m glad I read it again as an adult (it was never meant to be children’s literature), and I’m so glad I shared it with Bill. He loved it, and never would have read it on his own. It’s a great book for animal lovers– especially horse lovers– but I think everyone should read it. Anna Sewell was very wise. Her book promotes common sense and compassion, not just toward animals, but also toward human beings. And it’s a reminder that things were bananas in the 19th century, too.

Anyway… it’s going to be another steamy day in Germany, and I’m in the middle of changing the sheets, and will soon be vacuuming, which is not my favorite thing to do. So I guess I’ll end this post and get on with it. Let’s hope for better news in the coming days.

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law, politics, wingnuts

Some people really don’t think guns are a problem…

In the wake of last week’s heartbreaking school shootings, I’ve been seeing a lot of people opining about why there’s so much gun related violence in the United States. Many people, myself included, think that there are way too many guns available, they are too powerful, and they are much too easy to acquire. There are also a lot of very angry, disillusioned, mentally ill people in the United States. And since it’s easier to buy a gun than access competent mental health services, there’s a lot of violence. Too many people are being killed. Too many CHILDREN are being killed, or permanently affected, by angry young men with guns. That’s what I think, anyway.

A screenshot of The Second Amendment…

But there’s another side to this issue. There are so many other people who don’t think guns are a problem. They love to spout off that old trite saying, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” And they say things like, “People have been killing each other forever.” They hold the Second Amendment near and dear to their hearts, as if the right to keep and bear arms is the most important thing in our Constitution. Many of these folks actually believe that owning guns will keep them free.

I grew up near Yorktown, Virginia, which is where victory was declared in the American Revolution. I know the origin of the Second Amendment, which was ratified December 15, 1791, along with the other nine articles of The Bill of Rights. In those days, for many reasons, owning guns made more sense. But the right to bear arms has gotten out of hand. A whole lot of innocent people are being killed, not just because there are enraged, unhinged people who go crazy and spray bullets everywhere, but because people get careless. I’ve read many heartbreaking stories about children killing or hurting themselves, or other people, because they’ve had access to someone else’s improperly stored weapon. Somehow, we never seem to learn from those stories. Americans are still crazy about their guns.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of apologists coming out against gun control. They all seem to say the same thing. The reason why people are being killed isn’t because of easy access to guns. It’s because of poor parenting. It sounds crazy as I hear it in my head, and it looks crazy as I type out those words. But there are apparently a lot of people who believe that if people would just be better parents, there would be less violence.

About twelve years ago, Bill and I lived in rural Fayetteville, Georgia. We liked living there, especially since we found a house in a remote area, where we had a lot of privacy. Not surprisingly, a lot of people near where we lived were staunch Republicans who loved their guns. I minded conservatives less in those days, so it didn’t bother me much. That was before so many other children had died, although Wikipedia tells me that even in 2010 and 2011, a whole lot of kids were killed at school by gun toting “ammosexuals”. But, the truth is, I probably just didn’t think about gun violence as much back then.

While we were living in Fayetteville, I subscribed to the local newspaper. I still get emails from that paper every week, even though we moved to Sanford, North Carolina, a similar community, in April 2011. Yesterday, I got the latest issue of The Citizen out of Georgia, and I noticed a letter to the editor written by a man who asks, “Instead of fewer guns, how about better parents?” When I saw that headline, I inwardly groaned. Yet again, just like the “Q guy” I wrote about the other day, this guy was actually blaming “bad parenting” and “lack of respect” on the extreme gun violence in the United States.

The author of the letter to the editor fears “big government”. He begins his screed by lamenting about how Democrats want to take away his guns in the name of “safety”, and fears that if he loses his guns, he will be “vulnerable” to government overreach. Once again, I have to shake my head. Does this man actually believe that the government can’t and won’t take away his guns now? Does he really think he can outgun the government? I don’t see it.

A gun might be useful to have if a wild animal invades your home. It might also be a great thing to have a gun if someone breaks into your house. But guns cannot and will not protect anyone from government overreach. If guns could do that, maybe women who don’t want to be pregnant wouldn’t have to worry about being forced to gestate, and potentially prosecuted if they miscarry. If you get caught breaking the law, and your crime is serious enough, the police will come and arrest you. Your guns won’t save you in that situation. And if the United States is successfully invaded, say, by Russia, China, or North Korea, it’s not likely that your arsenal of guns will prevent that from happening, either. Maybe you can pick off a few people, but eventually, you’ll probably run out of ammo and you’ll be saying goodbye to your guns.

Shared by a Facebook friend, some of the ludicrous issues we’re arguing about in the United States. One of my right wing former relatives shared the Clint Eastwood meme.

Against my better judgment, I kept reading this man’s rationale as to why he must be allowed to keep his guns, even though so many innocent children have been killed by them. And I have to say, I found his reasons why gun violence is such a huge problem to be pretty offensive. He says that “liberals” who are “woke” and obsessed with inflicting “socialism” on the United States are the reason why people are killing each other. He thinks religion– specifically Christianity– and strict parenting can solve this problem. I wonder how the parents of the dead children in Uvalde would feel reading this letter, which basically blames THEM, for the fact that an 18 year old kid was able to buy a rifle on his birthday and shoot up their school.

I’m reminded of what I used to hear when I was a small child, and hated wearing seatbelts in the car. I still hate seatbelts, mind you, but I do wear them. If I don’t, Bill turns into Pat Boone. 😉 But anyway, my childlike logic back then was that I knew my parents were “safe drivers”. After all, they always wore their seatbelts, even if they didn’t often make me wear one. I don’t remember my mom ever being in an accident. My dad was in a car accident, back in 1979, but he never was again after that. So, being a kid with so much vast life experience, I figured I had nothing to fear. But later, when I married Bill, he said “I could be the safest and best driver on the road, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a nut out there on the road who could ruin our day.”

Seems to me, the same logic applies to “good guys with guns”. You could be the safest and most conscientious person in the whole world, when it comes to firearms. You could be the best and most attentive parent, too, and teach your child to always be respectful, courteous, and kind. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be nuts out there who could ruin your day, because THEY aren’t safe, conscientious, or attentive.

Speaking of cars… I see on the above letter to the editor, people have left comments. One person wrote this:

Do you know what the common denominator to any shooting is? Guns.

And sure enough, someone argued that people kill people. They wrote:

Do you know what else is a common denominator? An idiot or idiots who make the choice to take out their anger in a horrible way and take human lives. That denominator is also the reason for the Wisconsin car massacre where a deranged black man drove through a mostly white parade crowd and killed multiple people. Should we take cars away to prevent this from happening again?

Ah yes… the “people kill each other with cars” argument. Well, let’s analyze that for a moment, shall we? In order to be legally allowed to drive a car, one has to be properly licensed. Getting a license requires training and testing, being old enough, and registering with one’s local Department of Motor Vehicles (there’s that darned government overreach again). Why do we have those rules? Because they promote safety and accountability. Automobile manufacturers are also required to install safety features in their cars. Drivers are required to have liability insurance, in case of an accident or negligence that hurts someone else. And if you get caught driving under the influence of a substance, even if you don’t actually hurt or kill anyone, you can get in serious trouble.

It’s true that people can be killed in creative ways, such as the one described in the above comment. Hell, twenty-one years ago, thousands of people were killed when lunatics took over four airplanes and deliberately crashed them into buildings. And you know what? After 9/11, laws changed worldwide, so that such a tragedy might never happen again. So why can’t we do something about the gun violence in the United States? Why should almost any “idiot” over age 18, who can’t even legally buy a beer or a pack of cigarettes, have the ability to buy a gun? Especially guns that can kill twenty-one people– nineteen of them, innocent children– in a matter of minutes?

I love this man’s work, but wouldn’t it be much better if he could use his talents on something else? Children should NOT BE DYING in the numbers they currently are, all because of our “right to keep and bear arms”.

I would imagine that most of the parents of the children killed in Uvalde, Texas, last week, were good parents, doing the best they could. But being good parents didn’t save their children from a gun toting madman. Maybe Salvador Ramos should have had better parents, but he didn’t. Besides, plenty of people have had “bad parents” and not gone on shooting sprees. Simply having had bad parenting is NOT why people kill. I seem to remember Sue Klebold, Dylan Klebold’s mother, being, by all accounts, a good parent. I even saw her interviewed in a documentary, during which she described what it’s like to be the mother of a school shooter. She came across as a warm, caring, conscientious woman. But her son still teamed up with Eric Harris at Columbine High School in April 1999 to shoot and kill 15 people and injure 21 others. They certainly didn’t resort to that kind of horrific violence simply because their parents failed to raise them properly.

I have been living in Germany now for almost eight years. It was never our intention to live here for so long. In some ways, I miss “home”. I haven’t seen my family in a very long time. But I have to admit, I am very grateful that I can live in a safe country with “socialist” laws (eyeroll). Why? Because I never feel the need to worry about people like Salvador Ramos killing me while I’m out and about at the weekend market. I like that Europeans have more respect for communities as a whole, and I don’t agree that having the right to carry a gun makes me “freer”. I certainly don’t think that owning a pistol will save me from “government overreach”. Dammit, I’m really tired of reading the bullshit “thoughts and prayers” apologetics from ignorant conservative people who don’t see the forest for the trees. Guns are a huge problem. We really need to fix it.

And telling people they just need to be “better parents” is about as effective as pissing in the wind.

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