One night a few years ago, Chris was out of town at a band function, and Miss Goose and I were in the living room each engaged in “doing our own thing”, when the front door opened, and a man walked in. He was as startled as we were, for he thought he was entering his daughter’s apartment, so imagine his surprise to be greeted by my “WTF”! It was an honest mistake, for this is a complex of some 200 attached townhomes and they all look exactly the same. We all did an embarrassing chuckle, he apologized and left to find his daughter’s apartment, and we remembered to lock the door thereafter (though we still sometimes forget).
A similar mistake happened in Texas this week, only this one turned deadly. Amber Guyger is a four-year veteran of the Dallas, Texas, police force. Ms. Guyger had just gotten off duty and was returning home, but perhaps tired or distracted, she entered the wrong apartment.But instead of doing what our ‘intruder’ did, apologizing and leaving to find the correct apartment, Ms. Guyger pulled her gun and shot the resident of the apartment, Mr. Botham Shem Jean. Only in America, I think, is the first response to a difficult situation to shoot first and ask questions later. But oops … it’s rather difficult to ask questions of a dead man, isn’t it? Mr. Jean, a 26-year-old accountant, died at the hospital a short time later.
Daughter Chris is fond of all things British, and as such when she is home on weekends usually has some British television show on … not necessarily watching it … but it’s on. I happened to glance up earlier this morning as she was watching a British police show, Scott & Bailey. In that episode, a female with an ax to grind against a female police detective, ambushed the female detective and wrested her into a car, using … a kitchen knife. Not a gun. In the U.S., it would have been a gun, and likely the show would not have had the same ending as it did – the detective survived uninjured.
Gun advocates, of whom there are many in this country, argue that people are killed with knives, baseball bats and other implements as well. I agree, however it is not a valid argument, for I can survive a knife wound or a bonk on the head with a baseball bat. I cannot likely survive a gunshot wound. What if the man who had entered my home had a gun in his waistband? Or what if I had one on the table next to where I was working? Would he have shot me or I, him?
I could offer many more examples of people dying because of a hasty decision when a gun was all too handy, but I won’t bother, for you’ve all heard them before. The United States is the only nation on the globe where a gun is considered as necessary as a pencil or a pair of shoes. Want to “make America great”? Stand up to the NRA and the gun lobbyists. Rally for more gun laws and fewer guns in the hands of people who are, after all, only human and don’t always think before acting. Granted, Ms. Guyger was a police officer, entitled to carry a gun, but why did she still have it on her person after going off-duty? And why, for Pete’s sake, did she instinctively fire her gun before looking around and realizing she wasn’t in her own home after all?
It is time for the U.S. to use some common sense. In the current climate of political discord leading to a divisiveness such as has not been seen in this country since the end of the Civil War, the last thing we need is for people to be on the streets carrying firearms. But yes, I realize my pleas will fall on deaf ears and by this time next year, nothing will have changed except thousands more people will be dead … some for no reason other than that they were in their own home, minding their own business. Or in school, trying to get an education. Think about it.