Friday, October 8, 2010

Terrorism on our own soil

It appears the nightmare in the vicinity of Beecher, IL and Lowell, IN is finally over. The suspect pictured in an artist's rendering at left, has been caught. 

It is not over if you are a friend or family of the men who have been shot by a psycho shooter. My heart goes out to the people who have been harmed by this latest shooting rampage.

For anyone not invested in this tragedy who might be unaware of the events, the nightmare began to unfold Tuesday morning in the quiet, rural community outside of Beecher, IL, about 40 miles south of Chicago.

Some guy came up to three construction workers who were rehabbing a house in the country that had been damaged by fire. The stranger started chatting with them about raising honey bees. Nothing extraordinary here; that is what rural folks do. But this one pulled out a gun and shot one of the guys dead, critically injured another, while a third took off running for his life through the corn and bean fields.

Then the shooter apparently got into his pickup truck and headed east toward Indiana where he drove up to a farmhouse, spotted a farmer and began talking to him about honey bees. He then pulled out his weapon and shot him, three times in the arm and shoulder.

The man was on the loose until this morning, causing three days and four nights of terror for the families in the area, and one mother/grandmother in Arkansas. That would be me. I used to live in Beecher. I have family in Lowell. I'm grateful that everyone I care about is safe.

According to the news, this guy has been caught in Lynwood, IL, a few miles north of Beecher.

What disturbs me almost as much as the incident itself, is something that someone posted as a comment to the story. He said if everybody had a gun in his pocket they could have simply shot the psycho.

If that isn't backward thinking, I don't know what is. If this psycho didn't have a gun, none of this would have happened.

I'm sorry to tell all the professed gun lovers out there, but it is no longer good enough to wave the constitution in the faces of law-abiding citizens who don't happen to share your love of weaponry. When the constitution was written, our forefathers had no idea inkling of the kind of future technology that what create assault rifles or a .357 Magnums, cop-killer bullets, or a myriad other death machines. They probably didn't even envision shooting to kill on a whim.

I am not advocating anything, at this point, and I don't have all the answers, or even any of them, but isn't it time we start thinking about the number of innocents that are murdered and maimed by guns in this country?

These killing machines have nothing to do with hunting. Of all the people that harangue about protecting themselves with their guns, how many of them really have been used for protection? How many of those guns have gotten into the hands of children resulting in accidental deaths of siblings and friends? How many of those guns designed to protect have become weapons in domestic disturbances where husbands and/or wives shoot their spouse in a fit of anger? How many nut cases have gotten their hands on a weapon and gone to McDonalds or a college campus or an elementary school to do damage to human beings? How many suicides have been fast and easy because of access to a gun? How many accidental shootings are there?

Isn't this terrorism? Isn't this what we are supposedly fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and probably one day, in Pakistan? Citizens in our own country are being terrorized by crazy people with guns every day. Isn't it time we do something about terrorism in our own country, on our own soil, and in our own small towns?

Let's look at this incident in Beecher? Would my commenter friend advocate that construction carry a gun on the job, just in case a nut walks up to them? C'mon. Isn't it time for some rational thoughts on this subject. Too many people are dying. Too many people are injured. And too many people are tormented by the what-if's. There needs to be some kind of gun control.

Can't we at least start a rational conversation about this irrational activity?