Editorial: ‘Armed society’ not particularly safe

From the Charleston Gazette:

In Texas last week, an enraged ex-husband went to his sister-in-law’s home, tied up parents and five children, forced them to lie face-down, and shot all seven in the back of the head. Six died and a teen daughter survived.

In gun-polluted America, pistols are easily obtained by anyone, including wife-abusers who aren’t supposed to have them.

Right-to-bear-arms advocates often recite a Robert Heinlein quote, “An armed society is a polite society,” meaning that people grow silent and apprehensive when deadly weapons are present.

But this slogan becomes a sick joke if you consider that America’s armed society produces hundreds of shootings and pistol murders daily. What’s “polite” about the endless parade of slaughter in the gun-saturated U.S. culture?

Do residents of Isla Vista, California, feel that their town is “polite” after a deranged son of a movie producer went on a killing spree — leaving Facebook videos saying he did it because girls wouldn’t date him?

Do Myrtle Beach folks think the resort is “polite” after a gunbattle killed three at the classy Bermuda Sands hotel?

Here’s a close-to-home example: A thoroughly armed society exists in a drug-infested neighborhood on Charleston’s West Side — and there’s nothing polite about it. Numerous young men there go armed to kill — and they kill repeatedly, impolitely.

Recently, 19-year-old Tymel McKinney died of a fusillade of bullets in the face as he sat on his porch with friends. The alleged shooter, 18-year-old Darrell Emmett “D.J.” Carter of South Charleston, was hauled to jail.

Police Chief Brent Webster told a gathering of worried residents that Carter had been involved in four out of seven West Side shootings in March and April. Seven shootings in two months certainly isn’t a “polite society.”

As police reporter Travis Crum related, the mother of shooting victim McKinney asked why Carter hadn’t been in jail, after three previous shootings. If he had been locked away, her son wouldn’t have been murdered. But complications caused previous charges to be dropped, and the teen rejoined the armed society on the streets.

America’s gun murder toll is far worse than the rate in other modern democracies. Foreign nations wouldn’t tolerate the daily bloodshed that kills thousands of Americans yearly. Why does America tolerate it? Because timid U.S. politicians fear that they’ll lose gun-lover votes if they try to reduce the gun carnage.

For example, the 2014 Legislature made it easier for pistol permit holders to buy more guns easily, without waiting 10 minutes for a telephone background check of criminal and psychiatric records.

We don’t object to gun ownership by law-abiding people — but it’s clear that crime-infested neighborhoods are rampant examples of an armed society, mostly illegal. Next time you hear a pistol-carrying advocate declare that “an armed society is a polite society,” try not to burst into derisive laughter.

Read more opinions at: http://www.wvgazette.com

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