Friday, January 19, 2018
Opinion

Florida gun owners proving armed is dangerous

Too many guns. How many is too much? Well, we might start with the nameless half-wit somewhere in Ruskin last weekend who thought it would be fun to shoot off some celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve.

A 12-year-old boy, Diego Duran, was on the bloody receiving end of all the revelry. Duran, a popular student at Beth Shields Middle School, was simply trying to enjoy the New Year's fireworks with his family until the errant bullet struck the top of his head.

The devastating shot could have come from as far as several miles away. The goober shooter might not even know what he or she did. But the Duran family sure knows.

Gravity. It is a fundamental law of nature that what goes up, eventually comes down. How could anyone discharge a weapon into the sky without at least a moment's pause that a bullet could well take a potentially deadly human toll?

Was the shooter drunk? Well, it was New Year's Eve. Or just dumber than a sack of shell casings? There certainly is a case to be made for that argument. Who knows?

What we do know is a family has been forever changed, all because of someone else's rank indifference to public safety. Nothing much good ever results from stupidity wrapped around a trigger.

Yet Florida and the rest of the nation remain awash in guns, with too many of them in the creepy hands of people who treat firearms as if they were a toy.

Forget all the self-righteous Second Amendment/Charlton Heston/NRA palaver for the moment. Does anyone honestly believe for a second that whoever discharged that weapon last weekend has any remote right to own and possess a firearm of any kind?

No, they do not.

The problem, of course, is the ready accessibility to weapons in our society. In Florida alone, the state has issued a total of 878,174 concealed weapons permits as of Nov. 30. And that figure doesn't count the rifles, the assault weapons, the firearms exchanged at gun shows and between private parties. We are Tripoli on steroids.

The NRA can always be counted on to argue against almost any form of gun control, based on the specious predicate that responsible owners of firearms should not have their ability to possess weapons intruded upon by the dark forces of government. Tell that to the Duran family.

How responsible was the New Year's Eve shooter?

Let's assume for the moment the mystery gunman was an NRA member and an upstanding pillar of the community. Up until the moment he or she pulled that trigger, they were indeed "responsible" members of society, as is every spouse that shoots their significant other, or the neighbor that settles a dispute at the end of a barrel.

Or perhaps the shooter was some low-life, perhaps a gang member, who had no problem acquiring their weapon — no problem at all.

We know nearly a million Floridians feel they need to be Rambofied just to run to the convenience store for milk. And we know there are bad guys out there plotting evil-doing.

But it is a sadly pathetic commentary on the craziness of our gun culture when a 12-year-old boy can't stand in his own Ruskin family's yard to simply enjoy the ringing in of a new year without winding up with a bullet in his head all because of some trigger-happy oaf.

Too many guns. So little common sense.

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