Stray Bullets

Yesterday’s paper carried the sad story about the tragic death of a 12-year-old girl who was inside her family’s Long Island home when a stray bullet entered – and killed her. This is not the first such story. What are your feelings about the use of guns and of gun control?   Do you feel that it’s not such a big issue where you live, so that you don’t have to be concerned? Or have a voice in this issue?

flowers_5Let’s take a look at a nice peaceful senior community in West Palm Beach, Florida. The community is gated, as are most Florida communities. The evenings tend to be fairly quiet. Security there is pretty good:  Large dogs, i.e. dogs that weigh more than 30 lbs., are not allowed in, unless they’re with somebody visiting for no more than one day. The powers that be are committed to keeping large dogs OUT! I’m not sure they’re policy on guns and handguns, however. But this is Florida. It’s probably easier to get a gun into the community than to get a Labrador Retriever in.

That said, canals of water separate the senior community from other land.  Lest anybody think of swimming or walking across these canals, alligators live in the channels. Real alligators. Unless you’re a duck or a turtle, you’ll have a hard time getting across the canal.

To one side of this senior community and separated by a canal, is another gated community. There are condo units there, and a large parking lot where, on a New Year’s Eve, somebody who lives there, or who is visiting a resident, decides to “celebrate” by shooting off his firearm.

The person is not shooting straight up into the air – apparently.

In the nice gated senior community where a large dog can’t even live, a bullet has pierced through a window in the patio, shattered it, sails across the room, right over the dining table, and lands in a utility closet where it goes through the closet door and hits a concrete wall. It ricochets off the concrete wall and stops when it hits the concrete floor. This patio is OUR patio in our condo and this table is our table where we sit and eat.

We are not home at that moment, but we soon find shattered glass on the floor, and a broken window. The person who examines the window, having worked in security for some time, recognizes the pattern as that of a bullet hole. He follows the trajectory, which is slightly below shoulder level, to the opposite wall, opens the storage cabinet and finds a lone bullet. The person who shot the gun aimed straight across.

The path of the bullet is too high to kill a Labrador Retriever, but it’s a perfect height to pierce our skull or hit a major artery in the neck or puncture a lung, depending on whether we’re standing up or sitting down.

The police interview some people from the condo across the canal. Nobody knows anything, of course. The police cannot trace the bullet. The case dead ends.

I fail to see how everybody owning a firearm – which is what the gun lobby recommends – would protect us, would have protected us, in this situation.

I fail to see the same for a little 12-year old girl in Long Island, now dead.

looking in_2
I have a great idea. Maybe the gun lobbyists should all get Labrador Retrievers – and forget about their guns. I’m sure they’d all have a much better time!


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