Now we can breathe

So, they arrested our highway shooter suspect. (I want to say “the sniper,” but I always felt like the sheriffs never really wanted us to use that term. Maybe some opportunist cop will have a book coming out with “highway shooter” in the title.) I personally never worried too much, except for one very recent trip back to the city on I-70. I hope that justice will be served and that we might be able to make some sense of this awful experience.

Now, for the usual round of complaints and cynicism! There was certainly some bad reporting coming out of this thing. In yet another Times slight to Ohio geography, repeated articles stated that I-270 carried 77,000 vehicles a day and “most truckers and suburban commuters must use it.” The traffic count is low; the statement is inaccurate. It makes us look like a piddly little town if we only have 77,000 vehicles on the “must-use” freeway. At least the Times didn’t identify it as “two and a half hours south of Cleveland” the way they referred to New Albany a few years ago.

I’d like to turn my attentions to the father of the alleged shooter. According to the papers, he took guns and ammunition away from his son in the middle of February, but didn’t show them to the police until March 12th. Let’s think about this… Your son is a “paranoid schizophrenic” who told you not to use electrical appliances because they allowed the government to spy on him. His girlfriend believed cameras were in the walls. There were at least 24 shootings, centered on the south side. You live on the south side. You took away four of his guns, for some reason, can’t imagine why that would be, and then you waited a month to tip off the cops? Thanks, dad! I don’t care how much you would want to protect your kid (and he definitely needs help — and will need protection from some of the victims): not sharing this evidence was grossly irresponsible.

In another disturbing story, the Dispatch commented on the fact that McCoy Jr.’s mental illness wouldn’t have prevented him from getting a gun. Not only did he not have a court finding against him, even if he did, Ohio is not one of the 17 states that electronically captures these judgments. The story failed to mention the gun-show loophole, which would have allowed McCoy to buy a used weapon with absolutely no background check. Now, having come through this experience as a community, with weeks and weeks of citizens worrying about being targets, with over four thousand leads coming in on the tip line, you would think we would be a little more interested in protecting ourselves from gun violence. Is it so much to ask that, at a minimum, we try not to give the mentally ill legal ways to buy weapons? I’d like to believe we’ll be a little more cautious in the future. I won’t wish too hard.

And finally, I’ll be checking up on that Wal-Mart from a previous entry, to see if they’re going to resume selling that scary video game, or if they’re still selling, you know, guns.

In other news: in my online poll on whether vacuumed ants can escape, there were three votes for “no,” one vote for “yes,” and one non-countable vote linking to a site recommending to vacuum the ants but to plug the hose afterward. (Sorry, but I can’t plug the hose, so that didn’t answer the question.) However, careful observation of my now only slightly infested kitchen shows that vacuuming was indeed a success.

Updated in 2016: Here is a 2013 news story on the shooter.

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