The pain from the recent spate of court-related killings won’t be able to heal until some gun nut informs the country that if everyone could carry a firearm inside a courthouse, we wouldn’t have as many crazed defendants grabbing guns and shooting judges.Â I do hope this brave truth-teller speaks out soon, because it is high time for there to be more loaded weapons around criminals.Â After all, if guns were illegal, then only criminals would be able to shoot innocent court reporters in cold blood.
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 2013Â news story on the shooter.
As if we didn’t have it bad enough, what with permanent war, the soured economy, secret trials being conducted on American soil, and John Ashcroft swearing he didn’t go through my library books, now we have a new threat. I mean I’m already terrified to take the elevator at work every day, I’m opening my mail with salad tongs*, and now I have to worry about my family and me being shot at as we go about our daily lives.
Yes, the 270 shooter is on the loose. And I thought making my cute 670 T-shirt would be the highway news of the year. I think it will turn out to be some local yahoo, nobody important, some skinny white boy. If he has any flair for the dramatic, he’ll move down to I-275 for a day or two and try his luck there. Nothing like a roving, statewide shooting spree. To get better press, this shooter wouldn’t even have to kill anyone (else).
On Saturday, the story had already made Washington, D.C., local news, and is now a national event. I don’t tell you the news here, so I’m not going to talk about the details. I want to make a couple of points.
First of all, I couldn’t have asked for a better situation than this one to highlight the impact of the Statehouse Republicans’ push for Ohio residents to get the right to carry concealed weapons. If you didn’t know, certain House members have been pushing a bill for months to allow most anyone who can get a permit to be able to carry a gun in a pocket or a purse, and countless patriotic Americans have openly paraded their weapons around the Statehouse and the governor’s mansion to show the folly of the current law. And I fully agree with them. By passing this new bill and putting more guns on the street, we will definitely reduce gun crimes. After all, if criminals don’t know who has a gun, then they don’t know whom they can safely attack. And if the drivers of those 11 motor vehicles had been driving around with loaded guns, they would have been able to roll down their windows, steer and aim at 70mph, shoot back at that sniper, and kill him dead. And poor Gail Knisley would be alive today.
Secondly, a co-worker of mine told me today that Wal-Mart has stopped selling a violent video game in response to this string of shootings. I looked it up and it’s true — out of respect for the dead, the good old Wal-Mart on US 23 (25 miles away) has pulled Grand Theft Auto: Vice City from its shelves. I guess this is the least they could do since the game features simulated shootings and carjackings. Still for sale at Wal-Marts nationwide: guns.
* I stole this line from a Tina Fey interview in the New Yorker.Â :)
Updated in 2016: There was a 2013 news article updating this story. Moreover, Wal-Mart is back to selling Grand Theft Auto.