Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Certain Calibre of Individual

This is from an article by Peter Hermann in the Baltimore SUN of January 8. It tells of people who traditionally ring in the new year by firing guns in the air, paying no heed to where the bullets just might come down:

Robert M. Booze Sr. is a 68-year-old retired bakery worker who said he bought his Derringer about 25 years ago from a gun store on Broadway in Fells Point to "protect my home."

He hardly fits the stereotype of a Baltimore gunman, and the Derringer is hardly the gun of choice on the city's drug corners, though the company's Web page describes the gun as having "long stood as the ultimate full power concealable firearm." The site notes it is "the best little shooting iron to ride out of Texas."

Booze, released on bail, answered the door in sagging white painter's pants and no shirt. He was busy fixing the back door to his rowhouse on Norfolk Avenue, off Reisterstown Road in lower Park Heights, kicked in by police after they saw people fire guns in the backyard and run inside.

"We were just shooting in the air," Booze said, adding that he didn't think it was such a big deal that it required a half-dozen cops to raid his house.

"We were just celebrating the new year. It's how we do it in Baltimore." The house had pictures of grandchildren on the walls and plastic toys scattered about.

There were children home when the foursome began firing off their guns, Booze said, explaining, "They were inside. We were outside." Police said they found the Derringer in Booze's pants pocket, the .38 Rossi in a book bag, the Mossburg in a carry case and the 9 mm in a basement utility room.

In Baltimore, this is how we protect our homes. Just around midnight on New Year's Eve, we fire bullets indiscriminately to ...? I don't know why. It might be a hint that part of the thrill of gun ownership is the big bang theory - they like the noise.

But in the past I have railed about the folly of private gun ownership, only to be told by Second Amendment misinterpreters that we all have the right to own guns and nothing should be done until someone commits a crime with them.

So today I have to wonder why we, as a nation, spend billions of dollars, and more important, thousands of young lives chasing after people with "weapons of mass destruction." Aren't we supposed to wait until we're sure that one of these WMDs is going to be used in a crime? Don't get me wrong; I'm all for protecting this country..from without and from within! Who can oppose a plan to remove all these handguns from our streets? After all, they're only going to cause heartbreak somewhere.

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