Monday, July 2, 2012

Culture of guns leads to tragic consequences

Young people make a lot of dumb decisions that get them into trouble. That has been going on forever. But years ago, youthful indiscretion -- vandalizing property, stealing someone's cap or getting into a fistfight -- typically resulted in maybe a few days in jail or getting kicked out of school.
But nowadays, teens and young adults often carry a gun (or nearly as bad, a knife) and when trouble starts, they pull it out. That ends up in a crime that will cost them years or decades in prison. Not to mention the lives they damage or destroy along the way.
Case in point, the shooting at the Mount Clemens fireworks show Friday night. Demitrus Ludaway made a stupid decision to grab another guy's apparently expensive sunglasses from his head immediately after the show, outside the Stars & Stripes Festival, according to police. The guy tried to get them  back, so Ludaway made an expodential stupid decision -- he shot him in the leg, police say. His gun was unregistered, police say.
Ludaway, 18, who graduated from high school only weeks ago, now faces two life felonies and a felony that carries an automatic two years in prison.
A fresh graduates' hopes vanish in seconds.
The victim, a 19-year-old, experienced the immediate physical and emotional pain that will probably last the rest of  his life.
Why was Ludaway carrying a gun in the first place? Protection? To be cool? To plan a robbery? Whatever the reason, his alleged actions seem to be part of a growing culture of guns.
Without the gun, the incident may have been and fight and not a shooting, and probably wouldn't have been reported and at worst would have been a minor felony, probably no incarceration.
It doesn't help when the Stars & Stripes Festival allows a booth to sell water handguns, rifles and machine guns that mimicked the real things. I was shocked when I saw that. What are the organizers thinking?  Talk about a stupid decision -- promoting the culture of guns at a festival that in part caters to families.
One colleague said he heard a mother at the festival advising a group of teens to stay out of trouble before she unleashed them in the festival. One kid told his mom he was a good boy and left his gun in the car, like I would tell someone I left my jacket in the car.
I understand we have a Second Amendment. People have a right to protect themselves. People should be able to hunt. But did our Forefathers imagine this? I don't think so.


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