Just a collection of the this week’s reminders about the impact of our insane gun culture in the United States:
Louisiana: A 5-year-old girl died Sunday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while playing with a gun inside her New Orleans home.
Maryland: A man shot a passing cyclist Saturday night in Herndon when the gun he was loading accidentally fired, police said.
California: A California woman suspected in the shooting death of her longtime girlfriend was fatally shot by police over the weekend after she pulled a gun on the officers as they were on routine patrol in an alley in Santa Ana.
California: A San Diego man has been arrested on three felony charges in connection with the accidental shooting death of a 10-year-old boy, officials said. Eric Klyaz was killed June 4 when he and a 9-year-old neighbor were playing with a gun they found in the girl’s garage and the weapon discharged, according to the county medical examiner.
Idaho: An off-duty Jerome County sheriff’s deputy got a scare last week when a friend’s gun accidentally discharged. Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall said deputy Anthony Gratzer did not need hospital treatment when shrapnel hit him.
Indiana: A 12-year-old Scipio boy has died from head injuries sustained during an accidental shooting.
Tennessee: A Kingsport Highway man who accidentally shot himself in the chest about 10:30 p.m. Saturday was listed this morning in critical condition in Johnson City Medical Center.
Ohio: A 9-year-old northeastern Ohio boy was looking at a gun with his teenage cousin when the firearm went off and killed him in an apparent accident.
And Michigan with the worst example. A self-proclaimed defender of the Second Amendment, the type who parades around town with his shotgun trying to get attention, murdered his wife before killing himself:
The latter point was emphatically made in a YouTube video posted in October by Pratt, which shows him being stopped by Plainwell police while carrying a shotgun down a sidewalk.
“Just exercising my rights,” Pratt tells the officers, who include Cassie’s father.
“You’re right you can do it, but common sense says you don’t do it,” an officer retorts.
In a chilling premonition of Monday’s murder-suicide, one of the officers warns Pratt that an argument involving guns “could end up as a double homicide.”
Professors Lucinda Finley and John Culhane offer one step we can take to at least mitigate the harm of guns in our society, given our apparent unwillingness to regulate them. Make gun owners and manufacturers pay:
But there is a simple and direct way to make them accountable for the harm their products cause. For every gun sold, those who manufacture or import it should pay a tax. The money should then be used to create a compensation fund for innocent victims of gun violence.
This proposal is based on a fundamentally conservative principle — that those who cause injury should be made to “internalize” the cost of their activity by paying for it. Now, gun manufacturers and sellers are mostly protected from lawsuits by federal law.