It was not a good week to work for the right to carry a concealed weapon in churches, schools and public areas.
It was not a good week to work for the right to buy more than one firearm a month.
After previous mass shootings — the Wisconsin church killings of 7 in 2005, the Salt Lake City and Omaha mall killings of 13 in 2007, Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois University killings of 5 last year — the public would listen to the gun lobby dogma that we need more guns not less and teachers, church goers and shoppers should be armed.
Not this time.
After a week of mass gunmen and massacres, no one wants to hear the gun lobby’s OK Corralspeak in which we good guys have to arm against the bad guys — at least until the 50 plus funerals are over.
The problem is that gun “enthusiasts” like Michael McLendon and Bruce Jeffrey “Santa Claus” Pardo are increasingly becoming the gun lobby’s poster boys.
McLendon killed his mother, grandmother, uncle, two cousins and the wife and toddler daughter of a sheriff’s deputy in Samson, Alabama, setting fire to his mother’s home and killing her dogs in last week.
Pardo killed his e-wife and her family and burned their house down in Covina, California on Christmas Eve, dressed in a jolly red suit, last year.
Both were exemplars of the right to buy more than one weapon a month which the gun lobby strongly defends.
McLendon had a cache of an M-16, an AK-47, a shotgun, two pistols and a “great amount of ammunition.” Pardo had five semi-automatic handguns and two shotguns.
Even Terry Sedlacek who shot and killed a pastor through the Bible he held at a church service in Maryville, Illinois last week and is being held at an Edwardsville jail was in the gray area — being an “avid hunter” but having no state firearms-owner identification, say news reports.
And recently another image problem is plaguing the gun lobby besides gun-collecting, family-killing arsonists. Child killers with “skills” mentored through youth hunter programs!
While the first reports of 11-year-old Jordan Brown of Wampum, Pennsylvania who shot and killed his father’s pregnant fiancée Benzie Houk in February said the child was jealous over the new sibling that was coming, later reports revealed that Dad himself had given the boy the 20-gauge shotgun and taught him to kill living things. Oops.
Even Houk had encouraged bloodsports for the 11-year-old said press reports — the same age Alabama killer Michael McLendon started hunting — which called the family “hunting enthusiasts.”
Like many states, Pennsylvania has NRA backed “mentored youth hunting programs” encouraging children under 12 to hunt with adults so hunting — and the revenue it brings to the state in licenses — doesn’t die out. In some states children as young as eight are encouraged to shoot tame pheasants the state has hatched and grown at taxpayer expense. Hey, it’s not violent video games.
Remember the eight-year-old St. Johns, Arizona boy, now nine, who shot and killed his father, Vincent Romero, and Timothy Romans with a .22-caliber rifle last year? He was also a budding hunter being trained by his father on prairie dogs say press reports.
Three days after the murder of Rev. Fred Winters of First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois, a group of gun owners in yellow T-shirts gathered outside the Illinois Statehouse hoping to visit with legislators and chanting “Concealed Carry Now.”
Referring to pending Illinois laws that would limit who can sell a gun and how many people can buy, Todd Vandermyde, an NRA lobbyist, said: “We’re not just going to lay down and take this stuff.”
Some of the recent gun victims would have said the same thing.