The New York Times has a heartbreaking story about the police officers who responded to the Newtown,
Massachusetts Connecticut school shooting. Some of the officers are suffering from PTSD, and at least one hasn’t been able to return to work.
The stories also reveal the deep stress that lingers for officers who, until Dec. 14, had focused their energies on maintaining order in a low-crime corner of suburbia. Some can barely sleep. Little things can set off tears: a television show, a child’s laughter, even the piles of gifts the Police Department received from across the country.
One detective, who was driving with his wife and two sons, passed a roadside memorial on Route 25 two weeks after the shooting, and began sobbing uncontrollably. “I just lost it right there, I couldn’t even drive,” the detective, Jason Frank, said.
Some government hoax, huh? And Joe Nocera has compiled highlights of last week’s gun news, including a teenager who accidentally shot his two-year-old brother, an eleven-year-old girl shot (deliberately) in the face by her father, and a drunken man who shot and killed his own dog.
But that was just last week. If we google for news stories going back to the beginning of January, we find the South Carolina man who accidentally shot and killed his eight-year-old son while cleaning his gun; the Pennsylvania man who shot and killed his seven-year-old son when the gun in his car accidentally discharged; the Virginia man accidentally shot and killed by a juvenile relative who found a loaded gun on a table; the Kansas four-year-old who was shot and killed by a gun left on a table by a babysitter. It’s not clear if the toddler shot himself or if one of the other small children left unsupervised in the room set the gun off.
And I could go on and on; start to google for this stuff and there seems to be no end to it. Slate is keeping a running tally of gun deaths they can verify, but of course that’s not all of them. Most of these stories were covered only by local media and don’t pop up in national news coverage, so Slate asks people to send them links to the local stories to confirm that they happened.
If you google for recent news stories of citizens defending themselves with guns, you get a lot of hits, too. But many are of the same story that got covered a lot. Here’s the New York Daily News (turn sound off if you’re at work) covering the story of a Georgia mother with twin children who shot a home invader. That story got reported copiously all over the country. The Washington Post even seems to have snipped at the New York Times because the Times decided not to run a story about it.
There are other “citizen shoots burglar/home invader” stories from this January, many of which were widely reported. In some cases, though, it turned out the “invader” was not necessarily an invader. But the pattern appears to be that every time a citizen defends himself or herself with a gun, it gets on Fox News and is repeated in news outlets around the country. When the babysitter leaves a loaded gun on a table and a four-year-old dies, it’s local news.
BTW, there’s been another accidental shooting at a gun show. An Iowa gun dealer shot himself in the hand while testing a gun he didn’t think was loaded. Well, better his hand than a child’s head.