by Patrick H. Moore
One of the delicate and sometimes troubling issues I face running All Things Crime Blog is the extremely outspoken — if not over the top — nature of some of the responses we get from some of our readers. For example, every few weeks I receive a truly dark example of hate mail from a KKK type. It’s a canned diatribe loaded with the most appalling type of racial invective which I believe he pastes into the “Comments” box of whatever post he is attacking. It’s scary stuff and although I like to think that I don’t scare easy, it’s hard not to be somewhat concerned. When I receive the “hate” comments I simply hit the trash button and try to pretend it didn’t happen. But, of course, I know it did.
There’s a second type of comment that comes from people who think “they have it all figured out”; that is, they believe that they can take a complex issue such as “gun control and murder” and dispense with it definitively in a few words. For example, if I mention that such-and-such a murder might not have occurred was it not for the easy accessibility of firearms, this type of reader will get their back up. This happened just this morning on Facebook in response to the post: “American Gun Culture Ripped by Australian Deputy Prime Minister”. The comment took umbrage (and as I read it I could almost feel the venom spewing forth) with the notion of a “corrupt gun culture” and substituted “a corrupt generation of human beings.” It insisted that murderous young people would complete their mayhem whether or not they had access to guns and that “guns don’t kill people,” “people kill people,” that it was wrong and inaccurate to “scapegoat guns”, and finally that “the human race is depraved.”
This is some pretty virulent stuff. “The human race is depraved.” Straight out of the Old Testament.
Now it’s certainly true that some killers would kill with alacrity whether or not they had a trigger to squeeze but I do believe that many other murders would not occur without easy access to guns. Saturday’s mass shooting/murder, perpetrated by 72-year old Hubert Allen, Jr. in northern Florida is a good example of murders that — in my opinion — would not have happened if Allen hadn’t had firearms handy.
Stephanie Gallman of CNN reports:
Sheriff Jerry Whitehead told CNN affiliate WJXT that the Lake Butler “community is in shock,” after 72-year-old Hubert Allen Jr. allegedly went on a shooting spree, killing his longtime boss, Marvin Pritchett, 80, and a former co-worker Rolando Gonzalez-Delgado, 28.
Two other men were shot and wounded.
Whitehead has known Allen for 40 years, and stated that he’d just talked to him just last week.
According to statements made by a law enforcement source who allegedly knows the participants well, Allen had an argument with Pritchett earlier in the week. Although Allen was retired from Prichett’s trucking company, Prichett Trucking Inc, he was apparently still involved in some undefined capacity and still interacted with Prichett on a regular basis.
The shootings are alleged to have occurred in the following order, according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office:
Allen first went to a Lake Butler farm owned by Pritchett, where he fatally shot Gonzalez-Delgado. He then located, shot and killed Pritchett, after which he confronted another former colleague, 66-year-old Lewis “Buddy” Mabrey Jr.. who was driving a farm tractor. The men exchanged words and then Allen shot him, striking him in the left arm and side.
Allen then traveled to Pritchett Trucking Inc. and shot a third co-worker, 44-year old David Griffis, in the stomach. Griffis was rushed to the hospital for immediate surgery and was in critical condition.
Allen then allegedly left the crime scene, returned home and shot and killed himself. The Police believe Allen acted alone in these shootings, but they continue to investigate the “heinous crimes.”
* * * * *
Hubert Allen, Jr. was 72 years old. It seems highly unlikely that he would have committed all of this mayhem had he not had the firepower to do so quickly and conveniently. Therein, lies the problem. The ready accessibility to firearms makes it entirely too easy for an enraged individual to impulsively “mow down” perceived enemies in response to some slight, real or imagined. In the case of Allen, given his age, it would have been no easy task for him to destroy two, and possibly three lives, simply because he was pissed off. Let’s face it, folks; in many instances, guns seem to bring out the worst in human nature.
I don’t believe, however, that as a group, “the human race is depraved.” Do we have problems? Yes. Do I have solutions? Hmmmm… For starters, how about getting rid of all those damned guns?
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