Monday, August 09, 2004

Endangering our rights

Though I don't own a firearm, I am a full supporter of the Second Amendment. I believe that an armed populace is a safe populace. But, with the right to bear arms, you have the responsibility to do so safely and properly. Unlike this dumb-ass:

BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) — Drew Patterson wanted to protect himself after hearing reports of a fugitive in this northeastern Oklahoma community.

He didn't think he would nursing a sore rear end.

Patterson's .22-caliber pistol, hooked into the waistband of his denim shorts with the hammer pulled back, apparently fired, hitting Patterson in the left buttock Wednesday afternoon.

Patterson, 27, said he suffered "one of my most embarrassing moments" when his gun fired.

"At first, I didn't feel anything at all," said Patterson, who talked readily about the incident Thursday at his parents' Bristow home.

"Then about 30 seconds later, I felt that burning, stinging," he said.

He felt something warm trickling down his left leg and found an exit wound.

Patterson said he walked into his parents' home and said, "Mom, I did something bad."

Law enforcement officers, searching for an escaped inmate who ran from a Bristow courtroom Wednesday, stopped their hunt when Patterson's gunshot wound was reported.

The inmate was still at large Thursday.

"I had good intentions, but I screwed the whole thing up," Patterson said.

Patterson said he was told to keep walking to avoid complications as the wound healed.

"It hurts fiercely now," he said while walking slowly and gingerly.

So in case you want a summary, here it is. This human popsicle stick was walking around with a loaded and COCKED handgun in the back of his pants. Why? Because a random fugitive had escaped from a courtroom. It went off (no!) and the resulting wound caused the police to call off a search for said fugitive because when the wound was called in, they thought Patterson was him.

So not only did he wound himself, and not only did he deal a blow to the image of responsible handgun owners everywhere, but his actions allowed a fugitive to stay at large.

All because he couldn't properly handle a firearm. And now somewhere, there are gun-control fans going "See! Guns are dangerous. People can't be trusted with them."

No, Drew Patterson can't be trusted with them. Drew Patterson is a moron and shouldn't be allowed to handle a fork, let alone a handgun.

This is typical of a problem we face in society today. Everyone talks about their rights. Rights to privacy, rights to bear arms, rights to do this and that. And I support pretty much all of them. But no one ever cares to acknowledge the REPSONSIBILITIES that come with them. Such as taking handgun training, always having the safety on unless you are going to use it in the next three seconds, and not shoving it into your pants.

Because when we are not responsible with our rights, we give those who would limit them encouragement to do so. As another example, I am pro-choice. But I cringed when I read a story by a woman in the New York Times named Amy Richards. She chose to abort two of three fetuses she was carrying. And why? Not because she was in danger for her life. Not because she wouldn't have been able to give them a solid home (she is married). Not because she was ill-equipped to be a mother (after all, she kept the third.) No, she did it because she didn't want to "have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise."

Hey, thanks Amy! You just gave a fair amount of ammunition to anti-choice zealots who will now use your story as a reason to ban abortion alltogether. In addition, many people who are on the fence over the issue will be so disgusted by your callous reasoning that they'll probably also become anti-choice.

The vast, vast, VAST majority of women do not callously approach this choice. They agonize and cry over it, coming to this decision with the heaviest of hearts. They understand what the responsibilities are in exercising their right to choose on abortion.

The vast, vast, VAST majority of gun owners understand these instruments can kill. They take classes, use trigger locks and always secure their firearms safely.

But all it takes is one woman who treats it like a hair appointment, and all of a sudden that right can hang on a razor's edge.

All it takes is one guy to place a loaded gun in his waistband and have it go off, and that right can all of a sudden be questioned.

People need to stop thinking so much about exercising their rights, and start exercising the responsibilities that go along with them. Otherwise, we may find ourselves on the verge of losing those rights alltogether.

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