Guns and shovels

ShovelUnless you have been living under a rock, you know about the snow storm that hit the east coast last week-end. Millions of people were left to clear snow from their sidewalks and hope the plow didn’t come by while they were clearing snow from their cars. As a northern Minnesota person, I know about this. Shoveling is back breaking.

Once, many years ago, we got stuck on the remote Gunflint Trail near Grand Marais, Minnesota. during an unexpected snow storm. We went to cross country ski and enjoy my parents’ small cabin on a remote lake near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It was a great get-away from our (then) small daughter who was left behind with her grandma. But when the time came to go home, we faced some difficult driving conditions and the snow was drifted up on the cabin road where a long lake abutted the road. We got stuck in a snow drift and did not have a shovel. There happened to be a rustic home around the corner and so we walked there and knocked on the door. No one was home and we noticed a shovel outside of the front door.

So we took the shovel to get out of that drift and intended to bring it back to the house. But the driving was so bad that we had to drive a ways down the road and keep going. we hoped the owners would find the shovel standing up on the side of the road where we left it. I have a vivid memory of that trip.

But now, I guess “borrowing” a shovel can be dangerous as it was for this man in New Jersey after the snow storm. From the article:

Newark police say a man told them he found the shovel on the sidewalk on Sunday and was using it to clear an elderly neighbor’s walkway after a major snowstorm when the woman accused him of stealing her shovel.

The man returned the shovel. He was later walking when he said he was approached by the woman and several males and one of the males shot him in the buttocks on orders from the woman.

So why in the world would using a shovel to clear someone’s driveway promote the anger that this woman felt? Without that gun, what would have happened instead? No one would have been shot and injured for sure. Maybe an argument. Guns make arguments dangerous. And where are the “law abiding” gun owners who are responsible with their loaded guns? Is there enough common sense out there for gun owners like this woman to restrain themselves and put the gun away? If you read this blog, you know how often I write about incidents like this one.

Why should we have incidents like this one? We shouldn’t, period. When a gun is available and easily accessible it may be used to harm someone. What is it about the risk of loaded guns that some “law abiding” gun owners don’t understand? Have they been led to believe that a loaded gun will protect them from shadows and terrorists lurking in every corner so their fear causes them to stop thinking about a gun as a deadly weapon designed to kill someone? Or do they think it’s simply OK to shoot someone if they insult you or borrow something or have too much to drink and lose judgement? It’s really hard to wrap one’s head around this lunacy. As long as some people buy the ideas of the corporate gun lobby we will continue to read about these stupid and dangerous incidents in our media.

We have had #enough of this. It’s time to change that conversation about guns and gun violence and get to work to do something sensible about it. There are just plain no excuses for this kind of behavior. Let’s get to work.