gila 300

Don’t Make it Easy

by Gila Hayes

Without jumping into the swirling maelstrom of supposition, opinion and misinformation about mass killing attacks committed with firearms, automobiles, arson, knives or any other murderous means, I think we best brace for more violence in 2023 as our government, entertainment, news media and social influencers beat the drums of tribalism, disenfranchisement and divisiveness. Because their most popular theory is that guns are responsible for all these evils, it is kind of hard to get an unbiased report on other mass killings of the past few years.

As armed citizens it is hard not to feel singled out for unwarranted hatred and scrutiny after a mass murder conducted with a firearm hits the news, be that the mass killings at schools or the Highland Park parade murders.

Forgotten are knife attacks, arsons, or instances in which madmen drove cars into crowds. Being unjustly singled out can make you want to block out any discussion of related concerns. “We didn’t cause that mass killing attack, and there is nothing we can do,” seems to be the reaction. Feeling helpless to affect any change leads to doing nothing, but in reverse, doing nothing only feeds the helplessness, so it is a bad whirlpool in which to get caught.

Know what? There is something you can do. You can make it hard for a deranged person to access your gun and commit an atrocity. You can make an iron-clad promise and do the work required to secure your firearms when you are not in direct control of them. Regular readers of our Network eJournal may remember last January’s analysis written for us by Art Joslin, J.D. entitled Holding Parents Responsible at which looked into the legal precedents for charging Jennifer and James Crumbley with involuntary manslaughter for failing to prevent their 15-year old son Ethan Crumbley from taking a gun they bought for him to the Oxford High School where he killed four children and wounded six students and a teacher.

News reports since have been in disagreement about whether or not the 15-year-old boy simply opened an unlocked drawer and took the gun with him to the school. His parents have been in police custody throughout 2022, charged with involuntary manslaughter for letting him have access to the pistol. That case raised an interesting question about parental duties and the related, additional responsibilities all of us must shoulder to keep firearms locked up when the guns are not under our immediate control. Don’t make it easy for a disturbed person to get their hands on a gun.

We need to learn from that family’s tragedy and not let a similar problem brew inside our own families. Guns that are not under the immediate control of a responsible adult have to be locked up. If we fail to do that, we risk the possibility of even more intrusive government intrusion masquerading as enforcement of “reasonable gun safety legislation.” We risk the specter of being required to prove that we have and use secure storage devices.

Freedom haters are relentless in legislation and lawsuits trying to restrict Second Amendment and other basic human rights. Please do not give them fuel for their destructive campaigns. Trying to assign responsibility to a third party, currently parents, but potentially even owners of stolen guns, is another tactic in that battle. Let’s not make it easy to convince the uninformed that it is reasonable to inspect armed citizens’ safe storage provisions.

I was reminded of the problems that come out of irresponsible parenting combined with making it easy for disturbed people to access firearms when I read at that the Lake County (Illinois) State’s Attorney wants to charge Robert E. Crimo, Jr., the father of the 21-year-old who shot down into an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, IL, where he killed seven people and wounded 45. The father is charged with seven counts of reckless conduct because he helped his son buy a rifle and get an IL Firearm Owners Identification card despite death threats his son had made toward family members.

The Lake County, IL prosecution raises even more interesting problems because while Crimo sponsored his son’s Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) application and helped him buy a rifle two years before the murders, the young man was 21 when he killed the parade goers last Independence Day.

This edition of our eJournal comes out at the start of a new year. Take some “thinkin’ time” alone, honestly assess how well you’re doing and what more you can do to keep from making it easy for someone to take a gun and kill innocent people with it. Assess what you can do to keep that kind of a situation from being an illustrative case that convinces uninformed people to vote for restrictions on your rights to have weapons for self defense.

Back to Front Page