Shot for getting the wrong address - what is happening?

A Liberal Dose


 In about one week’s time, there have been FOUR national news stories about people making simple mistakes and being shot by paranoid people with guns. In St. Louis, a black teenager with a sterling reputation is sent to pick his little brothers up from a sleepover. He gets the address confused and rings the wrong person’s doorbell. The door is answered by an 85-year-old white man with a gun, who shoots the boy in the head then, as he is lying on the porch, opens the door and shoots him again. The boy manages to run away and goes to multiple neighbors seeking help, none of whom will open their door, until someone finally calls 911. He is alive now but missing brain tissue.

In Texas, a group of teenaged girls returning from cheerleading practice stopped at a convenience store… one of them accidentally got in the wrong car. She immediately got out and got into the car with her friends… but the driver of the car she’d accidentally gotten into, a 25-year-old Latino man, fired into the car as it left, shooting the girl in the back and leg.

In Upstate New York, a group of young people looking for a friend’s house got lost and pulled into the wrong driveway. As they were backing out, the 65-year-old homeowner came onto the porch and started shooting at the car, killing a 20-year-old young woman (everyone in this story, so far as I know, was white).

In Florida, two African-Americans making a grocery delivery for Instacart accidentally pulled into the driveway next door. The homeowner sent his 12-year-old out to tell them to get off his property. They started pulling out when the homeowner, hearing his son yelling, ran out with a gun and got close enough that the scared Instacart driver ran over his foot. The 45-year-old homeowner then fired three shots at the car. In this case, fortunately, the man’s foot was the only injury.

What the heck is going on in this country?

That is a valid question and one that needs addressing.

Some of these incidents may have had a racial component. In fact, St. Louis police have stated that to be the case. Maybe we should talk about the elements of our country’s history that make some white people feel inordinately threatened by the presence of a black person. But wait, I forgot, we’re in a red state and that is practically illegal. Our General Assembly is much more concerned with banning books, defunding libraries, and dictating how (or whether) teachers can talk about race.

Some of these cases have no racial component.  Some would say it calls for more gun control - but, in these cases, I don’t think that’s the issue. Three of the four cases involved homeowners with handguns to protect those homes, which I am foursquare in favor of, and not weapons of mass killing being deployed against the public. My conservative friends say it is not a gun issue, it is a people issue - and, in these cases, at least, I agree with them. But where does the sudden spike in paranoia come from? The St. Louis man’s own family says he has been increasingly radicalized by conservative media - and I’ve seen it happen to my own loved ones. People who never even owned guns in the prime of their life now, in their old age, afraid to go to the supermarket without three or four guns on them… because they are being lied to, over and over, about alleged “carnage in the streets.”  Case in point: recent news that our own local representative’s campaign is telling people the peaceful - ANTI-GUN - protesters in Nashville were arrested for having pipe bombs, a flat out lie. Lies like that are intended to stir up the base… but it is stirring them up in the wrong way, and the carnage talk becomes self-fulfilling.

--Troy D. Smith, a White County native, is a novelist and a history professor at Tennessee Tech. His words do not necessarily represent TTU.     


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  • JanetAshburnMusich

    There’s a simple answer to that question Troy. There are way too many people in this country that NEED JESUS!!! Not, just going to church on Sunday, but honest, soul searching, washed in the blood, following His words, praying for guidance, salvation, truth, and peace in their lives and heart.

    Thursday, April 27 Report this