It’s been a very difficult month so far in my area due to gun-related crimes and shootings.
So far this month there have been six armed robberies here, bringing the total to 11 this year – all using guns, of course, as most armed robberies do. Though at least a couple are tied to the same robber, there’s currently no evidence to suggest the others are related. It’s hard to get good data of robberies that involve guns, using the city’s online statistics, but I watch the newspaper and online news reports carefully for my area. This is a huge up-tick in armed robberies for this area, given that there were only two that I can find in all of last year (resulting in what was deemed a self-defense shooting but which may have actually been a drug deal gone wrong). Luckily none of these recent robberies have resulted in injuries or deaths, and none of those who were held up tried to pull a gun of their own (since possessing a gun increases the chance of dying in a gun-related assault, and seeing a gun increases aggression). And how do these criminals get guns, anyway? In Oregon, they can buy from any private seller without the need for a background check, paperwork of any kind, or even showing ID.
Also this month, there was a suicide in Coburg, on the northern edge of Eugene, where a man shot himself to death in a car outside his business. I wonder if the family and friends of this man knew he was suicidal, and if they knew he owned a gun. Most suicides go unreported unless they are public, like this one. So far this year there have been four reported suicides (including two that were murder/suicides). In all of last year there were only two reported here.
And then in Springfield, a man who is a (legal) medical marijuana grower and his friend had been “on the town” when they returned the grower’s apartment. The friend left, but quickly realized he had left his keys in the grower’s car. After banging on the door and getting no answer, the friend helped himself inside through a side door or window. The grower mistook him for someone trying to rob him of his marijuana plants and shot him twice in the leg. The article didn’t say if either of them was under the influence of anything at the time of the shooting, but I think you know my feelings on the idea of medical marijuana users, or anyone under the influence of mind-altering compounds, possessing guns. Though, like suicides, accidental shootings are not always reported, but this makes the third accidental shooting reported this year. There were none reported in all of 2010 and 2009 in my area. Luckily the friend was not killed.
So far this year there have been 12 shootings, already matching the record set last year , and 9 shooting deaths, also matching last year. Shootings tend to have a marked increase in the last few months of the year here, so we are certain to break records this year.
Let’s hope this is the end of this month’s shootings and gun crimes. It’s time to bring some common sense legislation to Oregon’s lax gun laws.