A week of violence leads to York Daily Record editorial

The headlines last week were filled with news of gun violence.— Kwilson Coleman, accused of gunning down Gregory Wright in the 400 block of Prospect Street in York last Thanksgiving, was found guilty of first-degree murder.

Coleman, 18, was accused of shooting Wright after a confrontation about an alleged stolen cell phone. Wright had confronted a friend of Coleman’s about the alleged theft, and the shooting occurred after Wright pistol-whipped the man, according to testimony.

— Shannon Leroy Mayo Sr., 54, of the 500 block of South George Street, was charged with criminal homicide, accused of shooting and killing Donnell McIntyre outside his home Tuesday morning. Mayo claimed it was a case of self-defense as McIntyre tried to rob him. Police said the multiple shots fired and other circumstances led them to believe otherwise.

— John Houseman Jr., 45, of Red Lion was found shot in his car on East Boundary Avenue on Tuesday evening and later died at York Hospital. Police had not made an arrest in the case.

If all that violence makes you want to get a gun to protect yourself, you might think twice about that.

Thursday’s paper carried the story about the murder of a Lebanon woman who made national headlines last year for wearing a pistol on her hip at her daughter’s soccer game. She caused a stir by wearing a gun for protection at the youth soccer game, and her permit was revoked by the county sheriff, prompting a lawsuit and a lot of debate about Second Amendment rights.

Meleanie Hain was found dead in her home Wednesday evening, an apparent victim of a murder-suicide by her husband, a parole officer and former prison guard.

It’s a tragic story — especially since the couple’s young children were reportedly home during the incident.

And it suggests that guns are usually not the protection people hope they will be.

In far too many cases, people are shot by their own weapons — either accidentally or during domestic disputes or even as they are being robbed. Worse, children are too often able to get their hands on loaded weapons with tragic results.

And all this local gun violence comes in the wake of a new study released by a University of Pennsylvania professor that found people in possession of a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.

“This study helps resolve the long-standing debate about whether guns are protective or perilous,” said study author Charles C. Branas, associate professor of epidemiology. “Will possessing a firearm always safeguard against harm or will it promote a false sense of security?”

Probably the latter.

That’s not to say that people don’t have Second Amendment rights or shouldn’t be allowed to carry concealed weapons.

But if you do have guns, you should have the proper training to use them — particularly in stressful, threatening situations. More importantly, guns should always be locked up safely away from children.

And don’t fool yourself into believing that because you’re carrying a weapon, you’re invulnerable to criminals — or even your own friends or family members.

You’re not.

If this study is accurate, you are, statistically speaking, more at risk.”

York Daily Record link

Last week was a tragic week for the Hain family and the many people who knew them.  A man who was to be the protector, the husband, lover, father, shot and killed his wife because she had asked for a divorce. This story is tragic enough because domestic violence is so rampant in our society, but what makes it worse is that some people believe that Meleanie somehow brought this ending on herself or deserved a brutal death because she was a gun-rights activist.

We all know about Meleanie, the “gun toting soccer mom” as the media portrayed her, SHEFEARSNOTHING to those of us who were privileged with knowing her via the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association (PAFOA). Meleanie believed in her Second Amendment rights enough to go to court to defend those rights and become the focus of ridicule by not only the media, but of the anti-gun movement.

Now, in death, she is mourned by her friends and family, and even more ridiculed by people who have been quick to use her story as propaganda. In the first days following Meleanie’s death, many comments were posted on news websites by readers that believe she deserved to be shot just because she was a gun owner, some even celebrated her death. It disgusts me to no end.

Meleanie carried a gun to protect her family. None of us would ever expect that the biggest threat to our lives would come from within. Regardless of the fact that there were marital problems, I’m sure Meleanie didn’t fathom that her husband would ambush and kill her.

The main-stream media and anti-gun groups love to use statistics.

people in possession of a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.”
Aside from the fact that groups like the Brady Bunch intentionally misrepresent statistics, what they never point out is that guns are used by law-abiding citizens every day, to the tune of 2.5 million times a year, to deter crime. In 2006 there were 30,896 firearm related deaths. Out of that number 16,883 were suicides, I don’t count them a firearm related deaths because those people would have just found another way to end it.

We have 70-80 million firearm owners in this country with 14,013 dying from firearms other than suicides. If my math is right, that equals about 2 % of gun owners. By comparison, there are 62 mil vehicles in the US . There were 42,642 vehicle related fatalities (2006), that’s 6.85 % meaning you are three times more likely to die in or by your car then your gun.

Of course, many of the people killed by firearms each year aren’t gun owners (and many of them aren’t innocent) so the percentage is even lower, that’s why I don’t buy the 4-5 times more likely statistic. What I do know, from professionals I train with and people I meet who have been involved in a violent encounter, is that if you are unarmed or unwilling to defend yourself, your life has only the value your attacker desires. Either way you end up a statistic, I personally would rather be a live one.

RIP Meleanie.


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