4/20/2011: Anchorage woman fatally shoots roommate

One Response

  1. A sad story.

    It is worth pointing out that the Snake Charmer is a .410 (i.e. small gauge) single-shot shotgun. These are among the last firearms to be banned under any gun control regime. They are also not generally regarded as self-defense arms (at least vs. people). Even in Great Britain, which has extremely strict gun control, single-shot shotguns are somewhat accessible. Same for Australia, Canada, and so on. That is, there is no gun control regime in any of the English common-law countries that would have totally banned this particular firearm.

    Next, the ADN article talks about how the police had just been to the place when the alleged perp threatened her housemate with a knife while drunk. Very few people just “snap” and commit a murder; usually murder occurs after a long string of escalating violent acts. I wonder how many other times the police were called to the house, or how many other assaults the housemate endured. While we probably will never know, maybe Governor Parnell’s “Choose Respect” campaign — which addresses domestic violence in all its myriad forms — is a more mature way of thinking about this issue. Would the housemate be any less dead if she had been stabbed to death in her sleep with a knife or clubbed with a bat? The problem is the domestic violence, not the particular object.

    The challenge here is stepping up enforcement, protecting victims and encouraging them to break the silence so that they can file for restraining orders, and using more education and prevention. That might have made a difference–with a restraining order, the firearms could have been taken away and the aggressor could be worked into the legal system for counseling, substance abuse help, or even incarceration to create distance and a “cooling off.” That’s why “Choose Respect” is winning bipartisan kudos–it is a realistic if imperfect solution to a vexing and complicated problem.


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