Thousands of people across the country gathered together on Saturday for Gun Appreciation Day. The numbers in Nashville alone were somewhere between 500 and 1,000 people.
And yet this vast showing of appreciation was not enough to completely appease the guns in our country. True, this Gun Appreciation Day, there were no reports of deaths or injuries at any of the rallies. But guns still shot five people at gun shows on Saturday.
In Raleigh, N.C.:
Officials say Gary Lynn Wilson, 36, was having his shotgun checked before entering the show when the incident happened. He was unzipping his 12-gauge shotgun's case when it accidentally fired birdshot pellets, hitting three people, The News & Observer in Raleigh reported. Wilson was planning on privately selling the gun at the show, according to NBC affiliate WNCN.
The three victims, Janet Hoover, Linwood Hester and Jake Alderman, were hit, respectively, in the right torso, left hand and right hand, WNCN reported. They were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
In Medina, Oh.:
[A]n exhibitor at a local gun show was opening a box containing a gun when the weapon went off, striking his partner, who was sitting next to him, NBC station WKYC of Cleveland reported.
[State] police said a 54-year-old man was loading his .45 caliber semi-automatic gun when he shot himself in the hand, The Associated Press reported. The victim, Emory L. Cozee, had been leaving the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife show at the state fairgrounds, officials told the AP. Loaded personal weapons are not permitted inside this show, according to the AP.
Go back and look at the language in that story. "He was unzipping his 12-gauge shotgun's case when it accidentally fired" and "opening a box containing a gun when the weapon went off" and "The victim, Emory L. Cozee."
Let's just start with how weird it is that a guy who shot himself is a "victim." If he's the victim, who's the perpetrator? Perhaps the gun?
But the slide right past who is responsible is even more complete in the other two cases. The gun just accidentally fired, just went off. Nobody did it. We hear over and over that guns don't kill people; people kill people. But either no one shot Janet Hoover, Linwood Hester, Jake Alderman, and the exhibitor in Ohio, in which case, it seems guns can indeed kill people — or we're doing a piss-poor job of holding the people who shoot people accountable for shooting them.
Were these people just magically shot by self-firing guns, or are there three people — or possibly more, considering that some idiot sold a loaded gun packed in a box to someone without considering how that might go wrong — who, due to these incidents, have shown pretty concretely that they shouldn't be handling guns? In two of the three cases, police reported to NBC that no charges would be filed.
If a gun is just a tool, then the people who fuck up while using that tool and cause others to be injured should be held legally responsible for it. If a gun can go off by itself, whenever it wants to, then considering the amount of guns we have in this country, we'd better have another Gun Appreciation Day next month.
And every single one of us should go and try to make those things feel loved.