Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rage and Extreme Violence

You may not hear much about the latest rage shooting, a strange event that happened in Pittsfield Township near Ann Arbor, Michigan. That's because the early reports were carried by one of the lesser news purveyors, United Press International, rather than the more widely followed Associated Press, BBC, or major American television networks.

Ben Clink said he pleaded for his life while moving snow 
What happened was bizarre to say the least. Ben Clink, a front-end loader operator, was clearing snow from the parking lot of an apartment complex. He had been working on the project for nearly 7 hours when he deposited some snow behind a white car. Bevin Wilson, 39, allegedly ran out of the apartment building and yelled at Clink. Clink said Wilson kept running toward the loader, pulled out a gun, and fired a shot through the loader windshield, narrowly missing him and causing $2,500 in damage.

Clink told reporters, "I was just saying 'Please don't shoot me, please don't shoot me, I'll move the snow, please don't shoot me.'"

Wilson did not shoot again. When police arrived, Wilson surrendered his gun and turned himself in. Police said Wilson had a concealed weapon carry permit.

Clink is a white man. Wilson is a black man.

The story didn't  make the UPI "Top News" category. It didn't even make the top five in the UPI "Odd News" reporting. Perhaps that's because of media preoccupation with another shooting rage story in Florida. There Michael Dunn, 47, was convicted recently on attempted murder and other charges.

Dunn said he and his girlfriend were in the parking lot of a convenience store when passengers in a vehicle carrying four teenagers played loud rap music that irritated him. After a confrontation about the music, Dunn fired 10 shots at the vehicle, hitting it nine times, and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

As things now stand, Dunn is scheduled to serve at least 60 years in prison, a virtual life sentence for one his age. A possible retrial and appeal are pending. Dunn had a concealed weapon carry permit.

Davis was a black youth. Dunn is a white man.

It appears that deadly violence inspired by rage over what seem to be petty matters is not the province of one race or another.

It seems to me more likely that the seeds of rage lurk within humans of many varieties. Throughout history, responses to insults or irritations often were violent and sometimes lethal, although in "civilized" societies the violence came to be more likely a relatively harmless poke in the chest, push to the ground, or punch in the mouth.

But now in the U.S., killing people or trying to over small matters seems to be increasing throughout the land. It couldn't be because more people are carrying guns, could it?  Of course not--the National Rifle Association tells us that cannot be so.

12 comments:

Tom Sightings said...

Actually, in a civilized society wouldn't it more likely be a discussion, or an argument, or at worst a lawsuit? I don't think "violent" and "civilized" go together, no matter what darkness lurks in the minds of men.

Anyway, I guess you and I agree ... down with the NRA!

Dick Klade said...

Tom I was trying to make a point that even countries who claim to be civilized often aren't true civil societies. Maybe I didn't state that well.

Dave Tippets said...

Not disappointed by the quality of your writing, but think we could examine other case studies and come to other conclusions. There's an abundance of stupid and inappropriate behavior in all sectors of our societ

Alan G said...

We had our senseless incident a week ago today. Several teenage girls ranging from age 14 to 18 were driving around in a car and had earlier in the evening stopped at a house and egged and toilet papered the car of another teenager boy who had done the same thing to them back in Halloween of last year. The father happened to notice them driving off and commented to his wife that they would be back and he would be waiting for them – his son wasn’t home at the time. Sure enough the girls returned a while later to view their dastardly deed when the father ran out of the house firing his gun at the car a number of times. The girls sped off to a nearby gas station where one of the girls in the car died. She had been hit in the head by one of the gun shots. He has since been charged with murder.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Extreme rage fueled by the long hard winter!

Dick Klade said...

Good point, Dianne. Conventional wisdom has associated increased violence with hot summer weather. At least in some parts of the U.S., this awful winter may be a factor.

PiedType said...

There are crazy, angry, short-tempered, violent people in our society and probably always will be. But all these killings over ridiculous incidents like plowed snow, thrown popcorn, loud music or toilet paper would not have occurred if the perpetrators had not had guns. Their precious right to own a gun does not trump someone else's right to live. We've got to take guns out of the mix, or at least make it much, much more difficult to own one.

Dick Klade said...

Right, PT. What is frustrating to me is that there are compromises available to allow gun ownership for hunters and target shooters and also for reasonable home and special situation protection. I put the blame squarely upon idiotic NRS leadership that refuses to budge an inch. Several of my friends are NRA members, and they are not at all crazy. How the leaders have come to diverge so far from being sensible representatives of most of their members is puzzling.

Big John said...

Strict gun laws here in the UK do not stop mindless violence ...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2567496/Pictured-Shocking-moment-doting-son-killed-single-punch-head-row-cycling-pavement-killer-jailed-just-four-half-years.html
Our home-grown 'gangstas' still manage to find all the guns they need and we are seeing more and more armed police on our streets.

Dick Klade said...

For sure, there will be some mindless violence no matter what controls are in effect However, we have altogether too many instances where a life is lost needlessly because a gun is readily available to the wrong person.

Kay said...

Hmmmm... So you're thinking the press is not publishing stories of rage when it's a black person against a white person? I hate to say this, but it might be true. Sad.

Dick Klade said...

I hadn't thought of that, Kay, but now that you mention it perhaps the big-time TV media (where most get their news) does lean that way. Our local newspaper, I think, is very careful about striving for fair play in covering stories where race is a factor.