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July 6, 2009

Some Things Never Change

Some years ago the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence used to issue an annual award to highlight the many ridiculous ways guns are misused in this country. We never wanted for candidates for this dubious honor.

In today's internet world, we have been taken over and expanded by the Darwin Awards. The stated mission of the Darwin Awards is "to salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it."

In case you missed them, here are some of the nominees making the rounds these days. These are supposedly true stories culled from daily newspapers:

  • An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend’s windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut. (San Jose Mercury News)

  • Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, North Carolina. Awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson 38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear. (Hickory Daily Record)

  • Just as squirrels bury their acorns to protect them from predators for later use, a man from Howard, Wisconsin, put his ammunition and three handguns in a safe place before he and his wife departed on vacation. He wanted to be sure they would be there when the couple returned. But just as squirrels frequently forget where they buried a particular acorn, the man forgot that his hiding place was the oven. When they returned from their trip, his wife turned on the oven to prepare dinner. Shortly afterward the couple had to duck behind the refrigerator as the bullets began to explode like popcorn. The husband used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire the bullets started in the oven. No humans were hurt, but the prognosis for the oven was grim. (Associated Press)

I know that gun violence is not a laughing matter, but sometimes I have to shake off the grim reality and marvel at the many ridiculous and deadly ways that guns are misused daily in our nation. And if humor can help people take notice of the importance of handling firearms safely in all situations, all the better.

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