Recent shootings have depressingly reminded the nation that accidentally ringing the wrong doorbell, driving to an incorrect residence, mistakenly getting into the incorrect vehicle can result in dangerous, if not outright, deadly consequences for the unfortunate individual(s) involved. A spate of shootings has shocked and surprised the nation.

The incident involving 16-year-old honors student, Ralph Yarl, who mistakenly arrived at the wrong home while looking for his younger siblings and shot and severely wounded by 84 year old Andrew Lester, shocked Kansas City, Missouri, citizens across racial groups and set many of its citizens on edge.

Two days later, a similar tragedy occurred in Hebron, N.Y., when 65-year-old Kevin Monahan shot and killed a 20 year old White woman, Kaylin Gillis, when she and her friends mistakenly drove up the driveway of Monahan’s house. This was followed by the Elgin, Texas shooting. Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr. shot two high school cheerleaders , after one of them mistakenly got into Rodriguez’s car in a parking lot. One of the teens, Peyton Washington, is currently recuperating from life-threatening injuries.

Oh, and I did mention the fact that another person, 24-year-old Robert Louis Singletary of Hillsborough County, North Carolina, was apprehended and is currently in custody by Florida authorities, (he was on the run), after shooting at his neighbors after their daughter wandered into his yard. The little girl, Kinsley White, was shot in her lower jaw. Her injuries were not life-threatening, although surely traumatizing.

In the incident involving Yarl, Lester stated that he was intimidated by the young teens’ supposedly 6’0 size and height. For the record, Ralph Yarl is 5’7, 150 lbs. Hardly an imposing human being. Rather, it is more likely that his Black skin was the factor that intimidated the elder Lester. Kevin Monahan is still unrepentant about taking the life of Kaylin Gillis. In fact, about the only significant news we have heard regarding the sexagenarian is that he was/is a foul-mouthed combative individual who was prone to getting into verbal altercations as well as routinely threatening physical violence towards his neighbors.

While not as much information has been dispensed about Rodriguez and Singletary, it does not take the IQ of a rocket scientist to understand that both men are deeply emotionally disturbed individuals.

I think that I can accurately state that I speak for most people when I say that many, if not most of us, have inadvertently visited the wrong house, or rang or knocked on the wrong door when looking for the individual in question. Or we’ve mistakenly driven to an inaccurate residence, at the very least, tried our key in a vehicle that looked similar to, but wasn’t ours and possibly kicked an object of ours into a neighbor’s yard then suddenly ran over to retrieve it. Indeed, many of us have likely been the recipients of such encounters.

We can count our lucky stars that we haven’t been the deadly victims of deliriously paranoid, frightened, mentally unbalanced individuals. Common sense should dictate that mistakenly ringing the wrong doorbell, driving up the wrong driveway, accidentally kicking an object in your neighbor’s yard or even mistakenly getting into the wrong car should not result in the loss of your life! The operative words here are “sane” and “rational.” The fact is that most men and women who own firearms are responsible gun owners.

Nonetheless, there is a segment, regardless of how small that minority is, that are bereft of any reasonable level of emotional discipline and should be forfeited the option of owning them. These are the people who harbor several deficits of impulse control. They are a danger to you, me, your neighbors, your loved ones, children, and others. They are literal menaces to society! Period!

By carelessly and recklessly endorsing so-called stand-your-ground laws, Republicans have engineered a misperception that, more often than not, puts the lives of innocent people in jeopardy. Thankfully, in more than 2/3rds of the states that have adopted laws granting citizens permission to use deadly force if they fear for their lives, shooters must be able to establish that their fear was reasonable. Paranoia, suspicion, or racial bias is not a justifiable defense.

My late father was a gun enthusiast. He had a gun collection in our home, locked up (of course) out of the safety of us children. He was a hunter, engaged in rifle practice, and employed rifles and other sorts of guns for their intended use. While no right-wing conservative, he did believe in and supported the second amendment. However, he (like most reasonable people) believed that background checks for gun purchases should be required. Psychological evaluations and other precautions should be required before any human being is allowed access to any sort of potentially deadly weapon.

It’s encouraging that all four men are being charged, but these tragic incidents will continue until more Americans speak out against and demand tougher gun laws from lawmakers who are too cowardly in taking on the NRA and powerful and seductive gun lobbyists who shower them with all sorts of incentives, monetary and otherwise.

BlackCommentator.com Guest

Commentator, Dr. Elwood Watson,

Historian, public speaker, and cultural

critic is a professor at East Tennessee

State University and author of the recent

book, Keepin' It Real: Essays on Race in

Contemporary America (University of

Chicago Press), which is available in

paperback and on Kindle via Amazon and

other major book retailers. Cotnact

Dr.Watson and BC.

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