Monday, February 04, 2013

The government rescues boy from gun-loving anti-government nut in Alabama, ending hostage standoff

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Great news from Alabama:

A 5-year-old child abducted from a school bus six days ago is safe, and his kidnapper is dead, ending a nearly weeklong ordeal for the little boy, his family and a small Alabama town.

The child appeared to be OK when he was freed, law enforcement officials said.

It's not clear what happened, nor how exactly officials were able to figure out what was going on, but it appears that something serious prompted the rescue attempt:

FBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Richardson at the scene said negotiations had broken down with 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, the child's abductor, and Dykes was "observed holding a gun."

Believing the child to be in imminent danger, an FBI team entered the bunker at 3:12 p.m. CT (4:12 p.m. ET) and rescued the boy, Richardson said, adding that the hostage-taker is dead.

Let me make a few points:

First, what a relief. I really don't like to see killing of any kind, and I wish this had ended peacefully, but the key is that the boy is safe after a long and horrible ordeal for him and his family.

Second, the problem isn't government tyranny but heavily-armed anti-government nuts like this -- and there are many, many of them. What the pro-gun types fail to understand, given their paranoia, is that the government is democratic, that Americans govern themselves, that the very idea of America is one of self-government. This case is an instructive one: the government saved the boy from the hands of an armed anti-government murderer.

Third, this guy may be an exception as far as gun owners go, but the problem is that there are too many guns in a gun-loving culture that is extraordinarily violent, there are too many people like this (with their gun "rights" defended by the NRA and others), and there is far too much opportunity for guns to fall into the wrong hands. And yet the NRA, most Republicans, and various other pro-gun types continue to reject any and all attempts to do anything about this, even reasonable efforts to require background checks.

This will be written off as a one-off, as the act of a crazy person. But gun violence is all too common and while this person may have been crazy he was still able to get his hands on guns, stock his bunker, commit murder, and take a child hostage, all to support right-wing survivalist fantasies that are all too common among the gun nuts.

It's time for Americans, governing themselves, to put an end to this madness.

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  • I'm coming back more and more to handguns. If we really care, we would do something about handguns. (I understand, no one wants to touch this.) It seems to be that people can more easily rationalize a handgun as a weapon of self-defense rather than mass destruction. And I accept that. But I suspect that the statistics show that handguns are overwhelmingly used to harm innocents rather than protect them.

    Hey, it's great if a woman defends herself from an attacker with a handgun. But we shouldn't use stories like these to legislate from. It is sad that that woman might be killed for want of a gun, but if the trade off is 100 fewer murders, suicides, and fatal accidents, don't we have to do it? Aren't we evil not to?

    That's an honest question. I really don't know. And the doctor has me on a bunch of drugs...

    By Anonymous Frank Moraes, at 10:46 PM  

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