I read recently that firearms sales are up nationally since the recent Supreme Court decision redefining the Second Amendment. Part of the upward tic in gun sales was attributed to more lenient rules regarding gun ownership. Another factor was the belief that our new president is anti-gun and will sooner or later take away certain existing gun rights.

Neither of these incentives prompted me to rush to the nearest gun store and make a purchase. It was something else. I read about the couple in Washington, D.C. – a psychiatrist in his late 60s and his wife, about the same age, who were bludgeoned to death last weekend by an intruder.

Police have arrested a refugee from El Salvador who told investigators he and others broke into the home and that he was armed with a “metal baton-type weapon.” The psychiatrist’s wife, was a former teacher, also known to have counseled inmates on parole. A young woman, whom the wife had befriended, once stayed overnight in the home and subsequently told the 21-year old refugee that it would be a good place to rob.

What precisely ensued during the home invasion we don’t yet know. We do know that being bludgeoned to death with a baton is not a pleasant way to die, especially if your spouse goes first and you have to witness his or her braining. As further details become available, we will have to read the accounts through spread fingers, the way jurors look at autopsy photos.

I do know that I am not as young and agile as I used to be, and that a couple of fifth-graders could probably beat the crap out of me on certain days. So on this “Black Friday” after Thanksgiving, with all the sales, and markdowns, and discounts, I purchased, in Virginia, where it is legal, a nine millimeter automatic. It is one of the very best made, costing about twelve hundred dollars.

I could have given the twelve hundred to charity, just as the bludgeoned psychiatrists’s wife gave of herself and opened her home to one too many malevolent misfits. But I live in a region in which murder and mutilation is rampant. Capital punishment seems not to deter crime, if only because in most of the region capital punishment does not exist.

The police cannot protect you or me – just as they could not protect the murdered couple – because that is not their job. They cannont stand outside your home providing 24/7 security. They can only respond after a crime has been committed, and hope to track down the vicious and depraved.

We can only hope that we will be a statistical survivor – that the odds are we will not be on the plane that crashes; that we will not be under the tractor trailer that overturns on the Beltway; that we won’t be on the carvival ride that is sling-shot across the midway; that we won’t open the front door to the kind of calculated brutality now being chronicled in the newspapers.

Oh, and then there’s this umemployment/recession thing going on that some say will provoke even more crime and violence. In a few hours the “11 O’clock News” will be on, telling us which jurisdiction, Washington, D.C. or Prince George’s County Maryland will have had the most multiple murders in the past 24 hours.

Chase Hamil

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