But the story that broke my heart this week was the story about Sydney, the good friend and constant companion of a Colorado Springs woman; Sydney was shot to death in a park last week for absolutely no reason.
Details are sparse; the so-far unidentified woman was playing ball with Sydney, an Australian Shepherd, in a park a week ago today. Sydney was off the leash, which isn’t allowed in that particular park. She spotted a so-far unidentified man walking on a sidewalk and, ball still in her mouth, bounded up to greet him. There is no indication Sydney did anything remotely threatening. Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows what Sydney wanted; she wanted the man to throw the ball so she could chase it again.
Instead, the man did what he probably figured any red-blooded American man with a gun in his pocket would do – he exercised his Second Amendment right until Sydney was dead.
And then the sonofabitch walked away.
While the wanton, cold-blooded killing of a helpless creature is bad enough, that’s not what really made my blood boil. Well, okay, it did, but my head nearly exploded when I read the possible consequences of the crime. According to a report on the KKTV News website, if police catch the guy, “the suspect could face reckless endangerment charges for illegally firing a gun within city limits.”
As the kids say nowadays: “What the fuck!?”
Reckless endangerment? He didn’t “recklessly endanger” the dog, he killed it! He didn’t just fire the gun up in the air to scare the dog off, he fired bullets into the dog. Several of them.
I understand it’s not the murder of a child but that doesn’t ease the grief Sydney’s owner feels now. Reckless endangerment? What about cruelty to an animal? How about illegally carrying a concealed weapon (because no properly-licensed concealed carry permitee would use his handgun so irresponsibly. No, I’m serious here – he’d have too much to lose.) Good Lord in Heaven, at least tell me they can charge him with destruction of private property!
This kind of thing is what I mean when I talk about the “culture of the gun.” It’s a culture in which a gun is seen as the solution to any number of problems.
I’m going to wildly speculate the worst case here; that the shooter has been carrying around a handgun for some time just waiting for a chance to use it. Maybe he got mugged recently, maybe he’s very angry with his ex-wife’s lawyer, maybe he’s just fed up with a lifetime of being screwed over and figured nobody would mess with a man with a gun. Maybe I’m reading too much into his simple actions.
One thing is for sure, though: This guy’s gun didn’t solve his problem. If anything, it just made his problems worse.