Most likely you’ve heard the joke about the little old lady who got pulled over by a deputy.
The driver handed over her license, registration and insurance to the officer, who also found among her cards a concealed-carry permit.
“Ma’am, do you have a weapon in your possession right now?” the deputy asked.
“Yes,” she replied, “I have a .22 pistol in my purse, and a .38 Special in the glove compartment. You should probably also know that I keep a sawed-off shotgun under my car seat.”
The deputy smiled as he pushed his hat to the back of his head. “Well, ma’am, just what are you afraid of?”
“Not a doggone thing.”
One of the recurring arguments you hear in Americans’ ongoing debate about criminal violence is that an outright ban on firearms simply wouldn’t work. If you take away guns, people will just find another way to hurt people.
As Exhibit A – and you’ll have to excuse the blood on it – I’d like to present a ceramic squirrel.
A North Charleston, S.C., man and woman had been arguing last Christmas Day at a Clifton Street home. The man told police that he returned to the house without the beer that the woman had requested and the woman, to express her dissatisfaction, hit him over the head with a ceramic squirrel, then stabbed him in the chest and shoulder with it. The woman – whose hands and clothes were covered with blood she said didn’t even belong to the man – said the guy simply fell down.
In Spring Hill, Fla., the day after Christmas, police were called to a home where a wife claimed her husband – angry over not being able to get the family checkbook – threw a turkey neck at her, hitting her in the neck.
On New Year’s Eve, sheriff’s deputies in Port Richey, Fla., paid a call on a home where a woman said she was hit in the face by a banana thrown by her live-in boyfriend. Deputies subdued the resisting boyfriend with – no, not another banana – pepper spray.
A 29-year-old Deltona, Fla., woman (what is it with Florida?) was taken into custody after, police say, she assaulted her brother with a spoonful of peanut butter. I’ve been known to assault myself with peanut butter, but the scary results show up on my bathroom scale, not on a police blotter.
I saved the most horrifying incident for last. A 33-year-old man in McLoud, Okla., was jailed a few days before Christmas on a murder charge, accused of killing his stepfather. The medical examiner said the stepfather died after his underwear was stretched over his head and the elastic waistband was left around his neck.
You read that correctly. A 58-year-old man appears to have been killed by, in the accused’s own words, “an atomic wedgie.”
Sure, you could argue that the presence of guns would’ve made these incidents much more deadly. Or you could argue – more convincingly, I think – that a victim armed with a gun could’ve prevented any of these incidents from escalating.
At least one thing can be agreed upon, though: I doubt that little old lady at the start of this column would’ve felt safer with a ceramic squirrel.