Alabama is in the news again. This time the story’s about a shooting at a birthday party in the small town of Dadeville.
Jeff Amy, an Associated Press reporter, wrote:
Alabama law enforcement officers Sunday were imploring people to come forward with information about a shooting that killed four people and injured 28 others during a teenager’s birthday party.
According to Al.com‘s Ramsey Archibald, Alabama was ranked fifth in the nation for firearm deaths in 2021. He used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In January, The Tuscaloosa Thread‘s Brittany Marshal wrote about an interview with Tuscaloosa‘s Mayor Walter Maddox. He was responding to a January 2023 murder that occurred on The Strip. Maddox said:
“I think what bothers me the most is, there’s never any reason to take anyone else’s life. So many times in these cases, it its absolutely unbelievable what provokes people to pull out a firearm or semi-automatic weapon and take someone else’s life. It’s senseless, it’s reckless and inhumane.”
In 2018, The Alabama Daily News‘ Caroline Beck wrote about the Alabama gubernatorial race in which Maddox ran against the incumbent Kay Ivy. Ivy criticized Maddox for having banned guns in 2006 in city-owned facilities in Tuscaloosa. Beck opined:
Maddox’s proposal for more ‘common sense gun laws’ may not be as radical as other liberal politicians have suggested, but Ivey knows that in a state where half the population owns firearms, painting Maddox as anti-gun can be an effective tactic.
Any “gun control” measure proposed in the Alabama Legislature is likely to fail. As reported by 1819 News‘ Craig Monger, the National Rifle Association is up in the air about gun laws that are currently being proposed. Monger wrote:
Permitless carry, also called constitutional carry, passed the Alabama legislature in 2022. The new law removed requirements for lawful individuals to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm. The law also added a provision to inform law enforcement of the presence of a weapon when asked.
State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), in response to the law that ended the requirement for a person to get a permit to legally carry a concealed handgun in public, sponsored House Bill 12 (HB12). The bill would create new penalties for those who fail to inform law enforcement of the presence of a firearm.
Whether any such new penalties would have prevented the tragic shooting that occurred in January on The Strip by a former University of Alabama basketball player is debatable. CBS News and many other national media outlets reported on the incident where the gun that was used had been in the backseat of a star athlete’s car. The “permitless carry” law allowed the player to legally have the gun in his car.
England also sponsored House Bill 28 (HB28), which would remove the exemption for persons with pistol permits to carry a weapon on school premises.
(The Franklin Stove Blog has repeatedly reported on gun violence on The Strip, including the recent post “The Strip–A Fool’s Paradise?”)
In a state such as Alabama, where half of its population is packing, any laws that restrict gun ownership in any way seem to be doomed to fail.
Many guns that are on the street are illegally acquired. In 2018, Tuscaloosa News‘ Stephanie Taylor reported on what former Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said:
“Guns stolen in auto burglaries account for the majority of illegal guns ending up on our streets and in the hands of criminals, juveniles and people suffering from mental illness.“
As reported by Ryan Phillips in The Patch, current Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley said:
“I think it’s the culture, especially with our young people it’s shifted. People used to have a fist fight, now they just shoot each other … Until as a culture and and community we change, and we change especially our young people, I don’t know if this is going to go away.”
In T-Town, a smoking gun has ended the lives of many of its residents. In T-Town and in Alabama there are frequent incidents of the tragic loss of life that is due to gun violence. When such violence erupts at a birthday party or involves a star athlete, there are banner headlines. Otherwise, gun smoke just pervades the atmosphere and is hardly ever noticed.
3 thoughts on “The Smoking Gun…is the Smoking Gun”
Both John Archibald and Brian Lyman wrote about the shootings that have occurred at birthday parties.
Al.com‘s Savannah Tryens-Fernandes and Ramsey Archibald reported:
“Gun violence is the leading cause of death among children in Alabama, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“AL.com reviewed recent data after four people died and 32 people were injured during a mass shooting at a Sweet 16 birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama. Two people killed were high school students.
“Nationwide, Alabama had the fourth highest death rate by firearm for all age groups, behind only Mississippi, Louisiana and New Mexico, respectively.
“According to Everytown for Gun Safety, an average of 468 people in Alabama die by gun homicides and 1,325 are wounded by gun assaults every year. Additionally, an average of 549 people in Alabama die by gun suicides and 102 are wounded by gun suicide, which is 57% higher than the national gun suicide rate. Everytown used data available from 2015-2019.”
Roy S Johnson wrote in Al.com: “Early in the social media age, we saw people on there fighting, and they couldn’t fight. It changed—they quickly resorted to getting guns. You didn’t see any fighting after that. They go directly to the gun.
“It’s been years since somebody actually got into a fistfight,” [Jefferson County Sherriff ] Pettway added. “Maybe girls every now and then, but no guys. A guy will pull out a gun in a minute. They’re not gonna be seen on social media getting their butts whipped. They’ll pull out a gun and they don’t know how to shoot. That’s all it takes.”