Featured Column
Week of 7.24.2006
The war around the corner!
          The news is getting more frightful. The body counts are rising at an alarming rate. It seems that life is getting cheaper. The civilian death toll climbs as those bent on the killing are becoming less discriminate about where and in whom their bullets ravage and destroy. Lebanon? No, America!
          The headlines shout to us of the disregard that some among us have for the lives and importance of others. Some of the crimes illustrate the need for some type of control of firearms.
          Reading just some of the daily reports of hardcore crimes in any city makes one decide that leaving one’s home and venturing out to nearby neighborhoods can involve a great degree of risk taking.
          The daily reports of gun battles and killings increase. The legal and illegal sales of firearms in this country mount by the day. In many neighborhoods our teenagers routinely carry pistols and semi-automatic weapons for protection as well as a means of controlling a particular youth gang’s turf.
          An increasing count of areas in large as well as small cities in our country are controlled by youth gangs. These are not the gangs of the 50’s and 60’ movies – like “West Side Story.” These youth gangs don’t stand in their school yards and duke it out with their fists. These are well armed, dangerous and in many cases, pubescent youths carrying weapons that our U.S. Marines would be proud to carry.
          Each day, it seems that differences, arguments, botched drug deals, failed marriages and love affairs are being resolved by shootings.
          A glance at the printed news reports would give anyone pause before daring the fates by leaving one’s own home and neighborhood.

          “SNIPER SHOOTINGS KILL 1 ON INTERSTATE HIGHWAY. Sniper fire struck two pick up trucks along the interstate, killing one person and injuring another.”
          “MAN KILLED IN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING. A 20-year old man was fatally wounded in a drive by shooting yesterday afternoon near a busy thoroughfare. Residents heard a series of shots about 3:20 a.m., called 911 and found a man sprawled on a sidewalk.”
          “3 MEN ARRESTED IN ASSAULT RIFLE CASE. Three men – including two sailors – were arrested late Friday on suspicion of illegally possessing a Russian-made assault rifle after police responded to complaints of a loud party and heard gunfire. A Saturn sedan parked nearby was hit by three rounds, shattering its rear window. A home across the street was struck by two bullets and police later found a .38 caliber revolver on the property.

          “DEPUTIES SEEK MAN IN FATAL SHOOTING. Sheriff deputies are searching for a man in the shooting death of a young man killed yesterday in what authorities believe was a domestic dispute. The victim was walking with a woman to a parked car when a vehicle pulled up and a man got out and fired. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate the victim and he died on the sidewalk at 7:08 a.m.”

          “GUNMAN OPENS FIRE AT COUPLE ON BEACH. A man and woman, sitting on a bus bench yesterday were shot early yesterday by a man riding in a car that drove up to them. Police reported. The gunman exchanged words with the victims before he began shooting from the front passenger seat of the car. He was in the car with three men. The police gang unit is investigating the crime.”

          “SHOP OWNER HELD AFTER FIRING GUN. The owner of a local audio store was booked into jail yesterday on suspicion of firing a gunshot inside his store. The owner fired a .50 caliber bullet from a Desert Eagle gun at an employee. Both owner and employee were arrested.”

          “3 MEN DIE IN SHOOTOUT. A shootout between suspected drug gangs left three men dead before dozens of police and soldiers stormed the scene and arrested the gunmen. The slayings were the latest in a wave of drug-related bloodshed.” 

          “GIRLS, 2 AND 3, SHOT WHILE PLAYING OUTSIDE. Two girls, ages 2 and 3 were shot while playing outside, authorities said yesterday. The 3-year old was hit in the arm, the 2-year old in the back. No arrests have been made.”

          A Rip Van Winkle from the 1850’s Wild West, awaking from a deep slumber, would think that our modern society hadn’t changed much, save for the quantity and efficiency of our modern firearms. Our Rip Van Winkle might also be amazed at the bestial brutishness of our youth gangs and illegal drug organizations.
          Lurking behind most of the killings are two motivations; broken love affairs and the use and profitability connected with drugs.
          Someday soon there may be signs posted in selected neighborhoods warning innocent trespassers to “Beware: you are entering a gang-infected area. If you are shot at or hear random gunfire please exit as soon as possible.”
          I would think that the National Rifle Association would want to work with all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in creating a sensible control of firearms. Some 14-year old, in the midst of puberty doesn’t seem like an intelligent selection to have access to a .50 caliber machine gun, capable of ripping a Hummer (or a member of a rival gang) to shreds.
          After all, aren’t NRA members just as likely to get shot by one of the guns they fight so fervently to permit everyone to carry?
          As for me, I want our city to hire more policemen and to pay them more than they’re getting now. It’s dangerous out there!
Guns in our neighborhoods
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger