I haven't posted in a while, and I just got an email from the Patch urging me to do so, so in case you missed my comment this morning about the gun-toting teen in downtown Birmingham, I'll repeat it here:
I am MUCH more concerned about this incident than any of the bar-related brawls, or even the late-night shooting-into-the-air incident. I am a longtime Birmingham resident and property owner within a quarter mile of downtown, with teenagers. The cops absolutely did the right thing. If they hadn't taken the gun away, I'd be at City Hall screaming bloody murder. THIS is the kind of incident that threatens the safety of my family and my community and erodes our property values. People expect late-night disruptions related to bars and nightclubs. They don't expect teenagers carrying loaded guns. A week ago, I could feel reasonably comfortable letting my older teens go uptown to a movie, as long as they were home by 10 to avoid the bar scene. Now? Good grief! "Good kid?" Gimme a break! He and his actions and the comments in support of him are symptoms of a sickness in our society and evidence that we are continuing down a dark road that's included stops at Columbine, Virginia Tech and Chardon High. I don't care if it's legal or not for a half-wit kid to carry a loaded rifle over his shoulder in downtown Birmingham. Let a judge decide that; as far as I'm concerned the cops better get his ass off the street.
I should add, for those with short memories (or none at all) who think the right to carry a loaded weapon is a longstanding tradition in America, it is not. It may be the law of the land now, but it is relatively new law, enacted or upheld only in the last 40 years or so, and law with which a significant number of citizens is uncomfortable.