March 12, 2009

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A Shotgun Wedding, perhaps? Posted by Kate Flora Newspapers these days have added a feature of great interest to writers--the opportunity for readers to comment on articles they have read. For us, who often face the challenge of trying to get into the minds and personalities of characters who are "not us," this is a chance to drop into different heads and read a variety of reactions to the report of a crime. This week, such an article appeared in the Boston Globe and several other regional papers. The article, which briefly describes an eighteen-year-old's arrest for straying out of his travel lanes on an interstate highway, and what police found in his car when they stopped it, appears below. Although I grew up in Maine, which has a strong hunting culture and guns were commonplace in many homes, I now live in the so-called "liberal" state of Massachusetts, which actually has quite conservative gun laws. Initially, I read the article with a kind of knee-jerk "what was he thinking, what were his parents thinking" reaction. But following it up, and reading many of the more than 500 comments that appeared in his local Connecticut paper, it seemed that I was being given a window onto both sides of one of our country's most passionate debates: the value of gun control for public safety versus the passionate protection of the right to own guns--all kinds of guns and in great numbers. As a crime writer, I am usually thinking about handguns, and about all kinds of guns and other weapons in the hands of those who are likely to misuse them. I find it a little spooky to think my neighbor might have a closet full of guns and knives, or be driving around with a lot of firepower in the trunk of the car. Although what is frequently missing from these debates is a tone of civility and/or a willingness to consider other's points of view, reading the comments opens a window onto a world that I rarely visit, and discloses a surprising anger, strongly held beliefs about an American's fundamental rights, and an unnerving passion for owning arsenals of lethal weapons just for the fun of it. If you're still with me--read the below and share your reactions. For here, too, readers have an opportunity to comment. _________________________ Article from the the Boston Globe: State Police allegedly found a rifle, a shotgun, brass knuckles, knives, and numerous rounds of ammunition, including high-capacity magazines, in the car of a young Connecticut man who was stopped yesterday on Interstate 495 for a traffic violation. Luke S. Huizinga, 18, of Danbury, Conn., faces numerous charges. But his mother, Amye, said yesterday that he was simply a gun enthusiast who was probably planning to "show off" with the guns during a trip to Maine. "He's a real sweet kid, and he just made a mistake," she said in a telephone interview. The traffic stop occurred about 12:20 a.m. on the northbound side of I-495 in Bolton after a trooper observed a 2000 Ford Ranger failing to stay within marked lanes, State Police said in a statement. Luke Huizinga was charged with possession of a large-capacity firearm, a high-capacity feeding device, ammunition, and a dangerous weapon (brass knuckles), State Police said. He pleaded not guilty yesterday in Clinton District Court, where Judge Martha Brennan set bail at $10,000 and slated another hearing for April 3, said Tim Connolly, spokesman for the Worcester district attorney. Amye Huizinga said her son, a high school graduate who was home-schooled, was headed to Maine to lend a hand in setting up the "do-it-yourself" wedding of some friends. He has been studying at night for his certification as a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning technician, she said. "He just wanted to show off his guns," she said. "He loves his guns. They're really just a collection with him," she said. "As a mother, I was just, like, 'What were you thinking?' " The items found included a Bushmaster 16-inch rifle with a night scope and pistol grip, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and five knives. A .50-caliber bullet was found in Huizinga's pocket; the remainder of the contraband was found in the car, police said. ________________________________________ And here are some of the comments: So maybe the brass knuckles were 'iffy', but who didnt own something like that or a butterfly knife when they were a kid?! the rest of his "arsenal" ****... is completely legal and protected by a little thing called the Second Ammendment, much like this newspaper, even with its infinite mistakes, is protected by the First. Crazy parents = crazy kids I'm surprised the kid was allowed to raid the End Times Rapture supply closet. The Lord must be be upset because now he'll have to put off The Second Coming until the family can re-arm 3 legal guns are now an arsenal? and one .50 cal bullet! WOW! "appeared evasive" - interesting.. This editor, Eugene, is as stupid as they come. Gives a new meaning to "Shotgun Wedding" Here is the definition of Arsenal as found on Dictionary.com Arsenal- –noun 1. a place of storage or a magazine containing arms and military equipment for land or naval service. 2. a government establishment where military equipment or munitions are manufactured. 3. a collection or supply of weapons or munitions. 4. a collection or supply of anything; store: He came to the meeting with an impressive arsenal of new research data. Looks like Eugene had the correct word if you ask me, on the other hand you come off sounding like what you clearly are, an ignorant punk. Keep it up your, teachers and parents must be so proud! Oh, there's a little more to the story than the mother is willing to admit. This is one of those scenarios where the police, by chance, stopped something bad from happening before it happened. Two months from now, the headline would have been "City Man Opens Fire at Massachusetts Wedding." A 'sporting and...
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Thirteen Pet Peeves for Friday the Thirteenth--Or Venting is Good For You posted by Leann Sweeney 1. Drivers and cell phones. Yes this is a continuing cockle burr in my saddle (if I had a saddle). I repeat, America, if you cannot pat your head and rub your tummy, do not use a cell phone while driving. I am begging you and yes, I know you're not listening. You're on your cell phone and driving. 2. Reviewers who give away the plot. This has been an annoyance for me this week as the first reviews for my upcoming release begin to appear on the Internet. Hopefully my therapist can help me get over this soul crushing issue. 3. A DVR that can only record two shows at once. As March Madness begins (I am such a college basketball junkie) I want it all. I know those "record four shows at once" DVRs are out there ... but am I really that self-indulgent? ... Hmmm .... Perhaps. 4. My panic attacks when I post anything on Dorothy L, the mystery discussion listserv. Do I really need that stress? DO I????????? 5. 401K's. Need I say more? 6. The governor of Texas, who just turned down 555 million dollars of stimulus money designed to extend the length of unemployment benefits. Can you spell jerk? Oh, sorry. Maybe your hairspray clouded your glasses and you checked the wrong box when the money was offered, soon to be out-of-office governor. 7. Paula Abdul. Please have your watch rigged so that if you talk for more than thirty seconds on American Idol you get an electrical shock. Just a small one. I'm not for the death penalty or anything. 8. Twitter. I cannot figure you out and you are making me feel stupid. 9. Dogs who bark at the UPS man. That would be my dog. I want one of those zoo tranquilizer guns for when the doorbell rings. Think ebay can help? 10. Bread. Because I want it and I can't have it. Did you know that rice crackers are a choking hazard? 11. Myself, for blissfully sending off the JPEG of my cover art to my design guru be used on my bookmarks, the JPEG where they misspelled my name. (There is a version where they DID NOT misspell my name, but did I pay attention to what I was doing? ... Okay, don't answer that.) I now have 500 bookmarks with that mistake right there to haunt me every time I pick up one of those suckers. Maybe they will be like stamps that are printed with errors--worth thousands down the road. Yeah, right. 12. Living in a state that cannot make up its mind what season it is. 80 yesterday, 50 today. It's cold, it's raining and I like it. Why can't it stay that way? (And you thought I'd go for 80, didn't you?) 13. DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME. Hate, hate, hate it. Can the congress take time out from not solving problems and tackle this one?

Lorraine Bartlett

Five women, five weekdays, many surprises.

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