You can read the article about this incident on the blog. Luckily the victims were only injured. It could have been much worse. In what has become a public safety problem, the number of shootings and gun incidents at Walmart stores are increasing . Check out the video on this Penigma blog post. Towards the end ( but couldn't find the exact minute) there is a discussion about the violence at Walmart stores and lack of security at stores. The PBS Frontline special video in the above blog examines the business practices of the Walmart corporation and the culture of the stores. There has been scrutiny of late about the low pay of workers and workers at some Walmart stores went on strike on Black Friday. I have a suggestion. While scrutiny is centered on business practices, treatment of workers and the low pay for workers, there should be a close examination of the shooting and gun incidents at Walmart stores all over the country. Something is wrong. Since Walmart has reintroduced the sale of guns (2011) and ammunition after stopping the practice, one does have to wonder if any dots can be connected or is it just that gun toting folks do their shopping at Walmart? In fact, Walmart is now the biggest seller of guns in the country and has found itself on the other end of at least one lawsuit involving the sale of ammunition to an under aged person who then killed someone:In what appears to be a dispute over a parking space, two people, a man and woman, were wounded in a shooting in the parking lot of a Walmart in Tallahassee, Florida. It happened on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
The NRA was behind the passage of the Gun Industry Immunity Bill so cases like the above cannot win against gun sellers. Shame on us for allowing that to happen. In the case of the 20 year old who bought the ammunition from a Walmart clerk and a judge ruling that the clerk could not have known the ammunition would be used in a shooting later, one does wonder about our gun culture. What would you imagine ammunition would be used for? The clerk was fired but more should have happened. Someone is now dead because a person who should not have been able to buy ammunition or guns bought them anyway. Gun laws matter. Just follow the money and connect the dots between the NRA and the gun industry to find out why laws like this get passed. But I digress. As to the first shooting mentioned above, I think it is worth taking a look at gun laws in Florida to see why it's sometimes not safe to be out and about in Florida. From the above article:Walmart, the largest seller of firearms in America, expanded sales of guns from 1,300 to 1,750 stores -- about half of its U.S. fleet -- last year, according to Hargrove.Walmart fired Martha Parker, the worker who sold Moore the ammunition, a few days after the shooting occurred. Parker claimed in court that she had not known the bullets were for the underage Moore, and thought she was selling them to his friend, Ladarius White, who was shopping with Moore. But the shooter claimed he had given White money in plain view and lied to say he had forgotten his ID.The court said that even if Parker knew she was selling to someone underage, Walmart wasn't responsible for the death because it was impossible to know that Moore would use the bullets to commit a violent crime. But dissenting judges argued that anyone could guess that a minor is more likely than an adult to misuse a firearm, the very reason why there is a law prohibiting young people from possessing guns in the first place."Though 18- to 20-year-olds make up only about 5 percent of the population, they account for about 20 percent of homicide and manslaughter arrests," said Daniel Vice, the chief attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a non-profit that lobbies for gun control. "This was a flawed ruling."A 2005 law gives gun sellers and manufacturers broad protection against lawsuits. Gun control groups, like the Brady Center, have been fighting the law in courts ever since, Vice said.The National Rifle Association, the largest gun rights lobby, did not return a request for comment Tuesday.
It doesn't take rocket science to connect the dots between loose gun laws and lots of people getting shot. Florida ranks 17th of 50 states in firearm deaths coming in at 12.67 deaths per 100,000. Nothing to brag about.And while the sudden uptick in firearm sales is occurring nationwide, Florida's surge brings us that much closer to another alarming threshold: being the first state to surpass one million concealed weapons permits.The state currently has about 950,000 citizens with concealed weapons permits and that total is increasing by 15,000 every month, according to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.Although one in every 17 Floridians already has a license to carry a hidden firearm, state officials have recently made it even easier for residents to arm themselves.Effective July 1, a new state law lowered the cost for a concealed weapons permit from $85 to $70, and a renewal license from $70 to $60.So which Florida county is the most armed?You guessed it -- Miami-Dade, which as of June 30, had 84,940 citizens packing heat.Broward County follows close behind with 74,439 concealed weapon permit holders and Palm Beach County comes in third with 60,315 permits.
In another scary story, this Texas law abiding gun permit holder will not be charged for pulling his gun out when a man tried to get ahead of him in a "Black Friday" shopping line. Was this the law that was is in effect in the case above? Was the permit holder just "traveling" while waiting in line for bargains? Yes, there was an altercation in the line. No, the man's life was most likely not in danger. When there's a gun involved, however, everything changes. If the permit holder had shot the gun, for example, how many innocent people could have been hit with the bullet? Why is this man protected by the law in Texas? Are we enacting the laws already on the books? If the laws allow for this to happen, we have some really bad gun laws in some states in our country and in Texas in particular where gun owners are now given even more latitude as to where they can carry their guns. Why not? Take a look at gun deaths in Texas compared to other states to see why Texas gun laws are dangerous to the public health and safety of Texans. The Violence Policy Center ranks Texas as 26th with 10.60 gun deaths per 100,000 population. Aren't we better than this?
And this is just the beginning of the holiday season, folks. Merry holiday season. And please use common sense when shopping. Leave your guns at home. I have yet to know what people are so afraid of while shopping. I've written about accidental discharges and shootings at stores many times before on this blog. Almost all of them have involved law abiding gun permit holders. We are more at risk from the folks who think they need their guns to go shopping than from whatever those folks are afraid they will encounter while shopping.
The suspects from the Tallahassee Walmart shooting have been caught.
Sgt. Ralph Hall said Earl White III, 31, and Tiffany Leanne Yancey, 27, were arrested yesterday after Gadsden County Sheriff's Office officials chased them into Georgia, south of Cairo.The two were chased by deputies until they reached a road block, which was set up by Grady County deputies. Spikes were deployed and the two suspects crashed into a ridge, ending the chase. Hall said Yancey and White were checked out by EMS before being released back into police custody."They're both waiting on authorities from Florida to come and start the extradition process," he said.
Here's something interesting to add to this post. A Walmart store in Indiana has removed "tactical" weapons from its shelves because it violated an agreement not to sell them:
Too bad it took an investigation by a media outlet. But maybe there's hope yet.ABC 57 found tactical guns and .223 high-powered ammunition it promised not to sell. Now, because of our news report, the retail giant is now taking those guns off the shelves.Common Council Vice President Oliver Davis held a phone conference with Wal-Mart on Monday morning. Davis said the store was very apologetic and eager to fix the problem.Reverend Greg Brown, a local minister on the city's West side, became concerned about Wal-Mart’s gun sales after two of the kids in his youth group said they were offered $50 to steal ammunition from the store."A gentleman came to them with a gym bag and asked them to load it up with ammunition and come out where they get tires," Brown.ABC 57 went to the Wal-Mart off Ireland Road in South Bend. That is when we found a 12 gauge tactical shotgun in the display case, next to .223 high-powered ammunition.Both items are not supposed to be sold at the store based on a written agreement with the City of South Bend."We had a great relationship with them and this is why it was alarming to me that they had not honored their part of the bargain," said Davis."A .223 round can shoot through a bulletproof vest, so we are concerned about our police officers safety and anybody else," said Councilman Tim Scott.After our news report aired, the common council took action. Davis sent a letter to Wal-Mart notifying the store that it was not in compliance with the agreement.One week later, at Monday's Common Council meeting, Davis updated council members on his correspondence with Wal-Mart."I had a meeting with Wal-Mart and some of their officials via phone. We met for about a half hour and talked about the situation going on," said Davis.In the conference call, Wal-Mart agreed to get the store in compliance and has since started removing those prohibited items from its shelves. Council members said they are pleased with Wal-Mart's swift action and response to the matter.
It's really unbelievable that yet another shooting incident at a Walmart store has come across my "desk". In this case, a Tennessee law abiding gun permit holder was angry at a woman in the parking lot and took a shot at her. From the article:
Watch out for all of those permit holders out there. They are becoming more and more dangerous.A Clinton man says he fired a gun at a woman's car because she was in his way as he rushed to shop on Black Friday.Jerry Leon Poe, 62, is charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving.According to the arrest warrant, Poe told a deputy that he was at the Walmart in Clinton trying to get a stereo for his grandson. He said he'd waited in line for five hours, but they sold out before he could get one. Poe said he decided to go to the Oak Ridge Walmart before they sold out of the stereos.As he was driving on Oak Ridge Highway between the Clinton and Oak Ridge city limits, Poe admitted to firing a gun at a woman's car who "wouldn't get out of my way."The woman's husband was in another vehicle and witnessed the incident. He said that Poe was "driving erratically" and almost struck his wife's vehicle. He said that when she pulled into the other lane to let Poe pass, he followed her, "tailgating her," so she switched lanes again. That's when her husband claims Poe "stuck a gun out the driver's window and fired a shot at her vehicle."Poe admitted he fired the gun, saying "She wouldn't move out of my way, so I got mad and shot out of my window to scare her into moving."He also told the deputy that he didn't know what had come over him and he knew what he did was wrong.Poe does have a permit to carry a gun. He is being held in the Anderson County jail with no bond.