Hunting is Murder on Animals
Part XIV -- One Day of Gun Deaths
Steve in studio, holding up an old issue of The American Rifleman magazine

Several years ago a young man clipped an ad from an issue of this magazine: The American Rifleman published by the NRA. He sent the coupon in with a small sum of money to Kline's Sporting Goods of Chicago for a cheap imported rifle. The gun duly arrived... but we'll return to this man's story in a moment.

Steve in studio

One day in America, not so long ago, a young girl by the name of Belinda Garrin was celebrating her sixth birthday. After her mother and step-father had helped her eat half of her birthday cake, and she'd gone to bed, she was awaked by the sounds of shouting from her parents' bedroom. Sam Pentar, the girl's stepfather, had entered into a heated argument with his wife. The argument turned violent, and Sam picked up his gun and shot his wife dead. Little Belinda ran into her parents' room and was shot once in the forehead and twice in the chest.

After having murdered his wife and step-daughter, Sam picked up the phone and called his mother-in-law, and asked her to come over. She did.. and he shot her in the chest.

Next, Sam called his sister-in-law -- and proceeded to murder her in the same way.

About this time, Sam's father-in-law was getting worried, and when he received a call from Sam he brought the police along with him. When they arrived, Sam failed in his attempt to murder his father-in-law, and put an end to the horrible night by shooting himself. It was shortly after midnight when the police officers stood over Sam's body: marking the first gun fatality of the new day.

Police officers new Sam well; they had often hunted with him, and considered him one of the best marksmen in the area.

Later that same day:
  • Richard Clayborn took his deer-hunting rifle and shot Lewis Sanders over a $20 debt.

  • Shiro Matsuno died of a gunshot wound inflicted by another citizen who claimed that Shiro had thrown a snowball at him.

  • John Noman impulsively shot and killed his 78 year-old wife over an imagined affair with their next-door neighbor.

  • Paul Gibson drove to a cemetary, propped himself up against a tree, and shot himself with his 20-gauge shotgun.

  • Charles Stafford, an Illinois farmer, was crawling through a fence when his shotgun discharged into his head.

  • Eugene Conklin came home from hunting, placed his 12-gauge shotgun on the kitchen table -- and it discharged and killed his wife.

  • Daniel Bryer, a liquor store proprieter, fired a round of shots at three robbers fleeing with $400. One of the shots accidentally killed Haywood Roscoe: an innocent bystander who lived above the liquor store.

  • 14 year-old James Sikes was shot in the arm by his 13 year-old friend who was showing off his brother's shotgun. The arm had to be amputated later that evening.

  • In a Miami hospital that same day was 2 year-old Dwayne Saunders who had been shot in the head by his 4 year-old brother James (after he had discovered a gun in his father's dresser drawer.)

  • In a Long Island hospital 8 year-old Thomas Libby was suffering from a fractured skull from a bullet fired by Michael Collins -- a 16 year-old hunter with bad eyesight who had mistaken Thomas for a squirrel.
And so it went. The names are real. The incidents described did happen. As far as gun deaths go it was a typical day in America.

But there was one incident that happened that day which shook the world.
Steve in studio, holding up an old issue of The American Rifleman magazine

The young man who had sent for his imported rifle from Kline's Sporting Goods had long since received it, and used it on that day: November 22, 1963...
The shooting of President John F. Kennedy kill President John F. Kennedy.
The shooting of President John F. Kennedy

Nine of our presidents have been shot at: four of them fatally. And let's not forget about Senator Robert Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and John Lennon. All campaigners for peace whose lives were ended by assasins' bullets.
President John F. Kennedy

In the wake of the Kennedy tragedy it was clear that something was wrong with a society which requires more severe controls on car ownership than on guns. And several gun control measures were proposed which were clearly favored by the majority in this country. But the laws were voted down, due almost entirely to the efforts of the NRA which fears any restraint on guns.
Steve in studio

The few gun laws in effect are obviously inadequate. But studies have shown that wherever there are some gun laws gun related crimes and death have dropped.

12,000 Americans will commit suicide this year with a gun. About 3,700 of them will use a shotgun or rifle like this. Eight years ago I was suffering from severe depression and attempted to end my life. If I'd had this gun then I would not be here today. It's as simple as that.

A passing depression or a moment's rage can end life when a gun is present.

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