Thursday, February 28, 2013

Connecticut Toddlers Could Have Stopped Murderous Grandmother Had They Been Armed, NRA Says

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- A mentally ill Connecticut woman killed her two grandsons Tuesday afternoon and then turned the gun on herself, according to state police. Debra Denison, 47, suffered from bipolar disorder and other mental health problems. This tragedy, to many, further illustrates the link between a faulty mental health system and overly lenient regulations for owning and carrying firearms. They cite the countless shooting deaths that have marred American communities over the last several months. But Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), stood by his controversial statement that preventing tragedies such as these requires more "good guys with guns." His talking points were repeated this week by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in a contentious senate hearing about reinstating assault rifle bans.

Brenda Perry, mother of the slain youngsters, had initially tried to dissuade Denison from picking the children up after daycare. Perry told her mother the boys would prove too much for her to handle, but Denison insisted because she wanted to celebrate the oldest boy's birthday with cupcakes and presents. After collecting Alton Perry, 2, and Ashton Perry, 6 months, from Kidds and Co. daycare center in North Stonington, Denison drove to a neighboring town where she shot both boys and then herself. Investigators found a suicide note in the vehicle, but said the confusing letter did little to reveal a motive.

Some detectives on the case believe too many red flags were ignored, and that erring on the side of caution may have prevented the tragedy. Other officials took the opportunity to discuss substandard treatment for the mentally ill and the easy access these people have to weapons in this country.

Perry permitted her insistent and persuasive mother to pick up the children alone, despite her reservations and appeals to have another relative accompany them.

The entire family knew of Denison's mental health issues but still gave her permission to pick up the boys from Kidds and Co. Even more bizarre, state police said they had evidence indicating that Denison was carrying a handgun when she retrieved the children. And yet, this mentally disturbed woman procured a firearm and managed to gather her grandchildren from a secure environment, drive them out of town alone and kill them -- unimpeded at every step.

Wayne LaPierre, responding to reporters' questions, agreed that the family and the community may have ignored warning signs, but said "not every warning signal is apparent or discernible until after the fact. That's just Monday morning quarterbacking. Relying on people to take more responsibility for their actions or for the government to impose some sort of Nazi healthcare coverage goes to our peril. The only solution to preventing gun violence, while keeping society free, as I've said many times before, is for more people to carry firearms for their own preservation. Without the Second Amendment, how can we protect our citizens from armed criminals?"

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a proud and vocal AR-15 owner, echoed LaPierre's sentiments.

"I own an assault rifle to protect my family against dangerous lunatics running around with unlimited access to assault weapons. And there's nothing Congress can do to stop those people," Graham stated. "Christopher Dorner, the ex-LAPD officer who recently went on a shooting rampage was a highly trained, well equipped police officer and military veteran. How can we defend ourselves against that? Having equal firepower, that's how."

Both Graham and LaPierre reiterated that the only things stopping "bad guys with guns are good guys with guns."

"I'm not going to play the blame game with the Perry family, in the sense that they allowed this psychotic woman to pick up their children from daycare," LaPierre said. "The grandmother made a persuasive appeal, I'm told. But where I absolutely will not defend them is in allowing their small children to be around a potentially dangerous, insane woman without carrying guns themselves."

He credited "unreasonably spartan" restrictions on gun ownership by an "authoritarian nanny state" as the problem.

"This has never been an issue about guns," LaPierre reasoned. "It's an issue about who's not owning guns. Time was, fathers took their kids out shooting with them. Hell, we had under-aged teens serving in many of our great wars. But the government today prevents kids from having access to firearms. If these toddlers had been allowed to carry pistols with them on their outing with Grandma, they'd be eating cupcakes and opening their presents right now. Maybe attending the funeral of an evil old woman the next day."

(c) 2013. See disclaimers.

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