In Detroit, it's become common to speak about gun violence as if it were weather.
In a May this bloody, you could tally the shootings by the bullet storms. They came in bullet hail, bullet flurries, even random bullet sprinkles.
That last would include the man who last week stationed himself downtown on Lafayette Boulevard in front of WDIV-TV, across from The Detroit News office, and pulled out a long gun.
He shot into the air, puncturing nothing but a feeling of safety, reminding those of us in the vicinity that this is Michigan, and weather is unpredictable.
We are still human enough to be horrified by an inexplicable surge of homicides in May -- the "worst nightmare" of a 7-year-old, Aiyana Jones, picked off by a police officer's bullet; or of Avondre Donel, a Ferndale honor student shot May 9 on the street, or the weekend death of Clinton Township mother Carrie Seils, who was shot Saturday night at her home. Seils' fiance has been charged with killing her and fatally stabbing her 4-year-old son, Skyler.
What we're complacent about is the fact of guns as a fact of life. We don't only take their presence for granted but act as if they're controlled from far above, a force of nature and an immutable fact of life.
Guns are gaining ground as a lifestyle, a right, a cultural imperative of true patriots. To suggest otherwise has become tedious or even fatuous. Glenn Beck told the National Rifle Association that the people who might take away guns are "revolutionary Marxists."
Over the last 10 years, the gun-as-weather people have made huge inroads in the national consciousness.
"Open carry" -- the freedom to carry an unconcealed weapon -- is all the rage in some states, where advocates strap guns on their hips and head to the local Starbucks, daring interference.
(In Michigan, this is tricky: The state doesn't prohibit you from carrying a gun on your hip, but you can't drive that way.)
In Georgia, a gun-lover's haven, legislators recently decided to update their gun laws, passing bills that would eliminate the no-gun safety zone around schools and allow weapons in bars, proprietors permitting
Even nuclear arms control is more in vogue with policymakers right now than gun control.
Issuing concealed pistol permits provides a nifty revenue stream for Lansing, which issued 66,646 such permits in fiscal 2009. In Wayne County, the number of permits issued has tripled every year since 2002, when the state changed the law to enable more people to carry pistols. In 2009, Wayne County issued 12,656 such permits.
The gun population may be the state's most noticeable demographic bulge. Like flowers in May, it's growing, although nobody knows by how much: Legal guns get stolen and then added to the criminal stockpile.
In this bloody May, it wasn't the legality or nonlegality of the guns that were at issue in the deaths of Aiyana Jones or Carrie Seils. In one case, a police officer's bullet shot a little girl. In the other, a mother of two young children got caught in an adult's emotional tempest.
I know it's kooky these days to question guns as a fact of life. But it doesn't seem nearly as crazy as accepting so many violent deaths as something that must happen, like weather.
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