Guns in the wrong hands are bad news. And Brainerd has seen too much bad news recently.
Brainerd has had three disturbing gun-related incidents this year, all of them within a stone's throw of city schools. Fortunately, no lives were lost in any of these incidents but the potential for tragedy is upsetting.
* Jan. 9 -- Shots were fired at the Holiday station on South Sixth Street. The shots were fired after a fight and two people were arrested on probable cause of assault.
* April 19 -- Several shots were fired in the 900 block of South Seventh Street, a residential area. This shooting also followed a fight and a Baxter man was arrested for second-degree assault.
* April 23 -- A 40-year-old Arkansas man was arrested at gunpoint at about 11 a.m. at the same Holiday station after he was observed allegedly carrying a handgun into the store. He was charged with possessing a dangerous weapon in a school zone and charges relating to being a convicted felon in possession of a pistol.
In the most recent episode, which took place in broad daylight, a quick-thinking observer dialed 911 and alerted police to the man's weapon and to his peculiar behavior. The woman who called police could very well have saved several lives by making that call. Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc said that at the time of the incident high school students were coming out of the school and were nearby in the public library's parking lot. Once law officers were alerted, they were able to arrive at the scene within a minute and apprehend the suspect.
One disturbing aspect about gunplay is that it escalates situations that are already violent. What might start as a verbal or physical confrontation can quickly become a fatal tragedy once guns are involved. It's like gasoline being thrown on a fire.
Increased vigilance about suspicious behavior or the improper brandishing of weapons followed by prompt reporting to the police is the average citizen's best tool to fighting crime and violence.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.