Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Webster Tragedy

Irondequoit Bay (6634)

I took this not-so-great image about 6 months ago (in June).  I was wandering around down by Irondequoit Bay – where it empties into Lake Ontario – trying to create some interesting cloud pictures. There’s a road there (Lake Rd.) that runs across a narrow strip of land and connects Webster, NY (on the east side of the bay) to the northeastern edge of Rochester.  It was here, on this section of Lake Road, that four firemen were shot this morning.  Two of those brave souls were killed.  If I’m correct, this image (looking south over Irondequoit Bay) is very close to where it all happened.

I’m certain that I’ll never understand the mind or the motivations of someone who does this type of thing to other humans.  But I’m also certain that we’ll always have them in our midst.  There will always be someone who thinks it’s a good idea to mow down innocent people with a gun.

The answer is not to arm more people (as the NRA suggests).  Even if these firemen had been armed, they never would have seen this gunman.  First, they weren’t expecting him to be there.   And it was dark (well before sunrise). If armed, they’d likely have been shot anyway.  The answer, as unfair as it may be to the 99% who are sane, is to render it impossible for these crazies to get these weapons.  I can think of no other reasonable alternative.  If we want to stop the bloodshed we have to get rid of the guns.

Guns kill people.  The crazies just pull the trigger.

On a much lighter note, I have to correct some of the newspeople who keep saying that Webster is in “upstate New York”.  It’s not.  This is western NY.  Upstate NY is the area north and northwest of New York City (north to the Albany area and west to roughly the eastern border of Wayne County).  If you’re west of that line, you’re in western NY.  As Webster is.  Don’t feel bad, though.  I know a number of “western New Yorkers” who think they live upstate.  They should check a map……..


13 Responses to “Webster Tragedy”

  1. TomDills

    No rational person would suggest that solving a gun problem by giving more people guns is a good idea, Paul. I can’t disagree with your sentiments.

    I hope you have a good holiday there in western New York. Merry Christmas, Paul.

  2. cooperscave

    I have had a concealed Carry Permit since 1973. My dad taught me at a young age to shoot a BB gun then a 22 and recieved more training in the scouts, I hunted, was in the Marines in Vietnam. I then got in to law enforcement for 26 years. I always carry a weapon, Rugar LCP .380. Tonight I had to go out to a couple of store, one being a liquor store the other a Chinese resturant. Got out of the car and realized I was unarmed, Two vulnerable stores on Christmas Eve and I could help anyone if I needed to, a weird feeling.

    • Paul Maxim

      Yes, I know that the vast majority of gun owners are responsible, safe people. People like you (and my son) have every right to carry weapons. The trick will be finding a way to take them away from the Adam Lanzas and William Spenglers of the world. No easy task, I think……..

  3. Markus Spring

    Paul, these are tragedies without end, and I wholeheartedly agree with you that it must be made impossible for agressive and/or people with mental disorders to have such unlimited access to weapons even of the most agressive kind.

    We had some gun rampages in Germany, too, even in my hometown, (almost always facilited by access to weapons of marksmen) but overall I think we do pretty well with an extremely strict regulation of weapons – hunters and shooting competitors being the only exception in bigger numbers, and weapons for personal security allowed only in very special cases. As a consequence the number of both victims of gun-related murders and of killed policemen is very small throughout Europe.

    Without doubt a great majority could be allowed to possess or even carry weapons, but this proliferation comes with a terrible price.

    • Paul Maxim

      I simply can’t understand why it’s so hard here in the U. S. Why is it so hard to get serious about gun regulation? How was it possible for a convicted felon (he killed his grandmother with a hammer) here in Webster, NY to get an assault rifle?

      You’re right, Markus – generally speaking, it doesn’t happen as much in Europe or in Australia. Somehow, they’ve managed to figure it out. How many have to die here before we get “smart” about guns?

      • janina

        Paul, I’m surprised Spengler was let out of prison, he was a convicted murderer which I would’ve thought was a life sentence, meaning at least 25yrs without parole, but I guess not, only 17yrs!! I’ve noticed that sentencing here in Melbourne has become quite lax for such offences too, even some manslaughter, eg 2yrs or such, really quite unbelievable. Says a lot for what the judges’ see as the value of a life! Guns here, well, people will be able to buy them on the black market anyway, despite the ban.

        • Paul Maxim

          Unfortunately, Janina, he wasn’t convicted of murder – he was only convicted of manslaughter. In NY, that simply means that they couldn’t prove premeditation. I’m surprised that he was in for as long as he was. It was probably because of the brutality of the crime. But yeah, he should have been put away for life. Premeditated or not, beating your grandmother to death with a hammer seems pretty heinous to me.

  4. John - Visual Notebook

    Someone pointed out that Gun Control talk in the U.S. is the political equivalent of the Palestine-Israel talks. I can certainly see the correlation. After all is said and done, nothing will really be done, and the NRA will go on it’s merry way trying to arm everyone in the U.S. until we fear stepping out of our doors because of the wild west mentality. What a friggin’ mess.

    • Paul Maxim

      Yes, I think the whole thing got much worse with some of the Supreme Court decisions and the change in the law that kept guns out of national parks. That one really baffled me. Why does anyone need a gun in a national park? In case they’re attacked by a moose or bald eagle or something?

  5. Earl

    Paul, it’s certainly a mess and one I have little confidence will become any better in the near future — certainly not with a government where the two major parties can’t even talk responsibly to each other. Perhaps in the future we’ll look back and see this as a turning point but that’s hard to imagine now.

    I wish you and your family a wonderful 2013.

    • Paul Maxim

      All we can hope for, I guess, is a less violent, more congenial 2013. No reason to think anything will change, but you gotta at least try to think positively. And engage in more of those “random acts of kindness”. Even us cynics can do that!

      Happy New Year to you, too, Earl. Enjoy those new grandkids!


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