Since he is a minor his name has been withheld. The 14 year old boy in South Carolina called the police to tell them that he had attacked his father, his grandmother, and his great aunt. He told the police he’d be there when they arrived, possibly waiting outside. When police appeared on the scene they found the boy with his hands in the air out in front of the house, and inside were his dead father and dead great aunt, and a critically injured grandmother, all three attacked with a dull butter knife and a small piece of twine.

No, wait, sorry, I got that detail wrong. The boy did not use a dull butter knife and a small piece of twine to wipe out his family. He used the rifle his daddy gave him when he was twelve!

Police entered the house to find Joe Robert Lankford, the boy’s 44-year-old father, shot to death in his bed, Fisher said. They found Virginia Gaston, 83, dead in her bed, apparently from a gunshot wound, he said. Gaston is believed to be the boy’s great-aunt, Fisher said.

Well, whatever. He could have done exactly the same thing with a dull butter knife and a small piece of twine. No sense in asking why a young boy was allowed uncontrolled access to a deadly firearm. Because, well, he could have done the same thing with dull butter knife and a small piece of twine. Right?

source

Hat tip: Warren.

Comments

  1. #1 feralboy12
    January 18, 2011

    Hey, the boy was just exercising his second amendment right to bear arms against tyranny. His dad probably told him to do his homework, or that he couldn’t get a nosering or something.

  2. #2 Albatross
    January 18, 2011

    This never would have happened if the rest of the family had been armed while they were sleeping. Then they could have shot the lad. That woulda larned him.

  3. #3 WKH
    January 18, 2011
  4. #4 Dwayne Jonesdway
    January 18, 2011

    This entry is full of convoluted logic. Please refrain from embarrassing yourself in the future.

  5. #5 becca
    January 18, 2011

    It does kinda make me wonder what sick twist of my psychology made me assume his family had it coming when he used the butter knife and small piece of twine but not the rifle.

  6. #6 kmccmack
    January 18, 2011

    Actually, I owned a .22 rifle when I was 12 years old. At that time I was able to purchase ammunition at the local general store as well, with out parental permission. I’d just plop 35 cents on the counter and Mr Trout would hand over the ammo. No one would give it a second thought.

    Most of the kids I knew had guns of one kind or another. I don’t remember a single shooting, accidental or otherwise while I was growing up (other than the kid who blew his eye out with a BB gun but he was 18 at the time and most people thought he did it to avoid the draft — really.)

    I wonder what changed?

  7. #7 Enzo
    January 18, 2011

    He could have used a poison. He could have started a fire with free matches from any restaurant. He could have clubbed them in the head with a baseball bat while they slept. He could have stabbed them with a sharp kitchen knife. He could have beaten them to death with a crowbar. He could have stabbed them in the skull with an ice pick while they slept. He could have dropped a concrete block on their head while they slept.

    I guess you want to outlaw all of those things?

  8. #8 Cuttlefish, OM
    January 18, 2011

    Me too, kmccmack. My family owned a bunch of rifles, as did most of my friends.

    When it came time for my folks to distribute the rifles among the (then grown, with their own kids) children, none of us wanted them. Can’t speak for the others, but for myself it was partly because my best friend prior to High School accidentally shot and killed himself with his own rifle. Would have been about 15 at the time.

    So I guess I remember one incident, then.

  9. #9 Cuttlefish, OM
    January 18, 2011

    Enzo, you’ve nearly convinced me to outlaw hypothetical entities of all sorts! Those “could have”s are dangerous!

  10. #10 Drivebyposter
    January 18, 2011

    Enzo, you’ve nearly convinced me to outlaw hypothetical entities of all sorts! Those “could have”s are dangerous!

    Indeed they are scary. I wonder why no one often does see those “could haves”…

  11. #11 Tim
    January 18, 2011

    Although if determined to kill he could have used many other devices the use of firearms is far more available for a spur of the moment action, to be regretted later.

  12. #12 timberwoof
    January 18, 2011

    Enzo, you said “He could have used ….”

    Would you please provide numbers to show that these weapons are as or more commonly used than firearms?

    Can we compare murder rates with similar countries where firearms are not readily available?

    Oh, I forgot; the laws of physics are different in the US, so nothing having to do with trains or guns in other countries translates to here. Never mind.

  13. #13 Bill James
    January 18, 2011

    Although if determined to kill he could have used many other devices the use of firearms is far more available for a spur of the moment action, to be regretted later.

    More available than say a razor knife slicing through sleeping throats in the quiet of night.

  14. #14 D. C. Sessions
    January 18, 2011

    Yes, there are endless ways for an inventive 14yo to do in the adults in his household. I suppose we could outlaw, or at least discourage, inventiveness in adolescents, but it seems superfluous considering the existing disincentives to inventiveness in junior high already.

    All that granted, it’s just ever so slightly easier to do in the elders using firearms compared to raising a garden full of foxglove and extracting some special seasoning for the folks. Planning, work, even (talk about disincentive) cooking. Not many teenaged psychotics have the patience and ability to work for delayed gratification of a Jared Loughner. Much easier to just grab the plinking iron and do the deed right away.

  15. #15 Warren
    January 18, 2011

    This one reminds me of the kid from a month or so ago who held his classmates hostage. There’s something here that we’re not being told. At least, that’s how it seems. That otherwise well-behaved kids would perpetrate something so bizarre and sad … it’s difficult to understand.

    There’s a reason we’re advised to keep guns in locked safes, and there’s a reason it might not be a great idea to give them to pubescent, testosterone-ridden boys. Or at least, to not let them have unrestricted access to them. Something went off the rails in that kid’s head, and I really hope we’ll be able to find out what it is.

    I had a rifle when I was 12, as well. It was a .22. I never shot anyone with it, though. Like kmccmack @6, I also wonder what changed.

    Enzo @7, I didn’t see Greg saying he wanted to outlaw anything, so why are you, ahem, jumping the gun?

  16. #16 Captain Patriot
    January 18, 2011

    Yeah. Let’s just ban all guns. Then people really can use butter knives and twine to kill people. Wait. Then’ we’ll have to ban butter knives and twine. Then they will use their fingers to strangle family members in their sleep. Well, I guess we will have to ban fingers too. See where this is going? No matter what weapon you ban, someone hell bent on killing someone else will just find another way to do it. Of course secular oppressives don’t get that concept. It’s too difficult to comprehend for their their little communist pea brains. They have been thinking collectively as a group for so long, evolution took over now they cannot think individually. I guess that gives us normal people quite the advantage as a species.

    Of course if Jared Loughner really was hell bent on killing as many people as he could and was denied being sold a gun, he could have stolen a ca and just ran over 19 people just as well as shooting them. What would you do then? Ban cars? Have senators stand up on the floor and demand softer cars and more anti-car regulation? Dummies.

    What if this title were true? What if a boy did kill his whole family with twine and a butter knife? Would senators demand a ban on all twine and butter knives? Why not? They are deadly weapons are they not? I guess somehow Sarah Palin gets blamed for this too. Oh well, like I said when secular oppressives think in unison with no individuality whatsoever, what more can you expect?

  17. #17 daedalus2u
    January 18, 2011

    No, if a 14 year old boy kills his family with a butter knife and twine, senators and Sarah Palin will not call for the outlawing of butter knives and twine, they will call for the outlawing of blogs by liberal college professors who put the idea of killing a family with a butter knife and twine in the mind of an innocent 14 year old.

  18. #18 Lorax
    January 18, 2011

    Hey Greg can I make a suggestion? Next time you post something related to gun violence, using white font pretend to be the likely population of commenters and write up the first ten comments at the bottom of the post. Then when the first ten real comments come in, see how close you got. I figure I could get at least 8/10 right.

  19. #19 george.w
    January 18, 2011

    Twine, butter (or carving) knives, cars, books and toy trains are not primarily weapons. None are efficient at killing; all have rather obvious defenses that make the killing more difficult. Though not, of course, impossible.

    And slitting someone’s throat with a carving knife requires much more skill and closer involvement than shooting them, perhaps from across the room. For example if they know you are coming, they’ll clobber you with a chair. If you fail to achieve a deep cut in just the right place, with a single stroke, it’s a battle. Even pillows require overpowering the victim.

    Guns, OTOH, are primarily weapons and it’s awfully hard to defend yourself against someone with a gun because they can deliver a killing stroke while they are well out of your reach.

    So no; guns are not equivalent to other household items that conceivably might be used to kill someone.

  20. #20 Cuttlefish, OM
    January 18, 2011

    Captain Patriot, did you miss the bit about hypotheticals up above? Just sayin’…

    As for the car, I agree–them things is dangerous. Their use ought to be restricted, perhaps even licensed. I know people who have killed with them, too–well, cars and alcohol, and we all know alcohol can’t kill anyone by itself. Gotta be the cars. Or maybe we oughta outlaw the combination of the two.

    (I had an acquaintance who used to testify in gun cases. She had been saved from rape; the man who saved her was a drunk with a gun. Her point was that if you take the guns out of the hands of drunks, you might as well sentence her to rape, or worse.)

  21. #21 Drivebyposter
    January 18, 2011

    Guns, OTOH, are primarily weapons and it’s awfully hard to defend yourself against someone with a gun because they can deliver a killing stroke while they are well out of your reach.

    Not only that ^ but guns are really fucking impersonal. Shooting someone and beating them to death with a bat or what have you are two different animals.

    Also, has anyone noticed that whenever someone says that we as a nation need to work on keeping guns out of the hands of children and psychopaths, people like captain dipshit up there start railing about banning this and that? I don’t think I’ve heard anyone really claim that we should ban all guns in a long while, but every fucking moron with an opinion on guns starts arguing against that strawman.

    “Don’t give a 14 year old a gun and unlimited access to it”
    is usually quickly followed by
    *CRAZY GUN LUNATIC RANT ABOUT GUNS BEING LEGAL!!!!*

  22. #22 Lester Ballard
    January 18, 2011

    How clever. I thought I was reading something written by Glenn Beck, not a rational, science based “I’m right, you’re not and never could be” type.

  23. #23 24fps
    January 18, 2011

    I’m curious whether Captain Patriot would be interested in looking at a comparison between murder or attempted murder by gunshot and murders by other household implements between the US and Canada.

    I’m betting we Canadians have a similar proportion of violence using other methods per capita, and a lot less involving guns.

    Of course, you have to take into account that we’re a bunch of public medicine loving socialists up here…

  24. #24 Andrew
    January 18, 2011

    Lester, do you suggest that the comments either agreeing to the butter knifes are equal to guns theory, or screaming about “what will be illegalized next” are …. rational? Did you bother to notice what CATEGORY this post is listed in?

  25. #25 Dann
    January 18, 2011

    The gun trolls they haz been had. Unwittingly. Very funny. Bang.

  26. #26 Tenebras
    January 18, 2011

    I’d like to know what was wrong that the kid -wanted- to kill his entire family in the first place. We probably wouldn’t need to worry about guns quite so much if kids didn’t feel the need to kill their families and shoot up their schools.

    Another nice thing would be if the parents who owned the guns actually showed their children how to properly handle one and demonstrate the amount of caution, respect, and healthy fear you NEED to have for any dangerous device, especially a gun. Maybe that’s why the kids want to kill them, if they’re that neglectful and/or stupid.

  27. #27 Nine O'Glock
    January 18, 2011

    Love to hear Americans justify their lust for shooting themselves, their families, their friends and their colleagues in a ever flowing river of blood! No point being paranoically scared of terrorists; it’s the people in your house, in your school, at your work, at your meetings you should be afraid of.

    Perhaps it is nothing to do with the guns, perhaps it’s just that you’re a bunch of psychotic murderous stupid bastards. Or at least a fair proportion of you. Not women, interestingly?

    The rest of the world shakes it head at the stupidity (or hypocrisy?) of gun nuts saying “it’s nothing to do with the guns, it’s the idiots who own guns”. Even in an apparently sociable individual, a heated argument, a flash of rage, a red mist, makes it so possible that a loose-wire-in-the-head man or boy (which any parent knows includes most teenage boys at some point as they come to grips with testosterone!) can cause mayhem by pulling a trigger. That’s easy and detached in a way that using a knife, a rope.

    Look gun nut morons: while you say it’s the moron with the gun, it’s blindingly obvious that a moron without a gun can’t shoot anyone, while a moron with a gun can. And frequently will.

    Anyway, carry on killing each other if that’s what makes you happy. Innocent lives aren’t important, it’s probably the victims’ fault for, oh, being asleep, or breathing, eh? Their lives are a worthwhile price to pay for gun lust (ooooo, a Glock 19mm with mmmm such a large magazine, can I take it to bed?).

  28. #28 Mike Haubrich
    January 18, 2011

    Guns make it too easy to kill or commit suicide. The proper cleaning, handling, aiming and respect for guns doesn’t change that fact at all. Teaching a kid marksmanship doesn’t prevent them from wanting to use guns for a quick solution to whatever complicated psychological situation that they may be facing.

  29. #29 george
    January 19, 2011

    Guns are a tool, for better and for worse.

    Considered logically, taking away a very efficient tool does make it harder, but not impossible, to do the same work.

    But news photos and video games suggest they are also totemic for boys and young males across many societies (as are knives: concrete blocks, not so much).

    Considered from that perspective, taking away a tool also takes away the power of that tool.

    Not a decision bounded by logic, and when you consider the strong desire of many people to prevent this kind of harm from happening to others, it’s apparent that logic isn’t driving the argument on either side…

  30. #30 Vince Whirlwind
    January 19, 2011

    Since Australia tightened up its gun laws in about 1998, there was a big reduction in all sorts of gun-related crimes. Simple, inescapable, and entirely predictable fact.

    Making laws to force idiots to store their weapons properly means less accidents and less thefts of firearms by criminals. Making guns harder to obtain means less idiots with guns in the first place.

    Why anybody would argue in favour of more firearms for idiots is a puzzle.

    Having said that, I do resent the fact I am prevented by law from owning a semi-automatic rifle (such as the L1A1 SLR which did such a good job of scaring the bad guys in Vietnam) and I believe we here in Australia should be even more firearms-regulated along the lines of Switzerland, where everybody’s fitness to hold weapons is assessed over a couple of years of close supervision during military service.

  31. #31 Richard Eis
    January 19, 2011

    Guns also create a weird “fear of guns” that probably breeds more gun owners. In England I don’t worry about getting shot… but you prod an american in the back and see him jump. It’s hella funny.

  32. #32 John Swindle
    January 19, 2011

    Commenters here from countries other than the USA have made some good points about the way Americans relate to weapons. Their opinions are a valuable resource that we Americans should use more than we do. The fact that the people of many other countries consider us dangerous gun lovers should make us think. And how is it that they seem to get along just fine without an armory in every home?

  33. #33 Al
    January 19, 2011

    What happened when the UK transitioned from coal gas to natural gas is instructive.

    Coal gas contains carbon monoxide, so sticking your head in the oven became the most popular suicide method. As natural gas is pure methane, it didn’t work after transition and the death rate from suicide fell dramatically.

    Funny thing is, it stayed down rather than bounce back from all those people determined on self-immolation finding other handy ways to do it.

    It seems that removing one method of dealing death doesn’t necessarily mean that people will turn to others.

  34. #34 Owen
    January 19, 2011

    Why anybody would argue in favour of more firearms for idiots is a puzzle.

    Not much of a puzzle really. It’s idiots that are arguing for more guns for idiots. I’m surprised they aren’t running around carrying “Free Jared Loughner” signs. He was, after all, only exercising his constitutional right to fight a tyrannical government.

  35. #35 Alison
    January 19, 2011

    Not a decision bounded by logic, and when you consider the strong desire of many people to prevent this kind of harm from happening to others, it’s apparent that logic isn’t driving the argument on either side…

    George, funny, you don’t mention data.

  36. #36 Virgil Samms
    January 19, 2011

    No, if a 14 year old boy kills his family with a butter knife and twine, senators and Sarah Palin will not call for the outlawing of butter knives and twine, they will call for the outlawing of blogs by liberal college professors who put the idea of killing a family with a butter knife and twine in the mind of an innocent 14 year old.

    O Noez, because Palin, et al are in favor of free speech. Blaming a liberal college professor for such a killing would constitute blood libel. Because Palin, et al are always consistent in their thoughts and policies.

    BTW, dental floss works better than twine.

  37. #37 Anonymous
    January 19, 2011

    Guns also create a weird “fear of guns” that probably breeds more gun owners. In England I don’t worry about getting shot… but you prod an american in the back and see him jump. It’s hella funny.

    That sounds like something a TERRORIST would say.

  38. #38 MartinDH
    January 19, 2011

    Last week’s “This Modern World” captured the essence of the gun control argument when Sparky (the penguin) tells Biff (the generic conservative/gun nut):
    “Barring some seismic realignment in this country, the gun control debate is all but settled…and your side won. The occasional horrific civilian massacre is just the price the rest of us have to pay…over and over again, apparently.”

    I do not understand the USian fascination and adoration of guns, flags, and baby Jesus. I scratch my head with bewilderment when even the mildest “keep deadly weapons out of the hands of the loonies” viewpoint is vilified and derided by supporters of unlimited firearms for all.

  39. #39 Patricia
    January 19, 2011

    Martin, buy defining “USian” culture as you do, you help make it so. The majority of Americans are not gun nuts and the majority favor more gun control. Please do not paint us all with the same broad brush.

  40. #40 Niklas Gerstle
    January 19, 2011

    as a boy in the area that this tragedy happened, i must say i am very sorry for what happened. but i also believe that this was a sick boy, not a sick gun. guns dont kill people; people kill people. all the california super-liberals can bitch and moan that guns are the reason that this stuff happens. i dont agree. besides, i also that as a resident of the area, most boys here go hunting a lot, and even own guns and are very responsable with them. just because one sick kid uses it wrongly doesnt mean we need to ban guns. if some other kid in new york stabs his family to death with a screwdriver, do we ban all screwdrivers? hell no.

  41. #41 Patricia
    January 19, 2011

    Niklas, where in this post is a ban on guns suggested? Did you just think this up, about guns don’t kill people, people kill people? Do you actually believe that this kid would have killed two and seriously wounded one if there was no gun in the house?

  42. #42 W Wagner
    January 19, 2011

    The crucial difference between an axe, a knife, a club or a rope AND a gun has to do with the ease and psychological distance between you, the perpetrator, and the victim. All of these household things can be used to kill, but the act will involve a lot of bodily contact (i.e. psychological effort) and physical effort that most people will not be willing or able to invest except in the most exceptional situations. Bodily contact with a victim is psychologically very repellent as everybody knows who ever tried to kill a chicken (for eating). (OK, at least it’s an effort if you are not one of the killing machines produced by your glorious army, of course.) A gun on the other hand, just requires a muscle twitch in your finger and allows keeping distance. THAT is why guns are the preferred killing instruments. They are built exactly for this: for killing others. And that’s what your country allows everybody to possess.

  43. #43 Bill James
    January 19, 2011

    If Wagner is going to bitch about U.S. gun laws, it would be good if Wagner was actually a citizen. Wagner, who tried and failed (presumably) to kill a chicken (for eating) and thereby would go to bed hungry, strikes of debilitating weakness not uncommon among cowards in lack of both stomach and spine. And so we have Wagner with its hand out demanding someone else provide it a chicken in a manner acceptable to Wagner. Typical Gliberal.

  44. #44 msironen
    January 20, 2011

    If Wagner is going to bitch about U.S. gun laws, it would be good if Wagner was actually a citizen.

    I’ll be goddamned if that’s enough. I say anyone bitching about U.S. gun laws needs to have been SHOT, preferably repeatedly (just once doesn’t REALLY count). I mean, what do they have to complain about otherwise?

    Oh wait. Where exactly did Wagner say anything at all about (U.S.) gun laws?

  45. #45 MacTurk
    January 20, 2011

    Along with several other non-USAians, I find it hard to comprehend why US citizens have such a blind spot when it comes to the regulation of firearms.

    As far as I know, driving a car is a privilege, not a right, in the USA, and it is heavily regulated. Because every one knows that you cannot just allow anyone unregulated, untrained access to large petrol fueled vehicles…I mean, someone might get hurt.

    Alcohol consumption, both with regard to access and minimum age, is regulated in your country to a degree that most Europeans find creepy/obsessive. And then there is drunk driving, where hysterical is the applicable word. DUI is dangerous!

    You even regulate the size of toilet cisterns, because, as everyone knows, wasting water is “A Bad Thing”.

    However, everyone, mentally unstable or not, trained or not, is apparently allowed almost unrestricted access to tools whose express design and default purpose is to kill.

    And apparently, any attempt to restrict this right is Communism/socialism, or is against the law of God, or contrary to basic principles of physics, or something…

    More people have died in the USA from firearms since WW2 than troops have died in all your foriegn wars. This is one part of American Exceptionalism that you cannot be proud of.

    They wonder why people think they are crazy?

    As for Bill James(43), possibly a course of remedial reading is called for?

  46. #46 kermit
    January 21, 2011

    As several have pointed out (and with which I agree), car possession and driving is heavily regulated. I have also noticed, over the years, that a high percentage of crashes seem to involve an unlicensed, uninsured driver. Just sayin’

    I’m also having a hard time understanding what the point of these gun threads are. Is it just a “gotcha” trap, in which gun nuts are lured and tricked into saying “gun laws blah blah” and several of you leap with glee to point out that nobody (especially Greg) has advocated such?

    Some of you might be interested in
    http://www.killology.com/
    which includes research by Lt. Col. David Grossman, a retired US Ranger who is a PhD in psychology. These folks see violence (both foreign and domestic) as a security threat, and discuss problems such as
    1. How do you turn sane people into killers, but for only specific circumstances (e.g. cops and soldiers)?
    2. How are we unintentionally turning some of our civilian population into sociopaths, and how do we prevent that?
    3. Grossman notes that US schools have seen numerous multiple shootings over the years, but essentially no deaths by fire. Why do we have fire drills but few mass shooting drills?

  47. #47 Glenn "Vissarionovich" Beck
    January 21, 2011

    this wouldn’t have happened if all kindergardeners were armed with fully automatic condoms. why are the socialists grabbing our chlidren’s condoms?

  48. #48 Winner of the Social Darwin Award
    January 21, 2011

    Police entered the house to find Joe Robert Lankford, the boy’s 44-year-old father

    Since he is a minor, his name has been withheld

    Guess Gone Wild: the 12yo’s name is Charleton Nugent Lankford.

    And he was only defending his kins’ parental rights.

  49. #49 Conservative vs Conservative
    January 21, 2011

    more people with guns than people with shoebombs, have killed people. And banning shoebombs infringes on law-abiding air passengers’ 2nd amendment right to defend themselves from criminals wielding boxcutters.

    won’t someone think of the poor bombs?
    _________
    people kill people; gay agendas don’t kill people.

  50. #50 Matt
    September 24, 2014

    Just another Liberal moron making another stupid joke that proves he doesn’t understand anything.

    This story doesn’t promote stupid gun laws as much as it promotes caretaker responsibility.