Roundtable: Tony Gwynn, Hit-And-Run Accidents, Congress and Guns
Friday, June 20, 2014
Tony Gwynn, Hit-And-Run Accidents, Congress And Guns
Jay Paris, San Diego sportswriter
Mario Koran, Voice Of San Diego
David Rolland, San Diego CityBeat
What can we say about Tony Gwynn — former San Diego Padres rightfielder, batting champ, Golden Glover, lifetime .338 hitter, SDSU baseball coach and humanitarian — that hasn’t been said with genuine awe and heartfelt wonder by the famous and the not since his death on Monday?
Probably not much.
But given the near-certainty that we will never see someone with his innate skill, work-ethic, loyalty, generosity, joyfulness and — yes — niceness again, we remember those qualities that made him unique in professional sports, inspired so many young people, quietly showed up the egos and the shirkers by example and make us deeply sad for our loss.
County Hit-And-Run Deaths Increase
Nationwide, the number of hit-and-run accidents is trending upward. In San Diego, accidents where drivers flee the scene have not risen appreciably this year, but the number of the worst cases, where pedestrians or bicyclists are left to die, could reach record levels.
It's only June, and the county already has one more death than the average number for the last five years (11). Most hit-and-run accidents in the last five years have happened near interstates.
Six detectives are assigned to the city’s traffic division. It's a difficult job. Running down leads, which can include anything from eyewitnesses to paint chips and glass fragments, can be frustrating. And, unlike burglaries or robberies, these accidents have no pattern.
License plate readers or red-light cameras (if we had them) could help catch drivers who commit felonies, but not prevent the crimes. The more time that passes, the smaller the chance of solving the case.
Former San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst says the most common reason for fleeing the scene of a felony hit and run is alcohol. The severity of the punishment when alcohol or drugs are involved is an incentive to many to flee.
Of Guns And Congressmen
It’s beginning to seem as if we have a school shooting every week.
There have been 74 shootings in American schools since the December 2012 massacre of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Massachusetts.
The latest (as of June 18) was the shooting June 11 at an Oregon high school. A student murdered a classmate, wounded a teacher and then killed himself. This followed closely the shooting at Isla Vista near the University of California Santa Barbara, where a young man decided to deal with what he viewed as an unfair and pathetic life by shooting young people who seemed prettier or happier than he was. Seven dead; 13 wounded.
There are some small signs that some Americans may have had enough of this. But as for the 535 members of the U.S. Congress, who knows? They haven’t done anything so far.
Carl DeMaio, candidate for San Diego's 52nd Congressional seat, supports the Second Amendment, but wants background checks, including for mental health issues. Scott Peters wants enforcement of current laws and restrictions on military-style guns and ammunition and background checks for all gun sales.