The world continues to reel with shock over the Dark Knight theater massacre, but the truth is that there are tens of thousands of gun deaths every year in the U.S. (over half of those suicides) and tens of thousands of non-fatal accidental gun injuries. (I'd love to get you exact figures, but they vary depending on the source.) So when you hear a news story about a guy who walked into Walmart carrying a concealed weapon, bought some milk, and reached into his pants to grab his wallet and instead almost killed himself and two other people, including a child, it's not that unusual. It sounds like a bad joke, but it's not. With the Dark Knight killings so fresh in our memory, I can't even poke fun of this act of stupidity. I can only be grateful no one was killed.

It happened in a Walmart in Dallas, Texas. That state, at least by one source, is ranked 23rd in gun death rates per capita. My state, New York, has the country's fifth lowest gun death rate, half the U.S. average, due to our very strict gun laws. This is kind of amazing when you realize that we have the third most populous state, and all of us -- people from every color, creed, race, religion, sexual orientation, and belief -- are crammed into such a small amount of land. Not to mention that New Yorkers have a rep for being a bit, shall we say, testy.

The Dallas man, who had a permit for the gun, reached into his pants and his gun went off. He was injured, as was a mother and her kindergarten-aged daughter who happened to be nearby. The bullet hit the cement floor after grazing his leg and shards of the cement flew into the mother and daughter. Imagine how much worse it could have been.

Reportedly he then fled the scene after the gun went off. Yeah, he didn't stick around to see if everyone was all right. But he's been arrested and charged with injury to a child.

I'm just glad this particular incident didn't end up with the death of a mother or a child, or both. Many others will not be so lucky this year.

Where do you stand on gun control?


Image via Nevada Tumbleweed/Flickr