Commentary: There's no need for assault weapons in civilian hands

The Miami HeraldDecember 16, 2010 

Like accountants working a cold night in hell, crime scene technicians recorded the number of gunshot holes in Ciara Lee's Liberty City home, scrawling a black numeral where each bullet had penetrated the concrete block wall or blasted through a window.

On the front stoop, clustered around a door and window, gunshots 64, 65, 66 . . . up through 73 had been dutifully marked.

The gunmen missed a toddler's purple tricycle stashed by the porch.

But not the child inside.

Down the west side of the house, the techs enumerated bullets 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87.

It's the gruesome new numerology of Liberty City and other neighborhoods where teenage gangbangers wield the same weaponry carried by soldiers and insurgents in war-afflicted places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than 100 bullets were fired at the block house about 1 a.m. Tuesday from military assault weapons.

Police think there were two shooters. They fired so many shots so quickly a cop outside the crime scene Wednesday wondered whether the weapons were semi-automatic, the AK-47-style weapon available at any gun shop, or guns converted to automatic -- converter kits are available on the streets -- transforming these rifles into virtual machine guns.

Either way the firepower was so formidable it didn't matter that Ciara Lee, 24, a state corrections officer, and her 2-year-old son Devin, were ``safe'' inside their home, asleep in bed. Both were killed. Tony Lee, 49, Ciara Lee's cousin, was hit in the leg.

Once again, innocents in communities like Liberty City suffered the murderous reality created by Second Amendment absolutists -- those who talk of the right to own military assault weapons as if these guns should be regarded no differently than handguns or hunting rifles.

To read the complete column, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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