Early Edition: Shooting Accident
This episode gives us one of the more interesting challenges of Season 1. A child shoots his brother with a gun that his mother has been keeping because she fears (with very good reason) that their estranged father will return and try to kill her. What is one who hears the news in advance to do?
As if he heard today's question back in 1995, Gary Hobson says, "I get the gun. I'm in. I'm out." But is it really that simple?
So, no . . . not that simple.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking? The younger boy in the story certainly does at one point, which is when he takes the liberty of proposing to Gary on his mother's behalf. =P So does the ex-husband, when he walks in on the little domestic scene you see in the above screen cap. But surely the solution doesn't have to be that complex. Let's go over the problem in more detail, shall we?
For the boys' mother, the gun is really the last resort. The last time her ex-husband forced his way in, it took the police twenty minutes to arrive; the time before that, the emergency operator didn't even pick up her call. What she really wants is to be able to move to a safer area--but she'd have to win the lottery first. After rationally weighing her limited options, she bought a gun, took lessons from a retired policeman, and resigned herself to reality. (For the record, she's not thrilled about a firearm in her home, either.) What would you suggest she do?
It's a farther-reaching issue than the specific worst-case scenario that Gary is trying to prevent, so we can forgive him for his moral myopia that day . . . especially since the newspaper itself gives him another chance.
If you take the gun away, then one boy won't be able to shoot his brother with it, which is a good thing . . . but neither will a woman be able to defend herself from a killer with it, which is a bad thing. Yet if removing the gun wasn't the answer, replacing the gun probably isn't, either. I had to laugh at Gary's idea of a good solution to this new problem. Had the writers themselves not bailed him out with a convenient plot development, he really might have ended up marrying the mother! LOL!
This is my favourite Early Edition episode so far--and it gets bonus points for its great use of a Three Stooges clip! I had worried that it would demonise guns without acknowledging that there is often a legitimate need for them, but it doesn't take that easy route. Instead, it shows the consequences of feeling as if you can't trust anybody, such as the tendency to see everyone as a potential enemy instead of a potential friend. If you think that all you have is a gun, then of course everyone will start to look like a target.
Your Turn to Be the Hero: Would you keep a loaded gun in your home for self-defense?