Been gone for a month, working on projects including one regarding gun control. Conclusion so far? There are too many people shooting other people in this country.
Descriptions of Jimmy Lee Dykes, who murdered a school bus driver, kidnapped a boy from the bus and is holding him hostage in a six by eight foot bunker in Alabama, may give evidence that conservative talk radio should join video games on the NRA's don't-blame-guns list of societal influences that cause people to use guns to kill.
A week ago, Dykes, 63, boarded a school bus in his Midland City, Alabama neighborhood and told the bus driver he was going to take two boys. The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland, 66, who also taught Sunday school, was shot and killed as he tried to protect the children in his care from Dykes. As children ran from the bus, Dykes grabbed a five-year-old autistic boy who had fainted, carried him while running to his underground bunker.
A week has passed and Dykes is still holding the boy, who his mother calls "Lovebug," hostage in his underground bunker.
According to a CNN report, Dykes was scheduled to be in court the day he murdered the bus driver and took the young boy hostage. Dykes was to answer to charges that he shot at his neighbors as they drove by hitting their truck. He was angry because the truck had created ruts in his homemade speed bumps. In the complaint filed against Dykes, the neighbors reported that they had their baby grandchild in the truck with them.
As people in the town are interviewed by various news outlets they paint a picture of an angry man. Dykes, is a Vietnam vet and a retired truck driver who grew up in the area, moved to Florida over 20 years ago and moved back to the area two years ago.
According to many different news stories Dykes was known to patrol his property at night with a flashlight and a gun and is said to have beat a neighbor's dog to death with a pipe.
But one AP story that has been the backbone for many news reports quotes neighbors and officials who say Dykes hates the government "from Obama on down" and was known to listen to conservative talk radio.A Salon.com story includes a quote from a neighbor:
Michael Creel said Dykes kept to himself and listened to a lot of conservative talk radio.As of Sunday evening, February 3, according to Slate.com's tally the number of people killed with guns since the Sandyhook killings in Newtown, CT has exceeded 1500.
“He was very into what’s going on with the nation and the politics and all the laws being made. The things he didn’t agree with, he would ventilate,” he said.
While the rest of us wait and hope that the young boy being held hostage by Dykes will go home to his family safely, some in the area believe that the bus driver is still protecting him:
(Mr) Poland is now "an angel who is watching over" the little boy, said Dale County School Superintendent Donny Bynum, who read letters written by three students who had ridden on Poland's bus. "You didn't deserve to die but you died knowing you kept everyone safe," one child wrote.