Death of Musician Bill Maddox Raises Gun Culture Issues

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 24, 2011

Dear Editor,
    The recent and untimely demise of Austin musician Bill Maddox casts an uncomfortable spotlight on gun culture in Texas. I've read up on the case in the news as much as possible, but it's clear Travis County investigators aren't saying anything for now. All we know is that both Bill and John Debrecht – the apparently mentally ill man that allegedly broke into his house – died of gunshot wounds. While there are obviously many questions about the circumstances here, the most pressing one for me is this: Why did these men have to die? While we don't know for sure, we can assume the gun or guns belonged to one or both of them. If the gun used belonged to Maddox, then he became yet another data point in a statistic that is well-known: Having a firearm in one's home highly increases the chance of dying by gun violence. If the gun was Mr. Debrecht's, what was someone taking medication for a mental condition doing with a gun anyway?
    The sad fact is that this unfortunate altercation did not need to end in two deaths, but the ready presence of firearms virtually ensured it.
Jay Davis
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