Diana Barker and her husband used to live in South Africa with their children, but three decades ago, they decided to move from there because of the ever-increasing violence, and they settled in America, in Texas, and became US citizens in 1996. She’s a normal woman, I guess, whose two sons married and now she is a grandmother of four. Diana says, of herself, “I am anybody’s mother and grandmother.”
One day, back in January 2011, Diana and her husband had been to dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday. After the meal, as the couple walked through the parking lot, a man driving his car into the lot dropped a cigarette lighter on the floor and bent down to retrieve it.
His car struck 74-year-old Diana Barker and nearly killed her.
Unconscious, she was taken by ambulance to Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital where she underwent two life-or-death surgeries, and then remained in Intensive Care for two weeks. I mercifully can’t recall those painful two weeks, where my family was constantly scared for my life. Two weeks later, finally stable, she was transferred to the Texas Institute of Research and Rehabilitation where she underwent extensive physical therapy and began to contend with a newly attached colostomy bag.
She endured five major surgeries from January through August 2011, where, in just one procedure, the neurosurgeon attempted to graft the 13” sural nerve from the back of my right leg on to the sciatic nerve, in hopes that she might regain use of a paralyzed left foot and ankle.
Sadly, that surgery wasn’t so successful, and Diana still has no feeling in that foot, and may never walk normally again.
Luckily, if there is luck to be had, the driver of the car that injured Diana was insured to the fullest and all of her medical bills will be …. Wait. What?
That’s not a true story; it veered from the truth right after “One day, back in January 2011, Diana and her husband had been to dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday.” This is what actually happened:
On the night of January 13, 2011, Diana and her husband Paul were celebrating with friends in a restaurant in Kingswood, Texas. A man sitting at a table behind Diana was showing his companion his sable-lined leather jacket and had ‘forgotten’ about the Derringer pistol in the coat pocket; the gun fell out, discharged, and the bullet ripped through Dina Barker’s intestines, damaging her sciatic nerve and lodging itself in her ribcage.
Her husband yelled for help, and Diana’s son, Richard, who was in the bar, ran to help, stopping to take the gun away from the man as he attempted to put it back in his pocket. He told the man to wait for police.
Now, the story of her life for the next seven months, the surgeries, the paralyzed foot, the colostomy bag, well, that’s all true. But it could have been prevented, right? The gun owner should have known better, right?
The District Attorney should have known better. That DA found the gun owner not criminally negligent as there was no ‘intent’ to fire the weapon, though there was gross negligence. He was allowed to leave the courthouse without so much as an admonishment and probably went back to his guns because he did have a legal Texas license to carry a concealed weapon.
Funny, though, or perhaps, ironic, if the man had hit Diana with his car, which he would have been driving with a legal Texas license, and presumably had insurance, all of Diana Barker’s medical bills would have been covered. But, since it was a gun, and there are no such strings attached, well, there is no insurance for Diana to use.
Let me make this queer: the District Attorney got it wrong; there was ‘intent’ because everyone, everyone, who carries a gun intends to use it. Now, clearly, the man didn’t intend to use it in a crowded restaurant, but he carried it with him with the intent to use it if it became necessary.
Also, how is he not responsible for not remembering the gun in his own coat pocket? How does his negligence not make him guilty?
That’s the problem with guns in America; there are no repercussions from even accidental shooting. The shooter in this case received not one whit of punishment or admonishment; he was not told to relinquish his guns because he cannot properly care for, or carry, them. Hell, he can’t even remember where he put it.
I don’t want people’s guns taken away, but I want people held responsible for their actions when gun violence occurs. I want people checked out before they can buy a gun; I want people to have to be licensed before using one — like we do with people and cars — and I want people who own guns to have to carry insurance in case that injure someone with a gun — like we do with people who own cars.
Is that so wrong?