The media obsession over Alice Boland ignores an important truth 

A Tale of Two Mothers

Two weeks ago, Rebecca Dewitt was murdered in her own driveway. The 34-year-old mother died in front of her three young children. However for those in the media and in elected office, the death of Rebecca Dewitt has been largely ignored. Instead, they obsess over every detail of another matter: the botched shooting at Ashley Hall. And the question that is most on their minds is exactly how do we prevent mentally ill individuals like Alice Boland from buying guns?

While the local media is poring over ever detail of Boland's case, in Washington Sen. Lindsey Graham is trying to push a legislative amendment through the U.S. Senate to stop people like Boland from purchasing firearms. Back in South Carolina, the General Assembly, which takes about a decade to get anything done, is ramming through legislation that would prevent the mentally ill from purchasing guns.

Boland, you'll remember, attempted to shoot Ashley Hall administrator Mary Schweers, a mother of two, in front of students.

But down the road in Colleton County, a mother just as innocent as Mary Schweers is actually dead. Rebecca Dewitt, 34, had just pulled into her driveway after a grocery store trip with her three young children when she was fatally shot mere feet from them. Sadly, she got caught in the crossfire of a rolling gun battle by gang members fighting over territory. Miraculously, the hail of bullets missed her kids.

The only person in the public sphere who seems truly upset by Rebecca Dewitt's death is Colleton County Sheriff Andy Strickland, who keeps holding press conferences about the killing, trying in vain to spark some outrage. However, no one is listening. But when it comes to the Alice Boland case, everyone is. And that's pretty surreal when you consider that unlike the men who reportedly shot Rebecca Dewitt, Alice Boland didn't actually murder anyone.

Still, that hasn't stopped Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., who is part of a national group of mayors for gun control, from devoting a whole press conference and multiple public appearances to address the Boland situation. But when it comes to the Dewitt murder, gun control groups and the media are comparatively AWOL. The question is why?

The reason is simple. Unlike Boland, Dewitt's alleged murderers had already lost their legal right to purchase, own, and carry a gun, so the media and the gun-control crowd have no use for them. People like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Mayor Riley are targeting law-abiding gun owners like me who can still legally acquire a gun. And they know that the Ashley Hall incident, and the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary, can be used as a launching pad to put more restrictions on legal gun owners. Dewitt's murder cannot.

The irony here is that it is convicted felons who commit the vast majority of our nation's murders. A New York Times study of 1,600 murders between 2003 and 2005 found that over 90 percent of the killers had criminal records. These killers averaged four felonies each. When it comes to the men who are allegedly involved in the death of Rebecca Dewitt, all but one have other violent crimes in their past. All but one have drug arrests. Four of them have been prosecuted in the past for another instance of carrying or using a gun illegally, but not one of them has ever done more than probation for it.

Yet these criminals are rarely ever mentioned in the gun debate. If they truly wanted to stop the majority of gun homicides, Washington politicians and the media would be obsessed with writing and enforcing tough gun laws to keep convicted felons from carrying and illegally acquiring guns. Instead, law-abiding gun owners like me who still have the right to own a gun are being targeted. As Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, explained last week, once the Left gets universal background checks passed, they will begin restricting more people from owning a gun.

That is why Boland is so useful. She bought her gun where law abiding people do — from a gun store. And it is gun stores and other legal points of purchase that liberal politicians are interested in regulating — not the street market for stolen guns, the preferred channel for criminals, who use illegal and stolen guns to commit most of their crimes.

That's because the gun debate isn't really about crime, gangsters, or dead mothers like Dewitt. The gun debate is about whether law-abiding people, or the 85 percent of the American public that doesn't have a criminal record, will be allowed by the government to own guns.

Tara Servatius hosts the morning show on Charleston's 1250 AM WTMA. E-mail her at Follow Servatius on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TaraServatius.

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