In James Gill’s piece (“Bullets and biscuits: A Port Allen lunch story” Oct. 5), diners’ responding to the accidental firing of a pistol “figured the place was being robbed. … Forks were cast aside, while furious customers reached for their pieces. Rat-a-tat-tat!” A police spokesman said casualty figures would be released as soon as local hospitals could provide them.

Meanwhile, he urged “everyone to keep a sense of proportion,” pointing out that guns kill more than 30,000 people a year in this country. “Although we don’t yet know how many people were hit, they won’t amount to more than a statistical blip,” he said.

The statistical blip, of course, consists of people. People who were shot in this fiction because of the impulsiveness of others coupled with the instant availability of a gun. Gill is, of course, over the top. However, Louisiana is over the top already in gun violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011, Louisiana ranked No. 1 in gun deaths in the country. We also are one of the states with the most lax gun laws, making guns very easy to get.

Let’s go back to the patrons of the café. There’s another impulsive act that kills. The CDC reports that suicides account for most gun deaths. White males kill themselves with guns more than any other group, especially adolescents, young adults and the elderly. The large majority of suicides are impulsive acts. So, if you are a white male in one of those categories or care about one, consider also that the more easily available firearm creates a higher risk of suicide.

As Gill’s column tells, in an amusing way, if you are carrying a gun for self-defense, then you must be willing to make an instantaneous decision to take another human life, right or wrong. I ask you seriously to ask a police friend how they deal with this before arming yourself. Your family’s future rides on your bullet.

I hope you do not have to face the loss of a loved one from a gun, but, frankly, that is what groups for gun regulation are trying to prevent.

Richard Haymaker

retired LSU employee

Baton Rouge