Sixty-six-year-old Charles Poland Jr. was shot and killed by a maniac driven by the confusing need to kidnap at least one child off of the man’s school bus. The Alabama man who is still currently hiding in a bunker with one child has been identified by neighbors as Jimmy Lee Dykes — a man who is no stranger to trouble with the police, and certainly not a stranger to gun violence. Dykes still hasn’t been captured by police, but they have him surrounded in a standoff that has lasted throughout much of Tuesday. The latest update in this case transpired at 2:13 p.m., PST., on Jan. 30, 2013.
Charles Poland Jr. died a hero today when he took multiple bullets to his body. He is what stood between Dykes and approximately 21 other school children ages five and older. It’s reported that Dykes had originally tried to kidnap two children from the bus, but he only got one. It’s heartbreaking to report that the child he kidnapped was an easy target to him because this child fainted out of the terror of what he had just witnessed. This is by far the most disturbing element in this developing case. The child is also a special needs student with medical conditions that require the administration of daily medicine. Investigators have reportedly sent coloring books, crayons and medicine to the child through a PVC pipe after speaking with the captor.
It’s hard to speculate on all of the elements and ‘what-ifs’ in this tragic case, but one thing is for certain: Jimmy Lee Dykes is no stranger to trouble involving his gun. He was facing a trial for shooting at a neighbor in an incident that can only be described as downright fruitcakery. Dykes reportedly shot at a couple that lived near him when their vehicle had accidentally destroyed a dirt speed bump he made in the road. Yes, that is why he allegedly shot at them — and they had an infant in the car at the time. So it could be speculated that he kidnapped this child and killed a bus driver to avoid going to court for his other gun offense, but that seems a little over the top, don’t you think? He didn’t kill anyone before, nor was he facing child kidnapping charges over a hostage situation like today. He fired a gun at a family, yes, but now he is facing even worse charges.
The gun culture in the United States makes it difficult to gauge the problem in situations like these. Was this a problem with mental illness or was it a problem with gun ownership? To be blunt, it’s both. This man should have never had access to a firearm, and really it doesn’t seem like he should have ever been living in an open society where he could have access to the victims he has created.