Last weekend, two pit bull owners died because of their dogs. The story is horrifying. Nick, the son of James, shot to death his own pit bull and two of James' pit bulls because the dogs had menaced the young daughter of Nick's girlfriend. James learned what Nick had done, and drove to Nick's house, a handgun on his lap. When James got there, he fired at his son Nick out the window of his car, and Nick shot back. They killed each other, according to two media accounts, which are disputed by the girlfriend who says James killed Nick and then himself. (For more, read Merritt Clifton's fascinating article, Son shot pit bulls who hurt a child, father shot son, son shot father.)
Whatever version you believe, it is indisputable that this appalling incident is an example of the myriad risks that pit bulls and their owners impose on our communities. The dogs and their owners are responsible, directly or indirectly, for an unacceptable amount of suffering every year, the victims being humans and other animals such as neighbors' pets. (See Pit Bulls: Facts and Figures for statistics and details about the pit bull problem.)
Thanks to people like Merritt, we find out about the dangers of these people and their dogs. Now, are we finally going to do something about it?