Nashua, New Hampshire, is one of those cities that has parts that have seen better days, a segment of the population that has substance abuse and welfare dependency issues, and more crime than most of the largely rural state — which is not a lot of crime in absolute terms. Nashua, which nestles along the Massachusetts border, has occasionally cropped up in “best places to live” cities. But the criminal element exists. Some of the locals call it Gnashua for that reason; you can find “gritty, urban” experiences like prostitutes without teeth. But it’s not very funny when the small city (pop. about 87k) is setting a record for murders this year. Last year there was a pretty typical total: one homicide for all of 2012 inside the Nashua limits.
But this year there’s a murder riot, comparatively. True, it’s not a Chicongo level of mayhem. But at least five, and perhaps as many as seven, Nashuans have assumed ambient temperature — involuntarily — this year. (We told you not Chicongo level. That’s an average summer Saturday night there, as opposed to January 1 through the end of August, inclusive). The number’s not locked down because two suspicious deaths have not been ruled homicides, yet (one almost certainly is, another is doubtful).
Now, New Hampshire has fairly loose gun laws. Anyone who’s not a felon or wife-beater can get a pistol permit that’s good forever, has a one-page application, and costs $10. The very idea is enough to make Massachusetts politicians’ stools go all runny; they have much stricter laws and hundreds of murders annually. They imagine that NH laws must contribute to staggering levels of gun crime. So, let’s look at the seven murders and suspicious deaths in Nashua to date.
|1||1/19/13||Judith Rolfe, 66||blunt object||Duane Rolfe (brother, bipolar, criminal record) http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1010403-469/accused-murderer-found-incompetent-to-stand-trial.html http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1001826-469/nashua-man-accused-of-killing-elderly-sister.html|
|2||4/25/13||Devon Gould Parr, 2||hand & fist||Unique Gould (mother, mentally retarded) http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1012329-469/bail-lowered-for-mom-charged-with-killing.html|
|3||6/17/13||William Grant, 83||knife||Shawn P. Burne (neighbor/burglar, committed suicide by overdose) http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1014025-469/dead-neighbor-blamed-in-june-double-murder.html|
|4||6/17/13||Eleanor Grant, 78 (Mrs. William)||knife||same crime as above, same criminal|
|5||7/13/13||Mary Danboise, 63||knife||Dr. Reginald Danboise, DDS (husband, committed suicide by hanging).|
|6||7/10/13||Alfred J. “Jim” Demeusy, 65||smoke inhalation from fire/ explosion||unk, not confirmed homicide http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1010603-469/nashua-police-join-investigation-of-wednesdays-blast.html http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/obituaries/1010674-466/alfred-j.-demeusy.html|
|7||7/13/13||Christina Hill, 52||not released||not released (body found decomposed on incident date). A homeless, mentally ill friend of the decedent is a person of interest in the case. http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1011700-469/authorities-identify-woman-who-was-found-dead.html|
So: in one of the easiest locations in America for people to legally gun up, a homicide and questionable-death wave has produced 6 deaths of known cause; in none of the six was a firearm the instrumentality of death. Of the 4 known perps, 2 committed suicide without using a firearm either, one is in pretrial criminal custody and one in mental-illness confinement.
Knife 3, bare hands 1, blunt instrument 1, fire 1, unknown 1, firearm 0 so far.
(Incidentally, for those inclined to count racial beans, all victims and perps on this list are non-Hispanic whites, not surprising giving the city’s demographics, nearly all white).