by Amanda Chen and Rob Roman
NO OFFENSE TO ACTUAL LAW-ABIDNG GUN OWNERS
- What would you do if a teen was playing music too loud or your brother was upset with you?
- What would you do if an 8 year old neighbor was too rambunctious, your spouse wore shoes you didn’t like, or your tenant was late on the rent and parked in the wrong place?
- How about if you spotted a young teen trying to get into your home or if your friends stopped talking to you?
- What would you do if a stranger knocks at your door or rolls up your driveway?
Well, if you were a “law abiding gun owner”, perhaps you would shoot them to death.
They started it, anyways.
These are all recent stories about people who became emotional, upset, impulsive or foolish and a firearm was used before they used their objective reasoning and their common sense. Many of these people enjoyed shooting firearms and they wanted to have a sense of freedom and protection.
We enjoy the right of our 2nd Amendment which allows us to keep and bear arms for self-defense and the defense of our families. But too many “law abiding gun owners” turn to their guns as a first resort, rather than a last resort, in the midst of everyday conflicts and stressful situations.
Gun ownership is becoming more main stream and more and more people are buying weapons, going to firing ranges, and demanding to bring their guns with them everywhere they go. Even NRA board member Ted Nugent echoes the idea that “An armed society is a polite (civil) society”.
But a lack of skills in conflict resolution and a stubborn inability to see things from an objective point of view, coupled with a pervasive feeling that one is under attack and disrespected, too often leads to tragic and fatal consequences. Too many unarmed and often unsuspecting citizens are being shot to death by “law abiding gun owners”.
Perhaps the best example of this is Brevard County Florida’s Michael Dunn, who is a life long gun enthusiast, gun collector and a frequenter of shooting ranges. Michael Dunn on the day after Thanksgiving, 2012, allegedly attended a wedding where he allegedly drank too much while allegedly grousing over the re-election of President Barak Obama with friends.
He proceeded to a gas station where he encountered three black teens playing loud music at the pumps. He ordered them to turn the music down and they allegedly had an argument. Mr. Dunn then allegedly pulled a weapon and fired 9 shots into the car full of teens, killing 17 year old high school student Jordan Davis. He then sped away and proceeded to allegedly enjoy a nice pizza dinner. Mr. Dunn’s trial is scheduled for February. He will claim that he was forced to defend himself from teens sitting in their car.
Here are some more recent events involving more or less stressful conflicts or negligence with an armed response and a tragic resolution.
A Georgia man shot and killed a 72 year-old wandering Alzheimer’s patient who knocked on his door. The couple in the home had already called police, but the husband, Joe Hendrix, went out the back door with a gun and shot the man, Ronald Westbrook 4 times. No charges were filed.
“Authorities have arrested an Indiana man who fatally shot his teenage son in front of his pregnant girlfriend in their Martinsville, Ind. home.
After arguing over whether or not to return home from the restaurant / bar where they were watching football games, David Carrender, 49, retrieved his handgun and shot Wyatt Carrender, 19, possibly six times, according to police”.
What could have been a better solution? Drive home during half-time. Okay, so it must have been in the 3rd or 4th quarter. Father knows best!
Many women have joined the rolls of law abiding gun owners, contributing to a “more polite society”. Now women have the freedom of security in their own homes and the liberty of being able to go unescorted where they want to go. They can carry a concealed power “equalizer” and no longer have to fear being mauled, attacked, robbed or raped by a strong, aggressive and opportunistic bad guy. But, is that all these ladies have to fear when packing the heat that affords them their new found freedom and liberty?
A Florida woman, who had just had a heated argument with her boyfriend who had stormed out of her house, fired apparently through the door moments later when someone approached her home and started knocking loudly. That person happened to be her own daughter, Ruby, with her 4 month-old baby in her arms. Adele Bing shot her daughter, Ruby, dead by mistake.
Melissa Ringhardt, 19, of Texas was babysitting a five year- old boy and his 6- month old sibling. She pulled her .40 caliber handgun out of her handbag and left it on the coffee table before taking a nap on the couch. She awoke to a gunshot and the 5 year-old was dead on the living room floor.
Women and children are safer, now that “inanimate objects” or “simple tools” are involved.
So, at least we have a polite society where spouses or lovers are nicer to each other and emotionally charged arguments are avoided because both partners own weapons. This causes them to be better communicators and ultimately more adept at peaceful and cooperative conflict resolution, right?
A Tennessee man shot his wife after an argument over the husband wearing his wife’s deceased father’s shoes. James Cothran and his wife, Patricia, began arguing for over 30 minutes when after Thanksgiving dinner, Patricia asked James to take off her father’s shoes. He claims she then grabbed a knife and was “fixing coming at me, so I shot her”. James shot her dead with a .22 caliber handgun and he’s claiming self-defense.
I suppose in that 30 minutes of arguing, she never noticed that he had a gun on him. Alright then, Happy Thanksgiving!
A Pennsylvania man was watching sports with his father and his brother when the two brothers got into a heated argument. Robert Bauduin,46, then blasted his brother Richard, 48, with a shotgun, killing him instantly.
Blame it on football and general sports violence inviting audience participation. What was the argument about again? They probably don’t remember.
And here’s an old headline from an old and true story about two brothers I worked with at a Stop & Shop Supermarket “Brother charged in shooting kin in theft of fifty cents”.
These two very large brothers both worked at the Supermarket for years and were always at each other’s throats. Then one day they had an argument at home and one brother blasted the other with a shotgun.
Since guns are just a simple tool, they also have an infinite variety of miscellaneous uses too. They are for much more than just making routine domestic arguments into fatal tragedies. An augmentation and enforcement mechanism for bible study seems to be one such use. Child discipline, animal control, and neighborhood protection are just a few more of the manifold uses of firearms.
A white Texas man shot his neighbor, an 8 year old black boy, for being too rambunctious. The boy had just gone in his home to get a toy, and upon coming back outside, 46 year-old Brian Cloninger shot him in the face. “Maiden’s mother, Latamarin Locklin, recalled the aftermath of the shooting to KTVT on Thursday.
“When he ran in I just screamed,” she said. “His mouth was just hanging off and it was just a big hole… I just threw him on the couch and laid him in my arms and put pressure on his mouth with a towel.” When asked what happened, Cloninger was leaning against his truck and just said, “yes, I shot that kid”.
Maiden was bleeding profusely, but he was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery. He survived but was in critical condition.
A Florida teen and his friends got out of his car and attempted to shoot a snake. Jared Hemphill, 18, shot his friend, Christopher Rape, also 18, in the leg instead. Upon recounting the story, the teen said they had to stop the car, get out and shoot the snake with a Remington semi-automatic rifle, as the snake in the road was a danger and a threat. Jared claimed self-defense. No charges were filed. The snake could not be reached for comment.
A Tennessee mom was shocked when a man who was a friend of the family for three years, suddenly showed up and shot her son and daughter in their driveway. Angelique White, 29, and Christopher White, 23, were in the driveway when Aaron Dumas approached and pulled out a bible and started arguing with the siblings. While the mother was inside calling 911, she heard two gunshots. The siblings were hospitalized but survived.
New Orleans A man shot and killed a teen for attempting to rob his home. “A 14-year-old New Orleans boy was shot in the head early Friday morning after a homeowner said the unarmed teen was trying to break into his house.
Homeowner Merritt Landry, 33, who lives in Marigny, allegedly shot Marshall Coulter after fearing for his safety, and told friends and family he thought the teen had a gun.” Despite New Orleans’ “castle doctrine” laws, similar to Florida’s “stand your ground” laws, Landry was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.
Guns have been successfully used in law enforcement for centuries. When law enforcement falls short, the individual can reign supreme. Firearms also help business owners and home owners to “stand their ground” against people who are ‘fixing to violate the rules’ and ‘do trespassing and such’.
A Tennessee bar owner shot and killed a patron for refusing to extinguish his cigarette “A downtown bar owner told police he fatally shot a country music singer in self-defense after the two got into an argument over the musician smoking a cigarette in a no-smoking area, authorities said.”
Pit and Barrel owner Chris Ferrell shot Wayne Mills, 44, around 5 a.m. Saturday, after the bar had closed, The Tennessean reported. Mills died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Either he didn’t like the music or else I suspect there was a woman involved.
A Georgia man shot and killed a young man who mistakenly pulled into his driveway because of a GPS error.
“Lilburn, Ga. – A 69 year-old suburban Atlanta man faces a murder charge after authorities say he shot and killed a 22-year-old man who had mistakenly driven into his driveway.
An arrest warrant states that Rodrigo Abad Diaz of Duluth, Ga., was fatally shot in the head Saturday as he tried to drive away from Phillip Sailors’ home in Lilburn, northeast of Atlanta.”
Sailors may have thought “the Guvmint was fixing to grab muh gunz”. After all, the far-right news media and talk shows had been barking this idiotic lie 24/7.
Here’s my personal favorite. In this situation, there was a discussion. The discussion turned into an argument whereupon the police were called. The police left thinking the dispute was settled. Then the homeowner / landlord got a firearm and charged in to do his own brand of law enforcement.
James Pak, 74, of Maine, shot and killed a young man and his girlfriend in the presence of the girl’s mother and 7 year-old son, after a dispute over late rent and not moving their car for the snowplow. Maine State Police identified the victims as Derrick Thompson, 19, and his girlfriend, Alivia Welch, 18. Thompson’s mother, Susan Johnson, 44, was treated for a gunshot wound at Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was in stable condition early Sunday. Johnson’s 7-year-old son, Brayden, was not hurt. Problem solved. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The point here, of course, is not that gun ownership is intrinsically bad or that the 2nd Amendment should be repealed. Gun ownership is an important part of our American history and culture. We should just remember that not every gun owner is thoughtful and deliberates carefully before they point and shoot. They will claim self-defense, apply the castle doctrine miles away from home, and continue to say “I was just cleaning my gun”.
The 2nd Amendment “no infringements” activists also are not always reasonable. They will claim that since it’s possible that ten people could invade the home of a law abiding citizen, there should be no limitations to the type of firearms that are available to individuals. They will claim that more people are killed by other means than firearms, so nothing should be done about gun safety until those other problems are fixed first.
They will claim that forks, knives and cars, things that everyone uses every day and multiple times per day, are just as dangerous as guns. They point to other related safety and control problems such as psychotropic drugs and mental health and claim that this is the problem, while guns are the innocent and “inanimate” bystander.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Yes, so guns should not be regulated, but people like these folks should be regulated with respect to gun ownership and gun safety. Who is allowed to have or not have firearms and under what circumstances is always a legitimate subject to discuss.
Gun rights activists will claim that since the mass shooting tragedy called “Sandy Hook” and the subsequent gun safety and sensible gun control initiatives, gun sales have skyrocketed. That’s all the more reason why we need safety and control legislation. Protecting the public safety is one of the highest charges of government.
People are people and too many do not employ common sense, use appropriate cautions, and they try to resolve conflicts with deadly force as the very first resort. People are pulling out their lethal trump cards on impulse before exhausting every other option to resolve disputes.
This is why all our children need lessons in how to behave in a civil society. For their own safety, they should have courses about how to resolve disputes and handle emotionally charged conflicts. They should know how and where to get help.
Gun safety training and continuing education courses should be mandatory for gun owners. Would institutions such as the NRA care to be involved in this endeavor? They want to offer gun safety courses as a matter of individual choice, but just look at the deadly individual choices made in these examples.
Let’s have some courses on civil behavior and conflict resolution and some mandatory courses on gun safety. Can we do that?
Maybe gun rights activists will say our real problem is that not enough of us own and carry weapons. If everyone owned and carried weapons, then people would know everyone else is armed and people wouldn’t tangle with each other so much we could finally have a polite and civil society where there are no “knockout games”, no assaults, no mob violence, no beatings and rapes and very little random violence.
We’re about half way there already, by the looks of theses news articles. Twelve dead and six wounded is a small price to pay for individual law and guideline enforcement, keeping animals in line, child safety, and domestic tranquility,
None of the victims in these stories were armed.
The snake, of course, has no arms.
What’s your opinion?
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