Good Job, Florida. Michael Dunn Is (not quite) Done….

Good Job, Florida. Michael Dunn Is not quite Done….

The Michael Dunn Trial,

A Lesson in Personal Responsibility

by Rob Roman

Research by Amanda Chen

dunn_20121127045539_320_240Although I understand the sentiments of gun owners in America, there needs to be some limits and some common sense. We need to finally put our collective foot down on these terrible tragedies. I have mostly kept quiet about Michael Dunn, who fired 9 rounds into a car full of teens, and shot a high school student to death over an argument about loud music, it’s time to say something about it.

121130023444_112912_michaeldunnThe basic story is that Michael Dunn, 46 and his fiancée, were in Jacksonville, Florida to attend his son’s wedding. Dunn is a life-long gun enthusiast and an avid gun owner who enjoys going to shooting ranges. He’s a software developer and a responsible man who even has a pilot’s license. He’s a big bear of a guy and he lost a lot of weight prior to his trial. After leaving his son’s wedding where it seems he got hid drink on, he goes to a gas station / mini-mart and he ends up side by side with 4 teens in a red Dodge Durango SUV who had been spending the day after Thanksgiving visiting a few local malls.

As Dunn’s girlfriend goes into the store to buy wine and potato chips to enjoy at their hotel room, the Durango, equipped with special speakers is blasting Rap music super loud. The driver was in the store, and the music is so loud that doors and glass are vibrating. Dunn asks them if they could turn the music down and the front seat passanger turns the music off. Dunn says thank you and then the back seat passenger, named Jordan Davis starts getting perturbed.

imagesJordan didn’t like the idea that his friends turned the music down just because Dunn told to, so he has his friend inthe front seat turn the music on again, but not as loud. At this point, according to Dunn, Jordan starts threatening to go out, confront and possibly kill the 46 year-old man. Epithets laced with “Whitey”, “Cracker”  “Bitch” and even “Nigga” are directed at Michael Dunn. Jordan is saying “I’ll F’ing kill you”, and other undisputed threats.

Dunn is not sure if this is just lyrics to the song and asks them “Are you talking to me?”. As he says this, the driver of the Durango is returning to the SUV. There is a claim by Dunn that Jordan said “This is going down now!”. Dunn learns that Jordan Davis is talking about him, so he reaches in his glove compartment and pulls out a semi-automatic 9 mm pistol with a 15 round clip.

This is where Michael Dunn claims that Davis reached for and lifted up a weapon looking to Dunn like a rifle barrel and attempts to exit the vehicle, so Dunn open fires 3 quick shots through the rear door of the Durango. As the driver of the Durango flips into reverse and begins backing away, Dunn fires another 3 shots and then 4 more as the teens in the Durango are trying to get away. Nine out of ten shots hit the SUV and two went through the rear door. The Durango escapes to another parking lot down the road, and Dunn’s fiancée, who heard all the shooting, gets in the car and they drive away.

The teens try to help their friend and then return to the gas station. Dunn and his fiancée are long gone by then. He doesn’t call the police, and they head back to their hotel room where they order a pizza and Dunn walks his puppy named Charlie. The police arrive at the gas station and Jordan Davis dies of his wounds. He had one bullet in his left leg and hip and one bullet tore through his liver, on an upward right to left angle through both lungs, hitting his spine and severing his aorta above the heart.

jordan_davis_flickr_imgThe next day, Dunn and his fiancée make the 2 ½ hour journey home to BrowardCounty, and he still has not called the police. Although Dunn claims he explained to his fiancée about the weapon he saw, she doesn’t remember him saying this. The next afternoon, after seeing the story of a teen shot dead in a red Durango the night before, Michael Dunn finally arranges to have the police notified and he surrenders.

Dunn made the audacious claim in court that it didn’t matter if he called the police a minute later, a day later or a month later. The facts aren’t going to change and this was self-defense. There was no crime, in Michael Dunn’s mind.

Here’s the problem: If the jury agrees that Dunn acted lawfully, then Florida needs to change the law. Dunn could have rolled up the windows and locked the doors, and he could have been ready with his firearm if Davis fully approached him with a weapon or tried to enter his vehicle. Without that, we have to take his word. That’s just not enough when there’s a fatality. Dunn could have gone out the passenger door with his firearm and taken cover on the other side of his car.

Michael Dunn deserved the presumption of innocence and he had the right to a fair trial, even though I always felt the facts were stacked against him. Dunn had two things going against him. One was his claim that the teen in the rear seat reached for and raised a weapon Dunn thought was a firearm and then exited or attempted to exit the car.

dunnreg_0This seemed to be added in after the fact because his fiancée testified he never mentioned anything about a weapon and forensics seemed to show that Jordan Davis never exited the vehicle, and was in fact ducking to his left in an effort to avoid getting shot. The other problem was that Dunn, who claims that Davis had a dangerous weapon, never calls the police and apparently he tried to just forget the whole thing and pretend it never happened.

Michael Dunn’s demeanor and personality in court surprised me, because I had an idea in my head that he was a drunken loud mouth bully type of a guy. In court he seemed very mild-mannered and he had a high, soft voice.. He seemed highly intelligent and he came across as very honest and believable on the stand. One gets the impression of a highly cultured mild mannered man who probably went to fancy private schools.

His story actually came across as understandable and believable. But was he recalling what actually happened, or his perception of what happened, or his rationalizations for what happened? Does his impression matter more than that of the one nobody will ever hear from again?

Cracks have formed in this impression given some recently revealed statements. He did say he had never been in any kind of conflict with strangers. He testified that he had been carrying a firearm with him for over a decade, and this is the first time he needed to use it in what he described was a life or death situation.  There’s no doubt that Jordan Davis got out of hand, and even his friends tried to cool him down. The evidence suggest that Michael Dunn got out of hand, too. It’s truly a pity if Dunn’s sent to prison. But what about a 17 year-old who’s six feet under for being a teen? The jury is still deliberating while I’m writing this article.

Ironically, the reason Jordan Davis escalated things to such a high level is not because of what Michael Dunn said. It’s because Dunn did not respond to Davis’ taunts. Jordan Davis sensed weakness, and he foolishly tried to exploit it, not knowing that Dunn was armed. Isn’t this the same thing that happened in Zimmerman, too? Zimmerman had a round chambered at all times, while Dunn had to practically wipe the dust off his gun and rack a round in.

luciamcbath2Dunn explained that he could not say why he didn’t call the police and he didn’t realize he had killed anyone. He insisted that he did see a weapon and that he continued firing to prevent the teens from firing back. He described the teens as 4 dangerous men who all could have been armed and ready to shoot him. He said he fired 10 rounds because he was worried about “blind fire hitting his fiancee or other customers. Blind fire, he explained, is when assailants fire back in the direction of the target without really aiming.

I was struck by the fact that Michael Dunn seemed to be the epitome of a conservative Republican, and the passengers in the Durango seemed to be fans of liberal Democrat Barack Obama, though none of this is necessarily so. But Thanksgiving 2013 was just days after Obama, hated by many Republicans, was just re-elected President of the United States in a very bitter and contentious fight against Republican candidate Mitt Romney, the Mormon Bishop.

I imagined Dunn at his son’s wedding, getting a little liquored up and grousing with friends about the re-election of Obama, the first black President, only to find himself at a gas mart parked perilously close to an SUV full of back men cranking some belligerent sounding rap music to the max. This was just the workings of my imagination, and there is no way to know, but this was also my intuition, which I tried to suppress because, unlike the murdertainment industry, I believe strongly in the right to the presumption of innocence for the accused as well as the right to a fair trial.

images (1)Even though I had a nagging feeling that Dunn’s story didn’t add up, I do believe strongly in the Constitutional rights of the accused and I abhor all the pre-trial judgments made in the media about defendants. In spite of this I did include Dunn in an article I wrote with a friend in December entitled the “law abiding gun Owner”. This was an article highlighting various gun owners I call “idiots with guns” who shot unarmed people to death or were otherwise responsible for a shooting death. In that article, I predicted that Dunn would be found guilty of 2nd degree murder and he would be sentenced to 20 to 30 years in a Florida prison.

The other thing that struck me during the trial was that Michael Dunn had used the words “Are you talking to me?” before he pulled his gun”. This may be too prejudicial of me and it’s unfair, because this could very well have been an honest and innocent question that Dunn asked the teens. I shouldn’t be thinking this, and it’s unfair but I can’t help myself. A quick check on the net revealed that I’m not the only one. That phrase does ring a bell as the phrase Robert DeNiro said as he practiced confronting an enemy in front of a mirror with a gun he had had recently purchased. The man from Taxi Driver was also a soft-spoken and meek man, who slowly became more than a little angered and more than a little crazy as the film progressed.

tumblr_m13sgo6EEL1rnseozo1_1280“You talking to me?” is the phrase Deniro keeps repeating right before he rapidly pulls out a handgun and points it at his imagined opponent in the mirror. Actually, it’s the taxi driver’s own mindset that’s creating the dangerous and devious opponent staring him down in the mirror. When DeNiro draws the gun, he is really drawing on himself and portending his own destruction. I understand the 2nd Amendment rights of gun owners. I understand there are millions of guns being kept and operated safely daily. I know there are millions of gun owners acting responsibly and reasonably, but a series of thoughts always surfaces in my mind in relation to concealed carriers.

Many times you find what you are looking for. If you are looking for danger and threats, you will find them. But sometimes they seem far more intense than they actually are and sometimes they may even be non-existent, but just arise according to your mindset. This worries me a lot. True law-abiding gun owners are generally level headed and even keeled people who would only pull a weapon as a last resort. But more and more gun owners are not this traditional type of gun owner, and that’s what worries me.

People wonder why Michael Dunn didn’t just brandish his weapon and let the 4 “trouble-makers” in the red Durango know he was armed and dangerous. But that’s not the training. , Many don’t understand that the training is not to pull the weapon unless you’re prepared to use it. Once you pull it you do not hesitate, you do not shoot to warn or brandish the weapon. You immediately aim at center mass and shoot to kill. This is euphemistically called “stopping the threat”.

I’ve often felt that  a little brandishing would go a long way, and intuitively it seems better to warn and fend off a possible serious fight than it is to have a fatal situation.  But then you may get into a wild West situation, where each is waiting for the other and even daring and double-dog daring the other to make the first move.

lucia_mcbathIn Florida, you can shoot an unarmed person to death and they often call it “self-defense” and no action is taken. Yet, if you shoot into the air on a holiday, you can be jailed. If you fire a warning shot, it could be a felony. A woman who discharged a weapon in her own home without hitting anyone was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Florida.  That’s kind of a grand bizzaro world where it seems pulling and firing a weapon is frowned upon, but if you shoot and kill, that’s just fine.

Gun crazy Arizona surprised me by passing a law which now makes it okay to show your gun to a potential enemy and brandish the weapon. It seems that’s a better alternative than automatically shooting a person to death. This is because something, which may actually be trivial that you experienced in the mindset you happen to have on a particular day, sent you into Clint Eastwood mode.

JordanParents990wideThe obvious similarities to the Zimmerman case always arrive in relation to the Michael Dunn case, another Florida gun rights case. My friend and co-blogger from California, Amanda, disagrees vehemently with me, but I thought the Zimmerman case was correctly decided. It’s a sore subject nationwide on both sides and I think people who haven’t taken a look should review the closing arguments from both sides which is available on Youtube video.

It’s always awful when a teenager, who’s job rightly should be to be rebellious, to experiment, to test boundaries and to make big mistakes, ends up having their life tragically and violently cut short by a nervous and scared gun owner who may have contributed to the situation by his or her own paranoia, preconceived notion or ornery state of mind.

Then you have a situation where one side of the action is dead, and the other party may or may not be making things up to justify a use of deadly force. A jury of diverse and ordinary citizens are then left to sort things out and deal with the strange and sometimes counter-intuitive concepts of the law and especially of self-defense law.

mourning-jordan-davisI have to hand it to the parents of Jordan Davis, who seem like really wise and wonderful human beings and good parents of a basically good but boundary testing teen. Jordan was just out enjoying himself with some friends on a Holiday weekend Black Friday. He was off from high school and just cruising the malls checking out the young ladies and perhaps experimenting with acting like a tough guy or a gangster. That’s just normal life and no one should have their life terminated for being a kid.

The reason why I really celebrate the actions of Jordan’s parents is because they wanted this case to be about a middle aged man and four teens, and not about race, as all the passengers in the Durango were African Americans. Jordan’s parents wanted no part of a racially charged Zimmerman type trial and they went out of their way to avoid that.

downloadOne can just imagine they refused interviews by folks trying to draw that kind of a story out on both sides. One can imagine they turned down some offers from the contemporaneously heroic and controversial people such as Al Sharpton and Benjamin Crump. Certainly one can imagine Jordan Davis’ Mom and Dad turning down so many solicitations form Date Line NBC and 48 hours as well as those Murdertainment Monsters at CNN’s Head Line News (HLN).

These shameless and sick opportunists from HLN claim that they are there to tell the victim’s story. They want to present themselves as victim’s advocates. But they could still do that after the trial concludes, couldn’t they? Don;t hold your breath. Murdertainment is big money.

These are the real heroes of this awful story. Jordan’s Mom, Lucia Mcbath who had to sit there and listen to Michael Dunn recount his last words shouted at her son: “You’re not gonna kill me, you Son of a Bitch!

Lucia McBath and Ron Davis had to sit there and watch as Michael Dunn became emotional and teared up when he talked about his fiancée, whose life he claimed he also was trying to protect. They had to sit and watch as Michael Dunn shed tears about his dog,  Charlie, that was at the pet friendly hotel where the couple ate their pizza and supposedly waited in terror for the Red Dodge Durango to come charging up in retaliation. They also had to sit there as Michael Dunn remained stoic and showed absolutely no concern, emotion, or remorse about their 17 year-old son who’s life his actions violently terminated. No matter whether he honestly was justified in killing or whether he was well coached and scripted by his very capable and experienced attorney, Dunn’s behavior seemed very chillingly cold.

DavisSUV-bulletHolesCloser-jpgThe nation is still awaiting the verdict as I write this and as Amanda does some last-minute research. No one knows what the jury will decide, but many of us have ideas about what the verdict should be. What a tremendously high price we have to pay to have the polite society envisioned by 2nd Amendment activists. What a strange atmosphere that’s been created in America for all who hope for a more enlightened society.

The way I see it, if a person demands their first Amendment rights to carry a concealed weapon, they best demonstrate some damned responsibility. There shouldn’t be excuses for not calling the police after an event like this and we should not have to believe Dunn’s self-serving story that the teens hid the seemingly nom-existent “weapon”.  We want to believe that Dunn had a valid and stark reason for why he pulled his weapon and fired 10 rounds at human beings for the first and only time in his life. But we are also afraid about the what-ifs. What if he is just trying to make his story understandable to reasonable people?

120412-national-jordan-davis-killed

We know the jury is contemplating these things right now.

So if I am giving a “what if”, doesn’t that mean I’m showing I have reasonable doubt? No, because putting all the elements together, this seems to be in no way reasonable, to me, anyway.

If Michael Dunn is acquitted or only found guilty of manslaughter, or the jury hangs, I will not be happy, but I will respect the decision. I would then expect for the fireworks of outrage to begin, this time after the trial instead of before. I will just simply change the title of this article from Way to go Florida! Michael Dunn is Done! to something more fitting. My observations and thoughts still remain steadfast and aren’t about to change anytime soon.

I wanted to celebrate this verdict because I believe it will send a strong message about personal responsibility. I hope it will put concealed carriers on notice that you can’t just pull a gun in an unreasonable state of mind and then hide behind self-defense laws and invent evidence as an afterthought. Maybe it will give another gun owner appropriate pause before yet another young life is blown away and his family and friends are left to pick up the shattered pieces.

BTW, This State’s Assistant Prosecutor, John Guy, seems like someone’s golden boy and someone is obviously pulling strings to set him up for a high profile win, because he’s a less than mediocre prosecutor. Really, this Guy needs to get into politics, because he’s a real dud.

If the verdict is other than expected, don’t blame Dunn and don’t blame the prosecution, it’s Florida law that you can blame. Let’s get rid of it before complete insanity spreads like a virus to the more reasonable states.

If Dunn walks, maybe I should give it this article a new title:

If Dunn’s law is The Law of the land, then the law of the land must Change!

Your opinion is welcome!

All Rights Reserved

Looks like my intuition was right. You really should take a look at this:

Key stories about the Michael Dunn case:

http://www.bet.com/news/national/2014/02/10/for-lawyer-for-jordan-davis-family-the-case-has-been-a-lesson-on-race.html

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/7/trial_begins_in_case_of_man

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/25/ron-davis-jordan-davis-florida_n_2550359.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2556325/Father-Jordan-Davis-17-testifies-Michael-Dunn-trial-shocked-sons-death.html

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/02/10/analyst-man-who-killed-teen-outside-store-had-to-remove-gun-load-it-just-before/

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The “Law – Abiding Gun Owner”

Fact-Based Reporting

by Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

"Have you seen the like? Their walls are built of Cannonballs. Their motto is 'Don't Tread On Me'"
“Have you seen the like? Their walls are built of Cannonballs. Their motto is ‘Don’t Tread On Me'”

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 showkids with guns 3

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”.

Allegedly will not be "Dunn" thinking about a better way to handle disputes for another 20 to 30 years
Allegedly will not be “Dunn” thinking about a better way to handle disputes for another 20 to 30 years

November 2012

Jordan Davis, deceased
Jordan Davis, deceased

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.

The Victim Ronald Westbrook
The Victim Ronald Westbrook

November 2013

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.

The "suspect" Carrender will not need a calendar for some time....except for a court calendar
The “suspect” Carrender will not need a Calendar for some time….unless it’s a Court Calendar

October 2013

“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?

Adele_Bing

November 2013

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.

Child safety advocate Ringhardt
Child safety advocate Ringhardt

October 2013

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?

Problem solved. Domestic Tranquility.
Problem solved. Domestic Tranquility.

November 2013

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!

Pretty in Pink?, No, Orange.
Pretty in Pink?, No, Orange.

November 2013

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.

Dispute Resolved. Peace restored to the neighborhood.
Dispute Resolved. Peace restored to the neighborhood.

September 2013

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.

Confronted by the dangers of 3 teens a car and a Remington rifle, the snake prevailed.
Confronted by the dangers of 3 teens a car and a Remington rifle, the snake prevailed.

September 2013

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.

Dumas or Dumbass?
Dumas or Dumbass?

October 2013

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.

You Talkin' to Me?
You Talkin’ to Me?

June 2013

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’.

Obey the rules
Obey the rules

November 2013

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.

Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring

January 2013

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.

Pak was packing a lot of angry heat, but not much common sense.
Pak was packing a lot of angry heat, but not much common sense.

December 2012

The Deceased: Derrick Thompson and Alivia  Welch
The Deceased: Derrick Thompson and Alivia Welch

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.

gun“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.

US-CRIME-SHOOTING-POLITICSGun 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.

kids with gunsThis 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.

Firearms_SS-43461934We’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?

All comments are welcome and appreciated

All Rights Reserved

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/gps-mistake-allegedly-leads-deadly-driveway-shooting/story?id=18346144

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/11/27/florida-man-charged-with-killing-teen-over-loud-music/

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/white-dallas-man-shoots-8-year-old-black-boy

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/28/ga-man-kills-wandering-alzheimer-patient-who-knocked-on-door-police-say-charges/

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/11/30/police-eldersville-man-shoots-kills-brother-with-shotgun/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/teen-shot-head-man-thought-burglar-police-article-1.1410613#ixzz2mfpxenPk

http://www.pressherald.com/news/Biddeford-man-.html?pagenum=full

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/man-tried-to-shoot-snake-shot-friend-seminole-county-deputies-say/-/1637132/22156434/-/lboyt5/-/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Horn_shooting_controversy

http://www.wmctv.com/story/23689973/mother-upset-after-both-her-children-were-shot

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/27/adele-bing-killed-daughter_n_4350449.html

http://www.ibtimes.com/melissa-ringhardt-texas-babysitter-arrested-after-5-year-old-boy-accidentally-shoots-himself-gun

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2013/12/01/man-shoots-wounds-alberton-child-for-playing-music-too-loud

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/29/tennessee-man-shoots-and-kills-wife-after-argument-over-dead-mans-shoes/