When a Local Shooting Becomes a National Story

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33 Responses

  1. Thanks for writing this.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    And of course, if the police killed an armed robber (who shot at them) with one of their AR-15s, the conversation might be about police use of force, but no one would be talking about weapons of war on our streets.

    Well, some of the folks here would be, but the media wouldn’t.Report

    • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      You’ve mentioned before your belief that at least parts of gun culture trail law enforcement culture. I think there’s a lot of truth to that, and I think it’s where some of the cavalier attitudes about justified shootings come from.

      This shows the reality in all its horrid complexity. I’m glad this guy was able to defend himself, but it isn’t cost free. The outcome is preferable to hoping for mercy from masked guys at 4 AM and better them than him. Yet there’s no way around the fact that a whole bunch of lives are probably ruined.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD says:

        Thing is, I expect certain parts of gun culture to shrug at this (if not essentially celebrating) this shooting, or any police shooting.

        What irks me is how the media decries civilians using those weapons, but seem fine with the police using them. It further encourages the idea that the police are at war and need weapons of war.Report

        • I don’t agree. There’s a lot of overlap between dislike of military-style weapons for civilians and opposition to the militarization of the police. It’s the NRA and the GOP Right that want the police to be armed to the teeth and their use of weapons never to be questioned.Report

          • InMD in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            That has to he one of the cutest things I’ve ever read.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            There is overlap among certain groups of activists (I know lots of gun control types who’d prefer our police be armed more like the UK, where firearms have to be checked for special occasions).

            But the media,… they might care that the police have killed a person, but they never care about the weapon employed. If a cop kills someone with a handgun, or a shotgun, or a patrol rifle, or a sniper rifle, that is maybe mentioned in passing. But if a civilian kills someone, the type of gun used is VERY important. It’s a huge part of the conversation, about how dangerous such weapons are in civilian hands, etc.

            As if the police are not civilians.Report

            • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              I think there are probably some activist groups out there of that persuasion but there’s no serious constituency for it in mainstream politics. The most gun hostile jurisdictions have police depts just as heavily armed as anywhere else, probably moreso in many blue cities and inner ring suburbs where law enforcement is better funded.

              Actions speak louder than polite conversation at cocktail parties, and there aren’t a lot of GOP or NRA types in those mayors offices and county councils.Report

        • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I’ve given up expecting anything resembling a coherent perspective from the media on the issue. There are too many ideological, class, and commercial forces pushing against it.

          I might not agree with it but a disarmament movement putting an equal or even greater focus on taking weapons out of the hands of the state would be worth taking seriously. Corporate journalists don’t have the imagination for that. To the extent they feel themselves to be a fourth estate, I think they’d unironically see it as disarming the good guys, which of course includes them.Report

  3. Damon says:

    Teens are killed at twice the rate in car related deaths than guns. That’s 2x the heartbreak. Where’s the outrage? NADA. And I’m not even going to delve into how many of those gun deaths are crime related (drugs, etc.)Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

      “Until deaths from auto accidents are reduced to zero no one can advocate any non-car related regulations'”Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Damon says:

      ‘Teens are killed at twice the rate in car related deaths than guns”

      That sentence isn’t doing what you think it does.

      The only acceptable cause of death for a teenager should be accidental death from adolescent things like careless driving or bungee jumping.
      Teenagers should die from accidents ten times, a hundred times, more than from gunfire.Report

  4. George Turner says:

    The same thing has happened with knives and swords for thousands of years. It’s still happening in Britain today, even with kids on mopeds using knives or battery acid as weapons. Disarming the potential victims doesn’t seem to help, and the policy pursuing every last weapon leads to nonsense such as the Scottish man who is facing five years in prison for possession of a potato peeler.

    The obvious problem is that groups of fifteen and sixteen year old kids shouldn’t be out committing armed burglaries and attempted murders at 4 AM. They can’t act that way very long before it doesn’t end well for somebody, yet the behavior has become extremely common in many areas, where small parties of not-yet-men trying to prove their manhood to each other by intimidating, fighting, and perhaps killing random targets to get respect and collect trophies.

    Without proper socialization and intense parenting, young men easily become absolute nightmares. Their natural inclination is to take extreme risks to establish their status and reputation as brave warriors who will ambush and kill neighboring villagers. Young males are expendable, so even if half of them die doing something stupid, it shows that the surviving half are fitter than average.

    Peer pressure pushes borderline kids into such groups because the young toughs are out proving their manhood, bragging about their dominance, as if they’ve found a short-cut to being a feared and respected alpha-male. The more adult trouble they get into, the more adult they are. And then someone ruins it all by fighting back like they were actual adults.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Periodically, there is a debate over abortion and one of the few remaining pro-lifers shows up. When he (inevitably a he) shows up, it gives those who care about women enough to think that they should be in control over their own sexual destinies to ask “what about rape, incest, or the mother’s life in danger?”

    And, of course, the pro-lifer runs off, tail between his legs, because of that question.

    Welp, the gun folks have this one.Report

    • JoeSal in reply to Jaybird says:

      I’m somewhat curious what question is being asked here.

      In abortion, the social truth is somewhat unresolved, but what I hear the most is that life begins with a heartbeat, and after that questions about rape, incest and a mother’s life in danger, pivot on the value of the life. Is a living thing less valuable because of rape? Is a living thing less valuable because of incest? Is a living thing of less value because of a mother’s life is in danger?

      Note I’m not actually looking in a answer from a law perspective, but from a social truth perspective, which should inform us of the social truth. Is a babies life less important than someone who has committed a felony life threatening action? Why would you give that living thing a second chance, but not this other life a first chance who has done nothing wrong?

      There are several things I have been thinking about after reading the post. The one topic at the forefront is empathy. What demands can we ask of empathy? For some reason it made me think of that phrase: Respect must be earned. That made me question whether empathy should be earned.

      The reality is that I don’t know these folks. I don’t know if this was really out of character for the teens, or if this was a monthly occurrence in their behavior pattern. I guess I could default and just assume it was a one off occurrence, but that may be putting empathy where it doesn’t belong. Trying to discern what the feelings of teens who were engaged in this activity is a questionable task. Live and let live is one of those primary baseline rule of law things that is seen in every long term civilization concerned with having a future. Something terribly wrong would have had to happen for these teens to not be aware of it and remained some type of mystery.

      Some one could make the case that these teens didn’t know, and I guess my response to that would be this is the sort of thing you would expect to happen if that was the case.

      One thing that does tilt more to the objective truth is that survival must be earned.

      In the end I also don’t really know if any of this is my business. Is it my business that a person defended themselves? Is it my business to know enough about far away teens to invoke a showing of empathy? Is it my business to be concerned about the method in which someone defended themselves? Is it my business to choose what is or isn’t acceptable for someone else to protect themselves?

      Is it my business to know how potential mothers value babies lives?

      How resolved is our social truth in these matters? How resolved do we want it to be?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to JoeSal says:

        And so you see how we could argue against home ownership of guns, even when given an example of someone shooting at a homeowner when he is at his home.

        Because it’s not about the things that got us to this awful point. It’s not about what could have been done differently by bad actors.

        It’s about the guns that were used to kill in self-defense.Report

        • JoeSal in reply to Jaybird says:

          I guess I am still missing nuance in your point, or maybe that is the point. Only after awful points and the actions of bad actors, is there a threshold of badness to really reflect upon. Is there some assumption that will ever not be the case, or are you getting at something else?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to JoeSal says:

            This is an example of why people’s gun ownership should not be infringed. A pretty clear-cut one. The guy was defending himself at his own house against people who fired on him first.

            I mean, it’s an awful situation but it’s as clear-cut as it gets.

            Only people willing to bite the bullet would argue that this guy shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun. All of the other debates about stuff like open carry or whathaveyou are secondary. Gun confiscation says that this guy shouldn’t have been allowed to defend himself with a gun.

            And arguments that gun confiscation would have kept a gun out of the hands of the criminals trying to rob him (Or the one who shot at him which is reasonably described as “trying to kill him”)? The argument has to say “oh, yeah, those criminals wouldn’t have been armed.” I dunno about you but I find that assertion less than perfectly persuasive.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              I promise that if Gun Confiscation comes around here and says that this guy shouldn’t have been allowed to defend himself with a gun, I will be the first one to debate him.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Not that I agree with Gun Confiscation, but Gun Confiscation argues that this guy shouldn’t have had the gun to defend himself with.

                Perhaps I should comfort myself with the knowledge that, seriously, Gun Confiscation is absurd and nobody is arguing for Gun Confiscation so playing devil’s advocate on behalf of Gun Confiscation is risible.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                We should also comfort ourselves with the knowledge that “Guns” covers everything from a tripod mounted .50 caliber machine gun to a derringer, and that equating them all would be silly.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Hey, so long as we’re back to nobody arguing for things, I guess we’re good.

                Why would we even want to pretend that anybody wants to take guns away?

                Nobody wants to take your guns away.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                No one wants to take away machine guns?Report

  6. CJColucci says:

    Just gathering information here. How many of you have ever been in an armed civilian defense situation? If you have, what weapon did you have? How many shots did you fire?Report

  7. Chip Daniels says:

    That should read “10 to 15 feral squirrels”

    P.S. It was later determined that the squirrels were unarmed. But I was determined to stand my ground.Report