Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Monday, June 18, 2012

To shoot or not to shoot

In my last post, I wrote about the fact that the more people carrying more loaded guns in more public places is causing senseless gun deaths. Some of my readers, of course, don't believe me and actually attacked me for writing about cases like this. They are sure they are right in needing their guns everywhere they go because they will surely be able to act in "self defense" if need be or to even "save the day" if they have to. This article about an incident in Texas shows the danger of permit holders thinking they can shoot it out with criminals with guns and win. From the article:
"Houston Police confirm it was a customer with a concealed handgun license who accidentally shot and killed a store clerk.  The CHL holder was trying to protect Tyrza Smith, 26, from armed robbers, but something went terribly wrong and she was killed.   
It happened on May 17 at the Family Dollar located at 6951 Bellfort in southeast Houston.    
Police say Dwight Richardson, 20, and another man who hasn't been arrested are accused of bursting into the store, locking the front door and holding a gun to the clerk's head.  
"They come in, they got guns out and they're threatening people in there.  The CHL holder had every right to defend himself and that clerk," said Fox 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico.
The customer tried to leave but noticed the door was locked.
He pulled out his weapon and got in a gunfight with the robbers.  Smith was caught in the crossfire, and ballistics tests show the CHL holder killed her."
And then, the obvious question is asked in the article:
Should the customer have pulled his weapon, especially since most robbers are happy just getting the cash?
It's a split second decision all legal gun holders pray they'll never face.   
Kyle Dekay learned in his CHL class to turn and run unless there's an immediate threat to life. 
"If at all possible, if there's a small opening, get out of there.  Hightail it.  The last thing you should ever do is go and draw for your weapon," he said. 
Gun dealer Jim Pruett can't say for sure what he would have done. 
"It's a tough one, and every situation demands a different reaction," Pruett said.  
Each year there are thousands of cases of gun owners successfully defending themselves.  Tritico says it will likely be up to a grand jury to decide whether the CHL holder was justified in shooting his gun.   
"That's what we have to look at.  What was this person thinking?  What was he feeling?  What were the circumstances at the time he pulled his weapon out?" 
The CHL holder could still be sued in civil court even if the deadly force is found to be justified. 
Trigger happy gun rights enthusiasts with guns at the ready may lose all common sense when it comes to a situation like the one above. The right question was asked. Did the man need to shoot the burglars? They could have robbed the store and walked away with no one being killed. That is usually what they want. Let's look again at what the gun permit class instructor said in the article: ""If at all possible, if there's a small opening, get out of there.  Hightail it.  The last thing you should ever do is go and draw for your weapon,..."". Sounds like good advice to me. Now the permit holder is in some trouble. Perhaps he should take out the NRA insurance policy I wrote about yesterday. More guns in more places do not make us safer. The NRA's dark version of America makes situations like this more likely and this will not be the end of such shootings, unfortunately. Law abiding people with guns are quite capable of doing stupid and dangerous things with their guns and it's happening with increasing frequency. It's time to do something about this.


 



7 comments:

  1. "Let's look again at what the gun permit class instructor said in the article: '"If at all possible, if there's a small opening, get out of there. Hightail it. The last thing you should ever do is go and draw for your weapon,..."'. Sounds like good advice to me."

    It sounds like good advice to me too.

    But then it sounds like that is the advice he took:
    The customer tried to leave but noticed the door was locked.

    Sounds like he would have left if he could have.

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    Replies
    1. But he chose to shoot when he didn't have to.

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  2. when you are robbed "Lie back and think of England"

    Seems to me you put far too much trust in people that have decided to prey off society. I hope you never have to test the "They could have robbed the store and walked away with no one being killed"

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    Replies
    1. I find it interesting, Anthony, that the places that offer advice for avoiding robberies to your business and what to do in case of a robbery do NOT mention trying to shoot an armed robber. They all say to cooperate and just give them the cash. Check this one out for just one- http://crime.about.com/od/prevent/qt/prevent_robbery.htm

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    2. And yet this can still happen (note the date and time of the story ~8 hours ago)Good luck out there

      http://www.theindychannel.com/news/31201639/detail.html

      and

      http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/155284435.html

      and

      http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20120616/PC16/120619265/manager-shot-during-an-armed-robbery-at-spruill-avenue-convenience-store

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    3. Yes Anthony. I didn't say these shootings never happen did I? You don't have to try to one up me. In the one case, the clerk was not using very good judgement- " He wasn’t unnerved by someone entering the store so late. He always kept the door unlocked for customers as long as he was still working. It quickly became clear, however, that the man was no customer." This is not recommended. In all cases it happened so fast that the clerks could likely have done nothing, let alone get out a gun.

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  3. This is the sad reality behind the gun nuts' vigilante justice daydreams.

    Not unrelated: A new study of "stand your ground" or "castle doctrine" laws shows that they do not deter violence, but rather increase homicides:

    "We find no evidence of deterrence; burglary, robbery, and aggravated assault are unaffected by the laws. On the other hand, we find that murder and non-negligent manslaughter are increased by 7 to 9 percent. This could represent either increased use of lethal force in self-defense situations, or the escalation of violence in otherwise non-lethal situations. Regardless, the results indicate that a primary consequence of strengthening self-defense law is increased homicide."

    http://econweb.tamu.edu/mhoekstra/castle_doctrine.pdf

    ReplyDelete