Could Recent Deaths Put a Hood on Gun Rights?
Castle doctrine. Stand your ground law. Wisconsin' s Bo Morrison. Florida's Trayvon Martin.
Two young men who share one deadly thing in common. They were both shot and killed by regular citizens exercising their right to bear arms and use deadly force if necessary to defuse a potentially volatile situation.
When these deaths occurred, the person pulling the trigger, met the requirements to own the weapon and was well within their 2nd Amendment rights to bear the arm and use it as defined by the laws in their respective states.
And herein lies the major problem. This is not a race issue. Or a "hoodie means you must be a hoodlum" problem.
Or does it have anything to do with the fact that Bo most definitely picked the wrong enclosed porch to trespass on when he was hiding from the police. Or Trayvon was visiting his dad because he was suspended from school and most definitely wasn't an angel. So what. None of that matters much now.
I need to stop here for a second to point out one very important thing. I side with guns rights advocates and always will. But I fear that the "few bad apples spoil the whole bunch" thing could one day apply because of Bo and Trayvon's deaths. And again, I'm not saying that the Wisconsin or Florida shooters are bad apples. But we all must consider the end result of their actions. Two deaths.
I consider most people rational. I have no problem with rational people owning guns of any kind. Heck, own a bazooka, a Sherman tank or a B-1 Bomber. I trust you. If gun ownership were banned, irrational people would still be able to get their hands on weapons while rational, law abiding citizens would... do what? Respond how?
It's true, guns don't kill people, people kill people. And yes, we've all seen the comparisons regarding the use of vehicles and knives as deadly weapons, so should we just take away all autos and sharp objects from society while we are at it? Next will go all baseball bats, golf clubs, glass bottles and blunt objects. If it can kill, ban it...
The problem with a pistol packing society is you have ordinary citizens, now emboldened and high on a super endorphin rush, morphing into something they are not. The police.
And that is my point. Just because you're packin' heat, doesn't mean you have the hours and hours of situational training law enforcement officers go through in order "not to kill" people.
If you know a true cop, you know the absolute last thing they ever want or have to do is kill someone. Use of non-lethal weapons are on the rise and law enforcement officers are trained on how to approach and encounter suspects properly or roust someone from an enclosed porch, without killing them. They put their life on the line so you don't have to. It's in their job description.
Ok, let's talk about that Bo Morrison character hiding inside the neighbor's dark enclosed porch for a minute.
HE WAS TRESPASSING AND INSIDE SOMEONE'S HOME. Period.
Under Wisconsin's Castle doctrine law, the homeowner has every right to shoot first, and ask questions later. His word is the final word, no matter how tragic the end result is to some. But did he have to shoot? Is it possible the police would have also shot Bo if he popped up in the dark and moved suddenly toward them in the dark? We'll never know, and it's irrelevant.
Would Trayvon be alive today if George Zimmerman would have obeyed the police and not followed him?
Pretend you're Trayvon for a minute. Some "ethnic" (tried to be P.C.) looking dude you do not know is following you in his truck. He then gets out of his regular citizen's vehicle and come up in your face and starts asking you what's up and what are you doing in the neighborhood? I don't recognize you? Where are you going? And then you see his gun...
Damn straight you are going to punch him in the face, or do what you think you need to do to protect yourself, or whatever they speculate happened between the two. For all you know (and don't know) in that split second you have to assess the situation, George Zimmerman could just as well be a gang banger or thug. How would you or Trayvon know. You never saw the man before in your (short) life.
I'll speculate for a second on what happened. George Zimmerman crossed the line, from regular citizen to "fantasy cop." Block watch captain or not, no police powers are given or assumed, you are the extra "eyes" the police need on a day in, day out basis to help them "see" what they can't.
"We don't need you to do that" the police told George Zimmerman in regard to following Trayvon. But follow and confront him he did and the rest is history.
These two deaths are just the tip of the iceberg.
Bo and Trayvon's story will be told again and again. The names will change, and new cities and towns will have to deal with the fallout from more senseless deaths because irrational trumped rational. Patience lost out to impatience. Restraint gave way to rush-to-judgement.
Regardless of who is right.