August 16, 2005

Guns Don't Kill People ... Oh, Wait

We're told that guns help people defend themselves. The NRA has been so successful lobbying as a single issue group that further gun control (consider that a sharp elbow directed to Democrats waffling on choice) is dead at the national level. But just look what can happen in a real life situation when somebody who doesn't really want to pull the trigger is faced with someone younger and faster who doesn't give a damn:

James Early dedicated three years of his life to assisting domestic-violence victims as a Mesa police volunteer and was killed while trying to help a neighbor beaten by her son.

When a woman fleeing her enraged son desperately banged on the window of Early's Mesa patio home Saturday, Early opened his garage door to help her, even though they had had tense relations over neighborhood issues in the past.

... Hermes attacked his mother, Barbara, 51, with a rock or a barbell about noon Saturday when she refused to give him money for drugs. She ran to the Earlys, but when she could not get their attention she ran to another house.

Meanwhile, Early had opened his garage door and the son barged into his house. He grabbed Lauree Early, 62, at knifepoint and demanded that Early turn over his guns, Gaffney said.

James, 61, ran to another room, got a handgun, and pulled it on Hermes, ordering him to release his wife, which he did.

Lauree escaped, but Hermes, 32, overpowered James, and shot him from behind as he was running away. ...

The article is a a real tearjerker, so go read it. Don't be surprised if you never see this story in an NRA newsletter.

Posted by natasha at August 16, 2005 05:46 PM | Law/Justice | Technorati links |

This is nothing more than a reminder that if you're not willing to pull the trigger, you shouldn't own a gun, though it would seem that he at least managed to save his wife's life. That's in the category of, "Well, duh." I suspect the NRA would even agree.

It's kind of a brutal reinforcement of a less pleasant social truth, though: if you aren't willing to kill in your own defense, you may eventually find yourself at the mercy of someone who is willing to kill for less. I'm in favor of treating firearms like automobiles, however: simple and widespread access to firearms training in high school, and a cheap and simple licensing system to carry one.

Posted by: Zed Pobre at August 16, 2005 06:21 PM

Basically, James Early was dealing with someone who was totally crazy due to a methamphetamine addiction. A person who is that crazy just doesn't respond in any kind of normal way. He would have had to shoot and kill the intruder to properly protect himself. But he didn't want to really have to do that, and hindsight is always 20-20.

Sort of reminds me of the fellow who was walking around stark naked in traffic in Bellevue a few years back. Presumably not much of a threat -- wasn't the fellow unarmed? But when a police officer came near trying to help him, the fellow grabbed the officer's gun out of its holster and fatally shot the officer. How could the officer have reasonably expected this?

Posted by: Richard Pope at August 16, 2005 08:16 PM

If guns are widely available, licensing is of very little use - it's too easy for people without licenses to acquire guns anyway. But then, I'm also keen to make it much harder to get a car (conditional upon vast improvements to public transport).

Posted by: felice at August 16, 2005 09:50 PM