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Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Stand Your Ground Doesn't Mean Shoot To Kill
it always does after a particularly bothersome incident, the gun debate is once
again being debated with fevered pitch in the U.S. and just as prevalently as
the debate, many people across the country become severely confused when the
concept of gun control is broached, somehow correlating it with ending gun
ownership completely, thereby prompting ad nauseum repetition of the moronic, audacious
and half-witted attempt at bravado made popular by our friends at the NRA; “I'll
give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!”
me say first of all, to dissuade any instantaneous preconception that I am, a
gun antagonist or a gun nut; I am neither.I own several guns and have done so for 52 years now, since I was
presented with my first - my grandfather’s Remington Model 34 .22 ca
bolt-action rifle at the age of 8 years old.I love to shoot guns (I deplore killing anything with them other than
tin cans and glass bottles, however).
guns and shooting them is very enjoyable for me, perhaps somewhat akin to
standing next to an idling locomotive, but those guns are locked in a gun safe,
to which only I have the combination, when not in use at the range or in the
desert and while in transport they’re locked in the tool box in the back of my
pickup for, just as those locomotives, they DEMAND a very high degree of
respect.Learning to shoot well is
indeed an art, but it is also a massive responsibility. I do not, nor will I
ever carry a weapon in a public arena and this is precisely why:
July 10, 2010 a man with whom I was acquainted entered a Costco in a suburban
area of Las Vegas, Nevada known as Summerlin, a mildly upscale master-planned
community of upper-middle income residents.The man, Erik Scott, was a sales representative for a company (Boston
Scientific) which produces high-end medical devices including the implantable pacemakers
and defibrillators he sold.He and I met
regularly to coordinate acquisition of those devices for implant into patients
within the hospital system for which I was responsible.
was a congenial, intelligent young man and was certainly not an ordinary slouch
of a guy; a West Point Graduate with a master’s degree from Duke who had served
as an M1A1 Tank Platoon Leader in the U.S. Army.Erik was in Costco to purchase items for a
trip of some kind that involved a backpack such as hiking or camping; it’s
unclear to me which.
in Costco, he began opening a package of items to see if those items would fit
into his pack and predictably, this behavior caught the attention of some
Costco employees, some of which were concerned and some of which were not, even
trying to assist him; different accounts from different perspectives, as
paid for the products he had opened along with other items he and his
girlfriend purchased and exited the store.For those of you who have exited a Costco store, you know what kind of
crowd is typically coming and going; estimates are that there were at least 20 to
30 people in and around the immediate area of the entry/exit where he
encountered several Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers screaming different and
by most accounts, contradicting commands.
seems that during the process of checking the items for proper fit, one of the “concerned”
Costco employees noticed Erik’s weapon and, from all accounts I’ve read, either
panicked or simply became agitated when he told Erik that he was not allowed to
carry weapons, to which Erik simply replied “I have a permit to do so.”The employee reported to his supervisors that
“there was a very suspicious man with a gun ripping open packages in the store.”The store began to quietly evacuate the
customers and employees, all unbeknownst to Erik.
Erik exited the store, commands ranging from “get on the ground” to “drop your
weapon” were thrown at him from the PD officers awaiting him and apparently, he
attempted to do what he heard and began to remove the weapon from where he had
it concealed and in the process of doing so was shot seven times, killing him.
profession was not such that it was required, of this much I am certain, but Erik
was carrying, not one, but two concealed weapons, a Kimber .45 caliber
semi-automatic and yet another .380 semi-automatic in his pocket and his
blood-soaked concealed weapons permit was stark and ironic testament that he
was legally entitled to do so.
one reads the various accounts of the incident, here, here, here and here, it’s
vividly apparent that confusion was thick in the air, not only with the Costco
employee and the LVMPD, but within Erik as well.There are questions that will NEVER be
answered such as; why did the Costco employee find it necessary to pursue the
actions he took?Why were the LVMPD
officers issuing conflicting directions? And in my mind, the most important
questions; why was he carrying not one, but two concealed weapons?Why did he feel the need, especially in the
community in which he lived?He was also
taking fairly high doses of morphine, for what I don’t know, but; why was
anyone who was taking such a powerful drug allowed to carry concealed weapons
to begin with?
many questions; so few answers, but here is one answer I can be absolutely
certain of without even a preceding question; there is absolutely no doubt had Erik
not been carrying a gun, he would still be alive today.
were coroner’s inquests, civil suits, internal investigations by the PD, yet
not one time did anyone wonder why the man was carrying two weapons, for there
was no need to ask; HE HAD A PERMIT!
what a very impressive privilege; an utterly unnecessary privilege for which he
paid with his life on that day!
do not believe that the PD acted in error, nor the Costco employee and to some
degree, even Erik was not to blame. But
the lax laws in this country are most definitely erroneous and need review and
overhaul NOW.No matter how you want to
view it, whether you’re pro or con on this issue, guns on the streets equals
bodies in the morgue.
right to have and bear arms” is an irrefutable right in this country according
to the Constitution of the United States, but that “right to bear” them needs
to be tempered drastically.As with all governing
instruments, the Constitution needs to be constantly reexamined to fit the
needs of the society it’s intended to govern (amendments).The Constitution was developed when guns
were both necessary for survival and when the U.S. had just ended the American
Revolution, so the right to bear arms carried far different ramifications then
than it does now.
all seen the statistics related to the issue and as with ALL statistics, they
can show what the originator wants them to show, but here’s one that simply cannot
be manipulated and that is, guns will and do result in a violent scenario,
either purposely or accidentally and a death such as the one above or Trayvon’s
or any other of the thousands upon thousands who are killed due to foolish, irresponsible
laws and/or gun owners can be neither ignored nor manipulated.
are dead either way and guns have no business in a public arena where
misunderstanding is going to be present; always, 100% of the time.