The case of Michael Dunn shooting and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis following an argument over loud music and the story of a retired police officer in his seventies shooting and killing a man at a movie theater following an argument over texting have increased our awareness that some people seem eager to use a gun to settle disputes.
In both of these cases, the shooters claimed they shot their victims in self-defense, but both deaths resulted from what began as simple disagreements over behavior, and not a threat to life.
Sunday at Jackson Square in the French Quarter, 41-year-old Eric Wilson from Hiram, GA pulled out a gun and fired five shots into an artist’s paintings. The artist, Alan Minor, said the man had been sitting with him for about an hour before getting up – taking out a gun – and firing at his artwork. After firing the five shots, Wilson casually walked down Decatur St. He was followed by a man on a bike who alerted police and Wilson was arrested and charged with five counts of aggravated criminal damages, illegal discharge of a firearm and illegally carrying a gun.
Police in a suburb of Phoenix say that Monday 36-year-old Kriston Chee was shot and killed by 25-year-old Kyle Quadlin after the two men got into a fight at the service counter at a Walmart. Quadlin told police that when he felt he was losing the fight – he pulled out a gun and shot Chee.
What the hell is going on?
Every one of these cases took place in a public setting with numerous bystanders who could have been injured or killed. The argument can be made that in each of these situations, with the exception of the man who shot the paintings, the shooters claimed their lives were threatened and they shot in self-defense. But the much stronger argument is that the shootings followed altercations that were not initially life-threatening and should have been avoided.
It is obvious that the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible individuals who understand the intent of the Second Amendment and respect that a gun should be used as a last resort – not used to vent anger or to get out of a threatening situation that was initiated by the shooters.
The fact that guns are often used to protect lives should not discourage the harsh condemnation of the trigger-happy, gun-toting Americans that use the right to own a gun as an excuse to exert their macho mentality to establish their self- proclaimed superiority in society. I purposely use the word macho because these types of shootings seem to involve men – not women.
If the NRA speaks out against those who use tragedies to promote stricter gun control – then the NRA should also be vocal about those gun owners that do damage to the fight to protect gun owners in America. And yet – there is silence, because I assume the NRA is unwilling to publically condemn anyone who legally posses a gun. If I have missed a statement from the NRA on issues like this – please email the information so I can give them credit (Scoot@WWL.com).
It is a miracle that innocent bystanders have not been injured or killed in these most recent shootings in public settings. Michael Dunn fired 10 times and fortunately only hit one teenager. At the service counter inside a Walmart – which can often be crowded – Kyle Quadlin pulled out a gun while fighting with another man and fired his weapon - others could have been hit. The shooter at Jackson Square could easily have hit people walking around the Square on a warm and beautiful Sunday afternoon. I assume that the retired police officer who shot a movie-goer following an argument about texting in the movie theater had training, but innocent people at the theater could have been injured or killed.
In the context of the American population, these types of shootings represent only a miniscule portion of the population, but there seems to be more cases where people are using guns to back up their tendency to confront others over minor incidents.
I am always willing to blame the media for blowing minor incidents out of proportion when warranted, but these cases speak for themselves and seem to reflect a real and growing frustration in society – a frustration that is at least partly fueled by hate.
Lack of respect for opposing opinions, media hate-baiters and an increasing expectation for instant gratification have all contributed to heightened state of frustration in America. It is almost as if those who express their rage by using a gun feel as if they will be looked upon as heroes by like-minded Americans.
Somewhere in the deep subconscious of the trigger-happy, gun-toting Americans there must exist a feeling of responsibility to stand up for all Americans who are frustrated with the system or whatever type of people they dislike or fear. But allowing an argument over loud music, texting in a movie theater or a disagreement at the service counter at a suburban Walmart to escalate into a killing is frightening proof that some Americans are not stable enough to navigate their way through what is supposed to be a civilized society.
Frustration is part of the human experience. We all get frustrated. We get frustrated with others in our crowded and hectic world – and sometimes we just get frustrated with ourselves alone at home or in our workplace. Imagine if every American who became frustrated with themselves pulled out a gun – who would they have to shoot?
The answer is not stricter gun control laws or more guns – the answer is recognizing that the hate and judgment of others have become an integral part of everyday life in America and seem to have replaced a sense of respect and tolerance.
I hope we are reaching a tipping point when those who have engaged in expressing hate and discontent on all levels will be seen by a growing number of Americans as the source of the problem and not the innocent defenders of what they believe to be the American way of life.
In January, ultra right-wing radio and TV host Glenn Beck lamented in an interview with Megyn Kelly about his TV show on the FOX News Channel saying, “I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart.” Beck told a Politico reporter, “I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language.”
Even before Glenn Beck expressed those regrets, I sensed a cyclical change coming that will slowly make the far right and the far left media seem as if they are not reflecting the views of the majority of America and a shift toward more civility and common sense will gain momentum in the media. This will not happen because the media wants to make it happen – it is going to happen because that is the growing mood in America – which the media will reflect in order to remain relevant.
Watch for the changes – they have already started. And this is a good thing!
I enjoy your discussions, but I just read this essay, and what stood out to me is you statement that Dunn shot 10times and fortunately only hit one. That one was too many. I just thought that was pretty inappropriate.
Response from Scoot...
I understand the point about the use of the word "fortunately" - I was clearly referring to the fact that only one innocent life was lost.
I see. Thanks for your reply!
Last but not least
Don't forget the tragic shootings of young blacks by
each other in some black communities. Some campaigns
have been started by some local governments of turn
in gun programs.
Gun rights advocates end game is "PLOC" - permit less open carry. Read their forums and legal alerts. The goal for the extreme on the gun side is no permits, no licenses, no training requirement. Loaded and open carry like Somalia. Be aware there is more to them than their polite rhetoric says.
Grandpa of the bieber
Grandson Justin brings his entourage to Starbucks and he gets beat up. To bad he did not have his gun for protection
Many words that say little
You've spent much time and effort to justify what is not justifiable: the mass ownership of guns. Sadly, it ain't working, and gun ownership needs to be cut way back. Sorry, but Americans are just way off on this issue.
Key word Scoot
The key word is responsible gun owners who are apparently not.
Also I think you hit it right about more hate and intolerance in America. But I think it is coming more to a head then backing off.
A lot of "responsible" gun owners
Just aren't. Why believe their rosy picture of themselves? http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/20/colorado-lawmaker-leaves-his-loaded-handgun-behind-following-concealed-carry-meeting/
http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20140219/NJNEWS14/302190041/Son-charged-after-Scotch-Plains-shooting?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1 - who needs 92 guns?!
Thugs using bats to beat up bikers
It is times like these where guns are necessary for self protection because NOPD is nowhere to be found
Carrying a gun in the open is not illegal, as long as you are not pointing it at anyone. To carry a concealed gun requires a permit.
Carrying any gun should require training, a permit, and a background/mental health assessment - updated regularly. Too many "legal carriers" suddenly snapping in movie theaters, gas stations, etc.
More Gun Nuttery
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Sunday advised states and the federal government not to try to close loopholes that allow guns to be purchased without background checks because gun companies did not appreciate that “attitude.” - So Gov. Perry thinks background checks "disrespect" gun manufacturers? Like it's an insult to them to ensure felons aren't buying their gear?