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...Society changes its view of Gun use.

Lately the RKBA and pro-NRA types have been digging through the news for those rare cases of "defensive" use of a gun.  (rare vs the total number of deaths by firearm, 2011 there were around 300 justified deaths - deaths ruled by the government to be legal use of force to preserve life, most by police officers)

I know my Facebook page has been getting almost daily "feel good" stories as the anti-gun control side calls them.  About one story to each of the 30 to 35 stories in "Another day in Gun Crazy USA" postings.  This gives the impression that 1) crime is out of control and only heavily armed citizens allowed to fire full auto can prevent it, and 2) that any gun regulations are will "ban all guns" and give the guns to bad guys.

The attitude of the general public that it is OK to shoot someone is currently prevalent and accepted.  Not just the rational, legal right to use deadly force to protect your life from an attack that will kill you, but that it is ok to inflict the death penalty with out a trial on anyone committing a possible crime near you.

However the good news is this is changing.  More after the squiggle.

The "it is ok to inflict the death penalty with out a trial on anyone who might be committing a crime near you or your business" was brought to my mind when my partner at work was all upset that a clerk in Lexington KY (near us) was investigated for shooting a "warning shot" into the air at a man who was peeing on the side of a gas station.  

Really. My partner was upset the police investigated to see if any law had been broken…like was the gun legal, was the shot into the air that would randomly hit the ground in a business district legal, was there even a threat to the gun totting clerk.  He really felt that since a crime (peeing on a wall in a public place) was being committed, it was ok that the clerk walked out of the store, confronted the man, threatened him with a gun and then recklessly shot into the air, that it would have been ok for the clerk to have gunned the man down.  "The clerk should have just shot him in the chest not fired off a warning shot".

My response that "we don't give the death penalty for peeing on walls in this state" did give him a pause.

I think the change is coming.  Not fast, but it is coming.  Detroit has charged a man with murder of a 19 year old girl who was knocking on his door seeking help late one night, he shot through the door "in self defense" or later "accidentally". (  People close to the victim point out that she would have been alive today "if he had just called 911".  Instead he grabbed his illegal gun and "defended his castle" through a locked door.

New York charged a man with murder for gunning down an accused rapist.  The police raided the location of the rapist who got away into a wooded area near by. The police were searching the area and a "concerned father" saw the unarmed accused rapist in his back yard.  No hesitation by this man, he fired his unregistered shotgun several times killing the man.  No jury, no trial.  The shooter still feels he is a "hero" for taking the law into his own hands. Though in hindsight he says he should have called 911.

Maryland, a man is being charged with murder for shooting another man who may have had an affair with the shooters wife.  Yeah, self defense is being used in this one too.  Instead of calling 911, the shooter took his gun, went out and 'had words' with the soon to be killed. Instead of calling 911, when things got physical, the shooter pulled out his gun and started shooting.

South Dakota is charging a store owner for shooting into the air to "warn" a man who had grabbed a bottle of liquor and run off.  Had the man not dropped the bottle, the store owner was going to shoot him.  Apply the death penalty for stealing some booze, no trial, no jury, long live america!

It is good to see that legal officials are starting to take better looks at these so called "defensive" uses of guns.  They should.  Not all gun use is bad, we give police guns because we understand that they will be in need of that level of force, considering the number of guns in the hands of non-police.  I fully agree that a person should have the right to protect their family and self with deadly force IF they are threatened with deadly force. But if I use that force I expect the police to do a complete investigation to make sure i'm not trying to get rid of someone who had an affair with my spouse or the like.

Society is changing on this too. Not fast, but it is.  As with most changes, those who speak out first are those directly effected.  Two families in Reading PA spoke out against an "armed citizen" who saw two men leaving a gas station after robbing it, jumped out of his car and shoot them dead.  No warning, no trial, no police, no jury, just execution.  Yes, the men had robbed $400 from the store.  Had the police been called and arrested them, they would not have been executed.  Likely the 18 year old would have been put on probation and put into a reform program.  Of the older man, it was said he "was a family-man who loved his young daughter".

In Mobile, an "armed citizen" gunned down a masked robber by shooting him as he turned around when the gunman shouted at him.  Instead of calling 911.  The father of the robber pointed out “If his (the customer) life was not in danger, if no one had a gun up to him, if no one pointed a gun at him - what gives him the right to think that it's okay to just shoot someone?” said the relative. “You should have just left the store and went wherever you had to go in your car or whatever.”

Much like most legal issues, the people who are at the front of the issue are not "nice" people.  Robbing a store is wrong.  But gunning down someone for turning around and not threatening you?  Not calling the police because you have a gun?  Shooting through doors because your home MIGHT be invaded by some dark skinned teenage girl?  Executing people for a crime that if the police had arrested the person would only result in a fine? Killing a person for breaking into your home, with out a jury or trial? Gunning down a man who has been accused of a crime and happens to try to run through your backyard?

No average citizen would say it is ok for random gun owners to short cut the justice system for minor crimes of shoplifting, trespass, theft, or public urination.  Our justice system does not execute people for stealing the TV out of a home - it won't even put the person into jail with out a trial, why is it ok let a gun owner do that with out question?

When you see stories of "defensive gun use", ask the question of the media, "what would the punishment be if the bad guy had been arrested instead of being executed?"  Ask others.  Start brining the idea to the front of the minds of people and soon we can see more social support to pass laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who commit crimes with them and lessen the need for gun nuts to have them.

Originally posted to Drill Sgt K on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Firearms Law and Policy.

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