January 05, 2005

Reality Strikes Again

Some of you may be aware of the gun control discussion that took place at Mountaineer Musings recently. One of the only anti-gun commenters gave the following rationale for not owning a weapon (note the ellipses, and read the whole thing if you must):

The gun stuff still makes me nervous. Just WHAT do you need a gun for? I would like to know that...WHO do you want to shoot? And are they a threat to your every day life…to the extent that you must be prepared for their “attack”? Yikes! I would not like to live in such fear.... I choose peace. And no bullets.

Notice anything? The entire argument revolves around the commenter's world view. She doesn't believe in owning a gun because she would never want to use one.

Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, I found an interesting story in the Post-Gazette today:

Fax/copier repairman paralyzed by attack in Downtown parking garage

His wheelchair pulled almost to the rail of the jury box, Michael Lahoff told jurors how he tossed his wallet toward the pair accosting him in a Downtown parking garage, and then felt the sting of one bullet, then a second, which severed his spine.

Oh no! He's paralyzed because of guns! That should support the anti-gun view, right? Let's look at the specifics of the incident:

Lahoff, a fax/copier repairman, had returned to his car at the Smithfield-Liberty garage to check on some needed spare parts and was sitting on the back bumper of his car looking at a manual when he noticed what he believed were a man and woman passing by. The two shortly headed back toward him.

"I thought, 'Maybe they want to ask me a question, maybe they're lost,' " he said. "Then I noticed immediately a gun pointed at my head."

He raised his hands over his head, and backed between his car and another. The gunman, he said, told him, "I want it all."

Lahoff said he was purposely looking at the ground to try to convey to the pair that he wasn't trying to identify them. That's why he could not give police a good description or identify the two defendants on trial -- Lamont Fulton, 19, of Crafton Heights and Marty Armstrong, 20, of Springdale. He also incorrectly thought one was a woman at the time of the shooting.

Lahoff said he told the gunman, "No problem, my wallet's right here." He testified he tossed it to the shorter of the pair, who caught it.

"Then I looked up at the gunman and I could see in his eyes that he was aiming. I said, 'No, don't do that, you don't have to do that.' "

Then he heard a bang and felt a sting in his left shoulder.

"I shouted again, 'No, don't do that, you don't have to do that.' "

Then he felt a second gunshot and he collapsed onto the pavement.

Lahoff is now a quadriplegic and is in a nursing home in Baldwin Township.

Sorry about the long excerpt, but I think it was necessary to get the whole story. Anyway, let's review:

The guy cooperated with his assailants, even to the point of trying to look like he wasn't committing their appearance to memory. He gave them his wallet, then tried to reason with the shooter. He chose peace. And no bullets. And now he's in a wheelchair.

Now, I'm not trying to blame Mr. Lahoff for his condition. That falls squarely on the shoulders of the @sshole who shot him. On the other hand, do you think he would still be like that if he had pointed a gun right back at the guy? Or at least had one on him? Maybe, maybe not. But in any case, I think we can all learn one thing from this incident: Choosing peace only works if everyone else does the same.

People are stupid and violent. It's better to have a gun and never need it than to be unarmed when you need to defend yourself. Unless human nature itself changes, that's the way it's always going to be.

Posted by CD on January 5, 2005 03:20 PM
Category: General Stupidity
Semi-Intelligent Comments

Don't want a gun. No matter how scary the world is. Sorry, it's might right to choose NOT to. Guns just make me nervous.

Posted by: Julie at January 5, 2005 04:36 PM

Nobody's saying that you have to own a gun, and I respect your choice, but as this story illustrates, some people will take advantage of it regardless of how cooperative you are.

Posted by: CD at January 5, 2005 04:41 PM

The anti-gun commenter at Mountaineer Musings didn't even consider another rationale for gun ownership. Well, two, really. (Hardly surprising... most anti-gun people I encounter know approximately zero about the subject.)

She got the self-defense thing right, or at least recognized that it's one reason for owning a gun.

She failed to mention that some people (here in somewhat northern Maine, many people) hunt. In many cases it makes the difference between eating well during the winter and eating not so well.

There's a third category of gun owner, into which I fall, that includes people who just plain like to shoot. I've never fired at a living thing, but I've fired hundreds (well, probably thousands) of rounds at inanimate targets. I just enjoy it. Some people like to see how close to the pin they can hit a golf ball. I like to see how close to the bullseye I can shoot a bullet. (And I like seeing the effect a 7.62 NATO round has on various junk items.)

I choose peace AND bullets, and I'm sure that would be a mind-boggling contradiction to that anti-gun commenter.

Then again, how many people intentionally choose violence? She makes it sound like everyone who owns a gun is just itching to shoot somebody, and that's ignorant beyond words.

I'm sure that if I told her that as a member of the military, I believe that war is a regrettable but sometimes necessary thing, I would be labeled a bloodthirsty warmonger.

Some people simply believe that all violence is bad, even if it is applied to stop other, worse violence. Not I.

Okay, I'm veering off the path. Comment over. Carry on, CD.

Posted by: BD at January 5, 2005 04:49 PM

You made a couple good points, BD, particularly about the perception of gun owners as bloodthirsty and violent by nature. The majority of gun owners I know (including myself and my father, incidentally) are deadly serious about safety, and most of us have only shot paper and clay.

On another related note, I was on my high school's rifle team for two years, so I can verify that guns really aren't as dangerous as some people think when used properly. We fired .22s in the basement of a friggin' public school practically every other day for a few months out of the year, and there were never any incidents. If teenagers can handle firearms, responsible adults should be able to.

Posted by: CD at January 5, 2005 05:02 PM

If teenagers can handle firearms, responsible adults should be able to.

I know in context this makes sense, but knowing the people I used to know, teenagers with guns is a frightening thought.

Personally, I've always wanted to learn how to shoot, and I suppose that when I become a single girl living alone, it might be something to consider - though given my propensity for injuring myself with the most harmless of objects...

It's not just about self defense from people either. A relative of mine owned a few firearms (until he got married). One day, his dog went psychotic, latched onto a limb and would not release. His arm could have been torn to pieces. It wasn't.

Posted by: Katherine at January 5, 2005 06:28 PM

Kill 'em all & let God sort 'em out.

/begin rant
What is the logic behind "If I am weak & unable to defend myself, maybe the big bad bully will leave me alone"? Get a grip. Mr. Xerox should have blown the little punk away. I think a .40 would have worked. Better yet, should have had a 10mm. Never know when that little extra bit of powder may be needed...
/end rant

If these people want to be defenseless subjects, that's fine. Just don't try to make me one too. I'd rather be a citizen capable of self defense.

"Glock. My personal 9-1-1." - Me (a proud gun owner)

Posted by: Crispy23 at January 5, 2005 09:34 PM

Katherine, the issue at hand there is the reponsibility of said teenagers. An eight-year-old who has been properly trained to respect the gun can handle one with no problems. Many adults are so irresponsible (and I'm not just talking about criminals) that they shouldn't be around firearms.

My dad taught me how to shoot the BB gun he bought me when I was about ten. He told me what his dad told him. "Two rules: Don't aim at anything you don't want to shoot. And don't shoot at anything you don't want to kill." Hence, don't aim at anything you don't want to be dead. A slight oversimplification, perhaps, but he got the point across. I never pointed that gun at anything other than the deer-lookin' target we put on a newspaper-filled box I used for a target.

When I came into the Army, I found out their rules on, er, "gun control" is pretty much the same as what my grandpa told my dad. The Army is very anal on what you point your rifle at. And they should be. AD (accidental discharge, firing the weapon when you don't intend to) killed more soldiers when I was in Afghanistan than the Taliban. (To my memory, anyway...)

Now, I'm not at all a gun guy. The two weapons I've described are the only two I've ever really fired. I was the one kid in Michigan who didn't rush up north to hunt every year when the season opened. I just never got into it. I had big plans to own a pistol of some kind when I got out on my own, but where I've spent most of my Army career in Lower Alabama, crime is almost unheard of. Add to that the fact that they make it awful hard to get on the installation- there's almost no crime where I live. So I don't even think about owning a gun (right now, anyway). Don't need one.

In defense of Julie: I don't think she's the typical moonbat that thinks guns are evil and if they were all illegal there would be no crime. She just feels uncomfortable around them, and as long as she knows she's taking a chance without one, I don't think anybody should pressure her into getting one. But I do think her fear is irrational. Well, most fears are. But hey- she ain't bothering me.

Posted by: Army NCO Guy at January 6, 2005 12:22 PM

Julie - if you don't carry a gun, someone will have to carry it for you. Probably a cop who is on the other side of town.

Personally, I'd rather live in a world where those someone elses are my law-abiding friends, neighbors & passers-by who stand a better chance of being there than that cop.

On the off chance that I'm not armed at the time.

Posted by: Harvey at January 12, 2005 12:57 AM

Hi folks...

I agree with all of the "home-defense" arguments, so no argument there...
I was an infantryman in the uSMC, with all that this implies...
And, recently, I found another reason to own a gun, which came from a totally different direction...
You see, I've been informed that the human population where I live shares it with bears and cougars. Now I'm perfectly willing to let them go their why, while I go mine, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Bears are pretty good about minding their own business, but cougars are predators, and they hunt deer, small animals, domesticaed dogs, and little kids... (I have a dog, 2 cats, and two kids...) And when we take hikes into the woods, I carry a Colt .45 pistol.
Now because you folks live in the big city, you figure there's no reason for anyone to own a gun, because guns kill people? So you figure everybody ought to reliquish their right to own them?
Hmmm... I don't think I'd like to take on a cougar with a club... I would, of course, as it dragged my screaming daughter into the brush... But I'd really rather blow its head off while its still twenty yards away...

Posted by: Sgt. B. at January 13, 2005 02:58 PM

I'm in category 3. I've never shot anything but paper, and I enjoy it. It's even tougher for me, as I live in the People's Republic of NYC, where acquiring a license is a royal pain in the neck.

My own personal take on it is that firearms are like any other piece of machinery; when handled properly by responsible people, or as a novice with competent supervision, the danger is minimized.

Posted by: RPL at January 16, 2005 09:26 AM
< MTCloseComments old="10" >