Over at Bearing Arms Micah Rate has a post that in turn illuminates an article by David French at the Washington Post. French is a fellow of the National Review Institute and a senior editor there who often writes about gun rights. The article itself is entitled David French: 'Give Cowards No Quarter, In Our Culture and In Our Courts'. Please read the article, then also read David French's article, which is linked at the bottom of the page.
David French discusses a topic I perhaps too seldom write about, namely the other side of the right to keep and bear arms, the responsibility one must exercise while being armed. The gun grabbers are so often and so furiously attacking our right to keep and bear arms with with attacks using either made up, or cherry picked data, that it seems all one can do to counter these arguments. But for every right, there is a corresponding responsibility. You should not yell "fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire, but you absolutely should do your best to make sure the patrons get out if there is indeed a fire in a crowded theater.
During my class to get my first permit, one of the things emphasized was the need of the armed citizen to not either initiate a confrontation, nor to escalate a confrontation someone else may have initiated. As my instructors kept emphasizing, in any confrontation, you know, as an armed citizen, that there is at least one gun there. The point was to get us to thinking, both long and hard, about what we would do in any given event. It is a trait that has stuck with me. I often think about situations I am involved in, and how these might go side ways very fast. It has made me much calmer than I used to be. It has also made me avoid places and situations where I might be drawn into a confrontation or be forced to defend myself or those around me.
As I watched the tape of the McGlockton shooting, which you can find in the linked article, the first thing I noticed was that Drejka was initiating a confrontation with McGlockton's wife over the fact that they were illegally parked. Now, Drejka is not the police, and he had no business confronting anyone about illegal parking. He should have moved on, found another place to park, or gone somewhere else. Logic should have told him that an illegally parked car does not rise to the level of taking someone's life, and that initiating a confrontation could result in him having to use his weapon.
Next comes McGlockton, who seeing his wife being berated by a stranger gets his testosterone up, and shoves Drejka to the ground, escalating the confrontation. Note that Drejka had only used words, had not laid a hand on anybody, But McGlockton actually commits assault. The correct thing would have been to say something like "You know, you are right. We'll move the car right away," and then do it.
Drejka, now on the ground, with his feeling bruised, draws his weapon. At this point, McGlockton begins moving away, which is the indication that the confrontation is being de-escalated. If Drejka felt his life was in danger, he should have kept his weapon drawn and in a ready position until he felt safe. McGlockton showed every indication of letting the situation drop at that point. Drejka could have filed charges, or could have simply walked away.
Shortly after receiving my permit, and while I was still at the stage of thinking everyone was looking at me. I had an encounter. I was at a Border's Book store browsing books, when a man came in, put on headphones, and was sampling tunes to purchase. He was very enthusiastic about it, and I would have hated to have the noise that must have been pounding his ears pound mine. In any case, every so often he would sing along with the recording in a very loud voice. He voice fill the room, and was very distracting. I could have confronted him, and would have but for the fact that I was armed, so I knew at least one of us had a gun. I decided to leave, since I could always come back later. That's what you do when you are an armed citizen. That is not cowardice, that is being responsible.
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