Monday, August 1, 2011

The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

No, this isn't about the charade being sold as a "deal" to allow the country to escape "default".  I was going to tear that apart, but figured with my work schedule, by the time I was able to tear it apart, someone else would have.  If you want good details, Ann Barnhard has an excellent piece on American Thinker:  "We the Stupid".

This will be be about gun control. 

From an article on the same subject in NRA's First Freedom digital edition (which I don't think I can link to for non-members), I get this article on American Spectator, "Split Wide and Dis-Armed".  I follow football somewhat; more than some, less than others, but I'm sure many people have heard of the ex-New York Giant Plaxico Burress.  Plaxico is the guy who famously shot himself in the thigh when a Glock he was carrying illegally, without a holster, slid down his pants and he grabbed it.  In a New York City nightclub.

The short version is that Plaxico spent two of his most productive (salary-wise) seasons as an NFL pro in prison for being stupid.  And he has followed up that stupidity by being stupid again. 
One might think that this injustice would spark the former Steeler and Giant to lay down $1,000 for a National Rifle Association lifetime membership. Instead, after losing the bulk of a $35 million contract, endorsement deals, and nearly two years of his life behind bars, Burress, perversely, has joined forces with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
(from the American Spectator article)  While I would suggest that instead of a life membership in the NRA, he spend that thousand dollars on some training in how to be safe with a handgun, that isn't what this story is about.
Just three days before Burress's unfortunate incident in a Manhattan nightclub, fellow Giant wide receiver Steve Smith had been robbed at gunpoint. In recent years, gun wielding assailants have murdered unarmed NFL players Fred Lane, Darrent Williams, Steve McNair, and Sean Taylor.

Sean Taylor was a 24 year old Free Safety for the Washington Redskins, from the University of Miami.  Sean had been involved with stupidity with a firearm also, and as part of his plea bargain, surrendered his right to a firearm.  Sean didn't shoot himself, or anyone else, but he lost his temper and pulled his gun when his life wasn't in danger.  This is mild stupidity compared to Burress, but it cost him his life:  
Taylor had been accused of brandishing a gun, making threats and initiating a street fight on June 1 of last year with a group of people he believed were responsible for the theft of his two all-terrain vehicles out of a neighbor's driveway. After Taylor retreated from the fight, his blue GMC Yukon Denali was sprayed with gunfire while it was parked in a neighbor's driveway.

No charges were filed in the shooting incident, but Taylor was charged days later with one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of felony assault with a weapon. The felony charge was tripled in January with the addition of two additional victims to the case, raising the maximum prison time he faced from 16 to 46 years. The three felony charges each carried a minimum three-year sentence. 
As Flynn says (back to American Spectator):
The court-ordered revocation of Taylor's Second Amendment rights, along with the inevitable media-frenzy that vilifies athletes who carry protection, literally made him a cliché: the man armed with a knife at a gun fight. Wielding a machete to fend off home invaders, Taylor, just 24 and one of the most promising defensive players in the NFL, lost his life 18 months after he lost his gun rights.
Football is a rough sport played by rough men who frequently come from bad neighborhoods.  Their wealth makes them a target for anyone after money, and their status as "stars" makes them targets for anyone who thinks beating up a star will improve their reputation (called "cred" in da hood).  The types of people who think this probably think it doubles their cred if they kill the big, bad football star.  You can add State Prosecutors to the mix of people think damaging a football star gives them cred.  
"At worst, [Taylor] got into a fight confronting the thieves who had stolen his property." Sharpstein and his wife, Janice Burton Sharpstein, argued since they joined Taylor's defense team in February that the charges were overblown and that Taylor had been singled out by a publicity-hungry prosecutor. That prosecutor, Mike Grieco, gave up the case in April after Sharpstein discovered Grieco had links to media reports of the Taylor case on a personal Web site that detailed his exploits as a Miami Beach disc jockey  (emphasis added)
In my book prosecutor Grieco and anyone who insisted Sean Taylor give up his right to self defense as a condition for letting him continue to play football work for a living is an accessory to his murder.

This isn't going to end any time soon.  NFL Players will continue to attract the dregs of society, and more people need to respect their need to defend themselves.
Taylor's free-safety successor at the University of Miami enjoyed a happier fate. Brandon Meriweather survived a South Florida gun attack by returning fire. Though a college teammate endured a gunshot wound, Meriweather emerged unscathed as the cowardly burglars turned tail. High fives to Brandon, right? Not exactly. The media viciously attacked him and his draft-day stock dipped.
Sports media are buying the post-prison anti-gun makeover of Burress as a sign of maturity. It's really a sign of stupidity. Advertising one's unarmed status isn't a good idea. It will win him plaudits from the likes of Brady Center President Paul Helmke, who said that the former Super Bowl star "has learned directly, and painfully, about the risks of gun ownership." But there is a greater risk than owning a gun. That's the risk Plaxico Burress takes by making such a public proclamation of not owning one.
Let's hope no one ends up putting a toe tag on Mr. Burress for bringing a fist to a gunfight.  


  1. I remember Darrent Williams, he played for my Oklahoma State Cowboys several years back. He was actually one of the good guys, never in any trouble while he was here and was well spoken and intelligent in interviews. It was a sad day when we learned about him. For the gun control crowd its not about people, its about the cause. It doesn't matter how many are sacrificed, only that the cause is righteous - and every one that dies is another martyr for the cause. Thus the blood dance every time something tragic happens. Its sick really.

  2. I didn't recognize Darrent Williams by name, but I knew the other pros, and Brandon Merriweather. The point, of course, is not that these guys are all thugs and they're asking for it - it's that they're targets and the Brady Bunch/media are getting them killed. At least some of them. Having a gun wouldn't have helped Steve McNair, who was murdered in his sleep by a psycho girlfriend, but it might have saved Taylor.

    As you say, the Bradys don't care. They want folks like these guys, as well as you and me, dead.

  3. I've always believed - even when I was a peace officer - that felons should not be denied the use of firearms for protection. Even violent felons have families, and self-defense should be possible for them as well. Any truly bad actor will get and carry a gun anyway, so making it unlawful for a man to protect himself and/or his loved ones is just wrong.

    Yes, a violent criminal might be more likely to try to solve an immediate problem with a gun if he is carrying, but if we are properly prepared to do our duty - to defend ourselves and our families - such people can be dealt with successfully. Or so I believe.

  4. Reg, I wonder how many LEOs today think that? I think the reality is what you say: those who want guns end up with them. It's why my version of "reasonable gun laws" turns gun sales into something more like than needing to go to an FFL and fill out papers for everything.

    If a felon gets out of prison and really wants to go straight (it must happen?) it seems they're more like to have a circle of friends they need to defend themselves from than someone who never lived in that crowd.

  5. From what we've seen her on the Web, there are many LEOs today who believe that civilians have no right to self defense at all, at least from their predation, no right to open carry or CCW without their permission.

    Those LEOs who still are interested in actually helping the people who pay their wages do - for the most part - believe in the Second Amendment. They know that when seconds count, they are only minutes away, and death or serious bodily injury can only be prevented by citizens themselves. I'm just not certain there are many of those guys and gals still working today.

    Yes, there was a time when you could buy guns mail-order. _Unintended Consequences_ is indeed a novel, but all of the gun culture related in the book is based on fact, including the ability to purchase guns and ammo through the mail.

    There are a lot of non-violent felons who get out of prison and go straight. A couple of them are even family members (by marriage ;-) One of them went back to school, graduated with a degree in geology, and went to work in Alaska for an engineering company, prospecting for placer mining sites in the mountains. He could not carry a firearm to protect himself against bears - no rifle, no shotgun, no handgun. He _could_ legally carry a black powder pistol (not a firearm per ATF), but it would not have been much help against a large bear, other than perhaps scaring it off. (Thank you nonetheless, Cabela's.)