A while ago, I discussed a near shooting in Back Bay, Boston, one of the toniest neighborhoods in the city:
So this happened in Back Bay, Boston (boldface mine):
Officers spoke with the victim in front of 85 Marlborough Street who stated that he and his coworker had been picking up trash in the rear of that residency when a white male came out back and placed trash in the back. When the victim told the suspect to place his trash in the proper place, the suspect went back into his apartment and came back outside holding a black handgun.
The suspect then pointed the handgun at the suspect and said, “Next time you tell me where to put my trash, I’ll kill you.” Then the suspect went back inside…
This is not a ‘gentrifying’ neighborhood, this is an enclave of the local gentry. Yet give someone a gun and he acts like an idiot chucklehead with a ‘Born to Lose’ tattoo.
Guns aren’t just stupid, they make people do stupid things.
While that’s ridiculous, the good news is that no one was hurt (the idea that you would murder someone over garbage is insane). This, however, is not bizarre and ridiculous, but tragically murderously (boldface mine):
Before the movie “Lone Survivor” had even begun, Mr. Reeves had killed a phone user, was in handcuffs and faced the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison. In a moment that instantly sparked a national debate about legal firearms in public spaces, a former homicide detective had snuffed the life from a Desert Storm veteran on a movie date with his wife.
The tale as told by the Pasco County sheriff’s office, a witness and the victim’s friends is of a fatal clash between two Navy veterans who happened to sit near each other in a movie theater. A woman would later come forward and tell prosecutors that two weeks earlier at the movies, Mr. Reeves had menaced her for texting as well, describing a man in sharp contrast to the generous and kind neighbor the people on his block describe….
Mr. Cummings remembers Mr. Reeves kicking the seat in front of him.
“He was agitated,” Mr. Cummings said.
Mr. Reeves asked Mr. Oulson to quit texting. Mr. Oulson kept at it, explaining that he was just communicating about a preschooler. Mr. Reeves left in a huff to get a manager, but he returned alone.
Mr. Oulson complained about being tattled on, and the two men exchanged more words. The words got louder. That’s when Mr. Oulson made what would turn out to be a fatal move.
“He stood up,” said Joseph Detrapani, a friend of Mr. Oulson’s, who heard the story later. “That was it.”
This was a boutique theater with rows of large seats that are elevated from one another, with a foot and a half of legroom between them. Mr. Oulson turned to face Mr. Reeves and swung the popcorn bag at his side; kernels struck Mr. Reeves’ face.
Mr. Reeves, a co-founder of the Tampa Police Department’s first tactical response team, reacted. Struck in the face by what he told police was a “dark object,” he reached for his .380 and fired, just as his son, Matthew, also a police officer, entered the theater. Mr. Oulson’s wife, Nicole, had placed her hand on her husband’s chest and was struck in the finger.
Mr. Oulson was hit once in the chest. The people nearby laid him down on the floor and rested his head on Mr. Cummings’s foot. Mr. Cummings’s son called for help while the nurse in the audience rendered aid.
Police said Mr. Reeves sat down calmly, put the gun on his lap and stared ahead. A sheriff’s deputy from nearby Sumter County who saw the muzzle flash snatched the weapon from him. Police said Mr. Reeves resisted at first and then acquiesced.
The gun was jammed.
If no guns were involved, Mr. Oulson is still alive. It’s that simple. Whether Reeves was acting out of fear or anger, I doubt a 71 year old man is going to kill someone with a couple of punches (most 21 year olds couldn’t do this either). But once you have a gun, the power it confers tempts you to escalate, to not back down, even if that’s the smart move. There are more than a few friends and loved ones that I think would be either too angry or scared to be anything other than a complete danger with a gun.
Guns do make you stupid.
It’s also worth noting that there’s no way anyone could have stopped this once the gun had been drawn: the gun jammed after the first round. Even if a super commando, ready to rock and roll citizen with a gun had been there, Oulson still would have died. The hero fantasy is just that: a fantasy. Like I mentioned, guns make you stupid.