Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Rules

Last night I respond to a disturbance call.  I find one of the parties involved away from the scene.  The guy is huge so as I am talking to him I put on my carbon fiber knuckled gloves.  The poker match had started, and me by putting on my gloves it was like I threw a big ass bet down after looking at my cards.  I did not know at the time but he was an old school criminal and he knows the rules of the street.  He metaphorically looks at his cards and folds.  He knows respect gets respect and static gets static.  He politely tells me he has served five different prison sentences for nearly 20 years and knows the rules and does not want trouble.  This means he has at least once, been at the crossroads of “The easy way and the hard way” with the cops before, so he knows the pain that comes with the hard way.  He knew the cops had been called so he was smart enough to not have any weapons or contraband on him since he was expecting to get contacted by the police and being a seasoned professional in the justice system knew the situation would likely not lead to his arrest. 

Now just because we are using please and thank you’s and I am not kneeling on his head with him spitting out blood does not mean I am not aware that this is a person to keep my guard up and never turn my back too.  History has shown it could pop off at any time and just because he is being cool now, doesn’t mean that he isn’t in his head, planning to hurt or kill me.  I know that as I am talking to him I am envisioning scenarios of things he might do to attack me and what my response will be.  Our interaction is congenial and in the end he is released because the disturbance has not risen to a criminal level.   As he is starting to leave (me still watching him until I am safe to stop) he asks “So what do you think of all of these new gun laws”   Earlier in the day President Obama presented his first 23 steps to reduce gun violence.  I responded “well I like the fact that they are looking to tie the mental health to background checks and stiffer penalties for lying on the application and such, but banning high caps and assault weapons is not going to be terribly effective.  In the end I’m still gonna have mine and your still gonna have yours” and I chuckle.  Understand that this is a person who has been prohibited from firearm possession since his first felony conviction in 1990.  Him having a single bullet is a crime.  He chuckled “well…you know how it is” I quipped “so will you start obeying the new and improved laws” he laughed “You know the laws don’t make no difference to me” My response “tru dat”.  Then we went our separate ways.

So later the same night around 2300 hours and I am finally getting a chance to eat my Double Double with grilled onions.  I hear a shooting call come out.  I cram into my gullet as much as I can and run out to my car.  I respond to the scene which ultimately ends up being a murder scene.  I am tasked with certain tasks which I complete and report back to the scene supervisor so he can brief the homicide detectives when they arrive.  Not to toot my own horn but beep beep, I’m kind of an intel expert and have access to more databases than the average officers from my time as a criminal intelligence detective and the scene supervisor recognized this so I get those tasks.  The last few hours on the call I am stuck freezing my nuggets off in the uncharacteristically cold weather on the outer perimeter.  Since its 0200 in an industrial area there isn’t much traffic to move along so my duty is pretty much raise the crime scene tape when the detectives arrive and let them into the crime scene.

It’s during this mindless time that my mind wanders to try and comprehend how the new gun laws announced earlier today will impact this crime that I am standing at right now.  The gun used here was not an assault weapon and it didn’t appear to be a high capacity gun either.  It was a small caliber, pistol most likely based on the spent casings found.  The victim was a lifelong criminal with a longtime addiction to illegal drugs.  Statistics will ultimately bear out that he knew the suspect and they too were a criminal and probably a 90% chance that this was a “drug deal gone bad” and the suspect was a prohibited possessor of firearms.   So what has changed?

It got me thinking, so banning high caps from law abiding citizens that haven’t done anything wrong yet is kind of nutty.  I hear the common phrase that normal people don’t need them so they shouldn’t have them.  It seems to be a common belief that only Military and Law Enforcement should have high capacity mags and assault weapons.  Okay, so let’s dissect this.  It’s likely that there are people bad enough in the world that cops and military need to be armed up to deal with them.  But the average citizen that hasn’t done anything wrong shouldn’t.  For demonstrative purposes I will use hyperbole to illustrate this. 

When I am at work in uniform or when I was in the military I am fully capable of possessing these tools to defend others, but when I want to defend myself at home in my jeans and T shirt I should be limited to low capacity mags and no assault weapons.  So when I am willing to die to keep others safe it’s okay but not when I am off duty at home.  Well guess what I am still willing to die to protect myself and family.  And if my NFA registered SBR with a 30 round magazine is the first weapon I grab, I will use that tool off duty as well. So when I am not at work I am now not worthy or capable of buying or possessing these weapons because what?  I may go on a shooting spree in my civilian clothes?  Or I may go in a shooting spree because I have 30 round mags and I won’t if I have 10 round mags?  I can’t be trusted when I am off duty but I can when I am on duty.   So we will take away the ability of those that don’t commit the crimes to posses these tools because we don’t want criminals to commit crimes.  Right? 

Look, I am more motivated than the average person to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and nut jobs but this makes no sense to me.  I am all for linking mental health to the background checks and actually prosecuting those that lie on the applications.  What is tragic is that it took a tragedy like Sandy Hook to make this happen.  I just don’t see how restricting those that don’t commit crimes will solve the problem.  In fact I am going out on a limb and going to call it now.  The ban will go into effect and there will be another tragic school shooting.  There I said it.  Does anyone besides me find it ridiculous that David Gregory committed a crime by showing a high capacity magazine on TV?  That makes sense to someone?  How about making it legal for David Gregory to show the magazine on TV (as long as he doesn’t use it to commit a crime, he is sane and not a felon) and lock Mr. 5 trips to prison up forever instead.  What is the likely hood that David Gregory is going to feloniously kill people or steal from them or assault them?  Just guessing not very high.  How about Mr. 5 trips to prison?  What are his chances to commit those crimes?  Based on his violent history, I’m going to say pretty good.  You, Mr. Gregory and everyone else including Mr. 5 trips to prison is not going to be allowed to posses high cap mags, which in the group do you think will obey this?   Who is going to follow the rules of society and who is going to follow the rules of the street?

So standing there in the cold I had to wonder how any of the proposed gun legislation would have kept my dead dude from getting dead.  

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