Have we created a quick-draw society?
The debate over carrying firearms, concealed or out in the open, has had a major voice over the past six years in our country.
In fact, here in Arizona you can own and carry a firearm without the need for a permit. With that being said, remember that there are certain places you CANNOT carry a weapon at all, such as airports, courts and schools.
One argument supporting Arizona's stance on allowing the carrying of firearms is that a person could stop a massacre or a shooting from happening if they had a firearm on their person.
I am sure you remember the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007. How many times did you hear someone say that the shooter could have been taken out if teachers or students had been allowed to have a firearm on them? I bet you heard that argument a lot, not only after that incident but also during the aftermath of the shootings in Tucson by Jared Loughner.
Just recently, Mervin Brewer did exactly what you have heard others boast about. He was in the parking lot outside of a Sears store and saw a loss prevention officer stop two alleged shoplifters, Michael Hough and his wife Shaashana. He saw Shaashana pull out what looked like a real gun. At that same moment, he saw his wife exit the store and start in the direction of the officer. He jumped into action, pulled out his gun and fired four shots towards the officer and the shoplifters. He did not hit anyone, although the bullets reportedly hit a car and a tree, and he is now facing possible felony charges for discharging his gun.
It was just a matter of time before something like this happened. For the past several years, we have heard arguments regarding how incidents can be stopped if more bystanders were armed. As such, it really should not surprise any of us that a bystander jumped into action here.
In Arizona you are allowed to defend or protect a third party from harm, in certain circumstances. Additionally, you can use deadly force if it is warranted. Think of it this way: If a reasonable person, in the same situation, would do it, then it is likely going to be okay.
Brewer's actions could be seen as reasonable by some. After all, he was trying to protect his wife and others from a potential shooting (in his mind). However, other factors come into play when deciding this "reasonableness" question: How far was he from the officer and couple? How much experience does he have with a firearm? How is his eyesight? Were there other bystanders in the line of fire?
These are all valid questions that should stop and make you think before answering the reasonableness question.
In America we like heroes, real and fantasy. We celebrate them, tell stories about them and wear clothes with their picture on them. But people, don't be so quick to try to become one. This situation could easily have turned deadly resulting in Brewer facing manslaughter charges or worse.
Use your common sense and be reasonable. Just because you CAN pull a firearm does not mean you SHOULD.
Monica Lindstrom, Co-host of The Agenda