So what, exactly, is the problem here?

One of the daily “features” of the Gun Guys website is their “America’s Shooting Gallery”–links to articles about shootings around the country. This is apparently supposed to be an indictment of private firearm possession. Setting aside for a moment the fact that criminal or negligent misuse of firearms by evil or irresponsible people does nothing to compromise the right of peaceable citizens to be armed, sometimes the stories linked to don’t even seem to describe misuse of a firearm.

Friday’s “America’s Shooting Gallery” contains a link to one such story. The second link (“WA: Young man killed during home invasion is identified as high school student”) is to an article about the shooting death of a high school kid with a fairly extensive criminal history, apparently after breaking into an apartment building, pistol whipping someone there, and firing several shots. The man who was attacked apparently managed to wrest the pistol away from his attacker, and then shot and killed him.

Is this an occasion for sorrow? Are we to mourn the death of someone who, at 18 years old, had already committed numerous crimes against his fellow man? Someone who (according to this, more detailed article) kicked in the front door, assaulted an unarmed man, and shot up an apartment building? Certainly his family is suffering pain I would not wish on anyone, and the kid apparently was well-liked at his school, but forgive me if I have no tears to spare for him.

Hunter, the deceased attacker (described in both articles, by the way, as the “victim” of the shooting) made a series of choices. It should not require the benefit of hindsight to realize that these choices were not good ones. If they had not led to his death, they would certainly have deepened his problems with the law. If we are to call him a victim, so be it–he is the victim of his own poor choices. Effective arguments could very probably be made that he was incapable of making better choices because society had failed him, but those arguments would have nothing to do with gun laws.

So I suppose that I have come to agree that this is a tragic story–but it’s still not an effective argument for civilian disarmament.

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