By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
One of the running themes of this modest column, which has much to be modest about, is using bad examples of human behavior to illustrate ideas that are basic, yet hopefully useful. Among them is this:
If you’re going to get into trouble that involves use of a gun, do so for reasons that aren’t stupid as hell. Otherwise, you might wind up getting called an idiot in the backwater of the press on top of going to jail, and deserving both.
Examples of the wrong kind of trouble often includes people shooting each other over total inanities, like parking spots.
For instance, there was the 2018 shooting of Markeis McGlockton, wherein one Michael Dreika started arguing with McGlockton’s fiance about her having parked in a handicapped space. Dreika became animated, McGlockton got involved and shoved Dreika to the ground.
Dreika drew his pistol and shot McGlockton, resulting in his death and – in 2019 – Dreika being convicted of manslaughter and being sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Apparently that was far from an isolated incident.
On Christmas Eve in Philadelphia, one Jesus Perez was in the midst of celebrating both Christmas Eve and his birthday with friends and family, when he went outside to argue with a neighbor over a parking spot.
The crowd got bigger and the argument escalated, resulting in police arriving on the scene. The argument turned violent, and Perez drew a pistol and fired into the crowd; the police drew their pistols and fired into Perez.
By firing into the crowd, Perez inadvertently hit his 15-year-old son, Jeremy, and his nephew Giovanny Capulin. (Almost like Capulet, which is almost poetic if you think about it.) Jeremy and Jesus Perez both died from their wounds.
And it was all over where somebody parked.
Only a few days before that, a man pulled a gun and fired at a car in Albuquerque, NM while exiting a convenience store. Apparently, a woman had tried to pull into the handicapped space and found the suspect’s car there. She reversed out to wait for him to leave.
He walked out of the store, cursed at her and started shooting, though luckily no one was wounded. If that’s not breaking bad, nobody knows what is.
On Dec. 28, four days after the Perez incident in Philadelphia, a man opened fire at someone taking pictures of his car in Denver, Colo. The apparent target was taking pictures of the license plate as the suspect was illegally parked in the handicap space.
The man taking pictures (unnamed) was wounded, along with a toddler in a nearby parked car.
While no shooting occurred, another parking lot brouhahas occurred in Memphis, Tenn., in the middle of December 2020. The victim was leaving a shopping cart in an empty parking spot, a middle-aged man pulled up to her and said “n*****, I’ll hang you from a tree!” and temporarily blocked her car with his.
The man, Clinton Jeffries, later surrendered himself to authorities. He’s facing charges of assault and civil rights intimidation.
Where’s Gene Hackman when you need him? But one digresses.
What’s the point here?
To start with, two people are dead and three wounded in three shooting incidents over where people parked – as well as a woman threatened with death (using racial slurs, no less) over a shopping cart in an empty parking space, and in the last two weeks.
This presents some salient points to contemplate.
First is assigning the proper importance to things.
What seems to be the common thread here is conflicts over people parking where they aren’t supposed to. Humans are social creatures; pack animals such as humans evolve rules for the benefit of everyone. Most of us agree not to do X, because doing X is bad for everyone.
Now, a shopping cart in an empty parking space or someone taking up the handicapped spot is not much of a transgression, but it’s more that people can get preoccupied with any rule being broken, not necessarily which rule was broken, and many are far less important than others.
The danger, of course, is in losing perspective about what is actually important and developing a misguided zealotry.
Is it good to park in the handicapped space? No, but getting into an argument with someone in public about it isn’t either, and furthermore, what is that even going to accomplish? Little, if anything, of value to anyone.
In other words, we should endeavor – as people – to be careful about what we allow ourselves to get upset about, and recognize why we do and question whether doing anything about it is a worthwhile effort.
A lot of people out there think they’re sheepdogs when they’re actually a chihuahua that yaps all the time and craps on the carpet.
And what does any of that armchair Sigmund Fraud tripe have to do with concealed carry?
A couple of REALLY big things, actually.
First, use of a gun has the potential to seriously injure or kill someone.
That potential needs to be respected and only used when appropriate. It is not a tool for compelling other people’s behavior, unless that behavior is an equally deadly and serious threat to you or someone else. Failure to respect that will land you in prison.
Second, people who have to use a gun in self-defense (even in legitimate life-or-death situations) are called to account in the aftermath in some way. Every shot you fire, the saying goes, has a lawyer attached to it.
Some people don’t get prosecuted. Others spend years and thousands of dollars to demonstrate to the legal system that they pulled the trigger because they feared for their life. Many people have been found innocent, but still found themselves amidst the wreckage that used to be their life.
There is a good chance that you will be arrested. That your case will be presented before a grand jury. That you’ll face a trial, both by court and in the media.
George Zimmerman is a fantastic example. He acted in self-defense; that is inarguable. However, in the aftermath of the trial, he lost his home, his marriage and his career.
Does that sound “worth it” to you?
The idea here is that if you’re going to potentially suffer consequences of that magnitude, you don’t want it to be over something trivial like a parking space.
Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.