The Wild West or Dayton? Is shooting back the answer?

I have mixed feelings about guns. I believe in the right to own guns, but I don’t believe it’s a right that is automatic. I also don’t believe that anyone needs an M-16, or a howitzer or a nuclear weapon. That stops me from being a Libertarian, but when I read stories like this, I wonder if Arizona isn’t totally nuts (where you can pack heat in a bar- legally).

Eddie Stovall, who was grazed by a bullet that broke his front window four doors down, was fine according to his wife, Alice. She said her 71-year-old husband went to work Saturday.

“We’ve lived here 18 years, and things have changed in this neighborhood, but to witness something that violent … with the little kids right outside next door,” Alice Stovall said. “You could hear pop-pop-pop. It was constant. We slammed the door, and I was in the den, down low. … It could have been so much worse.”

According to police reports, at about 8:10 p.m. Friday, a man aimed an automatic rifle at people on the porch at 44 Fountain Ave.

Alphonso Hughes, 32, who said he was on the porch with his mother, grandmother and brother, drew his licensed handgun, and a gun battle began, with 20 to 30 shots fired, according to Lt. Johns. The suspect and two men who drove up with him then fled the scene.

via Police have suspect in shootout.

I’m going to reserve judgment on Alphoso Hughes actions, since I don’t know all the facts, but, shooting back does have a way of changing the outcome of shootings. Most of the time, my response to bullying is to be a pacifist and try to take the morally high ground, but when shot at, shooting back is justified and can make the difference between life and death.

But, here lies the catch. I’ve received at least a million dollars’ worth of training with weapons, warfare and the proper use of such. The average gun owner in America is lucky to have taken a basic safety course. Guns in the hands of untrained people scare me. Guns in the hands of convicted felons- which I can almost guarantee the suspect in this shooting will be, is inexcusable. I’m fully OK with instant frontier-style justice with any convicted violent felon caught with a weapon- shoot them there, on the spot, with their own weapon. At no time should any person convicted of a violent felony be permitted to bear arms ever again- without a judge’s permission and a damn good reason.

Should everybody who lives within earshot of this shooting own a gun? Absolutely not. Should people who have had military training, an honorable discharge, or taken a proper weapons training course- it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Is this a radical idea? Was the idea of a “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” a bad idea- absolutely not- although times have changed. (full disclosure, yes, I own a gun, yes it stays locked- separate from the ammunition)

If it takes, as part of an effort to retake our neighborhoods, an organization of well trained people, organized in an orderly way, to shoot back, so be it. However, any organization should be working in conjunction with the police department, and should be assisted and trained by professionals.

Is it time to march with rifles on the town square? It may just be. Unfortunately, one of the first people I would have liked to turn to as a leader and trainer, recently was a victim of the very violence that makes me think about these things.

I am at heart a peaceful man, however, when it comes to the matters of protecting the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of my community- I’ll be the last one to recommend bringing a knife to a gun fight. I’d prefer we put away all of the guns and play chess to settle our differences.

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