Saturday, February 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Preparing for the psychology of open carry

crisp column sig

By
From page A8 | February 26, 2014 |

One wonders if, in retrospect, Curtis Reeves and Michael Dunn wish that they had left their guns at home when they went out on Jan. 13, 2014, and Nov. 23, 2012, respectively.

Reeves, 71, took his wife to the movies at a theater near Tampa, Fla.  During the previews, he confronted Chad Oulson, a 43-year-old sitting in front of him, for using his cell phone.  The details are in dispute, but Oulson appears to have thrown popcorn at Reeves, who pulled a .380 semiautomatic pistol from his pocket and fatally shot Oulson in the chest.

Reeves is in jail, without bail, awaiting trial for second-degree murder.

Michael Dunn stopped at a convenience store in Jacksonville, Fla.  While his girlfriend went inside, Dunn asked an SUV full of young guys parked next to him to turn their music down.  Again, the details are in dispute, but heated words were exchanged.

Dunn says that he thought he saw the barrel of a shotgun, so he pulled a pistol from his glove compartment and fired 10 shots into the fleeing SUV.  Three of the bullets hit Jordan Davis, 17, killing him.

Last week Dunn was found guilty of attempted murder, and he may be retried on the murder charge.  Dunn, 47, faces 60 years in prison.

First, the obvious: neither of these events would have occurred if Reeves and Dunn hadn’t had deadly weapons readily available.  Someone might have gotten a black eye or busted lip, but probably no one would have been killed or still be in jail.

But both Reeves and Dunn had a legal right to carry their weapons, and screenings and background checks are unlikely to have discovered personality traits or behaviors that might have prevented them from doing so.

In fact, they seem like more or less ordinary people.  Dunn was a computer programmer and software developer who had just left a wedding reception for his son.  Reeves retired as a captain in the Tampa Police Department in 1993.

Loud music is obnoxious and texting in movie theaters is annoying.  But in a culture that equates noise with quality and that increasingly considers the right to text in all situations as near-constitutional, many of us have developed resistance to the impulse to call out irresponsible fellow citizens, especially when an opportunity to defuse the situation – moving to a different parking space or theater seat – is available.

But despite the powerful gun lobby’s emphasis on gun ownership for personal protection, Reeves’ and Dunn’s actions raise a question: Did easy access to a gun have the ironic effect of inspiring more aggression and less willingness to back off than were prudent?

The question is increasingly poignant as more citizens are encouraged to carry concealed weapons because they believe that others are carrying them, and as states make laws that permit and promote concealed carry and, increasingly, open carry.

National Rifle Association-types imagine that open carry will usher in the Peaceable Kingdom, where the lion and the lamb lie down together calmly because the lamb is patently well armed.

But once citizens begin publicly displaying in holsters their fears, insecurities, paranoia, aggression and inclinations to intimidate, I suspect we’ll see more confrontations like Reeves’ and Dunn’s, quarrels that should evaporate in retreat, harsh words, or fistfights but, instead, turn into gunplay.

In fact, before we turn our country into the Old West, let’s note that the central, indispensable icon of all Western movies is the gunfight.  We should probably be prepared for more of them.

John M. Crisp, an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune, teaches in the English Department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Readers may send him email at [email protected].

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterFebruary 25, 2014 - 6:46 am

    Blah, blah, blah. The crazies and the crooks don't give a toss about gun laws and will use a gun on you at the drop of a hat. It's the responsible people who want to defend themselves and their family when one of these crazies or crooks goes off in front of them. And it is these responsible people the politicians are doing everything they can to deny them the right to that self-defense. Gun laws only apply to the law-abiding! Gun laws, as has been shown, do nothing to stop a shooting. It only adds extra charges the prosecution can use to send the thug or the nut away for a couple of years... while your dead family member is still dead! When seconds count, cops are only minutes away.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • vallejoanFebruary 25, 2014 - 6:47 am

    "because they believe that others are carrying them" Well, in Vallejo, they are. If you look at arrests made here, charges of carrying without a permit (often accompanied by charges of possession an unregistered handgun and being a felon in possession of a firearm) happen all the time. Not only where violence or other crime is involved, but during routine traffic stops. Whether more people carrying legally, whether concealed or open, will help or harm, I can't say. I can only say, look at studies and statistics instead of isolated incidents.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksFebruary 25, 2014 - 8:21 am

    I always say that road rage is my biggest concern with right to carry. The carnage out there might be overwhelming. Imagine the innocent victims because of st*pidity and piss-poor shooting skills. Right to carry or not, we have a nation-wide epidemic with lack of enforcement. Without that, your right of freedom trumps my right to safety and that is unacceptable

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    US / World

    Man shoots wife, himself at Northern Calif. retirement home

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
     
    Thieves crash car through electronics store in San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Some California farmers to go without federal water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    US appeals court: Marathon bombing trial can stay in Boston

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Woman knocked out by eggs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

    Mexico official: Police capture top capo ‘La Tuta’ Gomez

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Well-educated ‘Jihadi John’ no surprise to experts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Opinion

    How GOP can resolve immigration mess

    By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

     
    Unlikely winners of Greece’s surrender on euro

    By Mark Gilbert | From Page: A8

    A remedy for veterans’ care

    By Bill Frist And Jim Marshall | From Page: A8

     
    Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

     
    Poem about heaven helps dog owners when beloved pet dies

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

    Coca-Cola bottle as art? Atlanta’s High Museum takes a look

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Entertainment

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

    .

    Sports

    Thompson scores 25 points, Warriors rout Raptors 113-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Casey McGehee’s move to Giants a homecoming of sorts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    SCC women’s basketball out of playoffs after 74-47 loss

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Vaca advances three wrestlers into semis at Masters

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Spurs snap 4-game skid, beat short-handed Kings 107-96

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR car stolen from hotel before race

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    McIlroy to miss cut at Honda Classic; Reed leads

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    NHL fines Sharks’ Couture $5,000 for tripping from behind

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Browns agree to terms with quarterback Josh McCown

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Kyle Busch released from hospital following foot surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Bulls expect Derrick Rose back this season from knee surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Testimony: Several Hernandez texts are missing from phone

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Approaching ‘last call’ for NHL GMs to tweak rosters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    PGA Tour to move Match Play to Texas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    MLS Commissioner Garber: Hopeful season will start on time

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    .

    Business

    Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    5 reasons US economy is stronger than Q4 GDP suggests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    Tribes from around US gather to discuss legal marijuana

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Uber says database containing driver info was breached

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fiat Chrysler recalls 467K SUVs for possible stalling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    US consumer sentiment slips in February on icy weather

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Home Seller 2/28/2015

    Right at Home: Decor made of bicycle parts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

    Real estate transactions for Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

    Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3