Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Guns and respect

From a backgrounder piece on the shooting of an unarmed movie patron by another patron that happened in Florida on 13 January:
Although he stressed that he was not present for the dispute and the shooting, Mr. Costas [a neighbor of the suspect] suspects the victim must have been aggressive enough to put [the suspect] Mr. Reeves in fear.

“If everybody would just treat each other with respect,” he said.

This is a variant on an argument advanced by gun-rights activists: "everyone would be more polite if everyone were armed."

With respect:


The victim "instigated" the confrontation by texting. The suspect objected. The confrontation escalated. Finally the victim stood up and "swung the popcorn bag at his side" toward the suspect's face; the suspect reached for his gun and fired.

Was the victim kind of an annoying prick in the run-up to the shooting? Well, yes, from the description in the article. Frankly, he could have gone outside to text, and there was no need to stand up and swing the popcorn at anybody.

But is his being an annoying prick an excuse for shooting the guy?

Do you, Mr. Reeves, think that, in retrospect, everybody could have lived through the movie screening if you hadn't been so goddamned insistent on being the enforcer of the theater's rules?

Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Reeves, that maybe the victim would have put his phone away once the movie began? (The movie hadn't yet started when the shooting occurred.) That has been my experience, anyway. And those who don't put away their phones aren't likely to react well to an admonishment from another moviegoer. Or were you counting on a bad reaction, Mr. Reeves? Did you want to spark a confrontation?

Does it occur to anyone else that even a handful of imbeciles like Mr. Reeves makes arming everyone a really stupid idea?

But to get back to the neighbor's remark ... yes, if only everyone would treat one another with respect. And if only so many of us didn't think that bearing a gun was the right way to cultivate respect.

Guns and respect. Let's stop linking these two things.

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