It’s no great leap of imagination to suggest that a man who shoots his own cousin by mistake is an irresponsible gun owner. Or is it? Depending on your perspective, you can file this tragedy under two categories: “shit happens” or “see what happens when there’s a gun in the house/apartment/trailer home”? I’m not down with either analysis. A gun owner is responsible for every bullet or shotshell that leaves the barrel, no matter what. First, the few facts as we know them via wkrg.com . . .

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office says 18-year-old Daniel Johnson shot and killed his 26-year-old cousin, Joy Logan. We’re told he thought she was a burglar.

The Sheriff’s Office says Logan and her aunt had been visiting someone at the hospital, it was late, so Logan’s aunt said she could just stay at her place, but Johnson wasn’t expecting anyone to come home that night.

What’s missing from this chronicle? Other than a phone call heads-up to Mr. Johnson from his aunt, who probably knew he was armed and dangerous, or a little something more in the challenging the bad guy department, what could have prevented this horrific loss of life? Let me tell you a story about something that happened in my house about two weeks ago . . .

My eldest daughter lives in the UK. She’s a teenager in a two-year long-distance relationship with a local boy. She was staying with us for the holidays, but only in spirit. She spent every spare minute in her boyfriend’s company (obviously). She was staying up late watching TV. The rest of the family, including me, went to bed.

At about 2:30am the alarm went off. I immediately implemented my top secret (for you dear reader) home defense plan. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that it includes at least one firearm. I was about ten seconds in, holding cold steel, when my eldest’s voice rang out.

“It’s me!” she shouted. “I set off the alarm.” As I stood down, I learned that she’d felt sick and wanted some “fresh air.” Well of course she did.

Let’s just imagine, shall we, that my sprog had let in her boyfriend for what girls let boyfriends into houses for at 2:30am. And let’s say he was leaving after his social call and I heard him going down the stairs. Would that have been a recipe for disaster?

I know enough NOT to shoot someone in my house unless they’re putting my life or the life of my loved ones in imminent danger, and imminence is imminent. Unlike some members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia, I do NOT accept the idea that anyone in my house who shouldn’t be in the dead of night needs shooting. The law on this is clear, unless you live in Texas. Or don’t care about the law.

If so, remember that it’s also true that you can THINK someone in your house is about to kill you when they’re not. If, say, a COD-obsessed teenager happens to be padding around your palace carrying a fake weapon. In the dark.

Even if a genuine bad guy is genuinely out to Suarez my ass, my starting position, my default position, is still that I do NOT want to shoot anyone. Ever.

Obviously, the ideal is for the bad guy to stay the F out of my house. An alarm system is one of THE best way to make sure that happens. AND avoid avoidable tragedies, like the one described at the top of this post.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that any armed home defender who doesn’t use an alarm system at night is an irresponsible gun owner. But I will say this: if you DON’T have an alarm, you need to make doubly sure that you understand that things are not always what they seem.

As always, there are no firearms accidents. Only negligent discharges.

9 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Daniel Johnson [Not Shown]

  1. Robert, You’re one of the best gun bloggers I know. Your emphasis on the “not wanting to shoot” is wonderful. I hope you might have an influence on the others.

  2. Wow, I finally agree with Mikeb (hell must have frozen over LOL) Your point is well made Robert. I always encourage my family and friends to install an alarm system. The cost of a new system is really not that expensive, considering what your trying to protect. I also have a video system that I can watch on my IPHONE no matter where I am. Whenever the doorbell rings, I can see who’s at the door without getting up. I can also monitor my all four sides outside my house as well as the inside. I love gadgets, so it’s mostly for fun, but it’s also a great security system.

  3. I go further than RF. If home defense is the goal, buy the alarm before you buy the gun. An alarm can save your life while you sleep. Your gun can’t.

  4. Ok…. SO tell me this! If you ,ROBERT, was in this same situation Daniel was in and the person didnt shout out like your daughter-who snuck in her bf at 2:30am to do GOD knows what- would you have shot???? I mean…. yes you should tell people “Hey ‘robber’ I’m awake and armed” but then again that gives the robber who may be armed as well to shoot you first! So I, who KNOWS the TRUTH about this story, thinks you ROBERT are an idiot. He’s a young guy who was scared and home alone and has been ROBBED MULTIPLE times before! So yea, not only was he protecting self he was protecting his familys belongings that they worked hard to pay for which he thought was indanger!!!! ….. Oh and WAY TO PICK WHAT PART OF THE STORY YOU WANTED TO CHOOSE INSTEAD OF THE WHOLE STORY YOU RETARD! YOU WANTED TO PICK OUT THE PART THAT WOULD BEST HELP YOU PORTRAY YOUR RETARDED BLOG!!!

    • If my daughter hadn’t called out, things would have been worse for everyone. But no matter what, I am not about to go hunting for trouble. Or shooting without IDing my target. As this story illustrates, there’s too much to lose.

      Don’t get me wrong though: I realize that even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. And the road to hell really is paved with good intentions.

      ‘That’s why an alarm is a necessity: it reduces the chances of a fatal mistake.

      With certain exceptions that don’t include home electronics, no possession is worth defending with your life. Or killing to protect. I like to think that I would not have shot unless my life or the life of my family was in imminent danger. Ascertaining that fact is prone to error and strategically risky, but morally and legally required. If I got it wrong—Heaven forfend—I would regret it for the rest of my life.

  5. We all can say what should have been done and what we would or would not have done. But you really do not know what you would do in a situation like this. This is a really bad thing that has happened and Daniel feels awful about the whole thing and he would like to wake up from this nightmare.You know the thing that stands out to me in this whole thing is. We all need to make sure we are Saved and living our lives for Jesus because we do not know when our life is going to end. Joy did not know that night she was walking up to a family members house that she was going to be shot to death.But the good thing about it is she was Saved and now she is in Heaven with Jesus. Daniel and the family will get through this .With prayer and the peace of God that comes to us that are saved.So the best thing that you all can do instead of wasting your time talking about something you can’t change is 1st ask yourself if yu were in Joys shoes were would you be in Heaven or Hell ??? If your answer is Heaven than please help us pray for Daniel and the family. If your answer is Hell than get you a bible and read John 3:16 and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and come into your life.Then put God 1st in your life and stay in his will and you won’t go wrong.

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