I watched the YouTube video from the fast food restaurant shooting story presented by Robert Farago and tried to digest what I witnessed – both in the video and the subsequent comments by posters following the story. My biggest issue was the amped-up macho posing displayed by the witnesses in the video and afterwards by some of the posters . . .

I can almost understand the YouTube boys’ reaction. After all, they’ve grown up with easy access to video games, where cartoon guys fall in a hail of bullets. In this case, the reality of the situation eventually dawned on them. They’d just witnessed a real life incident where the “bullet meets the bone,” to borrow from an old Golden Earring song. The guy was bleeding out for real.

Nervous giggles began to replace the flippant remarks that punctuated the early part of the festivities, as they began to understand what was unfolding right in front of them: this guy was shot many times. No reset resurrection would follow.

The difference between the videographers and the posters at the TTAG story: the macho posing displayed by the video guys was a knee-jerk reaction to something that was a surreal. TTAG’s posters, however, had time to think about their responses. Several were openly critical of other posters who had any degree of compassion for the dead guy.

The circumstances dictated that a lethal police response was both justifiable and necessary. But the event was still incredibly tragic to watch, even through a badly filmed You Tube video. Any criticism directed at the posters who came to the same conclusion is highly unwarranted and does nothing to further the pro-gun cause.

The TTAG posters who were uncomfortable with the death are not weak-kneed geldings who don’t have a big enough set of cojones. They’re responsible gun owners who have enough humanity and common sense to understand that somebody died in that parking lot.

We can debate the worth of the dead guy or we can take a lesson from his death. A discharged firearm is a serious matter and the posters who recognized that fact are hardly wimps. They are gun owners with the right attitude about guns.

45 Responses to The Carl’s Jr. Shooting: Food for Thought

  1. “The TTAG posters who were uncomfortable with the death are not weak-kneed geldings who don’t have a big enough set of cajones.”

    Yes they are.

      • I’m being perfectly respectful, but I really think that squeamishness over people who needed killing is a fault at the most elementary level of our society.

        It is the fundamental reason why so many don’t support the death penalty even though with DNA evidence we can be even more certain of guilt.

        It is the reason why we are sent to fight wars where we spend billions of dollars for every thousand dollars the enemy spends all in an effort not to hurt them.

        It’s the reason forty-eight men from my battalion were killed in Iraq because we don’t want people to get their just desserts.

        I call that a moral failing. Rather than be sad, we should rejoice that we are that much safer now.

        • Err.. the death penalty and a DGU differ in that someone who is being executed is not an immediate threat to another’s life while in a DGU, there is an immediate threat. Poor logic in comparing the two scenarios, IMO.

          Also, “needs killing”? The objective is to stop, not kill.

      • Skyler, I think you are inferring what I have not implied (nor any of the rest of us bleeding hearts).

        I can believe in the justice of capital punishment and regret that it is needed. I can believe in the need for wars and be saddened by the necessity.

        I can fully understand that a man may need killing and feel sorrow for the loss of a fellow human being. I don’t think this makes me less effective as a combatant or less capable of doing my part in maintaining a just and orderly society.

      • psmcd, keep in mind that most keyboard warriors (like the guy above) are the first guys to wet their panties when the S hits the F. In that light, their opinions are actually quite funny.

      • Skyler is at least willing to engage in more than just throwing barbs. He explained his thoughts well enough that I can respond meaningfully, which is more than I can say about some others. I can respect that.

        • Thanks, and I appreciate your response.

          Perhaps I was a bit harsh but the tone of this blog seemed to demand a vigorous dissent.

    • Skyler – that is a cheap shot.
      If I remember your other posts correctly, you are military or ex-military with first-hand combat experience – is that correct? I’m going to continue as if it is.

      If your experience is like that of other combat veterans I know and have read, then you should remember the feelings of your first kill – the way it bothered you. As one guy said, though, “It gets easier after that.”

      Does that quite natural and normal reaction mean that those men are/were “week kneed geldings”? If you maintain they are/were, then I submit you might have a psychological issue that needs to be evaluated. Killing another human being has a profound impact on the one who has to kill him. The exceptions include those who get a thrill from killing – and we tend to view them as having something wrong upstairs.

      Several decades ago a friend & co-worker of mine had to kill a man in his home. One thing the city police department did for him (and others like him) was put him in a program they had to help him deal with the psychological after-effects of having blown half the BG’s head off. They knew that the normal human being experiences a psychological trauma from their first kill. The military does some preparatory work to help those who will be combat troops be ready to handle that trauma.

      But in no case does that mean that those who experience it are “weak-kneed geldings”. In fact, it may take a bigger pair to admit the reaction and get help dealing with the emotions. The denial of those emotions is what is giving our veterans so many problems with the PTSD-ish stuff & the high suicide rate. Being man enough to admit you need help can get one through that.

      Just like you need a battle-buddy in a firefight, you need a battle-buddy to get your back when dealing with these issues.

    • I did 5 deployments, I’ve shot people and never lost a minute of sleep over it because I was lucky enough to never have an ambiguous situation.

      I’m also apparently one of those cajone deficient geldings you are referring to kiddo.

      I look at that video and think that if the officers had reacted a bit more professionally or put a moments thought into how they approached an unhinged guy with a big blunt object then they likely wouldn’t have been put into a situation where a questionable shooting was necessary.

      The officer who chose to shoot a taser at a guy in a thick hoody with the hood up should have retreated the moment he realized that the prongs hadn’t set, instead he fumbles trying to reholster while at the same time approaching within swinging distance while his hands are still busy. At that point the guy raises what appears to be a pipe bender as if to swing and is shot 5 times by the K9 handler. The first officer, at least a second behind the action, manages to get his firearm out and fire five very probably unecessary rounds.

      If the officers had used a bit more prudence this death would have likely been prevented, it doesn’t matter if the guy was a dirtbag or not. If the first officer had treated the situation with the respect it deserved instead of treating his taser as an easy button I doubt the guy would have needed to be shot. His poor decisions under pressure led to what I perceive as a preventable death.

      On top of that according to some sources the officers initial reports described the individual swinging at the officers twice before they fired not merely raising the weapon threateningly. I’m sure the officers were very displeased when they realized their cover-my-ass fabrication was ruined by a couple of idiots in a car with a smartphone.

      Honestly the lies seem worse than the shooting to me. If officers will blatantly lie about something that took place in full view of many witnesses what are the odds that they have lied before when it was their word against a citizen?

      In short Skyler, it doesn’t take balls to cheer on undisciplined officers, nor does it take balls to insult persons in an anonymous setting such as this one. Maybe you could dial the bullshit back a notch?

  2. “We can debate the worth of the dead guy or we can take a lesson from his death. A discharged firearm is a serious matter and the posters who recognized that fact are hardly wimps. They are gun owners with the right attitude about guns.”

    +1

    • I agree JP. While I can understand the first officer’s response, I’m a little perplexed about the second officers need to fire. That said the video leaves much to the imagination. For example, it’s hard to tell if the assailant was moving toward either officer when the 2nd LEO opened up.

      Also, the “weapon” appears to be a plastic prop but there is no way to tell from the video or, perhaps, even up close. Lastly, to equate this to a DGU is wrong in the sense that LEO’s are supposed to intercede where CCW citizens are best advised to avoid confrontation and to decrease rather than increase proximity to an edged weapon.

      Just my 2 cents.

    • Henry Bowman, it depends on the other. The death of Osama bin Laden was something I relished. The death of some dope in a parking lot who probably forgot to take his psyche meds that day was not a subject for rejoicing.

      Unintended Consequences, right?

  3. Well, if there was ever a time where the “reasonable person” doctrine was put to the test, I’d say this is it.

  4. I merely commented on the poor position the police put themselves in and the excessive amount of lead used on him. And I stand by those observations as a person who could very well end up judging the actions from a jury box.

  5. I disagree profoundly.

    Anytime a citizen straps on a firearm he does so with the understanding that may well have to use it to kill someone.The officer who put his gun in the holster that morning before roll call probably didn’t think that before end of shift he’d be using it to save his own and his partner’s life,but its what happened.

    Make zero mistake about it;a firearm is not a tool of ‘negotiation’.If you have to clear holster its because someone has to die quick fast and and in a hurry,and that gun is the last option left to ensure to ensure the one who dies in that horrible moment isn’t you.

    Being ‘sqeamish’ suggests confusion and doubt about the purpose of a firearm.I refuse to feel any remorse toward a piece of documented human scum who decided to attack an officer of the law and got the express flight to the grave he asked for.The violin playing on my shoulder for the poor unfortunate and dead scumbag is nanoparticle size.

    Those of you who would seek to ‘mourn’ the passing of this piece of burd dung ought to consider what their attitude would be had they been the officer who was about to be murdered by a bludgeon.Before you type the words ‘we shouldn’t trivialize human life’,what if by choice they trivialise themselves?Some evil men simply need killing,and no amount of hand wringing or remorse will change that fact of human nature.I for one consider it a good thing when an evil man received his just desserts.Folks on this site who disagree should look at the cases of Matix & Platt and the Hollywood Bank Robbery and see if the ‘lets respect human life of deadly criminals ‘ philosophy pans out in real life.

    • I don’t see the point in if this person was trash or not. I see it how police failed to do what they were trained to do. You can and should expect more from police. You have no way of knowing what this person state of mind is in. I can only speak for myself when I say I would probably have reacted exactly the same as this guy when shot in the face with a tazer, but that hardly carries a death sentence in itself because theese officers have all the tools at their disposal. Release the dog. shoot him in the knee or whatever. And to people who say guns are only drawn to kill have the living shit beaten out them. If I was a criminal and I was about to do something stupid, and I knew the risk of me getting shot was high, what do you think I would do? Bring a gun and make sure it wasnt me that got shot today. But I guess that to much brainpower to expect from trigger happy americans. No wonder so many people dont like you. And honestly, brining YOUR army buddies into this is really really tasteless. Theese guys werent exactly fighting for freedom. But trying to subdue a pissed off guy in a parking lot. Which they couldnt do without 10 round. Pussies. Get a job at walmart.

      • “shoot him in the knee…”

        No, sir, YOU are the one that needs sense. Guns are not “shoot to kill,” and they ESPECIALLY aren’t “shoot to wound.” That level of accuracy under stress is Special Forces level, NOT something you’ll see in civilians or police BECAUSE THAT’S HOW BYSTANDERS GET KILLED.I resist making value judgments of other countries that I haven’t been to for an extended period of time. I demand you do the same. Until then, your opinion is as valid as Mikeb’s.

  6. I didn’t even comment on the video, but I’ll toss in here. The video is nothing to be laughed at. If the shooting was justified, then nod at a job well done, and move on. No need to feel happy about it, no need to feel bad about it. Certainly for the shooter, there would be mixed emotions, and I’m certain that if I ever had to pull the trigger on someone, no matter who they were, I’d be thinking about it for a good, long time.

    In the time it took me to type this post, hundreds of people around the world died, and most probably who don’t deserve it. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this shooting “horribly tragic.” The little girl shot in Tucson, that was tragic. A chopper of Seals being shot down in Iraq, that’s tragic. This shooting was unfortunate and unpleasant. No death should be relished, but not every death should be treated as a tragedy.

    In truth, you give mixed signals in your article. Recognizing that someone died in that parking lot and having enough humanity to not relish it and get macho about it, is not the same as having swells of compassion and calling it a tragedy. It was an unpleasant event that transpired due to the man’s own actions. No tears should be shed over it and no laughs belted out over it. If you think anyone who isn’t compassionate for the criminal or calling it a tragedy is wrong or even an irresponsible gun owner, then you’re stuck in unfounded self-righteousness.

  7. From Mr. Rodriguez’ reaction to the taser, I would bet he was “wet”; had been smoking PCP. It is very common in Southern California. The police there deal with people “wet” everyday. One of the effects seems to be an almost super-human ability to resist pain and continue to struggle against overwhelming force. Folks high on PCP truly seem to act like “zombies”. They can violently attack while being tased, sprayed, or hit. I’m sure the officers seemingly quick recourse to firearms in the face of this guy starting to swing a pipe is a result of their experience and training. I hope toxicology tests are released soon. They might explain Mr. Rodriguez’ strange behavior and the officers’ deadly response.

  8. I have to say that I am a little disturbed at the calloused nature of many of the comments here. The video shows a person getting shot and dying. He’s dying and then he’s dead. The finality of the situation should affect everyone, though I know that some people have seen worse (such as in wartime).

    I would feel remiss if I didn’t point out that this ‘bad guy’ or ‘perp’ was a person. A human being that might have had friends and probably had family. And whatever reasons he had for wielding a pipe that day we might never know but I bet we can assume he didn’t plan on getting shot 10 times and dying in the parking lot of some fast food joint.

    Were the police justified? Hard to tell. They can claim they felt their lives were threatened and that kind of subjectivity will probably be enough for most people. But how has society gained from the interaction? We assume we are less one criminal but is that the entire sum? What else have we lost when we can watch such a horrific scene and not wonder what was going on in that guy’s mind? What was going on in the officers’ minds after they took a life? Did they wish they had used a Tazer or pepperspray or the 80lb German Shepard? Was the threatening gesture enough to warrant a death sentence?

    As the Armed Intelligentsia, I think we have a responsibility to scrutinize every DGU and weigh it against our consciences before we roll out the testosterone parade. Knowing how to identify the many different shades of gray will help everyone in these kinds of situations.

  9. I don’t think that acknowledging that someone needed killing or deserved what they got conflicts with mourning the loss of life. Being able to do what needs to be done and kill in self defense or defense of others, then feel bad about it afterwards, is a show of maturity and responsibility.

      • But is it wrong to take joy in killing?

        For instance, when faced with a life or death, kill or be killed situation and you are able to prevail, is it wrong to feel elation? Is it wrong for someone else to share that elation. I say no.

        • I say no as well skyler. If I just killed an insurgent that had killed or injured a friend. I’d be one happy bastard, for a short time.

        • There is a difference in feeling the elation that you lived and the guy trying to kill you or your buddy didn’t, and joy in killing. At least in my book.

          I think that we may have a difference in understanding the terminology here though. It is not wrong to get that rush that you’ve won the battle. It is an elation, a joy of sorts. But that is different than what is usually meant by “taking joy in killing.”

        • “Joy in killing” would imply that you would do it even if your life were not threatened, that you would do it for the sheer pleasure.

          If you’re not wanting to characterize yourself if the mold of Jeffery Dalmer or Ted Bundy, then I think that’s the wrong sort of wording.

        • “…when faced with a life or death, kill or be killed situation and you are able to prevail, is it wrong to feel elation? Is it wrong for someone else to share that elation.”

          Assuming you are otherwise morally justified in the eyes of the law and your lawful peers, no, I do not think you are offending God (as I understand him) to feel relief, joy, elation, satisfaction or any other number of dozens of possible emotions.

          I also do not think it is offensive or wrong to feel regret, sadness, pity, or remorse. I think it would be normal to feel all of these things at once. Humans are complicated.

      • In Skyler’s defense – some of the terms like “joy”, “satisfaction”, “elation” and “sad”, “mourn” and “regret” are complicated concepts and feelings as they interact with a stressful event – even watching one.

        A question like “is it wrong to take joy in killing” carries a great deal of emotional freight, moral baggage and would vary from person to person depending on what they thought “joy” meant.

        Emotions are like crayons, and the picture you can make with a box of 16 crayons is quite a bit different than the picture you can make with a box of 64.

        I am oldish, I have many more crayons in my box than I had as a young man. I still have Black and White – and I not afraid to use them, but I see far more colors now than I did when I was younger.

  10. Very likely that if a civilian shot someone under those exact circumstances (even using a taser like they did) there would be charges against the shooter.

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