I going to take some heat for this, but I reckon 11-year-old Chris Gaither (above) is an irresponsible gun owner. Before I make my case, a quick note to pedants: if you’re holding a gun and it isn’t illegal for you to do so, even if the firearm doesn’t belong to you, at that moment you “own it.” You are a gun owner. OK, so, young Master Gaither was at home alone in Talladega, Alabama when a burglar came calling. The UK’s Daily Star, of all things, tells the story with attaboy gusto . . .
The little lad grabbed a 9mm handgun that was kept in the house and went to confront the thief.
While the robber was making off with the stolen goods, Chris fired eleven shots – but failed to hit the target.
The man was climbing over Chris’ fence and was just about to get away – before the fearless kid fired one last shot at the stash the man was holding.
The bullet passed through the loot – becoming lodged in the man’s leg and Chris said: “He told me he was going to kill me” . . .
Police in Alabama did not release the name of the man shot – but Chris’ mother was convinced the same man had tried to rob their house before.
The brave boy paid credit to his stepdad for showing him how to shoot – and fired one final warning shot to the robber, saying: “I hope you learned your lesson coming to this house.”
Easy guys! I know you have zero — as in no — tolerance for bad guys. Whether it’s “a good shoot” or not, when a criminal gets what he deserves you consider that a positive result.
And I bet you’re ready to celebrate Master Gaither’s quick thinking and adrenalin-fueled ballistic bravado — despite the strategic inadvisability and illegality of firing at a fleeing felon (subject to certain conditions, such as a kidnapping in progress) — or firing a warning shot.
But seriously, this isn’t how we do it.
Responsible gun owners don’t fire eleven shots hoping they hit the perp (and nothing else, though the scene looks plenty rural) who’s definitely leaving. Who didn’t hurt anybody.
With certain exceptions (as noted above), responsible gun owners don’t shoot at another human being unless they pose a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm. And there’s a reasonable chance that said human being will stop the bullets traveling hither and yon.
Even in Texas, where defense of property is sufficient legal justification for shooting at a thief, there’s a moral imperative to hang fire. In my opinion, Master Gaither was an irresponsible gun owner who screwed the proverbial pooch — and could have paid the ultimate price (the perp said “I’m going to kill you” after he was shot). OK, your turn . . .