The LA Times reports that three robbers invaders Charlotte Bobcats basketball player Stephen Jackson’s crib at 7am Wednesday morning. The masked men held Jackson’s wife Renata at gunpoint. At some point, they locked her in a bathroom and left. Amongst other items, the perps removed a 9mm pistol and a stun gun. Far be it for me to judge Mr. Jackson’s security measures based on such scant information. But someone’s got to do it. So let’s start with this: Jackson’s an idiot.
Actually, let’s not. That’s setting the pick before the lay-up, or whatever professional basketball players shouldn’t do in the course of entertaining the masses.
Sherman, set the way back machine for the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1862. Oops. Make that sometime in December 2009, when Jackson paid former Bobcats guard Jason Richardson $1.7 million for a tan stucco home with three garages in a gated community off Carmel Road in south Charlotte, North Carolina.
OK, freeze it. Back it up. Before Jackson’s banker got the call. There! Where Mr. and Mrs. Jackson are scoping out Jace’s place. Oh dear. They really like it don’t they? The place has so much space that those big TVs look small. The newest Bobcats b-ball player and his wife are entranced.
Not for a moment do the Jackson Two think about alarms, panic buttons, points of entry, surveillance cameras, lighting, door and window construction, window treatments, cover, concealment, safe rooms, firearms, gun safes. Where’s the fun in that (for someone other than myself and Adam)?
Truth be told, at 7am in the morning, Mrs. Jackson should have had the house’s perimeter alarm on (assuming there was such a thing). AND she should have had a key fob alarm button on her person, as Mr. Jackson was away at the time.
So there’s Jackson’s his first and second mistake: he didn’t consider his security needs before buying the scene of the future crime and he didn’t ensure adequate security for his wife upon his departure.
Why so paranoid, Mr. Bond? Yahoo gives us the 411 on gun crime and professional athletes:
In July of 2007, the suburban Chicago homes of both Eddy Curry and Antoine Walker were robbed within a few weeks of each other. Whereas they had previously been targeted when out in public, professional athletes faced a scary time as their private residences were now on the radar for potential criminals. The terror reached a crescendo in November of ’07, when Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was gunned down during a home invasion. Since then, instances such as these have been thankfully few and far between. Sure, athletes may be mugged when they’re out late in a club wearing expensive jewelry, but their homes have been relatively safe.
While Yahoo’s anonymous wordsmith seems excessively cavalier (so to speak) about safety, professional basketball players are an obvious target for criminals. They make a lot of money, they buy VERY expensive jewelery and even the most intellectually challenged criminal mastermind can check their playing schedule to see when they’re out of town.
Now let’s talk about Jackson’s gun . . .
Back in 2007, the Boston Globe estimated that more than 90 percent of NBA and NFL players carry guns for protection. I can’t recall a single instance where a professional athlete used a gun to successfully thwart a would-be attacker or robber.
I can however, remember a good half dozen cases where a professional athlete was caught with an unlicensed handgun. Example: Plaxico Burress, the New York Giants receiver who shot himself with an unlicensed gun at a Manhattan nightclub.
And then there are a half dozen or so cases where star athletes forgot to remove their [often unlicensed] weapon whilst attempting to board an airplane. Example: Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers, who recently plead out to avoid a felony weapons charge.
In other words, how many of those 90 percent know anything about a firearms-based home or personal defense? How many have a home defense plan? How many have trained with gun gurus like our rabbi? How many have trained their wives or girlfriends?
I’m thinking . . . none. Oh sure, maybe one or two. But, as we say around here, RIDTZ (Round It Down To Zero).
If you don’t know how to use a gun for personal or home defense, there’s very little point having one around. You’d be better off with a knife or a baseball bat. Think of it this way: if cops get shot with their own gun, do you think Mr. Jackson’s nine mil posed a threat to Mrs. Jackson?
Setting aside the gun training and retention issue, clock Jackson’s security mistakes three and four: not having a comprehensive plan for a home invasion and not preparing to implement that plan. ‘Cause if Mrs. Jackson had a practical plan, she wouldn’t have ended up in the bathroom.
Yes, there is that.
This crime could have gone very, very differently. This was not a casual crime by drug-addled opportunists. The robbers knew the victim’s celebrity status. They knew the robbery would bring down major heat.
If the robbers hadn’t found what they’d come for, they would’ve been extremely pissed. You do not want to play host to angry armed men wearing masks. If one of the robbers had lost it, or removed his mask because he was too hot (it happens), chances are the cops would have found Mrs. Jackson lying in a pool of blood in that bathroom with a bullet in her brain.
Very few of us are professional athletes. But some of us live in a nice neighborhood. Some of us have flash things: cars, watches, clothes, guns, etc. Some of us hang out with the people we knew back in the day: former friends who still know people who are not what you’d call solid citizens.
Some of us are in the public eye. Our opinions are out there, somewhere. Even the mildest opinions can generate resentment, anger, jealousy, hatred and violence. Stalkers and psychos aren’t just for shock jocks.
Security starts with a threat assessment, followed by . . . changes. Changes in thought, behavior, awareness, relationships and physical surroundings.
Adding a nine mil and a stun gun to your life without reconsidering your lifestyle actually makes things worse. It fosters a dangerous sense of complacency. Remember: the trick to winning a gunfight is to not have one in the first place. In the home defense realm, an ounce of prevention is worth a body bag worth of cure.
Stephen Jackson was an idiot for thinking a gated community and a gun were enough to keep his wife safe. No doubt he’s lost that complacency. He could have lost a lot more.