“According to police reports, a scrap was taking place outside the Ireneo Santiago National High School in General Santos City (Philippines) between two groups of students,” examiner.com. “Seeing that school security guard Jocelyn Ylanan needed some assistance quelling the scuffle, teacher, Ismael Garvida stepped in to help.” Garvida was not armed. But he was dangerous. “After unsuccessfully attempting to separate the students, Garvida grabbed [security guard] Ylanan’s .38 revolver, and in what was supposed to be a warning shot, the gun went off hitting Edil in the head, killing the boy.” HE DID WHAT?
Once again, I preface my remarks with a simple statement: if you’re holding a gun, you own it. It doesn’t matter if you’re picking it up at a gun store counter. It makes no nevermind if you’re buying the gun from a friend, or holding the weapon while a friend takes a piss (so to speak). It’s yours. You’re responsible for it.
So how many mistakes did Garvida make? There’s not enough info to decide whether or not he should have entered the fray in the first place. We can assume so—although it must be said that calling 911 is often a far better solution to a fight than trying to separate combatants. [NB: Philippines emergency numbers vary according to city or province.] If Garvida wasn’t a teacher, and the melee didn’t involve his students, would we still advise him to engage?
There is no question whatsoever that Garvida should not have touched the security guard’s weapon. If the security guard was attacking him, then maybe. If the guard was dead and some of the students were about to kill Garvida, then maybe. Otherwise, no.
That said, if the situation had escalated into life-threatening violence, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Any weapon, any strategy. Anything. But if you’re in that situation, you either have to brandish and issue a command or shoot to stop the threat. A warning shot? No friggin’ way.
I know TTAG commentator Don Curton believes a warning shot should be an option. I say no. Too much can go wrong. A responsible gun owner must always do whatever they can to avoid endangering innocent life. Warning shots are ipso facto irresponsible. Garvida will have the rest of his life to contemplate that mistake. You’ve just done it. So don’t do it. A gun is a warning.