Alexis Bukrym and her gun (courtesy
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Long story short, Alexis Bukrym (above) shot her “pranking” roommate Anthony Schwartz, mistaking him for a lethal threat. Our good friends at The Trace, doing what they’re paid so handsomely to do, wave the bloody flag on Ms. Bukrym’s behalf, exploiting the tragedy as proof — proof! — that armed self-defense is a bad, bad thing . . .

Good guys with guns don’t only shoot bad guys with guns. In the sudden, blurry, urgent split seconds when a threat bursts into view, the impulse to pull the trigger can overwhelm the need to accurately identify the target, leading to snap decisions that bring permanent tragedies.

True story! As The Trace is quick to point out, Ms. Bukrym isn’t alone in shooting someone to death by mistake.

Since 2015, at least 47 Americans have shot friends, loved ones, roommates, or emergency responders they said they’d mistaken for home intruders, killing 15, according to an analysis of gun violence incidents by BuzzFeed News and The Trace. In at least 27 of those cases, criminal charges were dismissed or never filed because authorities deemed the shootings accidental, an act of self-defense in a moment of panic.

You could say that 20 mistaken shootings per year out of an estimated population of 100 million gun owners is pretty good not-shooting, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Meanwhile, what about the 80,000 to 2 million estimated successful defensive gun uses (per year) where the right someone is stopped by force of arms?      *crickets chirping*

What about the thousands of gun owners who thought that they might be under attack, waited until they ID’ed the potential threat, realized it wasn’t a threat, and . . . nothing happened? Nothing.

I’m glad Mr. Schwartz has recovered from his wounds. And I’m sorry for Ms. Bukrym’s mental anguish. But that doesn’t change the bottom line: the gun safety rule “know your target and what’s behind it” doesn’t just refer to plinking.

Unless you know your target, don’t shoot. Doing so makes you an irresponsible gun owner, no matter how good your intentions or reflexive your actions.

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    • That’s what I don’t understand. They spent more time talking about that stupid website “the trace” than they did the actual event? It would be nice to know the whole story

      • Good thing she only had a .380. If she had had a gun this could have been a tragedy.

        Sounds like a case of self fulfilling prophecy. She was going to shoot someone. Just a matter of who.

        • Do you think that way about everyone who is armed for self defense? That we’re all just waiting for our moment to shoot someone? Thats a terribly stupid argument to make, even in this case of an accidental shooting.

    • Can’t say he was “trying” to make himself look like a threat… but he sure as hell didn’t try to appear benign – slowly coming into the young lady’s bedroom late at night without knocking or calling her name?
      Pfft. I bet he knocks from now on.
      Funny, none of my friends or relatives ever try to sneak up on me or try to scare me… do I really come across as the “jumpy” type?

    • If my first month at my new job post physical therapy, some idiot decided we was going to walk into my cube and grab my shoulder to get my attention. I had him in a wrist lock and almost put his face through my monitor.

      • And then everyone stood up and slow-clapped for you, and the hot chick from marketing came over and starting making out with you, and it was totally awesome and totally happened just like that.

        • Actually, it was past end of business and I got called into HR the next day. So… no.

          The moral of the story is that being a dick has consequences.

  1. “But that doesn’t change the bottom line: the gun safety rule “know your target and what’s behind it” doesn’t just refer to plinking.

    Unless you know your target, don’t shoot. Doing so makes you an irresponsible gun owner, no matter how good your intentions or reflexive your actions.”
    Perhaps you can go and give the Sacramento Police Department a course in “Know your target?” they don’t seem capable of training their officers to do this. 😉 #StephonClark

    • Although there has been no definitive statement, it would appear that Mr. Clark was the individual running around the neighborhood with a crow bar smashing windows on houses and cars. And it is also true that in the dark, police officers have fractions of seconds to try to assess whether an object in a suspect’s hand is a weapon. That said, I fail to comprehend the penchant of officers these days to empty their mags at any perceived threat. 20 rounds does seem excessive, or overkill if you prefer. We are taught to “stop the threat”, not to ensure that it is stone cold dead.

      • So police officers only having seconds in the dark to assess a threat & shooting is fine, but a regular person is crucified for that kind of behavior? Yet another case of some pigs being more equal…

  2. Honestly I don’t feel bad for him one bit. Practical jokes are one thing, but some people take them WAY to far. Like pretending to be a mugger or rapist in the night, then they flip out when they get treated like one. Or that stupid clown shit that was going on. If you stick your face in someone’s window at night dressed as a clown, zombie, or alien, don’t be surprised when someone turns your head into a canoe.

  3. It’s a two way street. Some of these pranking idiots go out of their way to get shot by wearing masks, refusing to identify themselves or refusing to stop movement. Even if you can identify the individual that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be shot. Women are more likely to be raped or murdered by people they know and would not necessarily recognize as a threat.

    I’d like to see more dead prankers. It was always disappointing when watching Jackass or that one with the 70’s show guy that none of them ended up shot in the face when playing an overtly hostile prank.

  4. So what if her roommate was trying to rape her? How would she know for sure when someone is entering her bedroom uninvited in the middle of the night and being sneaky about it? I don’t think this is a gun owner failure, it’s a roommate failure.

    • This.

      What are you supposed to do in some of these circumstances? Waiting until you’re 100% sure in a lot of cases means that if it is a BG they’ve either got you dead to rights or have a massive advantage.

      Sorry, the whole “know your target” rule goes right the fuck out the window when people start acting like targets on purpose.

      Don’t wanna get shot during a prank? Don’t pull pranks that make you look like someone who needs shooting.

  5. My family knows not to yell “boo” or startle me within arms reach because I’ll throw a punch. Everyone announces their presence when entering our home. It’s part of our home “plan”. The kids have all made it to adulthood and the Mrs. and I have never had any issues having multiple firearms in our home.

  6. I’ve seen videos of pranksters presenting a credible threat that would justify an armed response. Frankly I’m surprised that some of these haven’t been Darwined. Without more details it is impossible to judge this person for what happened.

  7. She did know her target, it was someone she couldn’t identify slinking around in her room in the middle of the night. The rest is on Mr. Schwartz.

  8. The collective comments should be telling ‘pranksters ‘

    your not thinking things thru very well.

  9. ”….according to an analysis of gun violence incidents by BuzzFeed News and The Trace.”
    Stopped reading right there.

  10. This is not an irresponsible gun own of the day.

    It’s an irresponsible douchebag roommate prankster of the day. He asked to get shot. She obliged.

    What do you want her to do? Wait til some asshole has a knife to her throat and call that positive target ID?

  11. I see it as she’s damned fast with a gun. Don’t know the circumstances. with my x wife ” honey Im home” was dangerous

  12. So TTAG is requiring every self defense shooting be predicated by checking ID of the perceived threat?
    I am pretty sure that “know your target” doesn’t mean personally.

  13. I remember this. I was on duty that day as a medic. Happened in an apartment running distance from mine. Kinda surreal to see my small town here, but judging by the call notes she realized her mistake almost instantly. I feel there’s something about identifying your target…

  14. One of two PEOPLE was at fault there- based on this article, and the “pranks” some idiots pull- I have no idea who it was.

    But wasn’t the fault on an inanimate object.

  15. As far as I know, first responders and police always announce their presence before entering or rendering aid. I’d like to see a scenario in which someone could mistake a paramedic or firefighter for a threat. As for pranks, some are funny. Some are annoying. Some are so utterly stupid they deserve an armed response. My friends and family already know not to startle me or enter the house in strange ways. It’s rude and, considering I keep my gun at my side at all times, incredibly risky.

    • In many areas, police used the no knock entry too often. SWAT delivering a warrant to someone who “might” have drugs? Do it at 5am. What, suspect’s BIL(it is his home and the suspect only stayed there one night 3 months ago) is getting up for his construction job 90 miles away, hears a door being breached and shoots the perp(who doesn’t ID himself as a LEO).
      This guy will be lucky to live through the day, as would the rest of his family.

      Many district attorneys will go this route to catch someone with flushable drugs(small amount – usually for personal use). They put their LEOs in danger, but hey, lets make good guys with a gun into bad guys with a gun, the DA gets his name in the paper.

      • I can see that happening, but law enforcement is different and has its own risks. I was thinking more about paramedics and firefighters.

  16. Yeah as a few others have noted, “know your target” doesn’t mean having ESP.

    You shouldn’t blindly assume a possible threat is an actual threat, but if they’re persistently behaving like one, you’re basically legally and otherwise justified in assuming they are a one. Their internal psychological intent, whether it’s to “prank” you or whatever, is irrelevant, since you can’t see into their mind, you can only observe behavior.

    I don’t know the specifics in this situation but it might not’ve been possible for this woman to know better based on how the guy was behaving. Regardless something like this could generally happen with the shooter responding reasonably/appropriately, because e.g. the prankster was wearing a mask, refused to identify, etc, and the shooter reasonably believed they “knew the target” was a threat.

  17. ” As the door opened, she reached under her pillow for her handgun, a Ruger LCP .380, pointed it at the figure filling her doorframe, and pulled the trigger.”
    Well, next time this idiot might remember his manners and KNOCK on the f.. door, wait until the person says come in.

  18. “Good guys with guns don’t only shoot bad guys with guns.”

    “Bad guys without guns, don’t just try to take your guns, they try to impose communism and tyranny, pain/suffering/satan worship/and death.”

  19. Some individuals take “pranking” way to recklessly against their victim(s)! This individuals “pranking” might have been escalating to the point of making this shooter scared / fearful for her safety? Some individuals ascribe their actions as pranks; however, victim’s commonly consider their “pranksters” as assaults while calling their actions as “PRANKS” to get away with their assault! Suspect this prankster will be moving (fairly) immediately!

  20. ok so i’m seeing a lot of comments saying things like “her roommate was asking to be shot, i’d like to see more dead pranksters, why didn’t the roommate knock before he entered her room”, and its becoming clear to me that most of you idiots didn’t even bother to read the article. her roommate, who she claims to be her best friend as well, tried to prank her after a night of drinking. he was most likely hoping for a jump scare for a laugh or something idk. he wasn’t going to hurt or rape her and his intentions were not malicious in any way and obviously he felt close enough to her that he thought nothing bad would come from it. how many of you can say you’ve never tried to prank one of your friends or been pranked?
    now that we’ve addressed that, lets talk about alexis and how she thought it was okay to take her loaded handgun out from under her pillow where she keeps it (yes, her dumb ass really sleeps with a loaded gun under her pillow, read the article) and opened fire without so much as a warning. she could have said “i’m armed” and that would have been enough to make anthony identify himself or even make an intruder turn and run. the bottom line is she shot at an unknown target and could have killed her “best friend”. she said she went though gun training growing up but she obviously didn’t learn anything. i mean, who the hell thinks its okay to sleep with a loaded gun under their pillow?? she’s clearly just an unstable, irresponsible gun nut and should have never been allowed to have her gun back after what she did. especially since she didn’t learn anything from the experience.

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