“At night, Petit sleeps only because the pills make him sleep. Sometimes even with the pills he lies awake, thinking about the same questions. Working slowly and without rest, he has built ramparts around his mind to keep out the what-ifs, because the what-ifs can drive you insane. What if that bulkhead lock had been working properly? Sometimes the haunting questions break through and he has to shake them away.” And that’s it for “what-ifs” from the Esquire feature on the Petit family massacre. Yes, well, what if the magazine had addressed the central question for millions of Americans. Which is . . .
What if Dr. Petit had immediate access to a gun on that fateful afternoon when two hardened criminals broke into his suburban home, beat him up, raped one of his daughters and then murdered her, her sister and his wife in an arson attack?
TTAG reported in this story in some detail (type “petit” in the search box). Suffice it to say, Dr. Petit was blindsided. He was asleep on the couch when one of the criminals struck him on the head with a baseball bat. They dragged into the basement and tied him up.
So, in theory, this is not a story about guns—save the one wielded by Steven J. Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky during the commission of their heinous crimes. Because Dr. Petit did not have time to access a firearm.
On the other hand, home carry. If Dr. Petit had been carrying a gun on his person, he might have been able to make a stand. Might. If the two home invaders had seen a weapon on Dr. Petit, they might have beaten him to death instead of the “love tap” that rendered him defenseless.
Then again, Dr. Petit could have carried a small revolver in his pants pocket. Or gone for his gun when he escaped the basement. Given that the local police screwed the pooch (setting up a perimeter as his daughter was being raped and the fire set), a direct assault on the perps would have been preferable to calling the cavalry.
More hindsight? Dr. Petit’s girls or his wife could have had access to a gun. I don’t know about you, but if my loved ones are going down, if they’re facing monsters ready to defile and butcher them, I want them going down fighting.
Those words are hard to type. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see them realized. But like so many gun owners, I face these questions now so I can increase the chances that I won’t have to later. (From my lips to God’s ears.)
From the lack of any discussion of firearms [in relation to the Petit family massacre] in the Esquire article and elsewhere (e.g. Oprah’s reprehensibly ghoulish post-mortem interview), we can surmise that Dr. Petit wasn’t a gun guy. Not then. And, apparently, not now. The question should be asked: why not? And what would he say on the subject of armed self-defense to gun-averse suburbanites in the aftermath of his loss?