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Yesterday’s provided an excellent example of what’s called “English understatement.” Fatal shooting may be case of self-defense. Ya think? “Monica Rodriguez, 43, apparently learned that her boyfriend, who is in his 50s, was fixing his ex-girlfriend’s van. She kicked in the door of a mobile home where the couple lived and ransacked it Saturday, then shot out a tire of his truck, police said. Police said Rodriguez then went to the repair shop in the 5400 block of Old Highway 90, where her boyfriend worked, and shot out the van’s windows. She sent text messages threatening to kill him and returned to Precision Auto ‘furious’ on Monday, police said, and started to argue with him . . .

“Rodriguez told him she was going to her truck to get her gun, and the man shot her in the chest as she returned from the truck, police said. Then he called 911. She was unarmed, and police found no gun in her truck.”

Obviously, it’s not a good idea to threaten someone with a gun. A firearm should only be used in self-defense. OK and hunting and sporting and plinking. But you know what I mean. You can’t go around threatening to shoot someone—or even tell them you might shoot them (unarmed perps have been sent down for armed robbery for suggesting they had a gun).

Note: I didn’t award Ms. Rogriguez a posthumous IGOTD to give aid and succor to MikeB302000, who’s convinced [himself] that 10 percent of all American gun owners are gun loons or gun loons waiting to happen. I don’t want to provide more grist for his mill, which produces the half-baked idea that new, “common sense” gun control could sift out potentially violent nut cases.

No law can do that, and even if it could, it couldn’t do so without seriously curtailing our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. It’s not worth it. Anyway, if nothing else, we don’t know if Ms. Rodriguez owned the gun legally. And even if she did, Ms. Rodriguez’s fatal mistake should be seen for what it is: the exception that proves the rule.

Truth be told, the vast majority of Americans who keep or carry a gun don’t want to use it. If they did, there would be a lot more stories of Gun Nuts Gone Wild than what I’m seeing on a daily basis. But there aren’t. More scientifically, let’s spool-up the Centers for Disease Control’s death app for 2006 – 2007.

To err on the side of caution, I’ve imputed ALL “violence related” firearms deaths: homicides, accidents, suicides (roughly half of the total) and law enforcement shootings (a.k.a., “legal intervention”). The CDC pegs the number of people who’ve pegged out via firearms for 2006 and 2007 at 69,369. Call it 34,685 per year. Shock! Horror!

Yes, well, that’s against a population of 312,218,560. I make that roughly .001 percent. One hundredth of one percent. In other words, you can round down the average schmo’s odds of getting shot (including by his own hand) in The Land of The Free to zero.

Mind you, that’s no reason to take away our gun rights. In fact, here in the United States of America people aren’t shooting each other because of their gun rights. The same principle that stays the civilian’s gun hand keeps us safe from Russian nukes: mutually assured destruction. In the gun rights world it’s called “deterrence.”

Shooting someone is a sure way to piss them off. They might shoot you. Or stab you. Or, worse, hit you with a civil lawsuit. Here’s an interesting aspect of this MAD, MAD, MAD world: the gun-related non-violence is not all about the bad guy’s capabilities. Again, people with guns avoid confrontations because they don’t want to shoot anyone. 

I know that sounds preposterous: gun ownership as a check on personal aggression. It’s counter-intuitive to the gun grabbers’ contention that gun owners are spoiling for a fight. But apply the concept to strangers. I’d bet dollars to donuts that gun owners are less likely to get into it with a stranger than a non-gun owner. After all, they have more to lose.

Specifically, their gun rights. They know they’re never more than a single incident away from firearms confiscation. As in disarmed. Gun owners may or may not have a duty to retreat in the face of aggression, but they have a very strong incentive to do so.

In that sense, gun ownership makes a person more invested in remaining a law-abiding citizen than a non-gun owner. That’s true on both the mundane level (e.g., speeding) and during major conflicts (e.g., road rage).

Despite Ms. Rodriguez’s experience—or because of it—we know that an armed society is a polite society. Condolences to Ms. Rodriguez’s family and friends, but the more gun owning and carrying citizens we have in this country, the better.

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  1. Having read Lisa Steele’s excellent articles about self-defense (thanks RF!), I’m wondering if there’s enough evidence to meet the AOJ test. She seems to have had the ability (she had already used a gun). Opportunity, too (she was at the shooter’s workplace). But what about jeopardy? Assuming she was walking towards him with her hands exposed (maybe true or not, but for the sake of argument let’s say they were), was he in immediate danger? I don’t want this to turn into a question of whether anyone should or shouldn’t have had a gun. I’m curious about how a prosecutor might see it.

  2. …was he in immediate danger?

    As she didn’t actually have a gun, he was not in immediate danger of being shot (although he was probably in danger of being assaulted).

    However, there is no way for him to be certain of this, and based on her several very recent incidents of vandalism committed using a firearm, he certainly had cause to believe he was in imminent danger of being shot. Which is the usual standard that has to be met in most jurisdictions- “were you in fear for your life”, etc.

  3. That 60,369 number would certainly make firearms the number one traumatic cause of death in the United States. Firearms used to race yearly with motor vehicles, but vehicular deaths are going down pretty much each year.

    Gun violence is a big problem in our society, despite your 0.002%.

    • I got the stats wrong. Please see amended text. it’s about half of what I calculated earlier. Also, around half of the deaths are suicides. If that matters.

  4. you say you are going to shoot me and you leave saying you are going to get your gun ( in the past you have done to me the things this woman has done)
    you come back i dont see your hands nor do i see what you may or may not have in them
    do i give you the time to make up your mind to shoot me?

    i dont think so

  5. That was my mom yall dnt know that man like i do nor do u know my mom yAll assume n stereotype , i would lovd to retatiate but u know what that man that shoot my mom isnt worth it n what i felt when my mom passed away i dnt want no other family to go thru it do i hate him ? Yes did she deserve it NO


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