This is a tough one to write. Not because of the events, or the people involved; tragedies like this are tough for anyone to stomach. No, this is my first “Should’ve Been A DGU” post, a subject of internal debate for me. There’s a lot of wiggle room, conjecture and supposition in situations like this when we wonder what coulda, woulda, shoulda been. That said . . .
Barbara Preidt is dead. She was shot by a masked assailant after winning a few bucks at the penny slots in a casino on North Carolina’s Cherokee Indian reservation. She didn’t have to die. The thug got what he wanted — her purse — but that wasn’t enough. But he wanted her life, too, and he took it with a single round to Mrs. Preidt’s chest at close range. Her husband, lying on the ground near her, could do nothing to stop the horror. And that pisses me off.
I’m not mad at Mr. Preidt for not carrying. God no. Nor am I angry at Harrah’s Casino, or the Cherokee Indian police. What gets my goat is the attitude expressed daily by the anti-gun crowd, which spills into the mainstream, that burglars and purse-snatchers won’t hurt you as long as you comply with their demands. It’s an archaic argument to hang your hat on.
Every day, people like Barbara are murdered for no reason at all. But gun grabbers will constantly remind you that having a gun makes it more likely that you or a loved one will suffer the consequences of the inanimate object’s wrath. Bull. Guns save lives.
Barbara and John Preidt were married for fifty years. They enjoyed their retirement, traveling to visit their geographically-diverse family, and were on their way to their son’s home in Florida, making their usual stop at the casino. Located in the Blue Ridge hills of North Carolina, Harrah’s is a sprawling complex, including several restaurants and a “hotel row.”
From the enterprising criminal’s viewpoint, there’s a distinct chance of a big score if you can catch a happy gambler between the casino and their hotel room. That was the M.O. of the unknown killer, who grabbed Barbara’s purse as she got out of the car in the hotel parking lot. John rushed to her aid, but they both ended up on the ground. And that’s where this should’ve been a DGU.
First, the law: according to Benjamin L. Reed, Chief of Police for the Cherokee Indian Police Department, the Cherokee Nation honors all state concealed carry permits. Mr. Preidt would have been within his legal rights to arm himself.
Next, consider the situation. Barbara, on one side of the car, is attacked. The assailant grabs her purse. John’s on the other side of the car and comes to Barbara’s aid as fast as his 75-year-old legs can carry him. I see two opportunities for this scenario to end with Mrs. Preidt’s life intact.
First, she shouldn’t fight the masked man for her property. We all know that her life was worth more than the contents of her purse. But, again, that doesn’t guarantee that the bad guy won’t shoot you. It just reduces the chance. Probably.
Second, if Mr. Preidt had, at that moment, drawn down on the robber, odds are he would have turned tail and run. How can I say that? While MikeB won’t like hearing it, reports of successful DGU incidents show — time and again — that when a criminal encounters an armed victim, they get the hell out of Dodge. Also, many recently reported DGUs involved gentlemen of Mr. Preidt’s age group successfully putting lead into their intended targets.
My sincere condolences go out to the Preidt family. No one should have to face such a senseless, tragic death. The bad guy’s still on the loose, and was seen leaving the crime in a light blue or grey full-sized truck (contact info for the CPD detective is in the article linked above).
We shouldn’t have to live in a society where grandparents have to arm themselves before taking off to visit the kids. But we do, as the Preidt’s tragedy has shown. Before your folks head to Florida this winter, maybe it’s a good idea to take Dad to the range so he can knock the rust off his shooting skills.