Friday, August 09, 2019

So ... Who's the Bad Guy Here?

In Springfield, Missouri, a guy walked into a Walmart wearing a rifle around his neck.

Which, according to the accounts I've read (here, here, and here), he neither shot anyone with, nor threatened anyone with, nor pointed at anyone.

Panic ensued. The manager hit the fire alarm. People, including the guy with the rifle around his neck, exited the store.

At which point someone else pointed a pistol at him and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

So, once police did arrive, who do you think they arrested? The shopper who apparently threatened no one, or the off-duty (non-cop, if it matters) government employee who waved a gun in the shopper's face?

To ask the question is to answer it.

I lived and/or worked in Springfield for about 15 years, until 19 years ago.

Based on pictures of this guy, if I had seen him in a Walmart back then, I'd have assumed he was dropping by for some more ammo or maybe for stuff to put in a cooler for a weekend camping/hunting trip. Everyone else would have probably assumed the same thing.

Apparently Springfieldians have lost their damn minds, or at least their gonads, since then. Twenty years ago they wouldn't have panicked in the first place, if they had panicked they wouldn't have blamed anyone but themselves for their irrational panic once they calmed down, if someone had called the police about a guy walking around Walmart with a rifle the response would have been "um ... so?... this phone line is for reporting crimes, idiot," and an off-duty firefighter who decided it would be fun to draw down on and threaten a shopper would have been looking at assault charges and probably unemployment, if he lived.

Here's what Springfield was like 25 years ago: Circa 1994, a couple of guys tried to mug me in a gas station parking lot. One of them brandished a stun gun at me. When I brushed back my jacket and they saw the .45 pistol in my waistband*, they decided to leave, quickly. Went inside, paid for my gas, and went about my business. No panic. No cops. No "situation."

* No, I didn't normally walk around with a .45 in my waistband. I've never even owned one. That night I was on my way to a remote and plausibly dangerous area where I expected to be handling significant quantities of cash, so I had borrowed it from a friend. It was in my waistband because I didn't want to leave it in the car where it might get stolen. Not the best neighborhood, as you might surmise.

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