Sunday, December 14, 2008

PLAXICO BURRESS: 2nd Amendment Hero, or Irresponsible Dolt?


The bottom line of the November 29, 2008 NY Post story is that a football player (and role model for millions of American Children, so to speak) decided to carry a gun into a NYC bar and in one way or another managed to shoot himself in the leg. Then his friends brought him to a hospital for treatment, where he identified himself with a made-up name and a made-up story (anecdotal, no reliable reference so far) and left after treatment and before the hospital remembered to notify the police of a gun-shot wound.

He was eventually identified, arrested, and will face charges of carrying a concealed firearm (among other charges, such as making false statements).

It's interesting to see the various interpretations on the gun-bloggers, and I look forward to following the news.

My short version of the story:

He broke the law in carrying a concealed weapon in NYC, he fumbled his gun while trying to clear it (or when it slipped from the waistband of his jogging pants and grabbing it ... depends on the new sources you believe), and undeniably manage in so doing to shoot himself in the leg. Then his friends took him out of the NYC nightclub where the incident occurred, drove him to a hospital for treatment, and eventually slipped out. The police eventually identified him and charged him with a various number of offenses, not least is violation of the NYC Sullivan Law (if that law is still so called.)

In reading the last week's gunblogger write-ups of this notorious case, I found two which seem to best illustrate the polarization of the gun commuity.

Xavier Thoughts describes Burress as a wanna-be gangbanger who carried a loaded (cocked and, maybe, locked) into a public drinking place and through negligence and inexperience managed to drop the gun and in so doing shot himself. As Xavier says in response that the Heller Decision may apply (in regards to NYC's draconian gun laws):
The landmark Heller decision does not apply. For once Bloomberg is right. Plaxico Burress knowingly violated the law. This was not an act of civil disobedience. Plaxico Burress did not have to go to the Manhattan nightclub. If he decided to go, he did not need to carry a gun. Being a wealthy athlete, he had more options than many people. He could have hired bodyguards to protect him and his bling. Instead, he chose to play the role of the thug and carry his gat in his sags and go clubbin'. He is not a victim. He knowingly and willfully violated the law, no matter how unjust that law is. Plaxico Burress was an arrogant athlete who thought he was special, that the law did not apply to him, that he was beyond, if not above the law.

On the other side of the controversy is an article by Michael Bane, author of "The Michael Bane Log" and producer of (among others) "Down Range TV".

Bane's article cites an earlier article by Ted Nugent, which seems to blame NYC gun restrictions because they did not allow Burress the opportunity to train and qualify for a Concealed Carry Permit.

If NYC permitted an individual to legally own and carry a concealed pistol, Nugent's arguments seem to suggest, Burress would not have qualified until he was able to demonstrate reasonable gun-handling skills.

This seems, to me, to be among the best of circular reasoning. If Burress couldn't have qualified for a concealed carry permit (if such were offered in his current home state of New York), he wouldn't have carried a gun.

But Burress already did not qualify for a New Your carry permit, so why expect that failing the NY test would have dissuaded him from carrying that night?

Besides, he (Burress) already possessed a Florida carry permit. Was he not required to meet some minimum standards in Florida? Even though the Florida permit wasn't accepted in New York, one would have expected that SOME level of gun-handling profeciency needed to be demonstrated then and there.

Ultimately, and in the actual fact, Burress proved that he was unable to carry a gun safely, and that IS the bottom line.

Comments in the Bane blog seem generally to focus on the failures of New York State and New York City to provide a reasonable path to a Concealed Carry Permit. They ignore the obvious facts that Burress is an idiot and has no business carrying a deadly weapon in any circumstances, let along a NYC bar. Who carries a cocked-and-locked semi-automatic pistol in the waistband of his jogging pants, other than a Gang-banger wanna be whose only apparent motivation is to appear "dangerous" to his friends?

Well, if that was his motivations, I'm sure that his friends are convinced that he is a dangerous man with a gun. I'm convinced the NYC police and Mayor Bloomberg are convinced, and 90% of America is convinced that Plaxico Burress is a dangerous man with a gun.

So are the on-call medical personnel at the Emergency Room at Cornell Medical Center (or New York Presbyterian Hospital, depending on which news reports you choose to believe), who had to treat his through-and-through shot to the leg ... self-inflicted ... convinced that" Plaxico Burress is a dangerous man with a gun."

This is not a Second Amendment issue. This is an issue of having identified (by a practical demonstration of his own inability to safely carry a gun) that one Plaxico Burress is an idiot, has no qualification to carry a firearm, and is an embarassment to the defenders of the Second Amendment.

While the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution grants each citizen with "... the right to Keep and Bear Arms", none few of us who defend that right are willing to defend a man who has proven himself to be an irresponsible and incompetent idiot. He has demonstrated that he is unwilling, perhaps unable, to accept responsibility for his own actions. By the series of bad decisions he has made in this single incident, he illustrates the 'worst case' proposed by anti-gun advocates across the world.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms defenders around the world owe it to themselves to denounce this yahoo, and support any civil and other legal charges which may be levied against him.

I do not want to be in the same room with this man. Nobody I know, most of whom safely handle firearms on a weekly, if not daily, basis, would be safe around this man if he was in reach of a firearm.

We need to take a stand to the effect that a person who has shown himself incompetent to handle a firearm should be dissuaded until he has demonstrated that he has, minimally, proven otherwise. And there should be a minimum time after he has proved his ability to responsibly choose when and how he should carry a firearm, before his rights have been restored.

News Report:

Raw video: Burress turns himself in to the police:

Video - Bloomburg urges full prosecution of Buress:

Video - Many questions, few details in Burress shooting:

Vudei - New Details Emerge About Burress Shooting

The following video may be some explanation for why Burress was carrying:

This video is obviously a satirical response:

UPDATE: December 15, 2008

One commenter took exception to a statement in this article:

"...( Plaxico Burress ...) is an embarrassment to the defenders of the Second Amendment."

The comment disputed that statement in favor of his own:
"The Sullivan Gun Laws are an embarrassment to the defenders of the 2A."

I disagree.

In my opinion, the Sullivan Law is an insult to the defenders of the Second amendment. It is an embarrassment to the people of the state and the city of New York. Why? Because after nearly 100 years of failing to prove that it provides any benefit to the safety and welfare of the community, they have yet to repeal this racist law.

And I'll fight any man in this bar to disagrees!
[download Bing Crosby: Two Shillalagh O'Sullivan]

NOTE: This article was also updated to provide a link to the Gun Law News article on the Sullivan Act. And in the process I corrected a missing link in my sidebar (see "Other RKBA Websites") by adding Gun Law News (Home).