Thursday, December 4, 2008

Responsibility when other's lives are in your hands

Throughout our lives we encounter people who have power over us.  All sorts of power, sometimes they have power without us even knowing it.  The police officer directing traffic, to the bank manager examining our loan application, to the professor reading our thesis, all of these people have some level of power over us.  In fact, they have a tremendous amount of power that they could use to abuse us, should their concept of "right and wrong" fail.

The professor, reading our thesis, could deliver a scathing and inappropriate grade.  In the age of digital media, he could substitute our submitted work with a previously published article, and accuse us of plagiarism.  At my university this would result in immediate expulsion, and would make it incredibly difficult to continue my education.  He could end my scholastic career, and make it relatively impossible to continue in my chosen profession.  Highly unlikely.

The bank manager, with my loan application in his hand, could control my financial future for quite sometime.  A copy of my loan application would could be sold to unscrupulous individuals for a certain amount of money, and I would face identity theft problems for quite sometime. Again, highly unlikely.

A police officer could easily decide to simply shoot someone out of hand, ending their life.  Properly staged, they could probably get away with it.  Also, unlikely.

All of these individuals have a duty to the person they are interacting with, whether it is professional, civic or otherwise, they have some sort of requirement to help others.

I'm a big fan of people making responsible choices.  Put simply, I'm a big fan of personal responsibility.  Those that risk others to advance their agenda cause me a tremendous amount of concern.

The recent arrest of Plaxico Burress for carrying a firearm without a license caught my eye this weekend.  I didn't think much of it, as it seemed an open and shut case.  The guy was a moron carrying a firearm without adequate care to ensure that it would be safe to himself and those around him.  Allegedly he was carrying a firearm while drinking (an absolute no-no).  While he claims that the firearm discharged accidentally while he was adjusting it, this is no defense, and runs counter to basic firearms safety.

A couple of days later, this article catches my eye:

That any concealed carry advocate could even consider supporting Plaxico Burress is beyond me.  I'm simply stunned.  The guy has quite literally given every gun-banning-legislator a poster boy for irresponsible carry.  The fact that Burress was licensed to carry in another state only adds to the fire.  He was an idiot, he broke numerous fundamental rules regarding gun safety, and if he had a shred of personal responsibility he would shut-the-hell-up and take his punshment quietly.

It's quite clear that Mr. Burress has never consider his duty to others, to keep them safe, and make sure that they are safe in light of his decision to carry.  And why should he?  Society is all to quick to attempt to place the blame away from him.

Let's be completely clear:  Mr. Burress would have been negligent and (probably) criminal if he had obtained a permit in NYC and suffered the negligent discharge in a crowded nightclub.  Certainly if he had been drinking, or if his errant round had struck an innocent, he would be up on charges.  Allowing him to have the opportunity to legally carry would have done nothing to stop this potential calamity.

As it is, we're lucky.  Well, almost lucky.  Mr. Burress shot himself in the leg.  No one else was injured (though I imagine several people were scared witless).  

People who are trained (truly trained) how to carry a firearm are taught to make sure that the general populace is safe.  Further, they are trained that if the general populace cannot be kept safe during a firearm deployment, then the firearm is not deployed.  It's quite clear that Mr. Burress missed that lecture.  A little education (taken to heart) would have averted this potential calamity.

So I come to the article, which I almost believed was a "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing".  I could easily picture a strict gun-control advocate writing the article.  However, that is not the case.

Mr. Kopel, please stop advocating for my rights.  You're doing more harm than good here.  
While your website does make me believe that you believe in gun rights, your execution is terrible, and sheds light on the worst possible aspects of concealed carry.  It does little to nothing to advocate responsible carry, and will only increase the ignorance surrounding the cause.

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