Thursday, July 19, 2007

Armed citizens defend themselves or criminals having a shootout?

This story was emailed to me this morning with a request that I shed some light on it since I live so close to the South Carolina border:

BEAUFORT, S.C. - A 19-year-old man picked the wrong time to shoot at two brothers, opening fire just as they got ready to do some target practice, police said. Antoine Robinson was shot once in the arm during the shootout around 4:15 p.m. Monday, Beaufort County deputies said.

Robinson pulled up to the Beaufort home, got out of his car and started firing at brothers Rodmond Singleton, 24, and Titus Singleton, 18, authorities said.

The brothers said they were getting ready to shoot target practice and grabbed their guns and fired back, hitting Robinson once, deputies said.

Robinson was taken to the hospital and released to jail later that night. He has been charged with two counts of assault and battery with intent to kill, authorities said.

The brothers were not hit, deputies said.

Up to this point I thought that the question in the reader's mind concerned the fact that the brothers were apparently getting ready to do some target shooting (most likely plinking) at their home. For someone who lives in a built up urban area and/or in a state with leftist anti-gun laws the idea of simply going out into your back yard and shooting can be difficult to get one's mind around.

I was all set to explain that in the rural South many people have large yards with terrain features which make them natural shooting ranges. The only law that you might violate by shooting in your yard is a county noise ordinance but they typically only kick in after 10:00 PM.

But then I read the last line of the story and knew what the reader's puzzlement was all about:

Deputies continue to investigate the shooting, in part trying to determine if the brothers were licensed to fire the guns, sheriff's spokeswoman Robin McIntosh said.

Does South Carolina law require one to obtain a license to fire a gun?

The answer is no. This is poorly written but what it has to mean is that police are running the serial numbers of the guns to make sure they haven't been reported stolen and are running criminal background checks on the brothers to make sure they aren't legally prohibited from owning firearms.

Part of this is just routine. All of the firearms involved in the shooting are evidence and need to be processed. However part of this has to stem from the desire of the police to find out why the shooting took place. In the normal course of an honest citizen's life another person does not simply drive up into his yard, get out of his car and open fire on him for no reason. People do not target strangers for first degree murder as a rule. Yes there are serial killers, but as the old saying goes "when you hear hoof beats think horses not zebras".

Robinson had a reason to go to that specific home and shoot one or both of those brothers. More often than not an incident like this will grow out of some criminal activity shared by the shooter and his victim(s).

The cops are looking at this and thinking that the brothers screwed Robinson on a drug deal, or that they stole ill gotten gains from him or that they are drug dealers fighting over territory or something of that nature. They want to find out exactly what went on and why because there is the potential for more violence if there are additional criminal associates of the men still at large.

Unfortunately the kind of gang activity which was once only associated with large cities has penetrated the rural South. MS-13 is operating in North and South Carolina and Los Angeles based gangs like the Crips (or whatever they are calling themselves now).
We also have a plague of meth labs being operated either directly by the bike gangs which control methamphetamine production and distribution or by freelancers who sell to the bike gangs.

Any of these things could have been behind that gunfight and the cops will do what they can to get to the bottom of it.

Of course there is one other possibility. There are still folks down here, some of them wearing badges, who just think that ni**ers shouldn't have guns and will seize upon any excuse to disarm them.