Opinion

Emotional impact of guns in crime | Firearms Lawyer

Three armed men followed a woman in her 60s into her garage when she was returning home on a recent Monday. The robbers — one dressed in a white shirt, tie and dark slacks in order to case homes in Seward Park — stole her jewelry and car keys in broad daylight. She was not injured.

The afternoon before the robbery, a man was harassing other passengers on a Metro bus. He began arguing, pushing and kicking one of the passengers. The victim tried to ignore the assault. Then a woman who was with the assailant began hitting some of the victim’s family members. The victim defended himself and his family. The assailant allegedly stabbed the victim, leading to a short stay in the hospital.

Earlier that same week, an armed contractor with a concealed pistol license arrived at a home on the North End of Tacoma and saw a vehicle in the driveway. The contractor arrived shortly after 11 a.m. and suspected something was not right when he saw household goods, including a television and weapons, in the driveway.

The contractor called the homeowner, who then called the police. The armed citizen blocked the driveway with his truck. The burglar walked out, saw the pickup truck blocking the driveway and decided that the best way to get away was to ram the truck with his minivan. After the contractor fired one shot that wounded the suspect, the police apprehended the alleged burglar, 32, and took him to Tacoma General Hospital for treatment and criminal charges.

According to the Tacoma News Tribune, times are tough in the Tacoma burglary industry. This year, on April 4, 19-year-old Jamarr Johnson died when an occupant of the home he entered heard Jamarr and two other burglars — and shot Jamarr dead through a door.

Then on May 23, a homeowner shot Anthony Len McDougald, 36, when he and another man broke into a home on South D Street. The homeowner confronted the two inside his garage. They charged and the homeowner shot them. The other assailant was only injured.

On May 24, a Tacoma police officer shot and injured a suspected burglar after a confrontation outside a South Tacoma home where the man had crashed his car.

All of the people referenced in these stories have experienced intense trauma. When we read the newspapers, a lady robbed in her garage hardly seems like a big story.

The emotional impact on the woman, however, becomes apparent when you think about how she will feel every time she drives her vehicle into her own driveway.

The man who was stabbed was released from the hospital within hours. Will he ever take his family back onto a downtown Metro bus? Even the police officer and the contractor will probably go through the prolonged emotional impact of having participated in a shooting.

We should remember the trauma suffered by the individuals who were shot while allegedly engaging in criminal activities. Every one of them had lives with families and friends that defined them far more than the bad decisions that resulted in being shot and then arrested.

For example, the Federal Way Mirror ran a controversial story recently that focused on a man’s personal history in the wake of the recent officer-involved shooting at a local Walmart store. An officer shot the alleged shoplifter while he was fleeing from the Walmart located on 20th Avenue South in Federal Way.

Each one of us has to decide how to deal with the risk of becoming a victim of violence. Adults of all ages across the U.S. — including many women — have made a firearm part of their personal protection plan. While weighing the facts, keep in mind that statistics about people that have been killed with firearms can be deceptive when it comes to identifying the circumstances of the deaths.

Ask yourself how many of the statistical victims might have died by suicide or while engaging in deadly assaults against innocent people. They all deserve our sympathy to varying degrees.

It seems ironic, however, that the same people who experience the most horror when hearing about a legally justified shooting often object to population growth, cherish a right to assisted suicide and are vehement in upholding the supposed right to end the life of an unborn child — even when the taxpayers have to pay for it.

To willingly surrender the means to protect yourself and your loved ones is a step toward suicide that violates the core principle of providing for one’s own.

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