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November 13, 2007

Shots Fired in Anger

-Patrick S Lasswell

Hiding in my front yard from a shotgun armed maniac last night made me reflect on my libertarian leanings. The Second Amendment never seemed so clear to me as an individual right as I waited for the police to arrive, and waited. I was carrying only a telephone and a flashlight, and updating the 911 operator as the lunatic passed twenty yards from my position it occurred to me how very much I appreciate owning rifles, and how very, very far away they were at the moment. Although I also own pistols, for a shotgun armed assailant in the night, the accuracy and stopping power of a rifle spoke to me with urgent clarity. As the wonderful folks from Box O'Truth say: Rifles are rifles, and pistols are pistols.

While running around in my PJ's armed exclusively with a flashlight, telephone, and civic virtue, my libertarian interest in keeping the police from having military weapons died of exposure. When the the kook drove by and kept pointing his lights at my position, I was all for the 911 operator getting access to laser armed satellites or police helicopters with precision guided munitions. The notion that patrol cars might have AR-15 rifles onboard seemed prudent, not an infringement. All apologies to Glenn Reynolds, but I wouldn't choose to face deranged shotgun toting citizens armed only with a pistol, why should the cops? Afterwards, I considered the comforting weight of my Navy Reserve unit's sweet shooting M240 machine guns and how nice it would be to lay the bipod on my driveway while covering the bad guy. Who am I do deny reasonable comfort to even the forceful Portland Police?

The ironic part of this whole thing was that as I was hearing shots fired in anger and close proximity for the first time in a long while, and my business partner Michael Totten is heading towards Fallujah. I have to consider the business impact of him getting dinged while covering a story. The notion that I might get peppered with buckshot in my front yard trying to get a crank dealer off the streets never entered the equation. Keep your head down Micheal, I'll try not to get dead back home...

This happened at my house. I heard a shouting and then what sounded like a shot. I looked out the front door and there was a man standing outside his car armed with a shotgun yelling down the street. Since my first investigation equipment only included a flashlight, I stepped back inside and grabbed the phone to call 911. I waited, then went back outside and the car had left. I looked for a shotgun shell and did not find anything. As I was headed back in, I heard a vehicle nearby and looked; it was the bad man. I called 911 and updated them, staying on the line. The man was looking for somebody; I decided to be a hard to hit somebody when he came in my direction. Our house has concrete fixtures that provide cover (one of those things I liked about it when we were house-hunting) and I made use of them for the first time.

I suspect this was a drug deal gone bad. The man with the shotgun was hunting for somebody after shooting from a public street. This is not the actions of somebody whose primary concern is the public good. The car in question is now parked two blocks from here.

Suspect Car.jpg
Suspect Car


Congrats on getting away without being harmed.

Funny how being personally affected by the nutjobs in the world changes ones perspective.

I agree there is not a small amount of irony re MJT going to the ME, and you being Stateside.

Take Care.

Having a good weapon is nice. Having a house farther from the city center is better. Maybe with a big yard. And nice fields of fire. What do the realtors say? "Location, location, location."

My stars and garters! Something similar happened recently in my own neighborhood and in the light of evening rush hour. A house across the street had been rousing our curiosity with the strange behavior exhibited on that property. We hoped dearly that it was not drug involved. However along about 5:30 one early autumn evening as I toiled after work in my front garden someone fired shots at the house from the street. I wasn't looking so I didn't see anything. Worse yet as close as I was to the action I didn't hear the shots but my husband inside our house did. He thought it was an automatic nail gun. Reasonable. Our neighborhood is rife with happy homeowners doing their own renovations. However the police started showing up like smoke under a door. They detained a baggy pants youth. More police appeared very softly. The homeonwer of the insulted house was brought forth and questioned on site. Then she was transported to the local precinct where they made her sweat for several hours while CSI went over her property with the proverbial fine tooth comb. Upon her return home the entire ambience of her property changed to upright and law abiding and has remained so ever since. The police interviewed every neighbor on the street and gave us very simple practical things to do regarding this situation. It has been about six weeks and the plan is working. And no, the police did not recommend arming ourselves. Note also: they did not recommend that anyone already legally in possession of firearms get rid of them.

"bad man"?

We was just exercising his constitutional rights, you statist!

Hey man that's my car!

I don't think its particularly 'unlibertarian' to think police should be armed with military grade rifles, provided you have the same access as a law abiding citizen to the same.

And as far as the pistol/rifle question, my father -- a retired police officer -- told me once "It only takes one shot to kill." Most of your random gun-toting maniac drug dealers aren't well-trained gunmen. If you can take a well-aimed shot from a safe(r) position, a pistol would work just as well. (Granted, a shotgun does make up for accuracy issues.) The major problem in that case is being prosecuted for shooting a guy because you had the drop on him, in spite of his willingness to come at you with a shotgun.

I am glad to hear you got out of the situation physically unscathed.




You bought your house because it has "concrete fixtures" that can provide cover in a shootout? That's fucked up. I don't know whether it's a reflection of extreme paranoia* or a judgement of the safety of your neighborhood. You must live in out there in east county, eh?

*And for the record, I, too, live in P-town and about 30 yards from a fleabag drug motel (ah, Interstate, Queen of My Heart. There's plenty of unsavory characters floating about. And yet I leave my windows unlocked and open during the summer. Go figger...

From Patrick: I work in IRAQ. My parent's were on Hoover's list and the FBI tapped our phone when I was a child. I am no stranger to violence, and I am not far from Interstate, myself.

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/140/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...

It's nice to see you posting again. I have a stack of places I visit - I read Totten before Lasswell - so I didn't see yesterday's post until after I commented at Totten's place.

Keep up the posting.

I guess we really are neighbors!

I too have become more 'pro arm–the-police, Law and Order' since I grew up and became a home owner.
That being said, I fearlessly walk the streets and parks of No Po at night armed only with a cell phone and a 27lb fluffy dog. My 30-something neighbors who just moved here from New York (by way of Atlanta) think it is HILARIOUS that people are afraid of crime in Portland. It is utopia to them. My 94 year old neighbors have lived in the house next door since the 50’s, and have never had a problem. My neighbors and I were advised by North Precinct to call the Non-Emergency line as often as we like, and the local wanna-be thuggery has disappeared since we have done so. Like most vermin, they scatter as soon as the lights come on.
Meanwhile, I have friends in the 'country' surrounding Vancouver who have had the new 2nd story deck stolen right off the side of the house in broad daylight by the meth heads that are selling lumber etc for drug money. And out there in the bucolic land of 5 acre lots, no one saw a thing. I will take my close knit NoPo neighborhood any day. And I am originally a country girl!

If the old adage that a conservative is a liberal mugged by reality then what happens when the same happens to a conservative?

Damn, Patrick.

Maybe we can get a group discount on that body armor?

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