Thursday, April 04, 2013

Every Man His Own Action Hero

There is no excuse for gunning a man down, in cold blood or otherwise.  I want to start there so my comments are very clear.  Mike McClelland did not deserve to die, and nothing he did or said or thought justifies his murder.

That said, what was he thinking?  That he was the hero of his own action movie?

Rural Texas prides itself as a place where people can take care of themselves, many are not only armed but well armed. And McLelland was a man among them. Joining the Army after graduating from the University of Texas, he held a major's rank in the reserves and served as recently as the Persian Gulf War. After his assistant was ambushed in January, he warned potential assailants that in him, they faced a former military officer who was now armed and ready.

The only thing he wasn't ready for, was somebody walking up to his front door.

This killing is almost out of an action movie.  You know, the one that opens on a quiet American street at a normal American house where somebody walks up to a random door and when the occupants answer, the guy on the door step pulls out an assault weapon and starts blazing away, murdering everybody in the house.

And then the heroes show up.  Because in the movies, the heroes never answer a door and get gunned down.  The hero is certainly never shot in his pajamas.  Even when the heroes run through a hail of bullets, the bullets either bounce at their feet (see!  real gunfire!) or splatter into every object around them but, mysteriously, never strike them, even if all they have for protection is a thin sheet of plywood.

This happens because heroes are always "armed and ready," and that protects them.  But even when it doesn't, the bad guys can't just gun down the heroes in their bathrobes at their front doors, because, dude, it doesn't work that way.

I mention this not to condemn Mike McClelland, but to condemn the attitude he had and so many people have today:  a conviction in their own invincibility, because they "know how to handle guns."  And because they own guns.  Usually, a lot of guns.

Sadly, that didn't do Mike McClelland any good at all.

Mike McClelland should be alive today.  So should his wife.  That this could happen to them is frightening, and law enforcement should do all it can, arm itself as much as it needs to, to apprehend the killer or killers behind this crime.  But any police officer who is stupid enough to think the gun he or she carries is going to protect him or her against the gun the killer carries, should do himself or herself a favor, and sit this one out.  And if the police don't think they can be that stupid, why are the rest of us supposed to think we can?

This is not an action movie, and an arsenal of guns won't protect you.  If it didn't protect Mike McClelland, it won't protect anybody.  It's past time we figured that out.  Law enforcement will bring about justice.  Heavily armed citizens won't do anything except provide weapons and ammunition to people who should have access to neither.

1 comment:

  1. If I want an action hero, I call 9-1-1. It's not a DIY job!