My wife and I were in a fast food drive through today and someone pulled up behind and to the side of us and started yelling at one of the attendants outside that they screwed up his order. He was… loud about it. A little rude. My wife and I had a quick discussion about how differently she and I handle situations like that. Always unfailingly kind, which usually results in better service from the ones who made the mistake. It’s Newton’s third law: if you’re apologetic yourself, and they were the ones that made the mistake, they fess up and apologize and correct you that it was actually their fault (and after all, who cares, as long as the order is fixed, which is what everyone wants, does it matter whose fault it is?). If you’re rude to them, even if they were in the wrong, they might be rude and defensive back. Some people are able to NOT do this, but the natural tendencies of physics are hard to overcome.
So when I started following some of the coverage of the couple in Missouri who were standing in front of their house bearing arms while protesters broke through their neighborhood gate to go protest at the Mayor’s house, I started asking myself, just like at the drive through, “What would I do?”
Let’s put aside the legalities just for a minute. Stand your ground and castle doctrines and such are for lawyers, and from what I’ve seen, they are probably within their rights. But that doesn’t make what they did, in its entirety, a good idea. Talk to any gun aficionado and they would say that the wife pointing her gun at the crowd is a BIG BIG no-no.
But we should at least grant that it’s possible they felt their property (and maybe even their persons or the same of the Mayor), was threatened, and let’s assume again that exercising 2nd Amendment rights is… a thing.
What would have been a better way to handle it, even in terms of exercising the right to bear arms? So thinking through how I would do it resulted in the following:
I think I would come out with cases of bottled water (if I had it), a big smile, AND an assault rifle, and would have asked my wife to keep her pistol in a holster… but visible, with a similarly big smile. (Simply this woman’s — not my wife’s — lack of muzzle AND trigger finger discipline alone is enough for that to be… necessary. The husband’s muzzle discipline left a lot to be desired, though he seemed to be able to keep his finger off the trigger). I would have told the crowd with a big smile… that if they are here to peacefully protest, then that’s fine (even if it wasn’t), and if they need a bottled water, to help themselves, and that they need to stay on the “right of way” (even though it’s a private street) and not to step foot on ANYONE’s property, and everything would go well… My wife, with pistol in holster would be able to film the whole thing, complete with the smiles and exhortations and offers of refreshment…and I wouldn’t even mention the weapons. If they did, I’d just keep smiling.
This way, there is at least a narrative that we have control over, and we can show that if the group was up to no good, that we were justified in defending our home, and my wife would certainly be able to drop the phone and “skin that smoke wagon” if things were to get… dicey. The assumption of course, would be that it would never get to that point. It certainly didn’t look like the crowd really WANTED it to get to that point.
There is no evidence for this of course… but I bet the whole thing would have gone quite differently. Don’t know for sure. Just guessing. Honestly, I PROBABLY wouldn’t even have brought the weapons out at all, and I MAY not have even walked out the front door. But it’s fair to assume that the couple could have actually had the safety of the entire neighborhood (including the home of the Mayor) in mind when they brandished and pointed and yelled and threatened.
As it is, all we’re going to get from this is the story from two obvious filters: “evil rich white people pointing their guns at peaceful protesters,” or “hard working Americans defending their homes from the mob.”
So it goes back to Teddy Roosevelt’s “talk softly and carry a big stick.” But also to Newton’s Third Law, applied to people, especially groups: kill them with kindness. And keep your f*&%ing finger off the trigger.
One last thing: is it any wonder why sane people don’t want to run for local office? Who would want protests in front of their house for not being sufficiently woke for these protesters? The Mayor’s sin was apparently that she spoke the names of people who wrote her letters in support of defunding the police department. The information is public information anyway, but it’s a great excuse to break down a gate and go marching through a neighborhood for justice.
While I agree that the couple’s finger and muzzle discipline was horrible and their attitude was mirrored by the (violent) mob, I suspect that leaving bottled water would have been considered aiding abetting those rioters. Water bottles continue to be use as projectiles.
As Mr. Porter points out so well, de-escalation tends to be the best course of action in any confrontation. Anyone who has taken a concealed carry class will tell you the that is always the first action to take, if the situation allows. The McKluskys were fortunate as it turns out that Mrs.’s pistol was an inoperable court house prop and Mr.’s Armorlite #15 was not loaded.