Imagine. You're asleep at home in your bedroom late at night. All of a sudden there's a noise. Someone is coming into your bedroom. You smell alcohol, your adrenaline is pumping. You think of your wife, your family, asleep. What do you do? You actions will determine not only the rest of your life, but how we as liberals and conservatives see you.
It happened to Donald West Wilder II of Sterling, VA, described as “a great neighbor, a helper, someone who spends spare time volunteering to help others.” I have no reason to believe he wasn't. He did however have a gun by the bedside and he used it.
Had he grabbed a meat cleaver, a golf club or a candlestick he might have killed the intruder -- he might not have, since it's not easy to engage some assailant in hand-to-hand combat, half awake, in the dark. Fractions of a second determine the outcome. A chuck Norris type, a Bruce Lee, might have been able to overpower an intruder -- in a movie -- But he didn't, he used his gun, he killed a high school student who was so drunk he didn't know where he was.
It's a tragedy, as it is when someone's pit bull kills someone's kid, when the some other drunk driving teenager kills someone's kid, wife, mother. It's also a tragedy when someone is killed in his bed and that happens, all the time.
I'm not going to debate the wisdom of keeping loaded firearms around, or rattle about how one should really take time and think when someone crashes through your window, or about dialing 911 in fatuous confidence that it will save your life or your family's. I don't keep a gun at my bedside. It's not likely ever to be useful, but Wilder did and if the intruder was who he had every right and expectation to believe he was it would likely have meant that he could go on living. The right to life isn't conditional.
But that's not my thesis. What I see as another tragedy is that we, as Liberals are so often; too often just as small minded, self-righteous and crippled by smug, unquestioned, indefensible dogma that we're not worth listening to.
It's the reader comments that are tragic:
- He should have taken time to see if he could recognize the kid first. In the dark. Ridiculous.
- If baffles me that people are stupid enough to think that the answer is "more guns." Non sequitur
- Twas ever thus with the "stand your ground" crowd. Thinking isn't part of their m.o. ad hominem
Yes, of course, you're 86 and in a wheelchair -- you should run away while someone rapes your wife or sets your house on fire or just moves the hell in and takes over. It's not your ground to stand. Rapists and murderer's rights prevail and if you're not big and strong and young, just suck it up and die because you might hurt someone.
The endless ad hominem continues with fantasies about how any gun owner longs to kill someone and endless irrelevant ramblings about the NRA, the murderous bastard gun - nuts, crooked cops, Obama and the alleged enormity of telling people that they have the right to defend their lives, their families and homes rather than depending on tinkerbell and 911.
Stories that include guns are everyone's favorite grindstone and they attract more drunks, idiots and psychos than Wal-Mart at midnight. None of these people have any idea what's wrong, what needs to be done, what can or can't help. None of them give a shit about truth or even have the ability to think clearly beyond their various catechisms and credos and prejudices and phobias. Yet when we try to talk sanely about what regulations should cover firearms, about what can and should be done, this is what we get: rabid, raving, hate filled idiots calling themselves liberals.
Look, odds are that someone crashing through your bedroom window at 2 AM means you harm. The assertion that you have a right to fight back in defense of your home and your life is part of common law and probably of every legal code since Hammurabi lost his shoe. Kids shouldn't be out all night drinking themselves into a stupor and the parents who allowed it should feel as guilty as the man who did what he had to do.