The dangerous consequences of having a heavily armed civilian population was put on full display early afternoon on Wednesday, when a woman pulled out a concealed pistol and began firing at alleged shoplifters as they drove out of the parking lot of a Home Depot in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Police are considering whether or not to charge her with anything.
The woman, 47, had a concealed carry permit and a legal weapon, but the problems arising from this are obvious. First of all, it was not her place to take the law into her own hands to stop thieves committing minor theft. Secondly, when did the crime of minor theft carry the death penalty, to be dispensed by any random passerby in the name of corporate America? Where is justice? The vigilantism that the mass proliferation of concealed weapons inspires causes much more harm than good- like when a “good guy with a gun” tried to stop a carjacking and shot the victim in the head by accident.
It’s bad enough that our actual police forces feel like they have the right to summarily execute African-American suspects for being “threatening.” We cannot allow random civilians to go firing off semiautomatic weapons in a parking lot. This woman could have accidentally shot a child, a family, or caused property damage to other people’s vehicles just because she felt like the best way to stop a shoplifter was to kill him.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.