No Heroes

August 20, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

The “more guns, less crime” crowd have a romantic fantasy of bravely defending themselves and their property (and of course their wives and children) against potential predators (see my earlier post here) . It’s the adolescent boy’s super-hero fantasy, only the boys are older, and instead of imagined super-powers, they have actual super-weapons.

The reality of shooting bad guys in self-defense is far more complicated. The people who have done it don’t feel like heroes.

I tried to make this point in an overly long post a few days ago about Charles Augusto, the Harlem store owner. Kareem Farim, reporting in today’s The New York Times, does it better. He mentions Augusto’s sympathy for the families of the robbers. Then,
His emotions echoed those of Peter Giron, the co-owner of a South Bronx dry cleaning establishment who shot and killed a 17-year-old gunman in 1978. Mr. Giron collapsed and had to be sedated after the 17-year-old’s father visited his store and politely asked about the shooting.

A few owners said the shootings in their pasts, even those from decades ago, were still too painful to talk about. One, who would speak only anonymously, said, “I’ve been trying to forget about this since it happened.”

Ivan Blume, who wrestled a gun away from a robber and killed both him and his accomplice at his store, Quality Canines, in Brooklyn, in 2003, would say only, “It’s a chapter in my life I’d rather close.”

No comments: