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Shots Verified

OK, so those were gunshots I heard Thursday morning. I got the direction wrong, though. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the 1st District Crime Activity Report for June 26, 2008, reproduced verbatim and without editorial comment:

Type: Automobile Burglary

Location: 3200 block of Bienville

Gist: At 2:225am, the victim was awakened by loud noises outside the residence. Upon looking out, he observed two unknown black males near his vehicle and the vehicle’s trunk was open and one of the subject was searching the interior and the other held a handgun. The victim armed his self and relocated outside and fired his weapon and the subjects fled but had taken the speaker’s out of the vehicle and left them on the ground. The victim then fired several more rounds at the subjects. The victim was advised that it was illegal to discharge a firearm when his life was not in immediate danger and was issued a summons

Published inNeighborsNew Orleans


  1. Unless it’s REALLY REALLY REALLY serious, don’t call NOPD. They specialize in arresting the victims of crimes, instead of going after the perpetrators. FUCK THE NOPD! Dirty cops.

  2. Kent Kent

    So what’s your opinion on this, Bart?

    On the one hand, the only dangerous violence that happened here was the firing of a gun by the victim of the theft. But given the clear ambience of fear in your neighborhood, those that believe the second amendment means ordinary citizens can use firearms to protect themselves may see this as evidence for their viewpoints.

    You’re a smart fellow, you believe in civil liberties, and I suspect you’re more liberal than average. Your raising a child in your neighborhood, and it’s a wonderful neighborhood in which you’ve made a significant moral, financial and emotional commitment. I might learn something from hearing your thoughts.

    Is the real danger that ordinary citizens own guns and fire them at times like these, or would stronger gun control violate civil liberties and make the neighborhood less safe?

    Perhaps the question is naive, and displays my isolation from your community and the problems you face in New Orleans. If so, I want to listen.

  3. Lee Lee

    I agree with him firing the first shot that scared them away, but the others I don’t.

    You never know what or who a bullet will reach.

    I used to carry a concealed .40 cal Glock until it was stolen. I had a permit. You never know what you will do when you’re on the bad end of a gun.

  4. Ah, Kent, you ask the tough questions. I tried to evade them. It’s much easier to pass on the supposed facts rather than explain my feelings and opinions on the situation.

    But since you asked… to be perfectly frank, I just don’t know.

    Considering the specifics of this situation I’d have to agree with Lee somewhat. If the guy had just fired a warning shot and run the burglars off, then he wouldn’t have gotten in any trouble and I wouldn’t be writing about it. But as it was he fired multiple shots in the dark. As a co-worker of mine asked, “Did he miss because he’s a bad shot or because he’s a good shot?” Obviously if he’d connected this story would be a lot more serious. The reality of this situation is less alarming to me than if it had been, say, a mugging gone awry. But the guy fired a dozen shots; I heard them myself. I can’t approve of that.

    Considering the bigger picture, gun control and the second amendment? It’s even more nebulous to me. I don’t like guns at all, but I also don’t believe government control is desirable or even possible. It seems like the genie is out of the bottle, and I don’t know how we begin to address the situation.

    How’s that for a non-answer?

  5. Garvey Garvey

    “I also don’t believe government control is desirable or even possible.”

    Would you be willing to generalize this statement to other areas, such as health care, education, energy policy, etc.?

    Liberty born in cynicism is still liberty!

  6. Garvey, you’ve been reading me long enough to know of my anarchist tendencies. Certainly I’ve been reading your comments here long enough to know of your libertarian tendencies. We’ll find plenty to agree on. I believe the state is a nefarious, self-serving institution. I’d be happy to see community-powered solutions to the issues you mention, rather than top-down statist solutions. While we’re at it, let’s get gov’t out of drug policy and the prison system and the military. Oh, and civil engineering too. Just as long as we don’t put some kind of über-capitalism in its place.

    Of course, if we’re not abolishing the state today, I’d like some universal health care please.

    Funny how these posts take on a life of their own. I didn’t really think I’d be getting into a wide-ranging philosophical discussion when I posted this morning. But all of a sudden I feel like I’m sitting in the dorm room kicking the bong around.

  7. Ray Ray

    While I do feel bad that the perps won’t be caught here–my initial reaction was to feel irked by lopsided justice, yet again–isn’t this what car insurance is for? Car insurance companies might not pay off in wind/flooding situations, but even the lousiest companies would pay for a stereo system here. What the perps had been good shots and shot back? You’re dead over a stereo system? Sheesh. Buy a good auto alarm system if it means that much to you.

  8. Kent Kent

    Bart. I have enjoyed the discussion, but I feel you haven’t addressed a key question, nor has anyone else. I understand if everyone views this thread as closed, but I’ll ask in the spirit of wanting to listen and learn. If no one answers further, I’ve lost nothing by asking.

    Do you feel safer in your neighborhood knowing that people can protect themselves with guns, or is this example of seemingly reckless behavior, 12 rounds fired over a stereo theft, a source for increasing uneasiness?

    Is firing a gun, with the potential for unintended harm, over something as minor as a car stereo theft a suitable response? Do you think stricter gun control would lead to additional violent crime in your neighborhood, or a reduction? And if gun control would make things safer for you, XY, and Persephone, would restricting civil liberties in this manner be worth the added security?

    I don’t know if Garvey lives in New Orleans. He gave an interesting and well considered response. But his answer seemed less personal, and more political than yours. I expected that living in New Orleans would elicit a more personal response like yours – one founded on your present experiences, instead of philosophically justified.

    Of course, I would welcome further response from Garvey and any other as well. It’s an event worthy of a little more discussion, I think. But as you are a new father living in an inner city environment in a city with a unique culture and recent history, your answer interests me most.

  9. I guess I missed the thrust of your query the first time, Kent. In a word, no, I do not feel safer knowing the guy up the street has a gun and is willing to use it. As others have noted, his response seems like overkill. As for gun control laws, I really don’t know. I somehow doubt they’d have much effect. Of course I recognize that not all laws are created equal. I’d want to consider any specific proposal on its merits. I’d be all for stricter gun control if I felt it would actually control guns, but that’s just the problem — I can’t imagine how it would.

    FYI Garvey doesn’t live in New Orleans now but he did once upon a time.

  10. Garvey Garvey

    I’m with B on gun control laws. Like many other laws (e.g., War on Drugs), they sound very pretty when being drafted into legislation, full of lofty goals and good intentions. But, of course, they are part of a raft of completely unenforceable laws that are passed every year. This is where the anarchists and libertarians meet, eh, B? If a law can’t be enforced, then why write it up in the first place? This is a colossal waste of money and resources.

    Is a guy unloading his gun over his stereo OK? Probably not. But I don’t like the idea that seems to be in play here: “Well, as long as we came all the way out here, we might as well arrest *somebody*.” In fairness, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what happened between the gun wielding homeowner and the police. Maybe they told him, “Hey, man, you can’t be doing that,” and were willing to let it go at that. And maybe he got belligerent, which landed him in jail. Maybe not. Maybe NOPD is going for the “broken windows theory.” I have no idea.

    I lived in NO from 1988-1993 and still have a place in my heart for it. In some ways, it will always feel like home. NO has a way of doing that.

    As for guns and gun control, though, I will always recall what a friend of mine explained many years ago. Whenever there is a gun-wielding maniac on the loose, on a killing spree, what is the ONLY way the person is ever stopped? The arrival of more guns.

    Criminals don’t obey the law, but regular citizens do. So gun control laws only serve to disarm good people and keep the bad people as the only ones armed. If you’re interested, there is some fascinating research on this by…gah! I can’t remember his name right now…big time liberal/progressive/anti-gun professor of renown who set out to write a book about the wonder of gun control laws and in the course of his research he learned that his premise was horse-xit and came around to the other way, based on the data.

  11. Kent Kent

    Thanks B and Garvey. As for my interest, I’m always interested in learning. If you recall the name or a reference for the author Garvey mentioned, I’ll look it over.

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