Monday, May 02, 2016

An avalanche of CCW fail

In Pennsylvania last week, a man was shot to death in a church.

Apparently Robert Braxton III was sitting in seats reserved for other members, and when an usher tapped him on the shoulder to ask him to move, he got upset and yelled at the usher, telling him not to touch him. And this little blow-up sparked wanna-be TV action hero Mark Storms into action.

As the usher and the pastor spoke to Braxton and calmed him down, Storms, by all accounts, rushed up to them with a gun drawn, flashed a badge and ordered Braxton to leave the church.

The badge was one of those ones advertised on the internet that simply says "Concealed Weapons Permit Holder". They serve no purpose and are bought exclusively by idiots and morons.

Braxton apparently didn't care for being badged by a poser, because he reportedly told Storms what he could do with his "fake badge" and "fake gun". Then he punched Storms in the mouth.

Storms retaliated by shooting Braxton and killing him.

Gunman fatally shoots Pennsylvania churchgoer after fight over seat at Sunday service

Storms was rightfully arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter. At his arraignment, Storms claimed that he was using his handgun in "self defense", and, apparently without talking to or heeding the advice of a lawyer, he told the police that he was hoping to defuse the situation by showing a gun, which, according to court documents, he's done in the past.

Sigh... it's people like this who mess it up for the rest of us CCW holders and responsible gun owners. The anti-gun crowd always tries to say that we do stuff like this, and even though we all know better, here comes some tosser to do exactly this sort of stupid thing.

So let us count the screw-ups in this case. Feel free to add any that I miss:

1. Storms buys a poser badge that carries no authority but merely identifies him as a concealed weapons permit holder. Why he feels that he needs a shield like real police and other officials carry is not known to me, but it appears that he's got a history of going around flashing it at people, no doubt hoping that it'll be mistaken for a real badge. Impersonating a police officer is both illegal and dangerous, and no one not a sworn Law Enforcement Officer needs to be carrying a badge around, especially a toy badge like this one.

2. Storms decided to butt into a verbal dispute that he wasn't even a party to. No one asked him to help, it was being handled by the appropriate people, and it wasn't his business.

3. Storms pulled his gun (and flashed his toy badge) to intimidate Braxton and get him to do what Storms--who had no authority to act--was ordering him to do.

4. Storms, with his gun out, was close enough to Braxton that Braxton could easily punch him in the face. Had Braxton gone for a disarm instead, he could probably have pulled it off, because Storms was way too close to react to the attempt.

5. While it's plausible to argue that you shot in self-defense in response to an attempt to disarm you, shooting someone for busting you in the lip is pretty much cut-and-dried retaliation. Storms life doesn't appear to have been in danger there; only his ego did.

6. I can't think of anything Storms could do to make this worse, unless...oh, wait--he could give statements to the police about how he was trying seize control of parties having a verbal disagreement by threatening them with his gun. Yeah, that could make it worse, as could having a history of having done this sort of thing before and not learning from those incidents.

All I can say now is that I hope that Storms likes jail food and diverse roommates, because I think that he's going to be getting his fill of both for a long, long time to come.

23 comments:

  1. I think that you could have pulled it off in 1870 somewhere like Telluride (To-Hell-You-Ride) Colorado, but that's about it.

    Are you going to send Storms soap-on-a-rope? Because he has to hope that he doesn't drop his in the shower.

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  2. "The badge was one of those ones advertised on the internet that simply says "Concealed Weapons Permit Holder". They serve no purpose and are bought exclusively by idiots and morons."

    Indeed. I wonder if they also include a worthless commission card?

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    1. That's the extra "do it yourself" commission kit, consisting of a 3x5 card and a crayon.

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  3. "Friends" like this the Concealed Carrier does NOT need.

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  4. That's felony-level stupid right there. I don't see any chance of a self-defense defense working considering from the facts as reported and his statement, it was not self-defense.

    Those badges are bad news. I do hope they add impersonating a police officer just to help get the point across that it is a really stupid idea to be flashing a badge around when you're not an actual LEO.

    As law abiding concealed carriers, the only response to that website is: Badges? We don't need no steenkin' badges.

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    1. I wish there was some way for the sheriff's dept to cull the carry permit applications that boil down to "'Cause I wanna feel tough."

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    2. "Bedges? We got no bedges. We don' need no steenkin bedges..."

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  5. As far as I can see, the only reasons a jury would be out longer than thirty minutes before finding him guilty would be because they either had a contested election fore jury foreman or they wanted to have lunch on the county's dime.

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  6. And... Braxton's teaction seems to me to suggest possible mental illness. The appropriate people were involved. Same appropriate people might have taken the next logical step if there was a serious problem - call the police to remove a trespasser.

    We've had the same problem with obstreperous mentally ill people at my church. Nobody got shot. Some even remember that although they are welcome in our homeless shelter they are not welcome in the main part of the church IF they are going to be distuptive.

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  7. Sigh. Mostly substitute an "r" for "t" in my comment. The touch screen sometimes is off...

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  8. They have badges like that that say "Ham Radio Operator".

    They're all the rage with the Hams that do "Public Service" stuff like provide comms for marathons and such.

    I cringe every time I see one because the "ham" who buys them usually doesn't know squat about either radio -or- communications....

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    1. As a ham, I know a few hams who have those, most of whom are smart enough to know better. I just can't imagine any possible scenario where I'd want one, myself.

      There's also been a lot of butthurt among the public service hams lately about the ARRL/ARES guidance along the lines of, "we can't and won't tell you not to carry a weapon into an activation, but we recommend that you avoid doing so." This was taken by many puffed-up public service hams as a clear violation of their 2A rights, when what it really was was a recognition that you're just there to pass communications, not to be law enforcement.

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    2. Wow, as a long-time CCWer and 34-year ham, I can't believe you just said that. I carry a gun, not because I am trying to impersonate law enforcement like this idiot Braxton, but to protect myself and my family. And YES, I will carry if I see fit on any ARRL/ARES event, and if they don't want me, I can leave.

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  9. Pulling the gun was brandishing all by itself. Then the shooting was manslaughter. Cut and dried. Bye bye.

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    1. I can't find "brandishing" in the PA criminal code.

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  10. Ye Gods, this is just SO stupid...

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  11. The story makes me consider taking the training to become a TX LTC (License to Carry - the new term for CHL after open carry passed) instructor.

    For my TX CHL and renewals, I had two instructors: One who stressed conflict avoidance and resolution, using one's brain first, and firearm only as a last resort; the other liberally peppered his presentations with statements such as "if so-and-so does such-and-such, you can legally shoot [him]."

    The first one also took the time to point out that in the event of a shooting, even if it was legally justified/no-billed, the CHL holder would often find himself in civil litigation, and possibly financially ruined.

    I've carried lawfully since GWB signed CC into law in my state in the '90s, and one could conjecture that I may have car-carried for nearly two decades prior to that. Not once have I had to fire a handgun in anger, nor even draw/brandish/make known its presence.

    Sometimes, just not acting the fool goes a long ways...

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    1. Great point to mention Branco's Law of Self Defense seminar and book.

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  12. I agree wholeheartedly - this guy was an idiot and what he did is NOT justifiable; unfortunately situations like this are an argument AGAINST permitless carry and easier permitting requirements.
    Unfortunately as the number of people with concealed carry permits rises, some of them will not understand the gravity of what they are doing and make all of us look bad - like the woman who shot at the car of an escaping shoplifter in Michigan (http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2015/10/woman_with_concealed_carry_per.html)
    I feel the most important thing to learn if you carry is when NOT to use your weapon.

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  13. The crummy part is the many of us who don't behave thus, and get no stories printed about us...
    Not unlike the many law-abiding gun owners.
    No story there.

    gfa

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  14. I think those badges say I am a loser that could not be a LEO and I need my ego stroked.
    They also say shoot me I am a dumb ass pretending to be a LEO.

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  16. Murphy's Law, great post. Guys like Storms are NOT helping. Those of us who have had the training and know how to do it right need to help those CCWers we know who don't. I recommend the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, because a) they have great training, from the likes of Massad Ayoob and Andrew Branca, and b) they can help you if you ever have a "bad day" where you have to defend yourself.

    Oh, and Storms? I hope he rots in jail. Murderer.

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