Thursday, December 08, 2022

What You Did vs Who You Are

I am a little fascinated by the story of the gun-shop owner on Gude Drive, in Rockville, who tried to kill a cop in the middle of the night last week. He ran after the police car shooting at it, put a few holes in the car but didn't hurt anybody, luckily.

This story is not going to get much publicity, because it does not further anyone's agenda.

Here's Bethesda Magazine's lede on it:

Andrew S. Raymond, 42, of Darnestown, was charged and arrested for shooting at a police officer in Rockville, early Tuesday morning, Montgomery County police announced in a release.

According to police, a county officer was patrolling the 700 block of East Gude Drive at around 12:30 a.m. when an employee of Engage Armament gun store ran towards the officer’s unmarked car and began firing shots, striking the vehicle twice.

Raymond was outside the store when the police officer drove into the parking lot of Engage Armament, police stated.

The officer saw the suspect running towards his vehicle while reaching inside his waistband, according to the MCPD news release.

According to the release, the officer activated his emergency equipment and signaled to Raymond that he was a police officer. Raymond stopped and dropped his weapon, raised his hands and was taken into custody, police said.

I drive past that place all the time. This is a hometown story.

Here's obviously what happened. Several gun shops in the area have been broken into lately. This shop owner figured he would defend his store, and sat out in the parking lot with a gun -- duh, it's a gun shop -- ready to kill someone. At the same time, the cops knew there had been recent break-ins and they were out patrolling, to, you know, catch criminals while they are criming. An officer pulled into this parking lot to make sure everything was all right, and this good guy with a gun came running out shooting at him, thinking it was bad guys.

Usually the media make a big deal out of somebody shooting at the police. In reality it is not a very dangerous job, they don't get shot very often, but it is a kind of story that people love to read because it confirms their preconceptions. This kind of story is most popular if there is a picture of a Black man, especially if he is funky looking. A Hispanic or African looking person will do, as well, especially if they have a foreign-sounding name. White people, only if they have tattoos or teeth missing, or really bad hair.

The media will not make a big deal out of this one. A man tried to kill the police but the story, I guarantee it, is going to be "it was an honest mistake." I predict that you will see a jovial photo in the news, cops laughing and having a beer with the guy who attempted to murder them, or similar. He will probably apologize. He shot real bullets at a real living human being but no prob, he didn't know it was a police officer.

This little story cuts across so many narratives. For one thing, stupid people here love to complain that Montgomery County is a dangerous place. They especially like to blame the County Council and County Executive for "skyrocketing crime rates." C'mon, people, Montgomery County? Some catalytic converters get stolen, there is an occasional burglary, but this is the sleepiest place in the world. And look what happens when the police act proactively to prevent crime. Citizens trying to kill them for it.

Of course the story here is that a "good guy with a gun" was shooting at another "good guy with a gun." Nobody likes to deal with the fact that most gun deaths are not bad guys breaking into innocent people's homes. Suicides and domestic violence, especially husbands killing their wives, make up more than half of US gun deaths. Walking around with a gun in your pocket does not actually make you safer, it just makes the rest of us less safe. Well you might shoot yourself by accident, but in any case the chance that your life will be threatened today by some violent person in Montgomery County is, statistically, zero.

The bookend story to this one was earlier this week, a guy was found not-guilty of anything after he shot a persistent panhandler on the Metro. There was video. The jury said it was justified. Well, of course, the shooter was a Good Guy. And the panhandler was a Bad Guy. He was rude and pushy.

Our society is having a kind of breakdown of law and order, and these incidents are so typical that they will not be talked about much. Nothing is going to happen to these people who shot at someone, because they are portrayed as Good People. Good People can do whatever they want. It is not easy to say what a Good Person is, it might be a regular guy but it helps to be rich or powerful. Almost certainly they are Caucasian. You will hear someone say, every day, "No one is above the law," but of course that is not true. People get hassled, beaten, killed, and locked up every day for nothing, but not white people with some privilege. Those people can break the law as they wish, they can even shoot at the cops, and nothing will happen to them. They are Good People and just made a little mistake. Maybe somebody died, oh well.

To my silly liberal mind, the law should be a set of criteria that people have to meet in order to avoid punishment. If you break the law you face the consequences. If you don't break the law then you are free to go. But that is not how it works. Instead, the police and court system are being used to reward Good People and punish Bad People, regardless of what the law says. It doesn't matter what you did, what matters is who you are. This post is about Donald Trump.