Ross: The downside to ‘a good guy with a gun’
It was one of those freak situations. Off-duty police officer Amber Guyger, heading home, distracted because she’s on her phone sexting with her lover, walks up to the wrong apartment, finds the door unlocked, sees a man inside, thinks she’s interrupted a burglary, and ends up shooting the man dead.
The trial in Dallas showed every sign of ending in acquittal. The shooting was a mistake, she was a trained police officer, she was utterly remorseful on the stand, Texas is a gun-friendly state, and the judge even allowed the jury to invoke Texas’s Castle Doctrine – which allows you to shoot if you think you’re defending your home.
But there would be no redemption. A jury deliberated for just over six hours before it found Guyger guilty.
Because she was armed, her temporary mental lapse ended his life and destroyed hers. And she was a trained professional. The good guy with a gun, more of whom, as I learned on the very same newscast, are being trained every day.
A new “guardian program” in Florida allows staff to carry guns after background checks, psychological exams, and more than 130 hours of range training.
That’s great, as long as we remember that, when the adrenaline flows in the presence of a gun, the line between protector and destroyer can be very thin.