If you get this title, you are way behind the times. It’s probably culturally opaque to anyone who is less than about 65.
Before we go further, this post is about guns. If that is going to make you mad, stop reading here. Unless, that is, you like getting mad. If so, then, be prepared for my one-strike policy on comments.
I’m going to write more about guns, from an intensely personal perspective, and that will provide more context, but events drive me to write this now.
The title is a line from The President’s Analyst (1967). The film was a commercial failure then, but I liked it, and I think it is almost timeless in several ways.
“Muggers, at last!” was spoken by Jeff Quantrill (Joan Darling), the mother of a family of gun-toting, martial-arts-trained liberals with whom Dr. Sidney Schaefer (George Coburn), the President’s analyst, has fallen in while evading operatives from the CIA, the FBI, Russia, China, and The Phone Company.
Dr. Sidney Schaefer: These guns. Karate. Why?
Husband Wynn Quantrill: The right wing extremists. Disarm them and us liberals will disarm.
When the operatives finally find Schaefer, going out to get Chinese with the Quantrills, Jeff and Wynn (William Daniels) are beside themselves with joy to be able to use their weaponry and skills. While Wynn blasts away with a huge handgun, Jeff expertly dispatches several intelligence operatives with the Karate. Schaefer could not be in better hands.
I think of this line and the scene often when reading comments about “Good Guys with Guns”. (By now, that term may be trademarked by the NRA.) In the wee hours Friday, Steven Jones got hit in the face during a fistfight with some fraternity boys near the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. I think we can be certain that alcohol was involved. During the altercation, a group came out of the fraternity house and chased Jones, who ran to his car and retrieved his handgun (equipped with a cool flashlight).
By this time two of the eventual victims had stopped following him, but they turned around when Jones yelled that he had a gun. Jones said that he then shot them both. Two others were also shot. One witness, a friend of Jones, said that one of the victims asked Jones why he had brought a gun before Jones shot him multiple times. One young man was killed and three were wounded.
Jones said that he then provided first aid to the dying and wounded.
Jones sounds like a “Good Guy with a Gun”. He apparently has no psychopathy, at least in the formal sense. I’m sure he will plead self defense, and that may be effective.
What I have related comes from news reports. If I were on a jury, I would give Jones the benefit of the doubt. But, I’m not, and I won’t, because I think his behavior is typical of an attitude that is unfortunately very common among Gun Nuts.
Can anyone really doubt that Steven Jones was looking for trouble? That he was looking for glory, looking to be a hero, almost desperate for the “righteous shoot”? Why else the call that he had a gun? In this sense, Steven Jones is no different than Chris Harper-Mercer, who a few days ago killed nine fellow students and wounded nine more in a quest to become “somebody”, to become famous. And, neither of them was motivated any differently than a two-bit gang banger.
The bottom line here is that if Steven Jones had not had a gun, no one would be dead, unless Jones was man enough to beat them to death with his fists, or maybe a stick. Somehow, I think that if he had not had a gun in his car he would have kept running.
Will the NRA and the Gun Nuts style this as a righteous shoot, and Jones as a “Good Guy with a Gun”?
How many people die each year because a “Good Guy with a Gun” goes looking for trouble?