Popcorn in Your Hair Is Not a Good Reason to Use Your Gun
Don't be the aggressor, because you'll be the one to pay.
Last month we published “A Reminder About Using Deadly Force.” That article was in response to an incident in Minnesota where a man fired his gun at a group of people he believed had attempted to burglarize his home. Problem was, they were in their driving away when David Petterson, 65, fired at them, killing one. He’s in jail now facing second-degree manslaughter with a “fearing for your life” defense that is going to be tough to prove.
In Tampa, Florida, recently, a retired police captain who shot and killed a fellow movie goer in a theater will face a murder charge. Even though Florida has a “stand your ground” rule, the judge ruled that it doesn’t apply in this case.
Curtis Reeves was in trial with the defense that he was protecting himself when he drew his gun and fired in January 2014. At the time, Reeves was 71, and was confronted by Chad Oulson in a movie theater. The argument was about texting during the movie. the two men argued. Reeves left the theater to complain to a movie theater employee. When Reeves returned, he and Oulson began arguing again. The movie theater camera shows Oulson reaching over Reeves’s seat, grabbing Reeves’s bag of popcorn, and throwing it at him.
What did Reeves do? He pulled out his gun and shot Oulson.
What would you do if this happened to you and you had your gun on you? Yes, tempers can flare quickly and throwing popcorn on you is not something you want to put up with. But is it really that serious? Is it worth going to trial and jail over? Reeves’s defense attorneys argued that he should be protected under “Stand your ground” laws, but the judge felt that throwing popcorn did not count as “deadly force causing you to dear death or great bodily harm.”
On the stand, Reeves testified that he “perceived” he was about to be punched when Oulson threw the popcorn at him. Reeves also claimed Oulson threw his cell phone at him, but witness could not corroborate that statement. What do you think Reeves is saying about the incident now? Do you think he’s saying, “I sure am glad I shot that guy over popcorn because what I’m going through right now is totally worth it”? Heck no. Here’s what he did say:
“As soon as I pulled the trigger I said, ‘Oh shoot, that was stupid.’ If I had to do it over again, it would have never happened. If I had to do it over again, it would never have happened. I wouldn’t have moved. But you don’t get do-overs.”
Oulson’s wife said he was checking his phone to text his daughter’s babysitter. She was wounded by the shot that killed her husband.
Folks, keep your gun holstered unless you really need it. This isn’t one of those cases. And be damn sure you really do need it if you do pull it out, otherwise you could end up in the same situation as Mr Reeves.
Image from WFTS new video.