Gun Violence

02.05.13

Murdered Over Dog Crap?

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In Dallas yesterday, a 75 year old man shot two neighbors to death in a dispute over dog clean up.

An ongoing argument between neighbors about a couple dumping dog feces on their elderly neighbor’s patio came to a head Monday morning when the neighbor shot and killed them, police say.

Police say Chung Kim, 75, lived in an apartment below Jamie Stafford and Michelle Jackson, both 31. There had been an ongoing dispute about the couple dumping their dog’s feces on Kim’s patio and front door, police say.

During an argument Monday morning, police say Kim used a handgun to shoot Jackson outside the door on her balcony. Kim then went upstairs into the couple’s apartment and shot at Stafford, who was climbing over the back patio railing. Stafford fell to the ground and Kim went outside, stood over Stafford and shot him again, police say.

Both victims were shot multiple times. They died at the scene.

Mr. Kim's neighbors sound very objectively obnoxious. But shooting them to death?

Yet this is just the kind of violence enabled by the American way of gun ownership and use. Here's a similar case from Virginia last year:

A Richmond man has been convicted in the fatal shootings of two men in a dispute over dog feces left outside an apartment.

A Richmond Circuit Court jury recommended a 46-year prison term for 37-year-old Darryl Lamont Jefferson after finding him guilty Monday night of two counts each of first-degree murder and using a firearm in a felony.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports 24-year-old Ahmad K. Phillips and his 28-year-old brother, Ahkeem, were shot April 18. Both were from Richmond.

A friend of Jefferson's, 21-year-old Randy L. Trent, faces a murder trial in October.

Authorities said Ahmad Phillips had found dog feces in front of his apartment. Trent lived in the apartment building and was the dog's owner. Trent had summoned Jefferson after arguing with Ahmad Phillips.

When gun proponents talk about "defensive gun use," they invite us to imagine confrontations where one party is wholly blameless and the other party is murderously aggressive. Gayle Trotter conjured up just such a scenario in her imaginative testimony to Congress: mother alone at home with her babies; three or four or five bad men break into the house; what can she do other than mow them down with her AR-15? In real life, however, defensive gun use typically originates in confrontations to which both parties contributed - and in which the difference between aggressor and self-defender depends largely on the story told by the party who happens to survive.

Unless you run a home meth lab, you are exceedingly unlikely to face a home invasion by armed intruders. In order to defend against wildly remote contingencies, Americans are instead arming themselves to turn disputes over dog crap into lethal duels.