Sadly, Chicago often leads the news due to the extreme violence perpetuated by a few but blamed on law-abiding gun owners. In fact, it is far too common for the report to include 20, 30, 40 or even 50 shootings over a holiday weekend. I know that seems strange—so many shootings in a liberal bastion of gun control and some of the strictest laws in the nation… However, the reports come out again and again; the same tired narrative is regurgitated over and over. The media seldom stops to think and realize people who do not follow laws are perpetuating the violence. Perhaps they just do not care. I am not sure what the numbers will be for this Halloween weekend, but one shooting has already made the news. The difference? This time, many of the people are praising the gunmen.
It was business as usual Chicago’s southwest side. Then, around 7 p.m., an armed man walked into the Agencia Mexicana convenience store. The armed man, later identified as 55-year-old Reginald Gildersleeve, produced a handgun and announced his intent to rob the store. Gildersleeve then pointed his weapon at a female employee and forced her to the back of the store.
At some point during the robbery, one of the patrons took action. The unidentified patron was licensed and legally carrying a concealed firearm. Several shots later, Gildersleeve lay fatally shot on the floor. He was officially pronounced dead at 7:10 p.m. according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Gildersleeve was no saint. He had an extensive criminal history, including prior arrests for robbery, according to reports from the Sun-Times. To this point, most reading this are probably cheering for the “good guy with a gun.” I know I am. But let’s not forget, our unnamed hero or heroine could still be prosecuted.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, “We’re looking at it as a self-defense issue at this point.” Guglielmi said the case is under review by local prosecutors, but the preliminary details suggest the customer was not at fault.
That’s good news for the good guy (or gal) with a gun, but a sobering lesson for those of us who carry concealed. Just because you are in the right does not mean it won’t cost you tens of thousands of dollars to prove it. So, where do you draw the line? When do you get involved? Let’s look at another example.
September 2015 in Detroit Michigan – another armed citizen exercised what most would consider poor judgment. In this case, the Michigan woman was legally carrying concealed like the customer in the first scenario. However, the woman reportedly made the decision to shoot at shoplifters fleeing a Detroit-area Home Depot store. This certainly does not meet the standard of firing to protect your life or the life of others. Nor does it carry the same protections.
The woman did not hit anyone, but managed to flatten a tire of a fleeing SUV. The suspected shoplifters were arrested several days later. Her decision to get involved earned the woman a court case at a minimum. She pleaded no contest to a charge of reckless discharge of a firearm and may be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail.
These cases are night and day comparisons, which leads me to the point. There are many cases that are not as black and white as these; they fall into the gray area that exists somewhere in between. Are you prepared? I mean bravado aside, if you carry, have you truly spent enough time thinking about if and when you would draw your firearm? Where is your line in the sand? Will your firearm function properly? Your ammunition? When faced with a situation, it is far too late. If you have not, well, that’s how people start popping off rounds at shoplifters and land on the wrong side of the law.