Pro-gun types like to say that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. If you have a brain, though, you quickly realize how stupid this is for one very simple reason. When there are guns everywhere, how do you tell who the good guys are?
I would ask you to perhaps put that question to someone like John Hurley, but that won’t be happening unless you know a good medium.
Hurley, a good guy with a gun who had just finished killing a bad guy with a gun, was shot and killed by another good guy with a gun when that good guy with a gun thought that perhaps the fellow holding a handgun and an AR-15 might be the bad guy with a gun who had been doing some bad guy with a gun things in the area. Got all that?
The police killing of a Colorado man praised as a hero for preventing a mass shooting earlier this year illustrates how laws that allow the concealed or open carry of guns in public complicate police response to shootings.
Police say that John Hurley, 40, confronted Ronald Troyke after he shot and killed Officer Gordon Beesley in the west Denver suburb of Arvada. Investigators recovered a document written by Troyke with statements revealing his intent to kill police officers, including, “Today I will kill as many Arvada officers as I possibly can.”
The local prosecutor announced last week that responding Arvada Police Officer Kraig Brownlow will not face criminal charges for fatally shooting Hurley, who was holding a handgun and Troyke’s AR-15 when Brownlow shot and killed him.
In a letter laying out their decision, prosecutors said that while Hurley’s acts “were nothing short of heroic,” the facts from Brownlow’s point of view show that he did not know or could not have known of officer’s death or of Hurley’s “role in eliminating the threat” posed by Troyke.
I’m not so naive as to think that a gun has never saved a life. But the more guns there are, the more complex those equations become. If we’re going to have guns, we need less of them and in as few hands as possible. What we don’t need is an infinite supply without a care for where it ends up.