Wash. state man says shooting followed VP's advice.
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state man who fired a shotgun in the air to chase away car prowlers says he was following the advice of Vice President Joe Biden.
Jeffrey Barton, of Vancouver, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Clark County court to a charge of illegally discharging a firearm. The 52-year-old fired the shot Monday when he thought people were breaking into his vehicles.Mr. Barton was following the advice of our esteemed Vice President. I do not know why he was charged with any crime. You mean to tell me that the Vice President of the United States gave firearms-related advice that runs counter to the laws of this country? Color me shocked! Next thing you know, you'll be telling me that firing blindly through a door to discourage intruders is a bad idea! All kidding aside, let's put to rest the notion of a "warning shot", shall we? If you are not justified in pulling the trigger with the gun aimed at a bad guy, you're not justified in pulling the trigger with it aimed somewhere else. Firing a "warning shot" to "send a message" is often illegal, and can and has been used in prosecution as evidence that the shooting wasn't 100% necessary.
Tactically, I'd be afraid of the *other* message that a warning shot sends: the message that says "I don't really have the nerve to shoot you". To my way of thinking, that's the only message a warning shot sends. If you're justified in pulling the trigger, pull the trigger. If you're not justified, don't. If you have time to wonder whether the shoot is justified or not, chances are, it's not. Much like how former AG Ed Meese defined pornography, you'll know a good shoot when you see it.
And yes, I know that some folks have argued that it's perfectly acceptable to shoot someone over your stuff. I've made similar claims in the past - but for vastly different circumstances than those in this story. People outsideof his home breaking into his vehicles are not an imminent threat to him or his loved ones. While it's infuriating when people mess with your vehicles, is it really worth getting into a mess like that which George Zimmerman found himself? Even if you are justified in using deadly force to protect your property, are you ready to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on legal defense to save a $200 car stereo?
Besides, ammunition is expensive; why waste it?
That is all.