Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mall shootout kills 2, scares 100,000

LAFAYETTE--Two people died Friday at the Mall of Acadiana after a man shot his ex-girlfriend and was killed by a police officer as he fled.

Sherika Broussard, 21, of Breaux Bridge was at work inside the Victoria's Secret store's stockroom at 5:30 p.m. when Nathan O'Neil Jr., 21, of Lafayette entered with a handgun and shot her to death, according to Lafayette police spokesman Cpl. Mark Francis.

Francis said the incident was just further evidence of the increase in violence the city has seen in recent months. "Lafayette is changing," Francis said. "We're starting to see more and more of these serious types of incidents week after week."

This incident mirrors one from last year in which a man shot his girlfriend to death as she worked at the front desk of a local Microtel. Because of these two high-profile homicides, residents are asking, "What's happening to our city?" And all it took was two isolated incidents over 17 months to shock much of Lafayette into crime awareness!

As sad as this incident is, some of the comments being made about it are even worse. They smack of the vindictiveness and scapegoating that punctuate local debate. Granted, some users had the good sense to call others on their ignorance. But with this kind of talk, I'm surprised the board is as reserved as it has been:

violent crime IS on the rise in Lafayette. I don't need to be politically correct, I do put a lot of blame on the influx of people from the New Orleans area.

The police can't say it because it would get them in some kind of political quagmire, the mayor can't say it...but a private citizen can say it, "Glad to have the bad apples from N.O. here in this lovely city...thanks a million". I'm not saying the shooter was here because of Katrina, I'm just saying it's a fact that since then our crime has gone way up... Look at New Iberia's violence problem on the West End...and so on.

The problem isn't that people from New Orleans are here. As if the West End of New Iberia was such a great place before Katrina? "Remember pre-Katrina, when the skating-rink riots were safer?" Give me a break!

First off, the shooter was a Lafayette resident and his victim was from Breaux Bridge, just a few miles away. They were not Katrina evacuees! Second, the roots of crime have existed here for a very long time. Despite some improvement in economy and (debatably) in schooling, Lafayette remains a place with a high poverty level and lack of education. Along with the unspoken pressures of society, they can be a combustible combination.

Louisiana, like many other places in the United States, places a special emphasis on couplehood. Many people here would rather be in an abusive relationship than none at all, and so they give themselves the illusion that things can work out if only they keep at it. This results in some relationships rising to levels of psychotic obsession, when they should have died at birth.

A lot of these couples are together because they feel like God wants them to be together. Of course, God Himself could appear from the clouds and say, "Get the hint! He's bad news!" and they'd consider that just another hurdle to clear in the relationship. There's just no consoling some people...until it's too late.

The obsession doesn't always end at the breakup, as this incident shows. In a pro-family place such as ours, being single is often lower than death on the Scare-Me-Meter. It takes only two or three tries to find someone who has been continuously in relationships since they were 15. Easily romanced? No, probably just deeply insecure, thanks to a lifetime of being told that individuality is to be shunned.

I've had many friends who have broken off long-term relationships, and most react by becoming catatonic. Not because they necessarily thought they should stay with their ex, or because they miss the good times, but because they literally don't know what to do. They're so used to making every move with this other person, that sometimes all they can do is cower in a corner and bawl. Or they go the opposite extreme and become an incredibly bitter and irrational person, prone to random outbursts. And it isn't a short-term thing either; some cases last months and even years this way. It hurts almost as much to witness as it is to go through.

Too many people here aren't taught to have fun on their own. You aren't raised toward independence, but rather interdependence. If you aren't in a relationship, you're doing things as a group. Go alone to a big event--even a football game--and you'll sometimes be made to feel like a loser.

The shootist didn't want to be a loser. Nope, he couldn't deal with that.

The sooner we figure out the root causes of crime, the sooner we can begin to treat them. This is a much better solution than to live in perpetual and misguided fear.

That's what I assumed when I brought my ten year old cousin with me to grab a cookie cake. We'd be safe. It's the mall for crying out loud. Well, I'm crying out loud now. What the heck is going on with society?

The same thing that's been going on with society for decades. It's just that you finally noticed.

I imagine a lot of people are now scared to go back to the mall. But come on! The mall is not any worse now than it was five days ago. This is the only fatality the Mall of Acadiana has incurred in its 27 years of existence. That's saying something, considering that the mall was, at one time, in the middle of nowhere and was much less gentrified.

The shooting was a personal spat (albeit an extreme one), and a repeat performance is not likely. The only people who have to worry about the mall are workers who have psychotic partners. Granted, that's probably quite a few of them; but as a single consumer, I'm not concerned.

Perhaps some sort of random violence will occur. However, most murders are premeditated and happen among people who know each other. As for the random nut who shoots up a mall or other public venue, well, that could happen anywhere at any time. Are you going to stop all of your activities and pull your life to a screeching halt? And then live 60 safe years before slipping in the bathtub?

Fear is a killer, too.

26 comments:

Anthony Fazzio said...

Well said! There is nothing to fear except fear itself.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you that people in south Louisiana are definitely socialized to do things with other people, get in a relatinship, get married, and have kids. The sooner you can do all of those things the sooner you get accepted. I'm not sure if it's a southern thing or if south Louisiana is the ultimate pressure cooker for relationship necessity. I can remember dating girls in high school and having people ask me if I was thinking about getting married. All I could answer then was "Yes, I've thought about it." with the unspoken other half being "And there's no way I'm ready for that." People need to learn to do things on their own and be ok with being single some of the time.

JTekell

the other Nick said...

my favorite crap in the comments was someone fearing Nathan O'NEIL was related to Shaquille O'NEAL. this is why I'm going back to school to be a teacher.

Jester said...

Too bad the girlfriend hadn't gotten her concealed carry licence, or she could have saved her own life that day.

Ian McGibboney said...

She probably didn't assume, as most people don't, that someone was going to walk up to her and shoot her in the head.

Anyway, I'm still not sure how everyone carrying guns is supposed to cure our violence problem. To me, that's like saying that our drunk-driving problem would be solved if every driver were drunk. After all, wouldn't a road full of drunk drivers scare people into being more cautious?

Other Nick (ha ha), my thoughts exactly. Part of me thinks that person actually did it on purpose, just so they could bring up the Shaq-in-Lafayette rumors again. Then again, that's probably too clever of a theory. They just can't spell.

Jester said...

So being killed by a gunman is the same thing as being killed by a drunk driver? A law abiding citizen who is trained to carry and operate a firearm is the same as one who's drunk? WTF!?!?

Ian McGibboney said...

Not sure if you've noticed, Jester, but most people don't carry concealed weapons or want to. Why? Because it takes a certain degree of paranoia to do such a thing. And it certainly won't help curb violence; in fact, it will only increase it.

Assuming for a moment that a concealed weapon would have helped this girl, how would the situation have played out? Let's say the guy walks in, abruptly pulls out his gun and shoots her. Totally unexpectedly. Would she have had time to react? Probably not.

But let's assume she did. What would that lead to? One of two things: either a tense standoff or a firefight. And how is that safety in any sense? The problem is turned into a deadly one by virtue of the gun being there. It's the worst thing you can have in a fit of passion.

I don't trust a crazed man with a gun any more than I trust a drunk person with a car. Both can kill, and both are preventable. Unfortunately, both are allowed to flourish because enough people bitch about their so-called freedom to do what they want (by which they mean, to put others in jeopardy).

But you're right in one respect: cars and guns are not the same. Both can kill, but only one is designed exclusively for that purpose. I'm not against private gun ownership, but having everyone carry guns is not the answer. It's not even in the same hemisphere as the answer.

Nick said...

Legally carrying a concealed gun may not be the answer to solving violence, but now we know that it would have at least given Ms. Broussard a fighting chance.

I don't have a CHL, but I will get one soon. Had I stayed living outside Houston, I would certainly have one now, but living tucked away in the country now, I'm good as long as I have a gun ready in my home, just in case.

Normally, CHL owners are 100% more respectful of the law than your every day citizen. One of the things you are taught in the CHL classes is, if you are not a cop (the law), NEVER act as the law. Even if you see a gunman holding someone at gunpoint, pulling your gun should rearely be an option. You are not a trained officer, and if you end up missing on your fire and killing an innocent person, you will be tried for murder (or at least manslaughter). A CHL is for the protection of you and/or your family. Just b/c you have a CHL, that does not mean you are to be interjecting in a high conflict situation. Those are ALWAYS better left for authorites.

But again, having a CHL and carrying a concealed weapon may one day save your life. Icon is right, I'm sure Ms. Broussard never anticipated that happening. The vast majority of us don't. But, at least in this situation, Ms. Broussard carrying may have saved her life.

Also, equating CHL's and drunk driving is frankly, a very ignorant comparison. Like I said, the vast majority of CHL carriers are more respectful and more knowlegable of gun safety than the average citizen. Drunk drivers have no regard for the law.

Ian McGibboney said...

Maybe you can vouch for the character of concealed-weapons carriers better than I can, Nick. But is character something that can be quantified on a concealed-carry application? The way I see it, even a potentially violent person can clear the hurdles, just like a drunk driver can get sober on license day.

My drunk driving/concealed weapons analogy is about recklessness. Supposedly, the argument behind concealed weapons is that, if everyone has a gun, then people will be afraid to use them. I'm saying that you'd get the same effect in traffic if everyone were drunk, because then everyone would have to be super-vigilant, right? But both sides of the analogy would result in more deaths than lives saved.

Would you have honestly felt safer in the mall that day, if everyone involved had a gun? Not me! The only way bullets wouldn't have flown was if, by some miracle, both people had the same expert drawing skills. Not likely by any measure.

I don't think it should be legal to carry concealed weapons, permit or not. The Second Amendment was designed to protect a citizen's right to stand up to an encroaching government via a militia--not to guaurantee that everyone has a right to hide a deadly weapon in a crowded public venue.

Jester said...

Nick, as usual, you're right on target (no pun intended). However, Ian needs a little education seeing as he's never loaded, shot, unloaded, disassembled, cleaned, or otherwise operated any firearm more than once (if that). Additionally, Ian, having never taken the class and test required to acquire a CCL, is completely ignorant of its requirements. Allow me to help:

But is character something that can be quantified on a concealed-carry application?

Not on the application, but during the 2 (sometimes 4) day class/testing period. Anyone that the licensed, trained, and experienced instructors deem hazardous for any reason during that time (and during their criminal/mental health history background check) will be denied a license. This is only one reason why no one in history who carried a CCL has ever been convicted of a murder or crime with their firearm.

Supposedly, the argument behind concealed weapons is that, if everyone has a gun, then people will be afraid to use them.

Nope. The argument is that if you or your loved ones are attacked by a firearm/knife wielding attacker, you can stop the attack by returning equal fire. It's no more complicated than that. You're assuming way, way too much.

most people don't carry concealed weapons or want to. Why? Because it takes a certain degree of paranoia to do such a thing.

"Paranoia" is the opposite of firearm carrying education, training, experience, and common sense. Re-read my last paragraph above, paying close attention to the last sentence.

I'm still not sure how everyone carrying guns is supposed to cure our violence problem... Would you have honestly felt safer in the mall that day, if everyone involved had a gun? Not me!

The CCL program has not, does not, and will not ever issue everyone a license. The program is in place precisely to screen out people who are unfit to carry firearms. Again, you're assuming too much.

Let's say the guy walks in, abruptly pulls out his gun and shoots her. Totally unexpectedly. Would she have had time to react? Probably not.

So you already know what happened, huh? You're 100% positive that the victim would have had no time at all to defend herself whatsoever had she been properly armed and trained. What a foolish assumption!

cars and guns are not the same. Both can kill, but only one is designed exclusively for that purpose.

So what you're saying is that since my firearms are only designed to kill human beings I did not enjoy myself the last time I shot targets with them at the range. Since my firearms are only designed to kill people they did not provide healthy, natural food to my family last fall. Since my sidearm is only designed to kill people, the sound of it firing into a tree did not scare off those who fired upon me me 15 years ago in what would have been a hunting accident. Nope. Impossible in your mind.

Ian, don't let your emotions (fear, paranoia) rule your mind when it comes to this issue. Do yourself and us all a favor: Find an indoor firing range which rents firearms and lessons and spend the whole day there with a qualified instructor, and see how it turns out. You might just love it. In other words, educate yourself firsthand first before spouting opinions again on this. It might just make you look intelligent next time.

Nick said...

Well, I don't know if Jester's statement that a CHL carrier has never been convicted of a murder or other gun crime. I would find that hard to believe, but hey, it could be true. However, I would say that the probability of a gun crime being committed by a CHL is at least a THOUSAND times less than the probability of a gun crime being committed by someone without one.

"My drunk driving/concealed weapons analogy is about recklessness. Supposedly, the argument behind concealed weapons is that, if everyone has a gun, then people will be afraid to use them. I'm saying that you'd get the same effect in traffic if everyone were drunk, because then everyone would have to be super-vigilant, right?"

Again, the drunk driving analogy does not work. A drunk driver, whether normally law abiding or not, loses their ablility of be efficient and making judgements/decisions while driving. A CHL carrier is not only usually of clear mind, but is also 100 times more knowlegable about gun safety than the average citizen. They have gone through strict training and classroom education.

"Would you have honestly felt safer in the mall that day, if everyone involved had a gun? Not me! The only way bullets wouldn't have flown was if, by some miracle, both people had the same expert drawing skills. Not likely by any measure."

No, I wouldn't, because about 98% of them would have not had the proper training. Again, one of the first things that is drilled into your head in a CHL class is you are NEVER to act as the law. The reason for having a CHL is to be able to protect you and/or your family that is with you in an extremely hightened situation. 99.9% of CHL grads would not have opened fire at the mall, even when they saw the suspect running. They would have most likely called for police help and possibly tried to run down the suspect. They would not have opened fire unless they, themselves, we in grave danger.

"I don't think it should be legal to carry concealed weapons, permit or not. The Second Amendment was designed to protect a citizen's right to stand up to an encroaching government via a militia--not to guaurantee that everyone has a right to hide a deadly weapon in a crowded public venue."

Again, the point of having a concealed weapon is to be able to protect yourself and your family in a dire situation. Criminals will always have concealed weapons, waiting to pounce on innocent civilians, and NO AMOUNT of government laws and protection can prevent that. Therefore, I, if I am a properly trained and law-abiding CHL grad, should have every right to carry to protect myself. If I am not a CHL grad., I still have the right to carry a shotgun in open public, which is technically legal as long as I'm not within a certain distance of a school or gov. building. However, I'd probably get harrassed so much by the authorities that I'd have to put the gun back in my truck.

Ian McGibboney said...

Jester, I'll bypass your numerous personal insults and address your actual points:

I am a strong advocate of weapons training for anyone who is interested, just like I support driver education and training in general. That is not the issue. As I said before, I oppose the idea of people being able to bring hidden deadly weapons into public places. Frankly, I'm suspicious of anyone who feels the need to bring a gun into a public crowd. If you're itching that hard to defend yourself, then you're likely to look for chances to do so.

Jester: "The argument is that if you or your loved ones are attacked by a firearm/knife wielding attacker, you can stop the attack by returning equal fire. It's no more complicated than that. You're assuming way, way too much."

What I'm "assuming" is what I've heard and read for years from pro-gun advocates. They claim that an armed society is a polite society. Are they wrong? Because I can at least understand that line of reasoning in a sense. But the idea that people need to bring guns to protect their family in the mall? That's just paranoia. And I know people who have done it.

Oh, and having a gun at the mall (or a similar venue) is not even close to having one to shoot food in the woods. Those are two entirely separate issues. I'm talking about concealed weapons.

Nick, drunk driving and shooting both happen without thought. You can do all the testing in the world, both for driving and shooting, but it only takes one fit of anger to kill someone either way. That's why I think it's a bad idea to always have a gun at your hip. What could have been settled in a few seconds is now a deadly situation.

We don't live in Beirut. At least not yet.

Nick said...

So a criminal trying to kidnap me or my wife at gunpoint can be resolved in a few seconds? I would think not. And as will kidnappings, especially of women and children, the victim is rarely retrieved alive.

Again, criminals are ALWAYS going to carry guns and attempt to use them. And yes, we don't live in Beruit, and we also don't live in a society where every single weapon can be kept out of the hands of someone with evil intentions. You don't want to live in an ulta-police state, do you? Even that would not keep guns out of the hands of those who have no regard for the law and/or human life in the first place.

Also, again, drunk driving and having been through CHL training are NOT the same. In CHL training, you are taught to think much like defensive drivers. You are taught to constantly be thinking about your surroundings, and what actions can or cannot be taken if a certain situation were to occur. Just as when driving, we're supposed to be thinking about "what would I have to react in order to avoid an accident if someone cut me off right now," though we do rarely think like that while driving, but we should. There would be less serious accidents.

Again, criminals will ALWAY have their weapons, regardless of how many anti-gun laws are passed. Therefore, shouldn't it be the right of every American who takes proper training and goes through proper background checks to be able to be legally armed to defend themselves? Why should I be helpless if a threat to my life occurs just because there are others in this world who have complete disregard for basic law and life?

Ian McGibboney said...

A concealed weapon would not have helped Sherika. From what I understand, he just walked up and shot her. No dramatics. Think about a movie where the villain has a gun to the good guy's head; does the good guy draw his weapon? No. He doesn't have the reaction time.

And honestly, is your family at such a high risk for kidnapping that you're going to constantly pack hidden heat? If that's the case, you might as well hire a bodyguard.

All I'm trying to say in this thread is that CONCEALED weapons are a bad idea. The idea of having them in public places scares me more than being unarmed in a public place.

By logical extension, why not just let everyone bring guns on a plane? Oh, I forgot...we don't a terrorist on board to have a gun. Or box-cutters. Or scissors. Or cold cream, for that matter! Airlines don't allow these things because it's simply too time-consuming to assume who is to be trusted with them and who isn't. And while I disagree that cold cream shouldn't be allowed on a plane, I would rather have all guns removed from a plane rather than take a gamble on everyone pointing them at each other. Same with other public places.

Jester said...

Frankly, I'm suspicious of anyone who feels the need to bring a gun into a public crowd

That's fine. You can let your fear and paranoia leave you unprepared for the next crime or terrorist attack that may happen to you and die if you really want to. I, however, will be prepared.

What I'm "assuming" is what I've heard and read for years from pro-gun advocates

I confess I'm assuming too much too: I thought they taught "journalists" like you not to believe everything you read. I was wrong.

I'm talking about concealed weapons.

Nice Kerry-style flip-flop, bub. For a while there you were talking about ALL "guns" when you said this: "cars and guns are not the same. Both can kill, but only one is designed exclusively for that purpose." Now you're claiming you weren't?

Nick, drunk driving and shooting both happen without thought.

How do you know this having never shot a firearm yourself?

Oh, I forgot...we don't a terrorist on board to have a gun. Or box-cutters.

It's common knowledge that the 9/11 attackers already had box cutters planted on the plane before they even came on on board. Had even one of the passengers been armed... well, never mind. You're not listening, have no clue, and aren't man enough to admit it. Nick and I are taking valuable time out of our days to try to educate you, but it's all for naught because your mind is completely closed. You can't let go of your bottle and safety blanket of worn-out left wing talking points long enough to think things through. Save what shred of dignity you have left and give it up.

Ian McGibboney said...

Give it up? I almost have to, given that your point-to-patronization ratio is skewing so heavily against rational exchange.

First off, I've been talking about concealed weapons the whole time. You're the one who brought up hunting rifles and feeding your family. As for my "assumptions" about concealed-weapons carriers, I've been arguing from the premise that advocates claim that people will be more respectful/polite/scared to start shit if they think everyone's packing. I've heard this argument from literally hundreds of people; am I supposed to toss that theory because one nameless troll insists it isn't true? Tell me, then, why do people carry concealed weapons?

Guns don't prevent terrorism. Nor does anything else the pro-violence-and-revenge crowd has yet tried. Terrorism is a very real problem on a massive scale, and a handful of gun nuts in a mall isn't going to stop it.

People are, by nature, irrational and prone to confrontation. I don't want to be in a public place and accidentally bump into someone who's having a bad day, and in two seconds he's shot me dead out of instant rage. What would have been a passing moment of anger has resulted in tragedy. And the world isn't any safer against terrorism.

It's no accident that people were scared to return to the mall and the Microtel after the shooting. It wasn't because they were worried the shooters would come back--both were dead--but because they saw what happens when people bring guns into public places. Though I still say the mall is safe for now, it will be only as long as guns aren't running rampant there.

And yes, I have shot firearms. We decided to keep it platonic.

Anonymous said...

From what I can see here you are a sorry individual who doesn't have a grip on reality. What happened is tragic and it doesn't sound to me like it could have been avoided. But,people need to move on and take responsiblity for protecting themselves. I have been attacked twice, the first time I didn't have a clue as to how to protect myself. The second time the guy was not so lucky. We have to standup and us our brains!! That means that we need to be aware of our enviornment at ALL times. Secondly, I never go ANYWHERE unprepared to defend myself. Sadly women are always targets, no matter what age or enviornment.I don't intend on being a victim again.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well, we're certainly off on the right foot here, aren't we?

Look, only a moron would equate not carrying a concealed weapon with advocating complete defenselessness. In terms of protection from mugging, guns are pretty inefficient. I say, learn self-defense techniques that can be used even if you're in a chokehold. If nothing else, kicking someone off will give you time to draw and aim your gun. That is, if the mugger hasn't swiped it right out of your hands.

But I definitely agree with you that we must standup and us our brains. Otherwise, we might sitdown and los them.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever been attacked? And your solution is "kicking someone off will give you time to draw and aim your gun."? Who is the moron? You are the moron and a waste of my time. If I did carry a concealed weapon I would have the training to keep it out of the mugger's hands. Jester and Nick have you pegged correctly.

Ian McGibboney said...

Gee...one less worthless, anonymous troll giving me a hard time! Actually, that's good news. All of this cowardly namecalling from people who may or may not exist was getting to my head.

And for the record, yes, I have been attacked. More than once. I've been mugged, punched, burned, stalked, shoved off a bicycle at near full-speed, had a billiard ball thrown at my head, been struck with a tree branch (and a baseball bat) and have received threats to my safety. None of those people ever did it more than once.

Anonymous said...

So that explains the damage to your brain!! As I said Jester and Nick have you pegged for what you are, an immature mama's boy. Your words are as worthless as you are. You are just playing a game here, and not making the world better for anyone least of all yourself.

Ian McGibboney said...

"Immature mama's boy?" Somebody once called me "A brain-damaged Michael Moore on quaaludes, minus the brains."

Not only are you the living embodiment of why anonymous comments should not be allowed, but you aren't even good at your favorite rhetorical tactic, cheap shots.

Anonymous said...

Bye for now Mama's Boy. I don't have time for this. I HAVE a life.

Gypsy said...

My goodness Ian! This person is really upset you. I have to get on here and say that it must be a she. And to ask you if you think that there is a difference between male being attacked and a female being attacked? I would like to hear your comments on this. Thanks

Ian McGibboney said...

Yeah, being called on your shit hurts, huh?

What an exciting life you must lead if you go to someone's blog and leave several comments that do nothing but insult.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well, I certainly believe that females are more susceptible to attack than males. And any woman who doesn't know how to minimize these situations and defend herself is setting herself up for danger. Sad, but true. Though I think preparation is a good idea for anyone. I do not, however, think that the answer lies in having everyone carry concealed handguns. The way I see it, that only increases the danger to the public and can make a bad situation life-threatening.

As for the anonymous troll, I doubt that they are actually who they say they are. While I sympathize with all victims of violence, especially women, that commenter seemed less interested to discuss the issue than to pick a fight. Said commenter's behavior, coupled with the level of personal attack, is consistent with a certain other flamer on this blog. I have less than no sympathy for that person.

Either way, I don't appreciate where this thread has gone, except that it doesn't exactly make my counterparts look particularly confident in thier points.