Pizza customer shoots other customer after “exchanging words,” cites “stand your ground” law

African countries have varying gun laws for guides who take guests out to see lions, elephants and other “big five” animals.

When I visited Botswana, the government did not want guides to carry guns because they believed it led them to take unnecessary risks in dangerous situations. I never experienced risky guide behavior in South Africa, where guides were required to carry guns, but perhaps I was lucky.

Looking at this new, and ridiculous, shooting at a pizza store in Florida, I can’t help but be reminded of the Botswana guide gun laws, warning that if we arm people, they might be tempted to do stupid things.

Do people carrying guns take unnecessary risks when they’re in situations like this? We’ve all been somewhere with an annoying customer or person who everyone wishes would go away. (Or in traffic, with an annoying driver in another car.)  Maybe the person in this case was a complete jerk and was bothering everyone, but should it have escalated so quickly into a gunfight?

Also, should “stand your ground” really be a justification for shooting some annoying guy at a pizza joint?

Tampa Bay Times:

concealed weapon

Concealed gun via Shutterstock.

Police said the incident unfolded about 4 p.m. inside the Little Caesars, 3463 Fourth St. N, after Randall White, 49, got mad about his service.

Another man in line, Michael Jock, 52, of St. Petersburg admonished White.

That “prompted them to exchange words and it became a shoving match,” said police spokesman Mike Puetz.

White raised a fist. Jock, a concealed-weapons permit holder, pulled out a .38 Taurus Ultralight Special Revolver.

He fired one round, hitting White in the lower torso. The men grappled and the gun fired again, hitting White in roughly the same spot, police said.

Perhaps the alleged shooter eventually did fear for his life, but again, did the gun give him the courage to ramp up the argument with the annoying customer? I’m struggling to see how the gun helped address this situation, and personally find it a flimsy excuse to reference the “stand your ground” law. From afar, it’s hard to differentiate this from someone wanting to be a tough guy, then getting in over his head.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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