Direct from The Eagle in Bryan-College Station:
http://tinyurl.com/ohactek How a graduation party turns into a fight over beer pong and a young woman acquires a gunshot wound that kills her.
In brief (do read the article, and look up another one Gawker I failed to copy the URL for) , a graduating Texas A&M student (white male) gave a big graduation party for himself and some friends, asked neighbors to come over and talk to him instead of calling the police with a noise complaint, and when an older neighbor from across the street with a few friends (black males) did so, he let them into the party, where, for a time, everything appears to have been copacetic. Long after midnight however, an argument erupted between one of Mr. White Graduate's friends and one of the neighbor's friends over the rules to beer pong. Mr. White Graduate invited the neighbor and friends to leave. This turned into a fight--punches thrown, including by Mr. White Graduate and other friends of his. Racial slurs were uttered, claims neighbor & friends; a claim denied by Mr. White Graduate. The neighbor and his friends left. Mr. White Graduate decided that beer pong with his underage girlfriend, Miss Blonde Sweetheart, would be a good idea and sent her to get more beer from the back yard. Neighbor (henceforth, Mr. Alleged Shooter) returned to the party residence with a firearm intending to "scare" Mr. White Graduate and his friends, and said 40 caliber Glock discharged "accidentally" 14 rounds, with one round hitting, and ultimately killing Miss Blonde Sweetheart. Mr. White Graduate took cover under a couch, he says.
The disparity in accounts of the "racial slurs" thing is clearly a matter of drunk white guys not thinking they're saying anything bad, when they are. If the friends who attend your funeral are driving down the road in trucks displaying Confederate flags, (as these friends were, driving to Miss Blonde Sweetheart's funeral) these are EXACTLY the kind of people who will yell racial slurs at black people any time they're mad or drunk or (especially) both. Texas A&M is not a school known for its lack of racial slurs. I've heard them there while visiting, and more off-campus on the street.
The "accidental" shooting falls into the category of "it's not a accident if you're intending to intimidate someone with a firearm and the firearm does what it's designed to do." It may be that Mr. Alleged Shooter did not come back across the street with the clear intent to kill Miss Blonde Sweetheart in particular, but he had been drinking (erodes judgment and coordination), he was angry, and he intended to "scare" the college kids. "The gun went off by accident" is an excuse used by most of the people who shoot someone they wish they hadn't a minute later. In Texas, if you're a white law officer you can usually get away with it. A white homeowner *may* get away with it. A black man with a criminal record? No way. After all, Mr. Alleged Shooter had been in trouble already for having a firearm in a previous location. Already the comments on a Gawker article about this are demonizing Mr. Alleged Shooter as a hideous thug. Maybe.
But maybe also no stupider than the law officer who wanted to fondle a friend's new firearm, did not check to see that it was unloaded, "dry-fired" a loaded weapon--same caliber and make as the one in this story--and nearly shot his friend (did shoot out the window of the office) or several others reported in the past year. Men playing with guns have shot themselves, friends, families and innocent bystanders. If they're white and claim it's an accident, too often it's not even charged.
It's still stupid. Do not carry your weapon where you have to fumble in your pocket for it--someday your keys will catch on the trigger and BAM. Do not stick it in your belt or otherwise in your pants--it can fall out and--since you were dumb enough to carry it loaded and cocked--it can and will go off and BAM. Do not play with your weapon on the way home from your concealed carry class, where they should (but didn't) convince you that it's not a toy. Most of all, never draw your weapon when you've been drinking, or are angry, or to "scare" someone. When you draw a weapon, you are signaling your willingness (even eagerness) to kill. When you point it at a person or animal, you are signaling your intent to kill that person or animal. That's what the pistol/revolver/rifle is *for*--killing something. Not a toy. Not a game.
It's a sad situation all around. Mr. Alleged Shooter and his friends had not brought a gun to the party in the first place; they had behaved well enough until (long after midnight and the consumption of much alcohol) he felt aggrieved and disrespected. Does this make his coming back over with a 40 caliber Glock OK? No, that was stupid. Any non-drunk person in broad daylight can see it was a very bad idea, no matter whether anyone was killed or not. (Those white kids are going to call the cops if you do actually just "scare" them waving a gun around; and since you're a convicted felon, the outcome of that is going to be a charge for having the pistol, which convicted felons aren't supposed to have. DUH.)
Miss Blonde Sweetheart was at A&M because her parents wanted her to be nearby, somewhere they thought safe (first error: Bryan/College Station is no safer than any other college town, which means "not safe.") She always did what they told her, they say...yup, right there, parents, explains why she was at a loud, drunken party with older students long after midnight, and fetching beer into the garage for a game of beer pong.
Mr. White Graduate (the cause of the party) made the mistake of going around to his neighbors and asking them to come talk to him, instead of calling the police, if they were bothered by the noise he and his friends were going to make. (Hint to graduates who want to have a loud drunken party--do it out on someone's many-acre farm or ranch, where it *doesn't* bother anyone but the cows and the coyotes. In my mind--granted, I was never a party animal--anyone who thinks graduates have a right to bother their neighbors on the night of graduation didn't learn the right things at college. Planning to start your life as a college grad by annoying people with a loud drunken fandango is...stupid.)
That Mr. Alleged Shooter considered this a sort of invitation isn't surprising to me, and that he and his friends were agreeable enough that they weren't asked to leave until everyone got to the irritable stage of alcohol poisoning and there was an argument about the rules of beer pong also doesn't surprise me. At any party with enough liquor (and sometimes even without) someone is going to start an argument about something. Drunk people argue louder, and with less reasoning, and with no impulse control. The people who question "Why was he even there?" missed the part about neighbors (including Mr. Alleged Shooter) being told, "If it bothers you, come talk to me instead of calling the police" and the fact that once he was there, he was invited in. He was there to join the group rather than shutting it down. The only reason that question is asked is because he's black; if it had been a white man with no record who came over to complain, but was told "Come on in, have a beer" nobody'd be asking that question.
I'm having a hard time finding somebody in this entire situation who wasn't stupid about something that contributed to it. Mr. Alleged Shooter was certainly wrong to come back to where he'd been asked to leave, and wrong to bring a gun to "scare" people he was mad at.
But Mr. White Graduate was wrong to plan a big noisy drunken graduation party in a residential area where he knew (clearly) that he was going to annoy people with noise. By his own account, he may also have thrown the first punch, escalating an argument to a physical confrontation--and even if his wasn't the first punch, allowing himself and his friends to get physical was wrong. Moreover, he was serving alcohol to underage students (including Miss Blonde Sweetheart) which is illegal and should result in charges against him. Racial slurs--I'm convinced they were thrown, because drunk Texas boys who will put Confederate flags on their trucks *undoubtedly* use racial slurs. So I don't believe Mr. White Graduate when he says he didn't hear any. I think he was so used to them they slid past his ears without registering as something he should put a stop to.
Miss Blonde Sweetheart should not have been at that party (underage for alcohol in this state) or fetching beer for the others...I'm reasonably sure her parents would have told her that if she'd asked. "Hey Mom, Dad, is it OK if I go over to X's graduation party and drink beer and play drinking games with all these older guys?" She didn't ask them. Of course. This is what happens with nice, friendly, pretty, overly compliant girls who are finally out of their parents' direct control at an age where this kind of stuff seems like an exciting adventure in adulthood, rather than a really dumb idea.
This is a perfect example of piling stupid on stupid, and blunder on blunder, and then somebody dies and it's not fun & games anymore. Mr. Alleged Shooter will be lucky if he gets to spend the rest of his natural life in prison (otherwise, Texas being a state with the death penalty he'll have a shorter miserable time on death row.) Mr. White Graduate likely won't learn anything from all this because as near as I can see he's getting loads of sympathy (racially based, IMO) as the innocent victim of his own hospitality who lost the love of his life (kind of.) Mr. White Graduate's white college friends, huddled in a defensive group of "We didn't do nothin'" won't learn anything either, except it will reinforce their dislike and distrust of people of color. They're not about to see their part in the problem, any more than Mr. White Graduate. Miss Blonde Sweetheart is dead, and once again the sense given by the media is that she became perfect the moment she was dead, and other pretty blonde college girls aren't going to catch on that partying with older guys and drinking like a fish are not part of a survival strategy.
FWIW, I don't think Mr. Alleged Shooter is/was an evil thug. I do think he committed a crime, not his first, and what led to the crime was a string of bad decisions and behind those was a lot of inability to think straight while under the influence and maybe sober as well. While granting that he's had a hard life and plenty of reason to be angry with privileged young white college grads and their buddies for punching him and his friends, he hasn't advanced any worthy cause by his actions. Nor has Mr. White Graduate or his friends who are playing victim to the hilt, judging by the reports. Nothing was their fault. I would feel sorry for them all, except that they were all part of the reason Miss Blonde Sweetheart is dead and gone, and it didn't have to be that way.
The Texas legislature and Governor having just made universal open carry legal, including on college campuses unless forbidden by the college administration, we can expect more of this kind of thing, by which I mean drinking and firearms all over the town. Had Mr. White Graduate and his friends been armed, I would expect even more injuries...including to people in neighboring houses (gunfights with modern weapons in and around modern dwelling places mean rounds entering through walls and windows.) A bunch of drunks shooting will cause more injuries and deaths than one drunk shooting. The Texas legislators who voted for this law and the Governor should (but will not be) held accountable for the additional deaths that will occur. I can only wish that they experience the outcome of their legislation in another way and come to realize how stupid it was.
Comments are disabled. Read the account. Think about it. Write your own post on your own blog if you want to. And don't be stupid with firearms.