To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, June 13, 2024


Rutin’ Tutin’ Shootin’



It’s often said, “The law says I can …” The law seldom says, “Thou shall …” The point being – just because one can does not mean it’s a good idea. So it is with “concealed carry” and “open carry” issues currently facing many state legislatures, Oklahoma in particular.

There is no doubt Oklahoma is a state where a vast portion of the evangelical electorate believe Jesus would have been armed when he gave the Sermon on the Mount if only the gun had been invented. They quite possibly believe had Jesus been armed he could have held off the soldiers at the Garden of Gethsemane, leaving evangelicals and the rest of Christianity in a rather perplexing theological situation.

That is to say, no Gethsemane, no crucifixion. No crucifixion, no Easter. No Easter, no Christianity.

One guy, generally thought to be St. Peter [or Rocky, as Gary Wills notes], with a sword. While carrying a sword in those days was allowed, Jesus did not think it was a good idea. As the story goes he tells Peter, “Put your sword back into its place” [Matthew 26:52]

In another version he says, “No more of this!” [Luke 22:51]

He didn’t say you can’t carry a sword. But he did say it was a bad idea.

This is where legislatures need to exercise some forethought and reason, which is asking a lot when an evangelical Christian Taliban rides roughshod over the legislative process. However, one need not look for biblical cautions to invoke reason.

Back in the days of the Wyatt Earp Old West, clearing the streets of guns was one of the primary jobs. Merchants, wives and piano players didn’t like the idea of people with guns walking the streets without badges or adult supervision.

Recent example of reason harkens to the fore, should anyone be willing to listen. This example, which cries out for examination, occurred March 7 in downtown Tulsa.

For reasons still unexplained, Andrew Dennehy stood on the plaza between the courthouse and the main public library firing a pistol into the air. Deputies from the courthouse responded quickly. Dennehy fell in a hail of bullets, and somehow survived.

Not all of the shots hit their mark. Ricardo Manuel, 28, was standing across the plaza in the doorway of the library. He was hit by a shot from one of the deputies.

This is not to fault the deputy. The officer was acting in the line duty. However, Manuel still had a bullet in his leg, grateful to be alive. Manuel could have been the only fatality in the entire incident. Having been accidently shot by a deputy is cold comfort to the man who just caught the bullet.

It is to say: even a trained law enforcement officer can miss the target. Once fired, the bullet has doesn’t care if it hits the intended target or not. It’s going to fly until it hits something or runs out of speed. And it does not care which happens first.

After the smoke clears from a gunfight there are a couple of overriding questions. First, was the shooter really in danger? Was the shooter trained on how to evaluate such situations? Did the shooter have any training in firing accuracy?

Lastly, who will pay the medical bills of a person accidently shot by someone with some type of carry permit? Almost every state requires liability insurance to drive an automobile or in some cases to even purchase a car tag.

What is wrong with requiring liability insurance with each permit? The amount of coverage can be determined by the state average to treat a gunshot wound.

The National Rifle Association provides insurance that will pay for legal aid against criminal charges. Insurance for civil suits is very rare.

CS Innovative Insurance Solutions of San Antonio, TX, is one of the few such agencies. Spokesman Mark Cisneros says most homeowners’ policies do not cover acts that occur outside of the home. His agency writes policies for up to $250,000 coverage should someone shoot a person not deserving of shooting.

Presently his agency only writes about three polices a year. Premiums top out at $375 for the maximum coverage.

Just what would be the maximum medical bill and physical rehabilitation from a gunshot wound accidental or otherwise? Again, local hospitals would have to be enlisted to come up with a magic number. But given rising medical costs, $250,000 sounds cheap.

How likely is an accidental shooting? A recent study from Notre Dame Associate Professor of Psychology James Brockmole provides some rather disturbing insight. According to his study published this month in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, he suggests that people who are carrying a gun are more likely to perceive that others around them are also armed.

In short, if a person has a gun they may well overreact in a situation because they perceive others are also armed, without any indication their perception is correct.

How often would this happen? No one knows for sure, but when a bystander is wounded or killed, is it fair to say, victim heal thyself?

The Second Amendment debate will in all probability continue. Gun owners for the most part are decent law-abiding people.

No one exits their home with the idea of firing across a school yard to stop someone running down the street because they look “suspicious.” But in a time when all life being sacred is a central political theme, wouldn’t it be nice to make sure all those sacred lives are protected should they fall innocent victim to a stray bullet?

It would be reasonable to expect the same standards on carry permits as those that now exist on cars. What is necessary is more than a Saturday course equal to sending in cereal box tops – proficiency exams equal to that of local law enforcement and as often, and insurance for that stray bullet.

Dirty Harry, John Wayne and Josey Wales were movie characters derived from writers using their First Amendment rights. If legislatures want to pass laws in the name of the Second Amendment then they have the duty to ensure that the electorate is protected from error and provided for when accidents stemming from the legislation they created occur to the innocent.

Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, The Last Day of the War, is available at



  1. One wonders the effect of packing a gun on the mental production of Mr. Zimmerman of Sanford, FL. Would he have been so inclinded to (apparently) follow young Trayvon if not armed and thus emboldened? Or would he have withdrawn (as advised) to a more remote vantage point to await the arrival of the police? I wonder if he now wishes he had chosen to excercise a bit more discretion?

    One cannot legislate good judgment, nor is perennial good judgement a prerequisite to a right to carry (as many presume).

  2. This whole conceal carry thing is unfortunate. Without taking sides on the issue, let me offer this for your thinking: It is clear (and has been for some time) that the so-called “justice” system in this country has failed. It has failed those people who are victimized by thugs who are pampered by the legal system that stumbles over itself to be politically correct and to assure–as it should–these people’s rights. In so doing however, have we not short changed victims? Have we failed to protect society from the criminals who, often through tax payer funded court appointed lawyers, have the opportunity to plea bargain their otherwise stiffer sentences? How many times have we read of crimes committed by those who have been convicted of the same crime, who are on parole for the same crime, who are awaiting further legal action for the same crime? People are tired of being targets for these thugs who often receive far more consideration because of the PCers, ACLU and assorted bleeding hearts and are turned loose on the streets to commit the same crime. If the do gooders want to push rehabilitation for a career criminal, let them step forward and take one home to rehab. The elderly couple in Tulsa who were beaten, the woman sexually assaulted and later died, got very little protection from the mamby pamby “justice” system. Slick lawyers, wimpy judges and DAs who are either stupid or too damned lazy to put together a solid case against these people do nothing to protect innocents. This gun issue is the result. No it isn’t a good thing. But people are fed up with coddling thugs. And the blathering about how our prisons are overcrowded has become a worn out issue. If criminals don’t want to be in overcrowded prisons, then don’t commit crimes. On the other hand they seem to have many comforts–fully equipped gyms, cable TV, free room & board–that taxpayers support. Voters who continue to return Sheriff Joe Arapio to office in Arizona seem to want a tougher stance on crime.

  3. People should have the freedom to exercise their 2nd amendment right; however I do believe that the acting party of an accident should still be liable for anything that occurs. If you have a permit license I do not think that should give you the right to shoot freely or even because your intimidated. I believe you should be trained to know where and when it is appropriate to go through those drastic measures. Having some type of insurance for when those accidents happen should also give you (the gun holder) some type of comfort.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.