You Wouldn’t Grab a Stray Dog By It’s Ears, Would You?
King Solomon warns us of the dangers of meddling in the argument of others:
“Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is one who rushes into a quarrel not their own.”
On Monday, May 2, 2016, T.J. Antell watched as a man and woman argued outside a Walgreen’s in Arlington, Texas. As the argument progressed, the man pulled out a handgun and shot twice at the ground, the second shot striking the woman in the ankle.
She ran into the store to get help, the shooter, her husband, ran to his truck. THEN Mr. Antell WENT TO HIS CAR to get his gun and ordered the shooter to stop. (Why wasn’t he carrying it? He had a permit. Why now? AFTER the drama is over?) Unfortunately, instead of “freezing”, the shooter came back out of the truck, slapped the gun away from Mr. Antell, and shot him in the head before driving away. Mrs. Antell watched the entire drama.
We all are starring in a movie in our own head. And we are the hero. Several years ago, as I was delivering gasoline to a station in Marion, Illinois, an African-American male drove up to the store in a vehicle and parked outside. His windows were down, and disgusting, filthy, violent rap was filling the parking lot. (The term “rap” doesn’t need the modifying adjectives disgusting, filthy, or violent, nor does it deserve the common noun “music”, but there you have it.)
Several customers on the lot at the time seemed uncomfortable. So I went over and said, “Why don’t you shut that shit off? No one wants to hear it!”
The male opened the car door and unfolded himself out of the vehicle. He was surprisingly taller than I was (in the movie script I had written, he was about my size), and he leaned down and said, “Why don’t you reach in and shut it off yourself, bitch?”
I could tell that he hadn’t read my script. He was supposed to, resentfully, reach over and shut it off without saying much. I would, then, receive the grateful nods of the other customers as the hero who had spared them from the filth spilling out of his car. Now, I had to finish this movie with an improvisational style, and without the help of the customers whom I had stepped up to rescue. Gratefully, I managed it.
Not so Mr. Antell. It’s likely that during the original conflict, he had a similar movie playing in his head. He would go to his car, get his gun, order the bad guy to “freeze”, and the bad guy would place his hands on the steering wheel and wait for the cops to arrive. Then the customers of the store, the wife of the bad guy, and the police would all hail him as the hero of the moment. And his own wife, would be really, really proud of him for being such a wonderful protector of women, children, and the American way. Except the the shooter didn’t read the script, and was a little better skilled in gun-fighting than Mr. Antell.
Now Mrs. Antell is a widow.
First things first: it’s called self-defense for a reason. Your firearm and the constitutionally guaranteed right to carry it are for your protection and the protection of the persons within the sphere of your responsibility. You are not a sheep-dog. You are a husband, father, friend, etc. Secondly, your primary responsibility is to your wife (or husband) and family. They need you to be there every day. A picture of you on the mantle with a posthumous award does them no real good. If you witness an act of violence and can gain cover – do so. If the act of violence ends – be a good witness. Period.
King Solomon knows: rushing into a quarrel that is not your own is like grabbing a stray dog by the ears. And Miles knows: sometimes the other people may not have read your script, and you might have to improvise. You had better be good at improvisation – your life and your wife may depend on it.