No Good Deed Goes Unpunished in D.C.

Posted on May 31, 2013

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Moral of this story – don’t get involved and certainly not unless you’ve registered your gun which we’d just as soon you don’t own.

This story would be disconcerting, nonsensical and puzzling if it took place in any but a handful of cities in this country, but when you hear that it unfolded in Washington D.C., you just think to yourself – “yeah, I get it”.

Picture this in your mind.  You hear a child crying out in horror and pain and you step outside to see what is going on and what you see is a boy, about 11 years old merely riding a bicycle, being attacked by 3 pitbulls.  You decide not to go pick up the phone, call 911 and possibly waste precious time wrangling with a pathetically stupid dispatcher and hope the cops show up ASAP.   Instead, given the realization that the child has only moments to live, you go back in your house, grab the ‘heater’ and run back out and pile some slugs into the dog that’s mauling the kid.

Your initial shots alert the ears of a nearby bike patrol officer who rolls up and assists you in dispatching the remaining vicious animals.  The kid survives, his family and the community are grateful and it’s all good – right?  So, you and I would think – but nope, not in Washington D.C! You thought you were only doing the decent and correct thing.

What you hear next from the D.C. police is just a wee bit unexpected.

“You scoundrel, you – didn’t you stop to think that you needed to go down to City Hall and register that gun right proper like? You can’t defend someone’s life with an unregistered gun. What were you thinking? So what if the kid died – we’ve got to consider the weightier matters of the law! I tell you what mister – we’re going to have to refer your case to the D.A. man to decide whether he wants to throw your law breaking butt into jail for a year, but for now we’ll take that gun of yours. Got any more guns? Turn ’em over. Ammo? Let’s have it. We’re the Police around here and we handle things, like drawing chalk marks around dead people’s bodies. We don’t need volunteer help – y’understand? All right, don’t go leavin’ town or anything – you’ll be hearing from us again.”

So now you know that riding up on a White steed is frowned upon by the authorities and you’re waiting for the other Nike ‘LeBron James’ Air Max to drop.  Then you get a letter from the A.G. essentially saying he’d like to take you to court, but given the unfavorable community reaction – he’ll settle for $1,000 ‘Georges’ and let the matter drop at that – or we’ll put you in jail for a year and keep your personal property.  Sound crazy?   It is crazy.  But crazy is the norm when you’re talking about Washington D.C.  It did happen.  Here’s some excerpts from the Washington Times report:

Authorities last week made an agreement not to prosecute a Northwest D.C. man who used his unregistered handgun to kill a pit bull in order to stop it from mauling a child in his neighborhood.  Possession of an unregistered firearm or ammunition in the District is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, and prosecutors said Mr. Srigley could have faced up to seven criminal charges in the case.

As part of the agreement, Benjamin Srigley, 39, was required to pay a $1,000 fine but will not have criminal charges filed against him for the three unregistered firearms and the ammunition that investigators found in his possession, said Ted Gest, a spokeshole for the office of the attorney general.  The reason for the ‘generous offer’ from the D.C. authorities?

“We took it into account that he saved this boy’s life,” Mr. Gest said.

It might be that, but my guess is it is more likely that Gest’s office has arrived at the reluctant conclusion that Mr. Srigley is a popular figure now, whose status as a Good Samaritan immunizes him from criminal prosecution.

Jayeon’s family is thankful for Mr. Srigley, crediting him for saving the boy’s life.  “I don’t think he should be charged at all because it’s an act of heroism,” said Chris Speight, 45, a cousin who helps care for Jayeon.  Meanwhile, local officials are not going to go away empty handed.  Prosecution is being held over Srigley’s head until he ponies up a grand.  They must make an example of him someway because private ownership of firearms is severely frowned upon in D.C.

Things generally run true to form – valiant and noble men are valiant and noble, and schmucks are schmucks.  When Mr. Srigley’s story began to circulate, there was a groundswell of support and a desire to assist with a defense fund.

“People asked ‘Is there a hero fund or something we can do?’  I looked around and didn’t find anything,” said Peter Upton, who runs the Second Amendment Check website and decided to start a fund for Mr. Srigley.  Srigley, for his part demurred, and requested that whatever funds are collected are given to the family of the boy, who will need more dermatological treatment and perhaps psychiatric help from the trauma of the event.

“I am truly touched and very grateful for all the public support that I have received.”  Mr. Srigley wrote on the campaign website.  “If you can only afford to make one donation, I would prefer that you give the money to Jayeon.”

I’m sure you don’t need my assistance in distinguishing the guy wearing the White hat from the knaves and charlatans in this story.

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