There is a part of me that likes what some call “instant karma,” and others call “street justice.” That part of me finds it edifying to see a criminal get his butt handed to him by a child.
An 11-year-old boy shot a burglar during a break-in attempt.
Chris Gaither was home along Wednesday when he says he heard a noise. It was apparent that someone was trying to break in.
Fearing for his life, he tells WVTM he grabbed a 9mm handgun.
“When he was coming down the stairs, that’s when he told me he was going to kill me, f-you and all that,” Gaither said.
The intruder started walking toward the front door, carrying a hamper full of property.
That’s when Gaither opened fire.
“I shot through the hamper he was carrying,” Gaither said. “It was a full metal jacket bullet. It went straight through the back of his leg. He started crying like a little baby.”
I’m sure there are those who look at this from the “all’s well that ends well” perspective, happy that this criminal got street justice, and that’s enough for them.
The more rational side of me, viewing this from the perspective of a student of armed self defense, as a firearms instructor who has worked with children, and as a parent, is that I’m thankful that this is all that happened.
The parents left a handgun where a poorly-trained child could easily access when left home alone and unsupervised. They left it loaded with 9mm FMJ, which is know for a combination of poor terminal effect and consistent over-penetration.
According to the video, the child fired the handgun a dozen times at a criminal who had already left the home. He finally hit the criminal with his 12th and final shot, as the criminal was climbing over a fence at least 30 yards from the house.
This story didn’t have a “happy ending” because of skill, or training. It had a “happy ending” because the burglar wasn’t aggressive, and the kid got very lucky.
If this burglar had a weapon and any real intent of causing this child harm (remember that he used threatening language, but was not violent), there’s a darn good chance we’d be reading about Chris Gaither, the 11-year-old shot or stabbed in his home when he attempted to take on criminal with a handgun that he couldn’t shoot worth a darn. Or we’d be reading about a kid who “got lucky” and killed a man by shooting him in the back 30 yards away from his home, and who might be facing homicide charges as a result.
As it is, he might get his family sued, as we’re seeing in a similar circumstance in Indiana.
But even more often, the stories we read about poorly-trained children left home alone with an unsecured gun end with a single gunshot, don’t they? Or we hear about the kid and parents getting arrested when the kid decides to take the gun to school for “show and tell” like we see with stunning regularity, or who threatens other kids with it.
And we don’t like talking about those stories, which are far more common than stories of children shooting bad guys.
When I was at my most recent gun class this past weekend in Kansas, there were some conversations held between strings of fire about people learning the wrong lessons from incidents they’ve survived. You can do everything wrong, survive, and think that because you got lucky and weren’t severely hurt or killed, that you did something right worth emulating.
This kid survived. The bad guy got shot.
That doesn’t mean that leaving a gun out where a poorly-trained child can access it is acceptable behavior for responsible gun owners.