When Charlottesville happened, there were a lot of guns present, no shots were fired. I even said as much here at Bearing Arms. After all, if the alt-right or anyone on their side had fired weapons, surely it would have been all over the news, right?
Well, it turns out I was wrong.
The ACLU released a video from Charlottesville that clearly shows an individual drawing, racking the slide, and firing his weapon.
WATCH: Man fired at another person in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. We handed ? to LE agencies. The man has been arrested & charged w a crime. pic.twitter.com/0vrXq4zNC0
— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) August 26, 2017
Nick Leghorn at The Truth About Guns had this to say after pointing out several pro-gun blogs had said no shots were fired (again, including this one):
According to the NY Times the man in question was taken into custody Saturday morning. No doubt anti-gun folks such as Shannon Watts will use this as fodder to bolster their argument that gun owners are too violent and unhinged to be allowed to carry firearms during protests.
I’m waiting to hear the whole story before passing judgement. Did the man feel threatened? Did the flame directed his way prompt him to draw his gun and fire? And why were police not present to (A) separate protesters on the two sides and (B) arrest him?
There’s no doubt this took place at Charlottesville because the scene is familiar. This is basically a different angle on the now infamous improvised flamethrower photograph that I’m sure we all have seen a dozen times.
While the individual was arrested and charged, I’m also waiting to hear the whole story. However, from what I can see in the video, I wouldn’t be surprised if he uses stand-your-ground laws as a defense.
Note the scene at the right of the video. You can see the jutting flames of an aerosol can’s spray being ignited. Hence, the improvised flamethrower. Maybe it’s just me, but that looks like a weapon to me. It’s also heading towards people who the wielder has issues with.
Since it wasn’t pointed at him, does it matter? Well, Virginia is a Stand-Your-Ground state, after all, which means all that the individual has to do is convince either prosecutors or a jury that he felt he was defending an innocent life from harm.
Whether he’s successful or not is a matter for the lawyers to determine, and I’m not expert on use of force.
None of that changes the fact that I got my comments about the original story wrong. Clearly, at least one person fired a weapon, which makes me wrong. I have to accept that one, and I do.
What we still don’t know is whether it was a justified shot or not, which won’t make a difference to Shannon Watts and the rest of the anti-gun left, but it makes a big difference to me. We don’t know a thing about the shooter, really, at this point except he was somewhere that a log of weapons-grade stupid was present, and I don’t need to know anything more. I don’t even need to know that. All I need to know is whether it was a legal shoot or not.
And I suspect finer minds than mine on the subject of use of force will be offering their thoughts up on this within the next few days.