Through the years, I’ve been in some pretty heated political debates on social media. I suspect most of us have through the years. Sometimes, it gets pretty bad, bad enough that people may take leave of their humanity and wish horrible, awful things on one another.
A couple of Florida men were in such a discussion recently, and this one went way too far.
Brian Sebring, 44, of Tampa, Florida, was arrested for shooting Alex Stephens, 46, also of Tampa, in the thigh and buttocks after their online disagreement.
Police say the row began when the two men disagreed over politics on Facebook, and Stephens reportedly began sending Sebring ‘explicit messages and threats.’
In response, Sebring armed himself with an AR-15 and a Glock and drove over to Stephens’ house in Wallace Ave – just two miles away from his own home, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
When he arrived, with his Glock in a holster tucked in his waistband, he honked his horn and waited for Stephens to come out to confront him about the messages, police say.
When Stephens saw Sebring, he charged towards him, which was when the suspect opened fire.
Stephens took off running (for good reason), and Sebring drove off.
He surrendered to police a short time later.
Now, we can’t say Stephens is a Republican because, well, we don’t know. We do know he’s a convicted felon, therefore unable to legally own a firearm to defend himself. His felony conviction may be tied to his alleged use of threats against Sebring. If that allegation is accurate, it’s inexcusable. I’ll get more into that in a bit.
But if you receive threats, you don’t drive over to someone’s house to shoot them. You call the police if you think they’re legitimate. You let them handle it.
You use a firearm in self-defense if the other party shows up to carry out those threats and there’s no police presence. You do that, and I don’t care about anyone’s political affiliation. The law applies to everyone the same, after all, and that would be a clear case of self-defense.
That’s not what Sebring is alleged to have done. He took a bunch of words personally, hopping in his car, and tried to murder someone. We don’t know what kind of “threats” Sebring received or if they were even threats. I’ve seen a lot of people claim to have received threatening messages only to find they’re more like “death wishes” than death threats. Still not cool, but not that big of a deal either.
It’s interesting, however, that someone who is registered with the political party best known for an anti-gun stance would be armed with two weapons his party has famously tried to ban.
Of course, it’s also interesting that we have yet another example of a violent Democrat trying to kill ideological opponents. It’s almost like there’s something about Democrats that makes many of them untrustworthy with firearms.
Then again, this is the party supported by people who talk about wanting to attack individuals who are lawfully carrying firearms because they’re carrying firearms. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that some of them will also try to hunt down and murder people who they get into nasty arguments with.