Guns are a rich and vibrant part of the American South’s culture. Once upon a time, having a firearm handy in the home was kind of like having a bed somewhere in the house. It was just expected and considered abnormal if it wasn’t there. Even men of God had firearms. I know, because I have a .32 revolver that was once my grandfather’s, a Free Will Baptist minister.
But just because guns are still a common thing down this way doesn’t mean some Southerners aren’t complete idiots when it comes to them.
According to court records, Samuel Glen Coon Jr. is accused of firing a semiautomatic handgun in front of several people on or around the 1300 block of Parnell Street in West Monroe back in May. That’s just a couple of blocks from West Monroe High School and within its firearm-free zone. According to witnesses, someone asked Coon what a handgun sounded like when it was fired, so he pointed it upward and fired it. Witnesses say that Coon also had an AR-15 on his back at this time.
In August, Coon was also accused of firing a gun near Good Hope Middle School, which is near Kiroli Park. According to arrest records, that’s right next to his home on Red Oak Lane. One witness also told police that Coon was making improvised explosive devices with ball bearings. Other witnesses say they’ve heard loud explosions in the area as well.
Coon was arrested in early August, and before he asked for an attorney, he allegedly told officers that he had artillery shells and Tannerite at his home. Tannerite is a material that can be used to make explosives. Coon also reportedly told officers that he owned an AR-15 carbine that someone else bought and immediately gave to him.
Now, Tannerite isn’t illegal in and of itself, though it can be used to do some very illegal things. Kind of like a lot of other legal things such as cars.
Anyway, saying the guy had Tannerite means nothing. Him saying he had artillery shells, though, that’s a different animal altogether. If he actually had any. There’s no mention of them being found in his home, so it sounds like Coon was either making stuff up or was delusional.
Coon claims to have served in the military and says he suffers from PTSD, though PTSD doesn’t account for some of his claims.
As for him shooting, there are a few things to think about here.
One is that while gun free zones are stupid and dangerous, they’re still the law and you need to follow that law. While the law does allow for people to travel and conduct lawful business while armed inside of these zones–especially in the case of residential areas surrounding these schools–it doesn’t excuse people firing into the air indiscriminately.
Frankly, anyone who fires a weapon into the air just because deserves whatever happens to them. What goes up must come down, and with a firearm, that bullet can land a long way away. This kind of thing has killed people. No, it’s not common, but it does happen, and it happens because people aren’t paying attention to the basic rules of gun safety.
Then again, based on what we see in this story, I’m not sure Coon is the kind of guy most of us would want to go shooting with in the first place.