In a microcosm this true story brings together the conflicting forces at work in our society today.
Let’s assume that you are at home, minding your own business, when all of a sudden you hear the shrieking of someone being attacked by dogs on the sidewalk in front of your home. What would you do? Would you ignore the screaming and turn up the volume on the TV? Or close the door? Would you jump into the middle of the fray? There were three pit bulls mauling a little boy. You might get hurt.
Or would you jump in the car and head for the mall? Several neighbors who were witnesses to the attack ran away to avoid getting bitten themselves.
Or would you pull out your sidearm and deal with the situation?
Another question: if you dealt with the situation, who would get punished? The dog owner who let his dogs run wild? Or you, the “shooter” (according to the Washington Post), not the “defender.”
Here are the details:
On Sunday afternoon, January 20th, 11-year-old Jayeon Simon was riding his new bike that he got for Christmas near Eighth and Sheridan Streets in the Brightwood neighborhood of Washington, D.C. when three pit bulls belonging to a neighbor attacked him. As he screamed in panic and pain, several men nearby jumped the fence to get away from the dogs, saving themselves and ignoring the wounds being inflicted on the youngster. But one neighbor, Benjamin Srigley, responded by running into his home and getting his 9mm Ruger handgun and, standing on his own property, shot one of the dogs.
A DC policeman on bicycle patrol nearby heard the gunshot and rode over to where Simon was being attacked and shot the other two dogs. An ambulance took Simon to the hospital where he underwent surgery for serious lacerations of his face and hands. He recovered but doesn’t like to ride his bike outside anymore.
What about Mr. Srigley? And what about the dogs’ owner, Mr. Alan Paige?
Well, Paige was charged with nine counts, three for each dog: possession of a dangerous dog, having an unleashed dog, and allowing a dog to run without a collar. It’s estimated that his fines were about $150.
And Mr. Srigley? You know where this is going. The police learned that Srigley’s weapon was unregistered. That he violated the law about discharging a weapon in public. That he had two other unregistered weapons in a storage unit nearby. And he had 100 rounds of ammunition that was also unregistered.
In Washington, D.C., where common sense has ceased to reign for many years, Srigley could have been fined and incarcerated and had his weapons impounded, and his right to own a weapon cancelled for the rest of his life. Instead, the police decided to take into account his “heroism” and only fined him $1,000 on the condition that he register his weapons. As soon as he does that, he’ll get them back.
Srigley can’t wait to move out of DC. He’s moving to Maryland.
Again, what would you do, now that know the law and the consequences?