What would you do in the following situation?
You and your 15 year old daughter just had a verbal confrontation with another teenage girl and her mother and you are walking back to your own apartment. As you reach the parking lot, a group of about 10 boys approach and start another confrontation with your daughter and you. One of the boys grabs your daughter by her top and starts to punch her in the face. You know that if you jump in to help her that most likely the rest of the boys will join in and it will be 10 against 2. You want to save your daughter but how?
What if you had a permit to own and carry a gun and just happen to have that gun with you at the time? You don’t want to shoot any of the boys, so what are your other options?
In the case of 35 year old Lakisha Gaither, she steps away from the fight and moves to the middle of the parking lot. She takes her gun out of her holster and fired a single warning shot up in the air. It works and the confrontation is over and her 15 year old daughter Brianna Stewart is spared from any further physical attack.
All seemed fine and good until the Prince William County police show up and arrest Gaither. The charge is reckless use of a weapon. Officer Jonathan L. Perok said:
“[Gaither] should have called police instead of taking matters into her own hands.”
“You can’t fire into the air. Once something goes up, it comes down. There’s the possibility of causing property damage, injuring someone or killing someone. In an apartment complex, the odds of that bullet coming down and striking something are very high.”
Perok said that gun owners should only use their guns when they feel that their life is being threatened. In the case of firing her gun to save her daughter did not fall into that criterion. He explained further:
“The fact she stepped away from the crowd kind of shows she was not in an immediate danger type situation. She may have been trying to break up the fight, but that’s not the proper course of action to take.”
After Gaither was arrested, Brianna was supposed to stay with her grandmother but she has not been seen since Sunday. Needless to say, Gaither is now frantic about her missing daughter while preparing for her own arraignment on October 30.
Now let me ask you if you agree with what Gaither did or with her arrest for shooting in the air? According to Officer Perok, it wouldn’t have mattered if she shot up in the air or into the ground because her life was not being threatened. If she had called police as advised, how long would it have taken them to respond and what kind of injury would her daughter have sustained during the time? If she had physically tried to break it up, it could have escalated, making things worse for her and her daughter. Had Gaither pulled her gun and threatened the boys without firing a shot, she might possibly still have been arrested for reckless use of a firearm.
It seems there was no good or should I say legal mode of defense if you listen to the police. As a parent you want to defend your child and it would have been very hard on most parents to just stand there and watch as you wait for the police to arrive. What would I have done? Once the punk hit my daughter in the face, I would probably have put a bullet in his leg and then threatened the others. I would also be writing this from my jail cell, because it may be legal to own and carry and gun, but it’s not legal to use it to protect your loved ones until it’s too late.