Remember that tragic case out of New Mexico where four-year-old Lilly Garcia was shot and killed in a road rage incident on I-40? The killer has been found and he claims it was all a terrible accident:
Lilly had been driving with her father and 7-year-old brother in their red Dodge truck when another car pulled up next to them and began shooting into the vehicle on the westbound Interstate 40. Lilly was shot in the head and later died at the University of New Mexico Hospital.
Are you curious as to how that scenario could in any way be an “accident”? I know I am!
When questioned, Torrez told investigators that he was “in fear for his life” because Garcia’s father was trying to run him off the road. He said he tried to get away, but the truck kept coming back, so Torrez did the only thing he could think of: He grabbed his gun and fired at the truck.
“I shot at him,” he said.
Okay, stop right there, buckaroo. That is not an accident. That is you being incredibly stupid. Let’s review the golden moment here, where everything changed for two families:
…so Torrez did the only thing he could think of: He grabbed his gun and fired at the truck.
Guns make people stupid. That is a plain fact. If we are to take his story at face value and believe that he felt threatened, we should ponder what might have happened if he didn’t have a gun. Maybe he would have done some more thinking. Maybe he’d have thought, “Gee I wish I had a gun but dangit I don’t,” and then gone on to, “but I DO have my cell phone, so I can call 911!”
Or, “Am I really sure he’s following me? Maybe it’s my imagination. Maybe I should slow way down, drop behind him, and see what happens.”
Or, “Maybe I should exit off the interstate and see if he follows me.”
Or, “Maybe I should drive to a police station or a crowded area.” Or any number of other possible scenarios.
This one time I was at the drive-through ATM machine on Blakemore and some guys in a gray van started following me home, like, I was positive of it, and all of my inner alarm bells started clanging DANGER, Southern Beale, DANGER! I’m not usually that paranoid but there had been a rash of incidents in the news where women were followed home from the ATM and robbed in their garages, so perhaps I was a little more aware than usual. But at no time did I think, “Gee I wish I had a gun so I could shoot at them.” What if I was wrong? What if they were just ordinary guys in a van? How do you know? So I drove straight to the nearest police department and pulled into the parking lot and guess who kept driving and I never saw them again. Maybe it was nothing, maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe it was someone thinking a young woman was an easy target they could follow home and rob. Who knows? Regardless, nobody ended up dead that day.
But if I had been Tony Torrez, things might have ended differently. I would have pulled out my gun and started indiscriminately firing, “as a warning” of course, and possibly shot and killed some innocent person because I had a bad feeling about some guys in a van.
A gun means people stop thinking beyond “I can shoot you.” What is supposed to be the last resort ends up being the first option. You know that old saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail? It’s like that.
Torrez insisted the shots were intended only as a warning and that he had no idea there were kids in the truck. “I just pointed and shot, I didn’t even like, look,” Torrez said.
It was only afterwards that he began to consider the consequences of his actions. “I started thinking what if I shot somebody, I’m [in trouble] if somebody is hurt,” said Torrez. “And then the little girl ends up … dead, are you kidding me?”
Yeah, are you kidding? Like, of all the rotten luck, dude! Can you even?! Totally!
Seriously, a warning shot? Like in the movies? Are you really that dumb? Yes, he was that dumb. People are dumb. They’re too dumb to be trusted with guns. I wouldn’t mind if it was just their own foolish selves who suffered the consequences but too often its innocent bystanders, even children, who pay the price. This is wrong. This is not what the Founding Fathers intended, not even close.