Sgt. Joe Harris was killed during a July 16 stakeout in the Jemez Mountains. State police say the 46-year-old Harris and Deputy Theresa Moriarty were in a cabin when Joseph Henry Burgess, known as the "Cookie Bandit," came through a window.
Burgess was handcuffed after a short scuffle, but state police say he was able to pull a .357 revolver from the small of his back and shoot Harris. The sergeant, despite being wounded, shot and killed Burgess.
It's hard to believe that Harris could have made such a terrible mistake as not disarming the suspect, a mistake that cost him his life as well as that of his prisoner.
An interesting aspect of the story is that the gun was traced.
State police said Thursday that the gun Burgess used belonged to David Eley.
According to the FBI, Eley was reported missing in July of 2006 when his family called authorities concerned they hadn't heard from him.
After the missing person's investigation revealed nothing, it was presumed Eley had died accidentally in the mountains. He and Burgess were frequent visitors to various campgrounds in and around the Jemez Mountains.
Now it is believed that Burgess killed Eley and took his gun. This is not only classic "gun flow," but it illustrates one of the great problems with people arming themselves supposedly for protection. In too many cases these people, who think they're making themselves safer by carrying a gun, are doing a disservice to themselves and to society at large. Many times the criminal ends up with the gun, to everyone's detriment.
I say guns are not the answer, at least not for regular people. There are exceptions, people who are highly trained, or who live or work in remote or dangerous places, of course these people would need serious training too. Shooting a few bullets at a paper target once in a while probably is not sufficient for the average person to benefit from having a gun.
Owning a gun for protection should be the rare exception to the rule, not something recommended for everyone and anyone.
What's your opinion? When we talk about DGUs are we considering all the times the gun is taken away by the criminal and used on the owner? I don't hear much of that, but I'll bet it happens. What kind of training do you think is necessary to make someone a responsible gun owner? Isn't it more than just gun-handling? Isn't there a mental aspect, a psychological makeup that many people just don't have? Considering that they're possibly going to face hardened criminals like Burgess, wouldn't this be an important part of it?
What do you think?