Guns for Beginners: It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

Thomas McCary (courtesy

“Thomas McCary [above] was arguing with a woman around 8 p.m. Sunday night,” reports. “When the woman’s brother, Patrick Ewing, approached, McCary pulled out a .38-caliber handgun and fired three shots at him. Ewing didn’t get hit, but he did get his own gun and returned fire, wounding McCary in the leg. Ewing had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Injured, McCary went into his house . . .” At that point it’s safe to say that many people would consider themselves relatively safe. Wounded attacker skulks off. Call the cops, keep a wary eye out, but generally let your guard down. It’s a natural tendency . . .

Injured, McCary went into his house to get a second gun and, holding a weapon in each hand, he fired three shots in the direction of the woman, Jeaneta Walker, her 1-year-old son and a third man.

Ewing fired at McCary again to try to distract him as the victims fled indoors. McCary squeezed off a few more rounds, hitting no one, before withdrawing into his apartment.

I’m not so sure about that Ewing’s ballistic response was intended as a “distraction.” If it was, that’s not good. You fire a gun to stop the threat. Best way to do that: shoot the bad guy. While I would’t completely rule out the option of creating “suppressive fire,” shooting bullets that fly God-knows-where to distract the bad guy shouldn’t be an armed American’s go-to strategy, in the same sense that “warning shots” are a really bad idea.

More importantly, Ewing should have instructed McCary’s intended victims to seek cover and concealment after the initial attack, when McCary went back into his house. All of them should have got out of the open while waiting for the cops. Generally speaking, when the boys in blue arrive, you can begin to relax – after they realize you’re not the bad guy. [NB: if at all possible, do NOT be holding a gun when the cops show up.]

Bottom line: don’t let your guard down until you are 100 percent sure that you’re safe from a secondary attack. To that end, remember that you are under no legal obligation to remain at a crime scene. Leave immediately if it seems dangerous and call the cops as and when it’s safe to do so (tell them your location).

Cops or no cops, as always, you are responsible for your own safety, and, perhaps, the safety of other innocent life. From start to finish. And beyond.

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