Shoot Them, You Win. Shoot You, You Lose.

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This story from the NYPost presented a glowing commentary on Charles Augusto, Jr.  I agree with much of what it says.  There is little doubt that Mr. Augusto is a hero.  He defended his store, and more importantly, one of his employees, from armed thugs.  He deserves to be commended.

Here’s the thing that puzzles me.  From an objective standpoint, little about the Augusto case and the Plaxico Burress case are really that different, if one uses the draconian New York gun laws as a rubric.  I admit that I’m no lawyer, but let me explain.

Plaxico Burress left home with a weapon ostensibly because he wanted to protect himself.  From what?  Maybe from succumbing to the fates that befell Sean Taylor (shot by assailants in his own home) or Darrent Williams (shot on the street after leaving a night club), among other high-profile figures.  Given that NFL players are known to be well-paid, this seems reasonable.

Augusto armed himself after a robbery at his store some years ago.  He wanted to be ready the next time.  Again, this seems reasonable.

Plax shot himself with his unregistered firearm.  Augusto shot three assailants with his.  Do we give Augusto a pass for being a crack shot?  Do we penalize Plax for not being well-versed in gun handling?  If Plax had successfully defended himself from harm, would we be having this conversation?  Maybe the fact that Mr. Augusto was on his own property is the kicker.  I wonder.

The NY DA has made it publicly known that he wants Burress to serve three years in jail for discharging an unregistered firearm.  Will he throw the (same) book at Augusto as well?  I don’t think so, but this question remains:  Why or why not?

3:51 pm on August 15, 2009