Evil Among Us
In Garland, in the early morning of June 19, the two encountered Matthew Butler and Stephen Swan who were leaving Zion Gate Records, a Christian music studio which Butler owned, at 810 State Street. The four men conversed for a while. The men parted, and then Cummings went back with Broadnax and asked for a cigarette. Suddenly, Broadnax pulled his gun. Without hesitation he shot Swann, then Butler. As each man struggled to get back up, Broadnax shot them again, this time in the head, killing them.
The two murderers quickly rifled the dead men's pockets, stole two dollars, and the keys to Butler's car. They drove Butler's tan 1995 Crown Victoria to Dallas, and hid the pistol. The next morning they switched the license plates at a relative's house, swapped the pistol back for the AK, pawned a few tools found in Butler's car, and tossed Stephen Swann's ID out the car window as they left in the stolen automobile heading back to Texarkana. There, they were apprehended after a traffic violation. A bicyclist had discovered the two dead men's bodies lying in a pool of sticky blood and spent shell casings at about 1:00 AM the previous night. Both criminals are charged with capital murder. Bond is set at one million dollars each. Both victims are dead.
Those are the facts of the case. There are other facts that may not be as apparent, however. One is that these two men were prowling Garland Texas for a victim, or two. They were not carrying an illegally concealed weapon for self protection against criminals. They were carrying an illegally concealed weapon to use in victimizing an honest citizen. These two men did not stop their victims on the street to discuss recording contracts. They did not ask for a cigarette because they were hungry for nicotine. A package of Marlboros would not have saved Matthew Butler and Stephen Swan.
These two thugs did not go to Garland Texas to buy, bum or steal a pack of smokes. In Cumming's own words, they went there because "dat's where the rich white folks stay at." These two thugs stopped two honest citizens and probed them to ascertain their willingness to be victimized. Chances are, one or both of the victims refused to give the two men a ride, or let them gain access to the recording studio. Then came the cigarette ploy.
The first criminal tactic that many victims of a crime recognize is a violation of the victim's right to passage, and their right to privacy. By the time this tactic is employed, the criminal has already been on the prowl with the intent of selecting a victim, and they have chosen their prey. The criminal is simply ascertaining whether or not their choice is one that will have tolerable consequences. The level of risk is commonly determined by the criminal through asking or demanding something from the victim. Whether the victim gives in to the request makes no difference to the criminal. It is the victim's reaction to the request that determines the outcome of the encounter. While this interview process is happening the criminal and their accomplices are gaining position for the inevitable attack.
So what should a person do? At this point there is only one way to stop an attack. The criminal predator is behaving like an animal, a predator. To stop the attack, the victim must quickly and unequivocally convince the criminal that he is a superior predator. The criminal predator must suddenly realize that he has encountered someone who will kill him.
Keep your distance. Recognize and refuse to allow the positioning for attack. Do not engage in the attacker's conversational ploys. Tell the attacker loudly and without hesitation to back off. Position yourself for repelling an attack, and get your hand on your gun.
Oh, yes, the gun. Reportedly, one of these two victims had a concealed carry permit. Perhaps he left his weapon at home that day. After all, he was going to a Christian recording studio. No danger there......Perhaps the victim had his gun on him, but he lacked the ability to recognize the threat. Perhaps he believed in the innate goodness of all men. Perhaps he recognized the wrongness of the encounter, but the victim lacked the initiative and willingness to employ his weapon to save his own life. One thing is certain, however, by the time a cigarette was requested, this encounter on the streets of Garland Texas could only have been stopped through the use of deadly force.
Butler is survived by his wife Jamie, and two children. "I hope that whoever did this that they would come to know Christ," Jamie Butler said tearfully. "I hope and pray that my husband gets a chance to meet them in heaven and gets a chance to shake their hand and gets a chance to forgive them himself." May the souls of Matthew Butler and Stephen Swan rest in peace, and may we learn from their mistakes.
Below is a jailhouse confession from James Broadnax. Do not watch this video if you want to remain ambivalent about carrying the means for your own self protection. In the video you will see a sociopathic killer blaming his victims for causing him to "go into dat mode" and causing him to kill them. You will see utter and unmitigated lack of remorse. You will see stupefying excuses for a life that he himself wasted, his own, but which he takes absolutely no responsibility for. You will see not only total disregard for the human lives he destroyed, but also the most vulgar contempt for the grief of the families left behind. You will see inexcusable evil personified. You will see the evil that walks among honest citizens in every city in the U.S. You will see why I carry a gun, and why I train to use it to protect my life.
The confession of Demarius Cummings can be viewed here.
Update: Stephen Swan did indeed leave his gun at home that night.
Read his CHL instructor's letter here.