A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Sparrow

A young man moved to Totowa, New Jersey to take a new job in New York City. He happens to have a concealed carry permit issued by Florida, and he owns a Glock pistol. He has a well paying job, and he hits the club scene in Manhattan as he is able.

One evening he decides to go nightclubbing, and he decides to stick his Glock pistol in his sweatpants for protection, or perhaps just from habit. He may have carried the pistol into New York City illegally before, or he may not have. The fact is, he decides to carry it this night.

While drinking at a midtown Manhattan nightclub, the loose pistol becomes disengaged from it's unholstered perch inside his waist band. He makes a quick grab for it, lest it clatters to the floor revealing his indiscretion. His finger disengages the trigger safety on the Glock, and his autonomic hand grasp compresses the trigger. A shot is fired.

No innocent people are hurt, but the young man carrying the illegal pistol in his sweatpants in a Manhattan nightclub is shot in the thigh. His friends rush him to the hospital, where he lies about his identity and the particulars of his injury to avoid prosecution. Later, he is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. In the municipality where the negligent discharge outed his criminal activity, a minimum prison sentence of three and a half years is imposed if convicted.

If the young man were Antonio Torres or Joseph Schmoe, he would be crying out in a wilderness of ambivalence. When the young man is Plaxico Burress, the gunshot wound is not reported by hospital staff , as is required by law. The media begins picking at the juicy carcass of a "news story." Suddenly, a lot of people become upset and start wringing their hands because a star receiver for the New York Giants cooling his heels in a prison cell doesn't help the scoreboard at half time.

Bleeding and humbled after the 1:50 AM shooting, Burress was assisted into teammate Antonio Pierce's black Cadillac Escalade. The pair tried to find a hospital that would admit them without contacting the authorities. At 2:04 AM, Burress arrived at New York Presbyterian Hospital, checking in under an assumed name. Burress claimed he was shot at Applebee's. He was released at 1:00 PM. Although Burress spent nearly 11 hours at the hospital, police were never notified of the gunshot wound.

Making excuses, Burress states he carried the Glock into the Latin nightclub because he was afraid that the flashy bling he wore would get him jacked up. New York Mayor Bloomberg has stressed that laws were broken, and there will be no preferential treatment. "It's pretty hard to argue the guy didn't have a gun and that it wasn't loaded," Mayor Bloomberg said, "You've got bullet holes in and out to show that it was there." In fact, a lot of gun owners are using this as an example of how draconian the New York gun laws are. They want to apply the Heller decision to this act of "poor judgement."

The landmark Heller decision does not apply. For once Bloomberg is right. Plaxico Burress knowingly violated the law. This was not an act of civil disobedience. Plaxico Burress did not have to go to the Manhattan nightclub. If he decided to go, he did not need to carry a gun. Being a wealthy athlete, he had more options than many people. He could have hired bodyguards to protect him and his bling. Instead, he chose to play the role of the thug and carry his gat in his sags and go clubbin'. He is not a victim. He knowingly and willfully violated the law, no matter how unjust that law is. Plaxico Burress was an arrogant athlete who thought he was special, that the law did not apply to him, that he was beyond, if not above the law.

If gun owners and second amendment advocates support his cause for preferential treatment in a court of law, they are fools. Plaxico Burress is not one of us. He never was, and he never wanted to be. Lawful gun owners and concealed carriers do not seek preferential treatment. They obey the laws of the municipalities they enter. I do not like Mayor Bloomberg, and I believe the gun laws of New York City are draconian and unconstitutional. But....... Bloomberg is right. There is little reasonable, unbiased doubt regarding what occurred here. The law was violated, again and again. If we are to expect the law to be applied justly when it is to our benefit, we can not bend the law when the man who caught the winning touchdown in the 2008 Super Bowl violates it. The law is simply the law, and it applies to Plaxico Burress.



Blogger Old NFO said...

Hang his ass... He is definitely not above the law.

12:31 AM  
Blogger mike's spot said...

Your right. Of all people, Plaxico Burress probably could have gotten a legitimate NYC permit- as only the wealthiest elite are allowed to have them.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on!

1:19 AM  
Blogger Ric in RIchmond said...

What was that second video about??

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any reprecussions for the hospital staff that did not report this? Responsible gun owners MUST vehemently protest any inaction that will lessen any ownership on Burress' part. If we don't, we will face another onslaught by the antigun crowd.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

One quibble: His new job is actually in New Jersey.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely right. We as gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment should be in favor of equality under the law and RESPONSIBLE use of firearms.

Obedience to the law is generally a good thing, but there is point when the law becomes sufficiently unjust that obedience is no longer appropriate, and resistance (including armed resistance) to lawful authority is acceptable. The Declaration of Independence talks about this issue.

I do not mean to suggest that the NYC firearms laws are so unjust, although, they certainly are foolish and unjust as applied.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should he be hung, NFO? Is he a murderer? In fact, what did he do wrong at all except fail to exercise proper firearm safety (primarily by using a holster?)

The law? Were the people who hid runaway slaves above "the law?"

You need to take careful stock of what law exists for. I'll give you a hint: it does not exist for its own sake. Only God exists for his own sake.

9:00 AM  
Blogger ChuckAtPodunkOutpost said...

In fact, a lot of gun owners are using this as an example of how draconian the New York gun laws are. They want to apply the Heller decision to this act of "poor judgement."

The landmark Heller decision does not apply. For once Bloomberg is right. Plaxico Burress knowingly violated the law.

Why wouldn't Heller apply? The only way to get bad law overturned is for a trial in which to apply the precedent. Here is a high profile person with deeper than average pockets who (arguably) has a lot more to lose by going to prison. He may have more motivation to challenge the law than Antonio Torres or Joseph Schmoe and might get more support as well.

I have to wonder why he wasn't charged with reckless endangerment. It better fits the events of the incident and according to what I can find is a D Felony which carries a sentence of 1 to 5 years. A cynical person might think the Mayor Bloomberg is spoiling for his own Heller fight.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Mike's spot, you seem to be in full favor of Plaxxico being punished. For violating whose rights? For hurting which victim, I ask you? Is putting him in prison going to remunerate anyone for their loss, even if he had a victim? Or are you just of the opinion that you are capable of participating in the infinite justice of God here on earth? Can we really and morally put people in prison for breaking a code of behavior that has nothing to do with God's? It's like putting someone in prison for not tipping one's hat. You're doing it to make him be virtuous (in your estimation of the word "virtue"), not to prevent a dangerous and dire threat, like a rabid dog, from harming actual people. A weak attempt, sirs. My life or property rights were not violated by this admitted clown. Neither were yours.

Furthermore, do you seriously support the enforcement of a regulation that disarms everyone? That's like an abused, beaten wife supporting her savage husband. Come now. See the nature of the thing you are supporting, and stop it.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Esteve said...

No one has the made the point any better. And as far as his Florida permit, that's a straw man, you can't carry legally in Florida in the sort of place where Plex and his gangsta crew hang out.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I agree. This is a "no one is above the Law" case. The law must apply equally; otherwise we might as well let Islamic law apply. (Same deal. The rich and elite get off completely or minimum penalties in most cases). The elite still put on pants one let at a time like the rest of us.
And the hospital needs to be fined. They broke the law as well.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Less said...

While drinking at a midtown Manhattan nightclub, the loose pistol becomes disengaged from it's unholstered perch inside his waist band. He makes a quick grab for it, lest it clatters to the floor revealing his indiscretion. His finger disengages the trigger safety on the Glock, and his autonomic hand grasp compresses the trigger. A shot is fired.

Actually, I think that he pulled the bang-switch while trying to unload it in front of the security guards...

That, to me is even more of a dumbass-move as it proves he didn't know squat about safe handling in the first place... Lord help us all if he actually had to use it in self-defense - I'm sure the mugger would be unharmed and bystanders would be shot.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Rush baby said...

Are the laws worth more than your life?

Not to me. Had it not gone off who'd knew?

My God-given right to life is worth more than Mr. Jagoff's beliefs and governmental policy.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Goldwater's Ghost said...

Burress actually works in NJ, since the Giants play at the Meadowlands. Not sure if the team practices in NY or NJ.

But as a non-NY state and/or City resident (the fact that he has a FL permit strongly indicates that he may still be a legal resident of that state, which, given his salary, would make the most sense, tax-wise), he is not eligible to obtain a permit. Period.

But the fact remains that since he is not a NY resident, there is NO WAY for him to exercise his 2A right and comply with the law. Thus the calls for the application of Heller.

FWIW, I agree that he was an idiot, both for his method of carry, and for carrying whilst consuming alcohol.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your right about, "he isnt one of us".....His irresponsible method of carry "Gansta Style", luckily only hurt himself in the end, and not a bystander.

I could say so much more here but Xavier pretty much has nailed it on the head. Even if this guy had a legitimate reason to exercise his CCW privlages (In FL) in a hostile situation, I some how think he would be more of a danger to innocent bystanders, pets, building, cars etc that the perpetrator.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lesson here is that Mexican carry is dangerous. Had we worn decent clothing, and a real holster, this whole thing probably wouldn't have happened.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Montie said...


I definitely agree with you on this. He needs to pay the same price any other citizen would if caught carrying illegally in NYC. Someone of Buress' size and strength would have little to fear from most people and for those times when he needed more, he could have hired professionals. He made a whole host of bad choices that night. I go many places I wouldn't normally choose to go because I'm paid to do it as a police officer. Why would he CHOOSE to go to a club he was afraid of being robbed in? He was afraid of being robbed yet CHOSE to wear a large amount of flashy/expensive jewelry anyway. He KNEW it was illegal for him to take the gun into NYC yet he did anyway. He had a concealed carry permit in FL which should have given him enough background to know how to properly carry concealed in an appropriate holster, yet CHOSE to carry "gangsta style" which has led to numerous self-shootings among gang members and other criminals. Unfortunately, like many other millionaire professional athletes, he seems to idolize the thug culture.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Montie said...

Anonymous is right, if there is a mandatory reporting requirement of hospitals and other medical facilities regarding gunshot injuries, the hospital staff who chose not to report the gunshot victim because of who he is should also be prosecuted.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

There's no question that he knowingly and willingly violated the law. The problem is that the law itself is unjust and unconstitutional. He was foolish to carry a weapon without a proper holster, and the discharge was definitely negligent, but incarcerating him on those grounds alone won't make the world a better place. It seems clear to me that it is the law, and not this individual, which needs to be corrected.

While it is illegal to violate an unjust, unconstitutional law, it is not immoral. It is the law which is wrong, immoral, and which should be removed from society.

Sure, we can make fun of his idiocy, and, no, he doesn't deserve any special treatment because of his celebrity status, but what he did (carry a concealed firearm, with no criminal intent) isn't wrong - it's something every American should have the right to do.

Let the guy go, and strike that unconstitutional law.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Riposte3 said...

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on this one, Xavier. If you believe the law he broke is unconstitutional, then his motivation, knowledge, intent, recklessness, stupidity, and arrogance should all be irrelevant. He has the same right to challenge the law on Constitutional grounds as anyone else. His money simply gives him a better ability to do so, and his fame is what brought it to our attention. Right or not, that is the way it is.

Heller does apply, not because it applies to him, or to the situation, but because it applies to the law that he is being charged under. If New York's law equates to a de facto ban on handguns, it is unconstitutional under Heller, and a persons reasons and intent are irrelevant. Even if he was carrying it so that he could go kill someone later, he still should be able to challenge the law in question. An unconstitutional law should be challenged at every possible opportunity.

Is Plaxico Burress an ideal person to be doing this? No. Is he one of us? Heck no. Should he be charged with other crimes? Yes, he should be charged with criminal negligence, reckless endangerment, making false statements to police, and (if it's in New York's laws) carrying a firearm while intoxicated. He's an idiot, and it's only blind luck that no on else was injured or killed.

You said "If he decided to go, he did not need to carry a gun." Since when is need supposed to be a requirement to exercise one's Second Amendment rights? Since when is the lack of ability to hire bodyguards, or the lack of "other options" supposed to be a requirement to exercise one's Second Amendment rights?

It is not about "bend[ing] the law unjust when the man who caught the winning touchdown in the 2008 Super Bowl violates it" or for getting him "preferential treatment in a court of law." It's about striking down an unconstitutional law. To paraphrase your own conclusion, "The Constitution is simply the Constitution, and it applies to New York City."

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heller was about the right to keep a gun in your home, not the right to carry.

5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question is, if you were in a crowded mall in a city where it was illegal to carry, and a well-dressed, articulate man had a negligent discharge, would you tackle him and pin him to the ground, and hold him for police so they could help throw him in a rape room, or would you recognize he made a stupid mistake, thank God no one was hurt, perhaps school him on basic firearm safety, and move on with your life? If you would do the latter, why are you so bloodthirsty to see this other human being treated in such a way?

Because to you, this is about "the law," not necessarily what is just, right or moral. Have we not all learned, by looking at history, that not everything that is a law is just, right, or moral, and that logically, enforcing such a law is unjust, not right, and immoral? Does the fact that something, anything, has been legislated give you carte blanche to enforce it?

6:42 AM  
Blogger Mikael said...

Convict him, repeal the law.

He knowingly broke the law, and not to make a point either(as civil disobedience), so that makes him criminal.

The law being unconstitutional means it should be repealed though.

If nothing else, get him for endangering others in a public place for his bad choice in how he carried it.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heller was just the first step towards wiping out all of the unconstitutional laws that cities and states have enacted. The Second Amendment doesn't say "the right to keep and bear arms in your own home shall not be infringed".

While Burress should be punished for reckless endangerment, I hope he fights this charge and gets the unconstitutional New York law prohibiting carry struck down.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now the anti-gun set will associate lawful gun owners and carry permit holders with this clown. Gun in a nightclub and drinking? Bad idea. I don't care for big city gun laws either but he broke the law. Prosecute him.

Oh yeah, the video was hilarious.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're all wrong. Manifestly bad laws need to be both challenged in court AND disobeyed in the street. Have you all forgotten the countless examples of this throughout US history, from the American Revolution itself, up through Rosa Parks?

Doesn't matter if Burress was arrogant, thuglike, used poor judgement, was negligently careless, wasn't one of us, was angling for special treatment (all of which I agree). It's the fundamental unjustness of NYC's gun laws that's at issue here, not the character or motives of the transgressor.

With your logic, I should expect to see all you lawabiding folks dutifully registering / turning in your guns to the nice authorities if/when Obama restricts/bans them - that would be "obeying the law" in that case, wouldn't it?

Well? Didn't think so...

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

"If a man neglects to enforce his rights, he cannot complain if, after awhile, the law follows his example." Oliver Wendell Holmes

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you prosecute someone who helped freed slaves escape to the North? If you lived in Germany in the 1930's, would you turn in or prosecute someone who was breaking the law by keeping an unregistered firearm? Would you turn him in or prosecute if he was hiding Jews?

How much incense will you burn, and far will you bow before the "law" before you wake up and bow to God, instead? Not everything that is legislated by the majority is God's will, is it?

8:27 AM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

I agree with Riposte3. Unjust laws need to be challenged. I wish we had a better poster boy than Mr. Burress, but the fact remains that he was still exercising his constitutional right to bear arms. As Riposte3 stated, he needs to be charged with other crimes for his negligence, but not for carrying the gun itself.

I do have one question though. No holster? Come on, we all know he can afford one. What in the world was he thinking by carry a gun in the waistband of his sweatpants? He was probably thinking the same thing his mother was thinking when she named him "Plaxico."

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plaxico Burress was not freeing slaves or hiding jews from Nazis.

Strawmen need not apply.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:00,

No, indeed, Plaxxico was not freeing slaves or hiding Jews. But he was carrying a firearm, an act that, like freeing slaves or hiding Jews, is not intrinsically wrong and in itself has no victims. That is why the comparison holds. Not because the actions are identical, but because the logic is the same.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Gregg in Texas said...

That Detective in that picture looks like he just stepped out of Hollywood casting. Only in NYC.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Mikael said...

Oh incidentally, what does that music video (shot in stockholm if I'm not mistaken) have to do with the post? :p

2:40 PM  

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