When two gun owners stand their ground

This week in Michigan (from mlive.com):

IONIA, MI – Two men died Wednesday, Sept. 18, in a shootout that stemmed from a road rage confrontation, Ionia police said.

Ionia Department of Public Safety officers were dispatched to Wonder Wand Car Wash in the 400 block of South Steele Street shortly before 7 p.m. on reports of shots fired. Police arrived to find two men with gunshot wounds.

Initial investigation shows the Ionia men, ages 43 and 56, pulled into the car wash parking lot after a road rage incident. They exited their vehicles and eventually drew handguns and exchanged fire, police said. It wasn’t clear what the two men were arguing about.

Life EMS transported the men to Sparrow Ionia Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

Police said both men, whose identities have not been released, held permits to carry concealed weapons.

Michigan is a “stand your ground” state. Here’s the law:

Sec. 1. (1) An individual who uses deadly force or force other than deadly force in compliance with section 2 of the self-defense act and who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses that deadly force or force other than deadly force commits no crime in using that deadly force or force other than deadly force.

(2) If a prosecutor believes that an individual used deadly force or force other than deadly force that is unjustified under section 2 of the self-defense act, the prosecutor may charge the individual with a crime arising from that use of deadly force or force other than deadly force and shall present evidence to the judge or magistrate at the time of warrant issuance, at the time of any preliminary examination, and at the time of any trial establishing that the individual’s actions were not justified under section 2 of the self-defense act.

So, in Michigan, no law was broken.

What else could go wrong?

What sounded like six shots rang out Wednesday night as Tony Holtrust worked his second-shift attendant job at the Wash King coin laundry on Steele Street.

He was out the door in an instant and found two men in the throes of death from a road rage duel.

Holtrust said he kicked a gun out of one of the victim’s hands and saw another gun on the ground near the other man. …

When the cops converged at the Wonder Wand Car Wash, Holtrust said he was at first considered a suspect linked to the shooting.

He said a young officer appeared to be shaking as he pointed a gun at Holtrust, ordering him not to talk and to get down on the ground. He was later handcuffed.

“I thought I was done,” Holtrust recalled.

A guy goes to check out the scene of a shooting, and when the cops arrive, they think the witness is the shooter because … really … how else could two guys be dead on the street if a living person didn’t shoot them?

I think of the times I’ve seen pissed off drivers confront each other. Once on U.S. 1 in New Jersey, near North Brunswick, I saw a trucker get out to harass the driver of a small car in front of him. The trucker was about my size, about 5’9″. He was out of his truck (this is at a red light on the highway, mind you) steaming and headed for the small car. Then the driver got out of the car. Had to be 6’5 and close to 300 pounds. The look on the trucker’s face was one of the funniest things I ever saw. And he was seconds away from a beat down, but neither of them saw the state trooper in the other lane, who put an end to that circus really quickly.

The worst that would have happened: The trucker would have gotten his butt kicked (he didn’t have a chance). New Jersey wasn’t a “stand your ground state back then. But in a “stand your ground state,” both guys could have come out blasting and they, as well as people sitting in their cars waiting for the light to change, could have ended up dead.

The country last week was focused on the mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington. But incidents in Michigan are far more likely to occur routinely when people are standing their ground.

And police will continue to get calls like the one linked here.


… on the West Wing

Pretty elaborate for a state supreme court vote in Michigan.