April 18, 2005

No Winners Here

A lot of media attention has been focused on The Minuteman Project, a volunteer neighborhood watch-type effort along the U.S. side of the Arizona/Mexico border. Most of the early MSM/DNC coverage was negative at first, but the coverage has shifted to begrudging respect as the Minutemen have peacefully and effectively shutdown illegal immigration and drug smuggling in the 23-mile zone. The Minuteman Project so far has been an overwhelming success.

Unfortunately, some of that success is being overshadowed by the actions of a Army Reservist almost 300 miles away, who pulled a handgun on seven illegal aliens at an Arizona Interstate rest stop. Sgt. Patrick Haab has been charged with seven felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

There are a lot of details in question in this case, many of which can be reviewed by reading the articles and op-eds here, but a few facts are beyond dispute.

The first fact is that you are not legally justified in pulling a firearm on another person unless that pose a credible threat to your life, or the life of someone else. In none of the descriptions of the situation provided by Haab or local authorities did the illegals pose what most people would consider a credible threat to Haab or to anyone else.

The second fact of justifiable self defense with a firearm (and exact laws vary from state to state) is that the use of the firearm should be defensive in nature, not offensive.

The second the illegals moved away from Haab and entered a nearby vehicle without any threat to Haab, he lost any legal right to use a firearm again them, in any way. The fact that Haab then used his vehicle to block the vehicle occupied by the illegals, and then forced the illegals out of the vehicle and onto the ground, were examples of unjustifiable force using a firearm.

He broke the law. Period.

Perhaps as disturbing as his illegal detention of these seven criminals (and yes, these men were just that, lest that fact be forgotten) is the fact that Haab was armed at all. Haab is apparantly not mentally stable at this time in his life, and is being treated for bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a resulting depression. The very Maricopa County jail holding him had apparently turned him down when he applied for a job as a detention officer because he was "mentally disturbed."

I appreciate the fact that Sgt. Haab served his country in both Kosovo and Iraq, and that he was going to deploy on a volunteer tour of Afghanistan in just a few weeks. I thank him for his service, but if he is still suffering the effects of PTSD and depression, his mental health is compromised and he has no business carrying firearms, at home in defense of himself, or abroad in defense of his country.

A lot of people seem to think Sgt. Haab is a hero. Others, including Haab himself seem to feel he is a victim in a politically-charged case. There is enough room in this case for him to be both, and guilty as well.

In any event, Haab's actions as described were aggressive, illegal, and potentionally deadly, considering his questionable mental health. I'd like to know why our military hospital system thinks it is acceptable to send a soldier suffering from PTSD back to a combat zone when he apparently poses a threat to himself and others. It could be that this Arizona arrest ends up saving his life, or the lives of others.

There are no winners here, but at least there are survivors. Considering what could have happened considering Haab's military training, weaponry and alledged instability, I guess that will have to be enough.

Note: Added to Monday's Beltway Traffic Jam.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 18, 2005 02:00 AM | TrackBack

misty cigarette pipe tobacco tobacco fact cigarette ads sonoma cigarette newport cigarette dirt cheap cigarette cigar cases cigarette boat cheap cigarette carton cigar cases misty cigarette cigar humidor tobacco buyout buy cigarette online discounted cigarette cigarette store marlboro cigarette marlboro cigarette cigarette ads

Posted by: cheap cigar at October 21, 2005 12:50 PM