Lessons from the Alabama IHOP shooting: keep fighting and maybe Red Flag Laws aren’t such a bad idea – Update

This happened a few days ago, but I’ve been so caught up in the Covington Catholic School catastrophe that I let my local news slide again.

Huntsville IHOP shooter kills employee, is killed by victim’s son

Huntsville police say gunfire exchange inside the IHOP on Drake Avenue turned deadly Wednesday night. Three people were shot and two of them died, including the customer who allegedly opened fire.

Police say it stared when 25-year-old Roderick Turner went to IHOP to pick up a carryout order. He reportedly became disruptive and loud regarding the service, which lead to a verbal then physical altercation with another IHOP employee. Turner then pulled out a handgun and started firing at employees, striking two employees.

One of the employees shot died at the scene. Police identified him as 56-year-old Roy Brown Sr.

The employee who was wounded pulled a handgun and shot Turner in self-defense of others, according to investigators. Turner died at the scene.

Brown’s family confirmed the employee who was injured and fired back was Jay Brown, son of the deceased employee.

Customer becomes irate and shoots the dad and the son, the dad dies and the son shoots and kills the customer.

It is a tragedy that Jay Brown had to watch his dad get shot an killed.  Nobody should have to go through that.  But despite that, and being wounded himself, he was able to fight back, saving his life and the lives of other people in the restaurant.

Lesson 1: keep your head

in the game and deal with the threat.

Here is where this story takes a turn for the stereotypical.

FRIENDS PAINT DIFFERENT PICTURE OF HUNTSVILLE IHOP SHOOTING SUSPECT

Friends of Roderick Turner, one of the men killed inside a Huntsville IHOP last week, spoke with WAAY 31 after he was laid to rest on Monday. His friends said they are still trying to piece together what happened inside the restaurant.

“My first reaction is ‘Oh my god, what is going on?’ Lives are lost. Everybody should be able to go home to their family,” said a friend of Turner’s, Kingsley Onyebinachi.

His friends and family said they still can’t believe Turner was shot and killed. Huntsville Police said Turner started shooting after becoming angry over his carryout order. His friends said it doesn’t make sense.

“We eat IHOP numerously. So for this to happen this time when we ate here 20 times in the last few months… that sounds outrageous,” said Onyebinachi.

The friends said Turner traveled and listened to music regularly.

“Roderick Turner…he is a spontaneous, outgoing person. He is a family person. He is an honest person. He would give his last to see his friends and family happy,” Onyebinachi said.

“From day one, we clicked. He’s a good-hearted person…a genuine guy….loved everyone he came across. He treated everyone with respect, said another friend of Turner’s, Emory Kelly.

His friends said they don’t think his reaction to a carryout order would have been deadly.

“Knowing my friend for numerous of years, he has never had a problem with a carryout order. If anything, he would have bought a whole other order,” Onyebinachi said.

So now that we have heard from the shooter’s friends, lets hear what objective sources have to say.

Gun advocacy group weighs in on Huntsville IHOP shooting as details emerge on shooter

Madison County District Attorney Robert Broussard says the shooter in a deadly IHOP shooting Wednesday was a familiar name to his office. Now, family of Roy Brown, 56, who was killed, are questioning if more could have been done.

Broussard told WAFF 48 News his office has worked several cases against Turner, but they were all dropped for a “number of reasons.” We asked him for more information on what those reasons are, but he never got back with us.

For a good guy, he seems to have had a lot of run-ins with the police.  It’s not a good sign when the district attorney recognizes your name.

Here is where this starts to go south.

Huntsville PD confirmed to WAFF that the gun used by Turner in the restaurant shooting was purchased legally and registered to him.

He wasn’t a prohibited person.

Joshua Lee is a member of BamaCarry, a statewide gun advocacy group. He says the system worked the way it should have, but that everything can’t be avoided.

I don’t know Lee, but I did go to a BamaCarry lunch once.  They are… well, let them describe themselves “Welcome to BamaCarry, Alabama’s only “No Compromise” gun rights group.”

“On one hand we’ve got to stop killing people. On the other hand, you can’t take away peoples rights to defend themselves,” Lee said.

Lee doesn’t know who to blame in this incident but praises the law for allowing Browns son to defend himself. “It’s not up to the County or the state or really even the federal government to tell me how or when I can protect my family.”

Thanks, Captain Talking-points.

Any regular readers know much of an advocate for CCW I am.  I’m not questioning that.

What we have here, however, is a situation that feels eerily similar to the Parkland shooting, in that we have a shooter who was well known to the police for all the wrong reasons, but was able to legally purchase a gun because nothing that he did made him a prohibited person.

Call me a traitor to gun rights if it makes you feel better about yourself, but I feel there needs to be something between zero and felony (or DV conviction) when it comes to guns.

I agree 100% that the California approach is a crap one, that opens the door for angry ex-girlfriends or disgruntled former employees, or anybody else to abuse the system.

With this case and with Cruz, and with others that we’ve seen, I’m thinking a system in which run-ins with the police earn you points, once you’ve exceeded so many points, you are temporary made a prohibited person, with an automatic sunset, as long as you don’t accrue any more points within that time frame.  Something that makes the standard more objective and less manipulable by a vindictive person.

This will need to be very carefully written, I do not want to strip people of their gun rights needlessly.

However, there are these people, like a neighbor I once had, who are always picking fights with neighbors, waitstaff, or family.  The cops always seem to be there for some reason but the person never ends up with spending more than one night in jail, if in handcuffs at all.

Clearly that person is a problem and a disaster waiting to happen.  How many times does he need to throw a trashcan at you, or kick your dog, or threaten to kick your ass and have to have a to have a talking to with the cops before someone says “you know, this guy probably shouldn’t have a gun.”

Maybe a five calls for disturbing the peace in one year should make you a prohibited person for the period of one year.  If you can keep yourself out of trouble for a year, your rights are automatically restored.

We read far too many stories in were the cops say something like “we have dealt with this guy in the past, but he never did that one thing one time that allowed us to make him a prohibited person.”  There should be a process to deal with him before he goes out a kills someone, when there is a pattern of escalating violence.

And before any of you say “No way in hell, not one inch.”  We all know Red Flag laws are coming.  We can either help write them so to minimize the abuse or we can let the other side write them to maximize it.

UPDATE:

There are some comments to this post that went where I was expecting, so let me make this clear.

No, I do not believe in may issue, I am ardent supporter of shall issue.

No, I do not believe in big goverment, any regular reader should know that.

Yes, I believe that any lost of rights should come from adjudication, i.e., a hearing before a judge in which the accused has the right to defend himself.

What I see is a big gap where we know a person is escalating in violence but has not crossed the threshold of becoming a prohibited person.  Since becoming a prohibited person generally requires killing or injuring someone, how to we stop a very clear threat before that happens?

Give some suggestions.

I have real life experience with this.  I had a neighbor in South Dakota that was a problem person.  I was not the only person he had problems with.

He didn’t like that my dogs barked so he kicked my dog while he was on his lead.  Not a felony or a domestic violence charge.

He didn’t like where I parked my car so he threw a trashcan at it.  Again, not a felony or domestic violence charge.

He would go outside and scream in people’s faces.  Again, not a felony or domestic violence charge.

This person clearly had anger issues.  He was booted by the apartment management before anything worse happened.

But say he wasn’t.  I believe that this person, with his escalating violent streak shouldn’t have a gun.  How do we stop him from getting one and shooting a neighbor before he commits the level of violent crime that prohibits him from getting a gun.

My opinion is that the police should be able to go to a judge and say “This asshole has caused a bunch of problems, we’ve had to talk to him about picking fights with neighbors a dozen times.   He needs to be banned from having guns for X long period of time, during which we don’t have to be called out to deal with him again.”

Remember Cruz was contacted by the BSO over 40 times.

In the US we have a three strikes law or a “persistent offender law.”  Three minor felonies add up to a life sentence.

That is the prescient I am using.

Some number of minor altercations that indicate a propensity for violence can add up to being equal to a felony in terms of gun rights.  Less actually, because I’m for this sort of prohibition having a time limit after which rights are automatically restores unless re-adjudicated.

How many thrown trashcans, kicked dogs, and “I’m gonna kick your ass” screamed in faces should it take before we take that guys gun rights, temporarily, BEFORE he shoots someone.

Because right now, that guy still buy a gun and the only defense I have is to shoot him first when he draws on me.

21 Replies to “Lessons from the Alabama IHOP shooting: keep fighting and maybe Red Flag Laws aren’t such a bad idea – Update”

  1. Sounds like the scumbag wasn’t prosecuted and convicted, several times. So the opportunity to catch this was there. I’m not in a position to say why any of those felony convictions failed … but would really want to know why before promulgating new and worse laws for the law-abiding.

    Basically if the problem can be fixed by a public official doing his/her damn job, we need to start there. Maybe that means more funding for more prosecutors; maybe it means firing some. Making a law to work around this issue is subsidizing the issue by making it easier for the wrong things to keep happening.

  2. No….

    I think you are jumping the gun. Multiple arrests where they declined to prosecute. What was he arrested for and why did they declined to prosecute?

    We need to know that before we can even take any sort of sensible next step.

  3. I disagree. Any effectiveness would be predicated on a firearms registry, SWAT coming to bust your door down to check if you have firearms or trusting people under the red flag law to be honest and disclose everything they have.

  4. Your points system is too easy to game by the antigunners.

    It also, like just about every anti-gun proposal, skips due process.

    This is just like asset forfeiture for guns. No conviction needed, all onus on the accused.

    That’s tyranny.

  5. I personally would hate to give government anymore power to regulate the Second Amendment then they already have today. No one, with any type of legislation will ever be able to stop the insane from hiding, waiting, and snapping mentally…destroying lives in the process.

    Mankind has never been able to preemptively stop criminal insanity withy any regulation and or enforcement policy. And to date, the ONLY criminal deterrent I’ve seen work is a mandatory firearm requirement for all residence of a community, village or town.

    The only reason this insane dude pulled his gun, was the opposition intimidated him in some way (from his insane perspective) and he believed he was the only one with the ability to take control—if he KNEW everyone had a gun, he would have never attempted it unless he wanted death.

    I get your point that gun policing policies have already started and are here to stay, so why not be involved. However the ‘uniformed voter’, the people with a TV education on guns and crime, will always side with OUR opposition, we lose a little more every time we capitulate.

    I say we just live with the ‘Insane’ and use this particular example as THE REASON the Second Amendment needs to be protected AT ALL COSTS.

  6. There’s just no way I can think of to keep judges from just rubber stamping confiscation orders. Some states to have it where it is a felony to use this as a weapon against people, but the ball is entirely in the legal courts.

    1. CT has a red flag law and has mandatory registration of all firearms, previously just pistols and NFA/CT AWB 1.0 items. IFAIK there aren’t stories of it being abused. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like and would not opt for one; I think the are in almost all cases already other legal options available. But, and big but, if one has be written, the CT law is very detailed and seems to have reasonable protections as written. See the link for the text.

      I guess I’d chock it up to how a lot of the CT laws are. They are restrictive and we have all the mechanisms for abuse but don’t see it in current year. So that means a few things: the state actually doesn’t care but passed the laws to look good and progressive, the state has not yet found the need to abuse or make extensive use of the laws, the state cuts a lot of slack to people behind closed doors, the state uses the laws almost exclusively as bargaining/pleading chips, and/or some combination of all of those cases. I bet it is the last case, some combination of all of those cases.

      The outstanding question to me RE the CT law is the vague statement of using the provisions in section 319i of the statutes if the person is found a danger to themselves or others. That is a large chunk of law that will likely diverge into other sections and chapters and requires a separate period of digestion.

      Sec. 29-38c
      https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_529.htm#sec_29-38c

      Black text is the law.
      Purple text is history and discussion.
      Red text is removed sections.

  7. I am perfectly fine with removing firearms from unstable people. IANAL, so I don’t know how to mechanize this while protecting everyone’s right to due process. At the very least, a court hearing with the Judge able to issue a restraining order. However, if an anti-gun prosecutor wants to skew the evidence, and hide exculpatory evidence, that’a a pretty weak process. Also If every guy who said in anger “I’m gonna bust a cap in your ass” was taken in for a hearing, it would clog the courts with trivial cases. Clearly, individual discretion is needed, but our legal system has a difficult time dealing with individual cases. I don’t have any answers, but allowing anyone who doesn’t like you to file a “Red Flag” injunction isn’t the solution.

    1. I’d say you essentially make the case for may issue permitting at the discretion of the CLEO.

      It doesn’t clog the courts and puts it at the discretion of the person who would know if Joe Schmo is a legal pain in the ass or not.

      1. May issue is a disaster because of the massive abuse of discretion. You end with Hawaii, which is de facto no issue, or NY City which issues permits based on bribery. Most law enforcement cannot be trusted with your 2a rights.

      2. No, “may issue” is something entirely different. May issue means the government can deny you a fundamental right for any reason or no reason. They can deny it occasionally or always (as in Hawaii) or nearly always (California, at least some counties).
        The concept here seems to be that a sufficiently large number of bad actions, adequately proven, are a valid reason to deny a Constitutional right. I can see how that appears plausible. Of course, “adequately proven” needs to involve at least an objectively defined charge, and a clear opportunity to contest the charge. I haven’t looked at any red-flag laws to see if they meet that standard. Given that they are passed by left wing governments, my reflex is to assume the worst.
        Some, perhaps a lot, of this seems to come from the fact that people who should be convicted felons are now given a pass or five. But doesn’t that say the correct answer is to fix that issue, rather than to accept it and patch over it?

        1. @pkonIng
          I’d still say he is making a very good case for may issue permitting because it achieves all his goals. Eliminates the ability to purchase for known bad apples, doesn’t clog the court system, interview with a government functionary with decision power, and discretion of said deciding functionary. It effectively functions the same with the only difference being it happens before instead of after like a red flag law does.

          I’d say you view may issue in this scenario through the lens of what is currently available and in practice not what is possible in our Magical Christmasland hypothetical that we are having a mental exercise about here. In actuality I agree with you, may issue is no good and really means won’t issue.

          @Slow Joe Crow
          I make no implicit value judgments pro or con for may issue in my original statement, simply pointing out the striking similarity. For what it is worth, I do not think may issue is good.

          1. Madison to the rescue here: “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary”. Yes, angels could run “may issue” the right way. But politicians cannot, never have, never will.

    2. That is why I want something cumulative. Let it go before a Judge and have a hearing. I don’t want to clog the courts with trivial matters either.

      The question that nobody seems to be answering is: when you have that guy who has threatened his neighbors a dozen times, how do you stop him BEFORE he kills someone?

      1. My suggestion is to apply the current laws. If a guy can get 30 days in jail for a misdemeanor like threatening you, kicking your dog, and throwing a trashcan at your car, then the fucking DA should put him in jail for 30 days, no matter if he wants to avoid the expense, or if his jail is crowded. I’ll bet 90% of all arrests are plea-bargained down to time served, suspended sentence, and a fine, or maybe a monitor. They don’t want to spend the money for a trial. It has become so systemic that people don’t even question it. The perp’s lawyer will tell him, “if we do X and Y, and you plead to the lesser charge, you won’t have to do any jail time.”
        I think that this is a major flaw in the system. If the DA has evidence that the perp committed the crime, take his ass to trial! These idiots know in advance they won’t have 30 days on bread and water in the county lockup.

        BOTTOM LINE: I don’t think we need any new laws. Just enforce the ones we have on the books, stop playing “lets make a deal” with criminals, and let everyone know that your state, city, and county will not fuck around on arrest, conviction, and jail.

        Maybe have a “JAIL, not PLEA” — billboard outside of town.

        1. I think you are right on the money here. As Jkb states in his update, it sounds like there were some actionable offenses.

          Ultimately I think that might be part of the price of freedom, you can’t stop all of the bad people all of the time without catching a lot of the good people up in it too.

  8. I wouldn’t call you a gun traitor. I’d say you have fallen for the fallacy that if we make government big enough it will love us and take care of us and kiss our nanny boo-boos and make it stop hurting. Which would of course mean that we would re-crate the Stasi and start a “permanent record” like everyone was threatened with in school. But this time it’s real. 5 jaywalking crimes? No gunz for you and you are off the internet for a month. But how do they know? There was nobody around when you didn’t walk 500 yards to a crossing on that unlit empty street? and there were no cars to dodge so what difference did it make. Well, YOU BROKE THE LAW! Ayn Rand was right. When you make enough laws everybody is a criminal and the government can do what it wants with you. So how did they know? Maybe your neighbor down the street was you and called it in. Maybe they had it on CCTV? Maybe it was your 6 year old daughter that narced on you the way she had been told to in indoctrination kindergarden. Of course if you really, really, really want to be “safe”, just confiscate all the guns and there won’t be anymore shootings.

  9. So, your threshold is stop someone because something “might” happen? OK, are you ready to require men be fitted with chastity belts because they “might” be rapists and should only get out of those belts after they have paid a fee, passed a background check and been blessed by the local sheriff? How is that different from “universal background checks” or “taking someone’s rights, temporarily” because they do something you don’t like? Or is it your position that you SHOULD be able to shoot someone that kicks your dog in the head or throws a trashcan at your car? Interestingly, some of those situations could be the legal basis for shooting someone in Texas during nighttime.

  10. This is an interesting discussion. I’m in the mind of ‘if you can’t be trusted with a firearm, you should have a custodian or be in jail’.

    But also, pre-crime sentiments are very offensive and unconstitutional. So here we are.

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