The usual local gun nuts celebrate.
I beg to differ.
This is a suburban area, and not out in the middle of the boonies somewhere. The people living in this neighborhood have a right to certain expectations. They are in their social, if not necessarily technically legal, right to expect not to have to worry about neighbors playing music too loud, running around naked, or have to worry about some guy playing wild, wild west.
In other words, they have a right to expect their neighbors to act in an orderly manner, just as their neighbors can expect the same from them.
There are only a few reasons that I can think of for why this guy would have to carry a weapon while planting a tree:
- He was traumatized by an earth worm when he was little,
- There have been some really, really big termites spotted in the neighborhood,
- The chipmunks have formed a street gang,
- He was looking for his fifteen minutes of fame, or
- He was looking to make a case to challenge the gun rules.
Either way, in my opinion, it was foolishness on his part.
The thing that burns me up though is the attitude by Mr. Krause and many of his supporters:
"The reason people are upset about this is it's not about guns. It's about civil liberties. And we obviously have a property issue. There was no warrant issued, no exigent circumstances, no permission to enter the property, yet the police stormed in with guns drawn and put my life at risk," Krause said. Asked why he was carrying a gun to plant a tree, Krause said, "There's no requirement to justify why you're able to exercise constitutional rights. I and everyone else are able to go to church, they're able to vote, they're able to speak their mind. Even though the city might not like it, we have that right."Toting a firearm around unnecessarily is not the same as going to church, voting or shooting off one's mouth. No one has ever felt intimidated by someone else going to church. Voting does not endanger anyone else's safety, no matter how much you might disagree with the candidate.
And the cops had every right to respond as they did. In fact, that is how they are trained to respond. They don't know who this guy is or what he's doing. They only know that there was a report of someone walking around with a gun. In those circumstances, you do show up in force to make a presence, which helps to deter people from doing something foolish or dangerous. And given that someone was alarmed enough to call the police, that is all they reason they need to come on his property and confront him. Judging from his comments in the article, I would not be surprised to learn that he was lipping off to the cops as well. That would fit in with someone trying to make a point or get some attention.
Furthermore, the only person that put his life at risk, as he claims, is himself. If he didn't think far enough ahead to realize that someone might feel threatened by a guy with a gun, or that the police would respond accordingly, that's too bad for him.
On a slightly different track, my good friend Illy-T agrees with the premise that disorderly conduct is an overly general, catch-all kind of crime. There is some logic to his position, but I disagree that it is a bad law, or that it did not apply to this case.
When I worked at group homes or psychiatric hospitals, or even at the House of Correction, there was always a catch all kind of rule like this. The reason being is that someone would inevitably do something stupid and/or dangerous, then try to rationalize their poor behavior by claiming that there was no rule specifying whether they could or could not do whatever it was they did. This catch all phrase would then apply.
I readily admit that it can be abused by some law enforcement officers, and there are stories that prove it, but this is not one of those cases.
I think the judge made the wrong call on this case. While open carry is not necessarily illegal, it doesn't make it the right thing to do. Mr. Krause behaved in a way that was disorderly for a quiet, suburban neighborhood, whatever his motivation might have been, and should be held responsible for those behaviors.