One of the Most Dangerous People I’ve Ever Known Owned An AR-15
I’ll be removing or changing specifics, such as names and places from this story as I see fit. Not so much in an effort to protect the guilty but more so for my own safety. Dangerous people tend to not take too kindly to you writing about them on the internet. I’ve decided to go ahead and do so anyway.
I grew up around a lot of unsavory and violent people. Not all of them, or even the majority of them were necessarily bad people. Many of them just made bad decisions, be it drugs or the people they looked up to. Plenty of them had terrible parents and horrific upbringings. While none of the reasons above are a valid excuse for being violent, research and common sense tell us they all play a major role in the development of aggressively violent — and even murderous people. Those capable of committing absolutely horrific crimes.
The first and one of the very few people I’ve ever met who owned an AR-15 was without a doubt also one of the most aggressive people I’ve ever known personally. For the sake of the story, we’ll call him Tony.
Tony sold drugs, professionally. It’s how he paid his rent, made his living and afforded a nicer car than the teacher’s at the High School he attended. In retrospect — it’s probably why he felt the need to buy an AR-15 to protect himself to begin with.
He often carried it in the trunk of his car. At the time, I assumed doing so was highly illegal since everything else he did was. Turns out, he was actually within the legal limits of our state laws — if by chance he was chauffeuring it around unloaded and had no drugs in his possession. But If you knew Tony, you knew it wasn’t unloaded. On the off chance it was, I imagine he kept the ammo for it somewhere close to his heart, perhaps in his shirt pocket.
In fairness, of all Tony’s aggressive outbursts I witnessed personally, I never seen him shoot someone or even point the AR-15 at anyone. So that’s good. However, I did see him ‘playfully’ pull out his much less threatening 9mm on various people — myself included. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a gun pulled on you but let me tell you, it feels anything but playful, regardless of size.
One time I was in the back of his car and as fate would have it, Tony got himself into an ugly traffic dispute. It started out minor, as most do. The other driver and Tony took turns purposely cutting each other off in the middle of traffic on a crowded city Avenue, just after school had let out.
Tony’s girlfriend was riding shotgun (no pun intended) at the time. Tony reached directly across her and spit on the other man’s car. The driver of the other vehicle was none to pleased about this and reciprocated. I don’t know if the man meant for this to happen but his wad of spit landed directly in Tony’s girlfriend’s face. Tony was barely nineteen at the time, the other driver — a fully grown man who immediately realized what a predicament he just got himself into. The man attempted to speed off and a full out chase ensued.
The other driver, terrified at this point, pulled in behind the church of a local Catholic High school and locked his doors. As Tony got out of the car with a small bat he apparently kept between the seats of his car, the other driver informed him he had just called the police from his cell phone. Thankfully, that was enough to convince Tony to pull off before it escalated any further.
I can’t tell you what Tony’s criminal background looked like, I just know he broke the law on a daily basis and is more than likely out there somewhere still doing the same exact thing. While I never seen it happen with my own two eyes, it was also rumored he had put his hands on his then girlfriend, on more than one occasion.
I can’t tell you if he bought his AR-15 legally or not, I have no idea considering if he didn’t have a criminal record, he easily could have acquired one legally.
Here’s what I do know. Tony had no legal or legitimate use for an AR-15. While defending your own life is well within every American’s legal rights, as it turns out, doing so with an AR-15 because you sell drugs for a living is not only heavily frowned upon but also highly illegal. Go figure.
While I agree there has to be something severely wrong with anyone who is capable of murdering innocent people by the masses, be it at school or elsewhere, I can also tell you as aggressive and violent as he may have been — Tony was not mentally ill. Just really ill tempered and liked big guns. Despite never being diagnosed as mentally unfit or incompetent, I don’t find the fact the Tonys of the world have legal access to such weapons comforting.
As gun lovers across the Nation have made clear in the last two days, after an AR-15 was used to kill 17 people in a Florida school shooting— an AR-15 is not a fully automatic rifle — it’s a gas powered semi-automatic rifle that is said to have an effective firing range of up to 600 yards. In 2016, experts cited by The New York Times estimated the AR-15 was owned by “easily several million” private citizens. The National Rifle Association refers to it as “America’s rifle”. I recognize it as my former favorite weapon of choice back when I used to play the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto as a kid. While I now realize and acknowledge an AR-15 is essentially just a dressed up hunting rifle, there’s still one question I’d like to leave you with.
After everything I’ve just disclosed, how does it make you feel to know Tony and his AR-15 are still more than likely out there somewhere?
I don’t know a lot about guns and don’t claim to. I just know a lot of people who aren’t fit to have one but do anyway. I’m not looking for a debate, just some basic human decency and empathy in hopes it’ll help restore my faith in us as a species. While that’s my hope, I’m not counting on it. Thanks for reading.