Earlier this week various news sources ran a story about how city
officials in Riverside, Calif., are pushing to have a gun maker added as
a co-defendant in a wrongful death suit filed against the city and
involving four police officers who killed a black woman in her car in
According to a report on Monday,
“Gun maker Lorcin Engineering has been named as a co-defendant in a
Riverside, Calif., shooting in 1998, when four police officers shot and
killed an unconscious woman who had one of the company’s .380 caliber
handguns in her lap.”
The woman, Tyisha Miller, was shot when officers say she moved
towards the weapon. But apparently she never even laid a hand on the gun
and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because investigators later learned
the weapon was inoperable.
Granted, the cops couldn’t have known that but, as it pertains to
this column, all of this is beside the point.
What is more to the point is the city’s ridiculous claim that Lorcin
should “share responsibility” for this tragedy. Officials in Riverside
are claiming that Lorcin should be named as a co-defendant because —
now get this — the gun maker “sold the weapon she had on her lap when
she was killed.”
There’s more. City officials also claim that Lorcin is liable because
they fail to provide “consumers” like the late Ms. Miller with proper
safety and gun-usage training. And that the shooting would never have
occurred if Ms. Miller had not had a gun in the first place.
That’s like saying gas stations and oil companies are responsible for
motor vehicle deaths because they failed to tell consumers that gas will
make your car move forward if the engine is running and you use the
accelerator. Meanwhile it’s still legal to sell the gas and
actually put it in your car.
Missing from the city’s shameful attempt to shift blame from itself
and its police officers is its failure to get the maker of the guns cops
used to kill Ms. Miller also named as a co-defendant. After all,
using the line of “logic” offered up by Riverside city officials, if
Lorcin is guilty of failing to provide users with adequate safety
training, so is Smith & Wesson, Glock, Beretta, or whichever company
sold handguns to the Riverside PD.
Besides, a city is traditionally responsible for training its police
officers — presumably in all duties including the use of deadly force.
For city officials to portray themselves as victims of “evil” gun maker
Lorcin Engineering is beyond any reason.
Finally, nowhere is it written that Lorcin — or Lawn Boy, or Aunt
Jemima or Ford or Procter & Gamble Co. — is liable to provide consumer
training. To even consider that is to step into the abyss of surrealism;
if companies are not allowed to assume that consumers of their products
already know how to use them (or will teach themselves how to use them),
then every American company should close its doors and leave town now.
Otherwise they’re going to be next on the legal circus’ hit list.
Riverside’s shameless attempt to use the timeliness of gun industry
lawsuits as a crutch to absolve itself from culpability in Ms. Miller’s
death is indicative of the kind of blameless and irresponsible society
we have become. It seems as though fewer people are willing to take
responsibility for their own actions, choosing instead to plead
ignorance when something goes awry by pointing a finger at someone (or
That’s why, to me, it is hysterical to hear Attorney General Janet
Reno, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and a host of
government stooges talk about the “rule of law” in the Elian Gonzalez
case. These parasites have made a living the past eight years bending,
breaking, twisting, or shredding any and all laws that would have
prevented them from establishing the corrupt junta they have built in
our nation’s capitol. Yet with a straight face they tell Cuban
sympathizers in Miami that they should abide by the law and let
Makes you wonder how these people can sleep at night, doesn’t it?
Bill Clinton himself has refused on occasions too numerous to count
to admit his own responsibility for the Monica Lewinsky affair, let
alone a half-dozen other sexual dalliances he’s had just while shacking
up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And Hillary, the “victim wife,” refuses
to accept responsibility for kicking his cheating rear end out on the
street, probably because of her own alleged dalliances and because she
is too power hungry herself.
Reno still refuses to admit she had any commanding role in the awful
decisions that led to the torching of 80 men, women and children — by
illegally using military resources and equipment — at Mt. Carmel in
1993, despite the evidence and testimony to the contrary. Note to Janet:
You were in charge, whether you want to think so or not. FBI ring a
What about the mounting numbers of Clinton-Gore and Democratic
National Committee officials that have been busted for helping make or
launder illegal campaign contributions? Why do they still refuse, even
during their sentencing in court, to admit they did a damned thing
If you think guns are the problem in this country, I’ve got news for
you — they aren’t. The problem lies in our failure as a society to
embrace the principle of responsibility, no matter what our actions and
no matter what we use to commit those actions.
It is routine for accused men and women to find a “way out” of their
predicament by blaming somebody else for their act. But it is not normal
for those of us charged with judging the act to buy the excuse that it
had to be somebody else’s fault — unless, of course, we’re hoping to
get by with something ourselves down the road.