Why why why? »« Something is wrong with SIWOTI!

Note to self: Avoid scheduling layovers in Arizona

What the hell is wrong with that state? No public place is safe.

A brain scientist was arrested on suspicion of pointing a rifle toward a woman and her 17-year-old daughter inside a busy Phoenix airport terminal, police said Monday. Peter Steinmetz, 54, who works for the Barrow Neurological Institute, removed the AR-15 assault rifle from over his shoulder in a Starbucks at Sky Harbor International Airport on Friday and pointed it in the direction of the women, Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement. Arizona law permits the carrying of semi-automatic weapons in public areas, including the non-secure zones of airports.

One of the pointless things about security theater is that we now have these amazing pileups of people at security checkpoints — if someone wants to kill a lot of people all at once, do it at the security line on a busy morning at the airport. And the Phoenix airport allows people to stroll in with assault rifles, no problem? If I were a terrorist, my eyes would light up at the news of such a ripe opportunity.

Although, this is Arizona…I’m sure any brown people who walked in with an assault rifle would be immediately confronted, since white people never commit terrorist acts.

And why does that guy (who is living proof that you don’t need to be a genius to earn a doctorate) need an assault rifle at an airport Starbucks? I know the coffee is overpriced and burnt, but there are better ways to respond.

Comments

  1. nomadiq says

    Woah woah woah, leave Starbucks out of it. My local can pour an espresso that is to die for… oh wait, what? Someone pointed an AR-15 at someone and this is just fine? Holly fuck!

    Note to self: If someone ever points a gun at me in a place that takes money, jump over the register and stand behind it. Maybe, then maybe the arsehole with the gun could be tricked into looking like he was committing armed robbery.

  2. Bernard Bumner says

    Just another Isolated Incident which could not have been prevented by reasonable restrictions on firearms possession in public places.

    I can see no reason why an employee of a Neurological Institute should not be permitted to carry a mere tool, as this semi-automatic rifle surely is, in public. I mean, he works in a Neurological Institute – he probably uses it for craniectomies or something…

  3. nomadiq says

    I just read the article. The arsehole in question was arrested. Thank Jebus. But yeah, the point stands. An AR-15 at the airport? If he was brown you can be sure his interrogation back at the police station would be going a little differently.

  4. gardengnome says

    I just can’t get my head around the fact that this bloke can legally swagger into an airport with an assault rifle casually slung over his shoulder. If you tried that here you wouldn’t get through the door before being surrounded by half the police force pointing weapons and yelling at you to drop it.

    ‘Pointing’ such a weapon at someone is tantamount to assault – just what sort of pea-brain does that? And what sort of pea-brains pass laws permitting it?

    Extraordinary!

  5. culuriel says

    Ugh. If he’s convicted, is anyone taking the guns away permanently? Because I think he’s proved he can’t be trusted with firearms. But then, I suppose I’ll have to hear all about how he’ll have no way to defend himself from the real bad guys.

  6. Infophile says

    @5 culuriel:

    In a sane world, we’d be able to do this check to see if someone can be trusted with firearms:

    Q: Do you want a gun?

    A1. Yes.

    R1. Then you can’t be trusted with one. No gun for you.

    A2. No.

    R2. Then we might be able to trust you with one, but we won’t force one on you. No gun for you.

  7. dianne says

    Then there was the man in Pennsylvania who walked into a hospital with a gun and shot two people because he was angry about the “gun free zone” sign.

  8. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    One of the pointless things about security theater is that we now have these amazing pileups of people at security checkpoints — if someone wants to kill a lot of people all at once, do it at the security line on a busy morning at the airport. And the Phoenix airport allows people to stroll in with assault rifles, no problem? If I were a terrorist, my eyes would light up at the news of such a ripe opportunity.

    Although, this is Arizona…I’m sure any brown people who walked in with an assault rifle would be immediately confronted, since white people never commit terrorist acts.

    Yep. My ex used to work at a burger king in the airport. He brought a handgun and kept the bullets separate in another pocket one day. Guess what the fuck happened? Arrested, charged, and all that.

    Oh, except being a wife beater is such a good thing they encourage it. He was already on probation for assaulting me so clearly he needed the protection so they just did the whole extended probation slap on the wrist and let him go. The cops and judged applauded his forward thinking of keeping it unloaded so it was all good.

  9. congenital cynic says

    The mind boggles. If you tried that here (Canada) you’d get a much different reaction, for sure. You wouldn’t make it from the parking lot to the terminal building without someone calling 911 to report you. The US really does have a lot of gun nuts.

  10. karmacat says

    This is a tangent, but looking at his picture, he has right facial droop. Sometimes that is an indication of a past stroke. Of course, I can’t really tell because I can’t see the rest of him and haven’t done a physical exam. Anyway, back to discussion of stupidity, which seems to be multiplied when someone owns a gun

  11. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    Arizona law permits the carrying of semi-automatic weapons in public areas, including the non-secure zones of airports.

    I get that there are “non-secure zones” in airports, and to a certain extent some of Arizona’s residents imagine the state to be a giant real life Road Warrior set, but it is too much to expect that open carry of weapons–which would at least prevent long arms from being there–would be prohibited at airports?

    Of course, when people do try to take firearms through security, and then the authorities get their hands on them, sometimes the damn things just seem to have a habit of going off.

  12. qwints says

    Wow, AZ actually has a specific defense that may apply here:

    13-421. Justification; defensive display of a firearm; definition

    A. The defensive display of a firearm by a person against another is justified when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the use or attempted use of unlawful physical force or deadly physical force.
    B. This section does not apply to a person who:
    1. Intentionally provokes another person to use or attempt to use unlawful physical force.

    D. For the purposes of this section, “defensive display of a firearm” includes:

    2. Exposing or displaying a firearm in a manner that a reasonable person would understand was meant to protect the person against another’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force or deadly physical force.

    On the other hand, in addition to standard assault charges, there’s a specific statute for reckless display of a firearm.

    13-2904 Disorderly conduct; classification

    A. A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person:

    6. Recklessly handles, displays or discharges a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
    B. Disorderly conduct under subsection A, paragraph 6 is a class 6 felony. Disorderly conduct under subsection A, paragraph 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 is a class 1 misdemeanor.

  13. bittys says

    Would it surprise anyone to find out that the NRA’s general counsel was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for shooting a woman to death?

    Source

  14. Doc Bill says

    The news articles said that Gun Doc went to the Starbucks at Sky Harbor and had no other business there.

    First, do you know how many Starbucks there are in the Valley? Lots. Getting to Sky Harbor you invariably drive by a Starbucks.

    Second, who in their right mind goes to an airport to get a Starbucks? You’ve got to drive through the airport grounds, find a place to park in the short term lot then walk to the concourse.

    It’s really, really out of the way to go to Sky Harbor for no other reason than coffee.

    My verdict: Gun Doc is simply an asshole. Probably is at work, too.

  15. Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare says

    You know what gets me about this “I should be free to carry my loaded firearm into Target or whereeverthehell else I want” thing?

    If you take a riflefor example, to Cabellas, to have work done on it–CABELLAS, mind you, the place that may have sold you the rifle in the first place–Big outdoor sports, shooting sports chain Cabellas, NRA and NSSA supporting Cabellas–they halt you at the front door, and you’re escorted with your firearm, properly unloaded and in a case–to the service area.

    I spent years writing safety and compliance programs, including facility security programs for a ballistics test lab, specializing on testing of body, architectural, and vehicular armor. This is a perfectly reasonable security method for the company, and when I was compliance manager for the test lab, we had similar policies for weapons on site.

    Cabellas has more sense about it than the entire state of Arizona. ANd that’s saying something.

  16. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    Also, though I’ve linked to it before, The Daily Show did a piece on this in 2010 with Wyatt Cenac interviewing open carry advocates in Virginia concerning the “discrimination” they’ve suffered. Cenac has a bit in it where he walks into a coffee shop (though not a Starbucks) with a prop pistol strapped to his chest and a rifle slung over his back.

  17. samihawkins says

    And why does that guy (who is living proof that you don’t need to be a genius to earn a doctorate) need an assault rifle at an airport Starbucks?

    The same reason the vast majority of people own an assault rifle, to fulfill their macho fantasies and intimidate people. They know damn well they’re never going to use it in self-defense, they just want to look like a badass.

    As for the incident I admittedly don’t know much about guns or the law, but two things seem pretty obvious to me:

    1. That you don’t point a fucking gun at someone. Ever. I’m pretty sure that’s the first damn rule of gun safety is to never point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot.

    2. If it was loaded he should be charged with reckless endangerment. Even if it wasn’t loaded he should be charged with disturbing the peace by scaring the fuck out of everyone around him. Unfortunately though since he’s a white guy with a gun we all know he won’t be charged with anything.

  18. tsig says

    ” dali70

    29 July 2014 at 9:23 am (UTC -5)

    What happened to common sense?”

    Common sense was overridden by the 2nd amendment.

  19. moarscienceplz says

    AZ didn’t used to be this way. I lived in a small town there until age 18 and I don’t think I even saw a real gun until I was my teens. And my best friend’s father was a Sheriff’s deputy – he left his gun in a locker at work.

  20. anbheal says

    But you can’t bring an empty propane tank into a Home Depot. Because….um…..people don’t explode people, propane does?

  21. cormacolinde says

    I know the coffee is overpriced and burnt, but there are better ways to respond.

    Indeed, grenades are a much better choice in this situation, they would do more damage to their infernal coffee machines.

  22. smrnda says

    “‘Pointing’ such a weapon at someone is tantamount to assault – just what sort of pea-brain does that? And what sort of pea-brains pass laws permitting it?”

    The US is full of gun obsessed pea brained thugs. To the extent that moving is starting to seem like a great idea to me.

  23. davenash says

    I’ll go ahead and suggest is isn’t merely the brain that could be pea sized here.

  24. Richard Smith says

    davenash (#28):

    As someone who is lesser-endowed, I have never felt the need to compensate, either through choice of vehicles or brandishment of weapons. Such speculation is not very helpful.

  25. says

    On the subject of gun nuts in the USA, George Zimmerman has a job as a security guard at an ammunition store.
    Daily Kos link.

    According to a DeLand police report, George Zimmerman has found work as a security guard at Pompano Pats in DeLand.

    Pompano Pats is a locally owned store on South Woodland Boulevard that sells firearms, ammunition and motorcycles.

    The report stated that the owner of the business asked Zimmerman to guard the store due to a recent burglary.

    Don’t wear a hoodie if you go there. Don’t be black either.

  26. says

    samihawkins @21:

    As for the incident I admittedly don’t know much about guns or the law, but two things seem pretty obvious to me:

    1. That you don’t point a fucking gun at someone. Ever. I’m pretty sure that’s the first damn rule of gun safety is to never point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot.

    While that’s not the exact wording of the NRA’s first safety rule, I can see a case being made that it covers your point.

    http://training.nra.org/nra-gun-safety-rules.aspx

    1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
    This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances

  27. greg hilliard says

    According to Phoenx New Times, this is that jackass’s second time doing this. The first was in November when he went to the airport with his son. Steinmetz was stopped then but was allowed to proceed — said he was picking up his wife. There was some outcry over this back then, but clearly nothing has changed. I wish we would ban it. Hell, you weren’t allowed to carry in Tombstone back in Earp’s day. Why should we allow it one?

  28. thewhollynone says

    Barrow has apparently taken Dr. Steinmetz off the website. The wheels of justice grind slowly and exceedingly small.

  29. robro says

    moarscienceplz @24 — “AZ didn’t used to be this way.” Boy howdy. A certain event occurred on Oct. 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, that was, at least ostensibly, an enforcement by the town marshall and his deputies of the local “no carry” law. While there were plenty of questions about the true reason for the enforcement and the actual event, as far as I know no one ever questioned that there was a no carry law.

  30. Steve Caldwell says

    @11 Leo Buzalsky wrote:

    But you’d be in the secure zone, so I don’t see the problem.

    I flew to the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport on a trip to Long Beach and I had to leave the American Airlines secure area to get on my US Air flight to Long Beach (American and US Air were recently merged and this movement between terminals was a real pain).

    But a layover at this airport may require an extra trip through TSA …

  31. says

    Rambo open carry in an Arizona airport legally!

    Next someone will go in with a M-60, AK-47, two Uzi’s and for good measure a machete. (Okay sarcasm over.) What is the point of carrying an assault rifle to go get a coffee? (More of what the world needs someone with jitters and an assault rifle, need I say more.) Is the clerk really that hostile? (Get your coffee at the other countless Starbucks, I am sure there is one across the street.) Not to mention this guy is a brain scientist, he’s got to know about the psychological impact of his actions. (Well one would think. But I’m using my brain, not sure about him.)

  32. says

    For the life of me, I can not understand this obsession with firearms. Is it a sort of puerile boy’s toy thing? A sexual inadequacy over compensation syndrome? Paranoia?
    I must say that I used to enjoy firing weapons on a range whilst I was with in a services environment, but now? In a civilised peaceful society with a credible police force, predominantly not carrying weapons, why should I have a dog and bark myself? I know, even though I am a Brit, about the second amendment to the US constitution, but even so, surely mutans mutandis applies over the change from a frontier rebellious and treacherous society to a first world nation 200 years on.

  33. cuervocuero says

    The irony certainly is that the “Wild West” era of North America knew the dangers of everyone in the street carrying firepower and enacted laws to control them.

    I venture that the proliferation and insistence of unlimited open-carry and Stand Your Ground, etc is a repeat tactic both caused by and emphasizing the narrative that change is bad; Society, constantly framed as being battled free of Hardship surrounded by heathen Savages assaulting the peaceful, law abiding civilized Folk, resulting in a perfect Golden Age, is now degenerating to hazard and misery overrun by heathen savages. Which, of course, requires the same remedy, which was apparently, firepower and lack of desire to negotiate with Others occupying the same space.

    A very similar narrative seems to have been employed all through the US history, in the Indian Wars, the KKK in post-Civil War US, and then by the NRA that popped up coincidently as soon as the KKK and its get were outlawed by Grant in the 1800s. There seems to be a lot of referencing those past events as well, psyching up people to consider themselves in the same historical racial hysteric events, Mark II.

    It looksand feels like Civil War Reconstruction blacklash and Jim Crow re-enactment guilds, countrywide, with the LARPers carrying Hot ammo without even a peace knot because they’re always in Scene; with legal defense provided in legislation for improvisation snuff scenarios acted out in the streets.

    Is that too astray an idea?