One of the Latest Local Horrors: Father of Five Gunned Down at Busy Supermarket Mid-Afternoon

Multiple lives shattered in Washington shooting.

As a young Upper St. Clair man is alleged to have killed someone with whom he was involved in a minor dispute which reached a climax at the Washington Shop ‘n Save, a store I have patronized many times, multiple lives have been shattered.

First and foremost, a husband and father of five has been taken from his family, surely leaving those who cared for him in shock, wondering how something like this could have happened at a busy supermarket in mid-afternoon. The gunman and his family will endure a lengthy horror that began when he fired the fateful shot. Shattered for many is the sense of security that one would like to feel and is entitled to feel, particularly at a place like this crime scene, a location at which families with children were certainly present.

The National Rifle Association would tell us that guns save lives and that we dare not interfere with the most expansive view of the Second Amendment imaginable.  We have no right to insist that those who wish to own lethal weapons undergo training in their use nor may we insist that the gun owner be tested to ensure that he or she is psychologically sound. We must not inflict any inconvenience or delay upon the gun owner nor do we have the right to limit the number of guns one may purchase.

I imagine the NRA will be conspicuous in its silence as another life has been senselessly snuffed out by someone with a gun.

To those that are pro-gun and consider my thoughts to be liberal clap-trap, I would ask the following, do you think that in retrospect, and as he spends many years in confinement, that the gunman is glad he brought a firearm with him to settle disputes on this fateful day?

I make no excuses for the victim if he was the aggressor and assaulted the gunman before the shooting, but the decedent would likely be alive today had it not been so easy for his assailant to have killed him.  Was the killing worth it?

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Oren Spiegler October 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Thank you for your response and for the courage to stand behind your comments with your full name. I would ask where in my comments I call for guns to be outlawed. My point is that those who choose to own guns should be subject to no less rigorous regulation than those who seek to tote firearms in our names as law enforcement officers. On The Marty Griffin Show Tuesday, noted Defense Attorney Diffenderfer said, and I quote, "There are no good gun stories", and that if there were, they would receive prominent media attention. He indicated that the gun stories are those like this one, in which a person's life was snuffed out for no reason, the easy availability of the gun leading to tragedy. I would refer you to my original question: do you think the killer is glad that he brought a gun with him that day to settle disputes? Is it worth it to him to spend years in prison?
Oren Spiegler October 25, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Thank you, MSgt. DeLallo, for your respectful and substantive response. I am acquainted with your position on guns from having read your opinions for some time. I am glad that you feel the NRA is not calling the shots, pun intended, with our legislatures. I respectfully disagree. I would correct one assertion in your note. I did not state that the shooter of the bullet was the aggressor; in fact I stated at the beginning of the last paragraph that the individual that was killed is not a sympathetic figure if he was the aggressor, as appears to have been the case. The question is whether the shooter had the right to take the life of someone who punched him. I believe you and I would agree that he did not. I would note that on Tuesday's Marty Griffin Show, noted Defense Attorney William Diffenderfer, who ought to know, said that "there are no good gun stories", meaning that stories like the Shop 'n Save horror are the norm, someone dying for nothing because of their easy access to a gun. Thank you for the civil debate, as always, and for having the courage to identify yourself as you state your views.
MSgt. John DeLallo October 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Mr. Speigler: You make an extraordinarily important point when you speak to the "aggressor" in this tragic tale. Pennsylvania's Castle Doctrine applies to all of us when we are anywhere we may lawfully be. Unfortunately, some folks, unlike you and I, actually believe the law reads "shoot first and ask questions later". The shooter in this case is in dire straights, charged with murder and locked away in the Washington County Jail. Let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that the decedent was the aggressor. Castle Doctrine is clear. You must see a weapon before employing lethal force. Even disparity of force, i.e. 2 or more assailants, a physically superior assailant, is not addressed in Castle. Castle, in short, states you may defend yourself, but you are limited to only such force as is necessary to do so. A 30 year old man is punched by a 55 year old man. All things being considered equal, and absent a weapon, the 30 year old could have responded by breaking the 55 year old's nose with a well placed punch, stopping the aggression. Perhaps repeated punches would have been required. Lethal force to stop a one-on-one encounter where a punch was thrown likely won't stand as justified, and Castle won't be an affirmative defense. You noted that "Defense Attorney William Diffenderfer, who ought to know, said that "there are no good gun stories". Actually there are, but they are rarely published. Google "The Armed Citizen" for a sampling of good gun stories.
Ed M October 26, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Oren, Just because I don't use my last name doesn't invalidate my opinion or comments. Please discontinue the cheap shots.
Pat O'Neil October 26, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Oren, I think in this case you may be correct. But this is not the norm in PA where we have less restrictions on gun ownership. I give you Chicago, one of the most restrictive places in the country when it comes to gun ownership. How many disputes are "settled" with gunfire in Chicago on a weekly basis? Most of those guns are acquired illegally so they can shoot at will while law abiding citizens are disarmed and made helpless against the criminals.


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