Mike the Mad Biologist

Or something. From The Boston Herald:

A purported firearms instructor for the National Rifle Association pulled a handgun on a pizza deliveryman and ordered him to, “Stay out of my neighborhood” after objecting to the frightened pie guy’s driving style, Boston police said….

Robert Michael MacCormack, 32, of West Roxbury, whose occupation on his arrest report states “NRA instructor,” is expected to be arraigned tomorrow in West Roxbury District Court on a charge of assault by means of a dangerous weapon.

You know all that gun safety crap the NRA always insists its involved in. Not so much:

For the public’s safety, police said they seized from the apartment of MacCormack’s girlfriend a DPMS Panther Arms AR-15 rifle, a .380-caliber Lorcin pistol, a 9mm Luger and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. MacCormack is licensed to carry firearms, they said.

None of the weapons was properly secured, police said.

MacCormack first told officers the handguns were in a lockbox. He later told them they would be found in a bedroom nightstand, police said.

FREEDOM!

Comments

  1. #1 Dunc
    July 6, 2011

    Is it just me, or does that particular combo of firearms set off alarms for anybody else?

  2. #2 G127
    July 6, 2011

    Guns don’t kill people. People kill people…

    with guns.

  3. #3 Mokele
    July 6, 2011

    Dunc – I don’t know enough about firearms for that to be true in my case, but the general over-fascination with guns always creeps me out. A pistol for home defense and/or a hunting rifle or two, fine. Several dozen weapons, semi/fully automatic weapons, huge caches of ammo, etc – creepy and probably indicative of a disturbed mind.

  4. #4 Real Magnus
    July 6, 2011

    It was two handguns, a rifle and 131 mixed ammunition rounds for the three guns.

    I Don’t know whats so disturbing about that!

    But I guess it’s all fun and games to make fun of some guy on the internet!

    I guess when you have a legally registered gun on your hip, holstered!!! and you’re in a sport coupe, and that holstered weapon is visible to the guy driving the jeep liberty thats much higher up and enables him to see into the other vehicle . . . Having a discussion with him about why he’s flooring it down street where there are children playing on both sides, constitutes “Brandishing” a weapon.

    The fact of the matter is if they had both been in cars of equal height, the firearm wouldn’t have been visible, and this would’ve just a discussion.

    All I can guess is when you live in a neighborhood where you hear gang violence and gunshots on a regular basis, you just assume everyone that owns a gun is a bad guy!

  5. #5 FrauTech
    July 6, 2011

    The “cache” of weapons doesn’t seem like that much to me (hundreds of rounds of ammo is not a whole lot). I own a lot more than that. On the other hand, I don’t believe in conceal carry OR open carry. I get where Magnus is coming from, but I think it creates more misunderstandings than it does save lives or deter real killers. I own to shoot at ranges because it’s fun and something I enjoy. I also believe us left, communist hippies should not be afraid to own guns because psycopathic red-staters should not be the only ones with guns and ammunition when we default on our debt and the country collapses into an apocolyptic ruin. Just kidding about the apocolyptic part. I hope.

  6. #6 Real Magnus
    July 6, 2011

    @FrauTech:

    the supposed cache was a 9mm w/15rds , a .380 w/7rds, and an AR-15 w/20rds(6boxes) of 5.56mm.

    MacCormack is licensed to carry concealed but was inside his vehicle (a sport coupe) which required him to lift his sweatshirt and slide his holster forward, enabling him to buckle his seatbelt.

    The alleged victim was able to see the gun only because of his vantage point in the higher vehicle.

    This case is less about gun safety and more about gun paranoia!!!

  7. #7 Nomen Nescio
    July 6, 2011

    Is it just me, or does that particular combo of firearms set off alarms for anybody else?

    it’s just you. all of the firearms mentioned are common and unremarkable models.

    if anything, it’s nowhere near enough for a firearms instructor. to be, and remain, competent enough at shooting to teach others anything about it, i would have expected him to own at least one .22-caliber (most likely rimfire) rifle and/or pistol, for cheap target practice; none such is listed. if he HAD owned such a weapon, well, .22LR ammunition is usually bought in packs of 500 cartridges — or in bulk packs of 5,000.

  8. #8 Surgoshan
    July 6, 2011

    That guy was an NRA instructor? Seriously? Because he violated every single rule for safe gun handling there is. Either he’s a complete asshole hypocrite who pulled a gun with no intention of using it despite the fact that that is the last thing you should ever do… or he honestly intended to kill that guy.

  9. #9 Nomen Nescio
    July 6, 2011

    as for the specific allegations in the case — if this guy really acted the way he is claimed to have acted towards some random pizza delivery guy, then he’s been grossly negligent and irresponsible and should receive some form of reprimand or punishment, to be sure. however, i’m not willing to take one newspaper’s word for the details of any incident like this without more corroboration. it’d be much too easy to make a story like this bleed for the purpose of sales. the police report, if any, might — might — give a more reliable picture of what actually happened.

  10. #10 coeruleus
    July 6, 2011

    The appropriate response to someone “tearing through” my neighborhood is to…get in my car and try to catch up with him!

    Totally OT here, but Deno’s is some really good pizza, folks.

  11. #11 nichole
    July 6, 2011

    @RealMagnus
    Do you have more information about this? If so, where from?

    And did the guy lie to the cops about where his guns were? Indicating that he knew they should be locked up but weren’t? I wouldn’t stick my neck out for this guy, if I were you. He sounds like a real douche.

  12. #12 Derek Ledbetter
    July 6, 2011

    Here’s a press release from the Boston P.D. The news report wasn’t exaggerating. The delivery driver said MacCormack actually pointed a gun at him.

    http://www.bpdnews.com/2011/07/02/suspect-arrested-for-armed-traffic-enforcement/

  13. #13 Art
    July 6, 2011

    The weapons:
    DPMS Panther Arms AR-15 rifle – This is an inexpensive journeyman-level copy of the standard ‘black rifle’. Accuracy, reliability, durability are all unspectacular but good enough for light hunting and range use.

    The choice of the full length barrel, when everyone is shooting carbines, is interesting. Shows some independent thinking. A longer barrel gets you a bit more velocity and a longer sight line if you use iron sights but it makes the rifle a bit heavier and less handy in tight spots. It also makes it a lot harder to conceal.

    .380-caliber Lorcin pistol – It is a cheap SA pistol. Nothing to brag about but functional when new. They have a tendency to become unreliable as they wear. Mainly selling point is they are cheap. Once shot out only useful for people who feel they have to be able to show they have a gun. That and a paperweight.

    9mm Luger – If it has historic provenance, or it it in pristine condition, it could be a collector’s item. Doubtful given the mans previous avoidance of spending. Likely a well-worn conversation piece that gets shot once a year. Of no historic significance or collector interest. Perhaps a family heirloom.

    As a weapon the Luger dates back to WWI and it was never seen as a great weapon. Accuracy was good but the knuckle mechanism is exposed to dirt so reliability can be poor if it is not kept very clean. The Luger mainly looks good but it can also be serviceable as a weapon if pampered.

    Firearms can be used to profile a person. From this I would say that Robert Michael MacCormack, 32, of West Roxbury, is lower-middle class, interested in firearms but not fanatical about it. He has an array of firearms which might be seen as the minimum for a credible ‘firearms instructor’. Sounds like ‘NRA firearms instructor’ was a sideline to make some pocket money. A step up from prospect-less and unemployed.

    The amounts of ammunition are unremarkable as a dedicated shooter might burn through a few hundred rounds at a sitting at the range. He has too little for a dedicated survivalist, the sort who hunkers down in a bunker and waits for the Golden Horde to flow out of the city. He has too many to be a ‘bum with a gun’ who buys ammunition a box at a time out of poverty or disinterest.

    His confrontation with the pizza guy was likely seen by him as being something of a public service, civic minded, and moderately heroic. It might have been to outside observers if he left the gun behind, or left it concealed. As it is he crossed the line from concerned citizen addressing a dangerous driver to thug when he pulled the gun.

    He sounds frugal and value oriented. Concerned but not one prone to conspiracy theories.

  14. #14 Nomen Nescio
    July 6, 2011

    Derek, that does sound pretty bad for the (hopefully soon to be former) firearms instructor. that’s basically road rage (residential street rage?) plus assault with a deadly weapon (at least, i believe brandishing counts as assault). serious repercussions are very much in order against this fellow and his anger management / impulse control problems.

  15. #15 Matt
    July 6, 2011

    The alligation is that he drew the gun and pointed it at the victim. Not that he spotted it on the guys hip in the car. The aledged verbage is a lot more than just lecturing the pizza guy to.
    Lieing to the police is also a serious ofense.

    Nothing strikes me as particularly interesting about the guns or ammunition types or quantities. I also support the right to carry. But if anything close to the police complaint took place this is far FAR from gun paranoia.

  16. #16 Art
    July 7, 2011

    “Lieing to the police is also a serious ofense.”

    Why should that be?

    Certainly anyone who has their eyes open understands police lie to the public and police academies teach them how to do it. Anyone aware of how police answer the standard question ‘what makes you think my client was about to turn violent’ and how the answer is always some variation of a list lifted from a standard law enforcement textbook understand this.

    By rights citizens should be free to lie their ass off to police. Most do as a mater of course. Some by design but also just as a function of being human and a very poor video recorder. Everyone who has looked at it objectively recognizes that eye witness testimony is the lowest form of evidence.

    If police took it as written that everyone, including other police officers, lied every time they opened their mouth we might be a step or two closer to justice.

  17. #17 Wow
    July 7, 2011

    “”Lieing to the police is also a serious ofense.”

    Why should that be?”

    Because the police are asking a question that you ARE duty bound to answer.

    It’s illegal to lie to a judge in court after being sworn in. It’s illegal to lie to the taxman.

    It isn’t as if it was a serious breech, not having his guns secured would have him cautioned and later checked to see if he’d properly secured the weapons. If not, then the guns SHOULD be taken from him and he should be banned from owning them since he’s not competent in their safe keeping.

    But lying about how he isn’t securing the weapons means that he KNOWS and DOES NOT CARE that he’s unsafe with guns.

  18. #18 george.w
    July 7, 2011

    @Art: “Firearms can be used to profile a person.”

    Your comment was very interesting and informative Art. Sounded kind of familiar, even.

    Having a lot of guns doesn’t, in itself, really say that much about someone’s intentions. My dad owned dozens of guns from muzzle-loaders, a tiny Derringer like the one used on Abraham Lincoln and a 45-70 blackpowder rifle to a few modern pistols and rifles. He cast his own bullets and reloaded his own cartridges hundreds at a time so he had plenty of ammo to practice with. Not surprisingly he was a very good shot, but I think his interest in guns was mainly historical. In the ’60′s he was featured in the student newspaper as the “Pistol Packin’ Professor” for a slide-show lecture that he did on gun history, even though he never carried a gun until years after he’d sold the collection. Toward the end of his life, traveling alone in remote areas, he kept a .38 where he could get to it.

    But if all you knew about him was the idiotic student newspaper headline and the fact that he owned dozens of guns, you’d get a quite different impression.

    Behavior is a different matter; just the single fact of pointing a gun at a pizza delivery guy for stupid driving actually tells you a lot. It’s the sort of thing one should be expected never to do, not even once.

    My dad was excruciatingly careful never to let a barrel even momentarily swing in the direction of a person. I’m pretty sure he would have said this guy simply shouldn’t own guns – too hot-headed.

  19. #19 Matt
    July 7, 2011

    @Art
    We all know there are bad cops. We all know there are bad departments. We all know there are corrupt judges. We all know the system isn’t perfect…

    But it is time for you to grow up and drop the knee jerk utter hatred of everything police related. Some of us actually LIKE living in a first world country where we have police and people have a duty to follow the law.

    The guy COULD have said nothing. That is his right. But lying to the police is not typically your right. And it shouldn’t be.

    In your bazaar world view “By rights citizens should be free to lie their ass off to police.” I should be able to just tell an officer I saw you commit murder and it is no problem for me. Or I could simply say I was on a trip to Utah the day of the break in (though I wasn’t) even though that just makes more work for the officer and obstructs justice.

    Maybe you should find a nice little lawless town in Africa to settle down in.

    For the rest of us when the cop asks ‘where are your guns kept’ we can stick to the truth or our right to remain silent.

  20. #20 samspade
    July 10, 2011

    To me this is nothing but a screed against gun ownership. Something I think we should all know is that we have a right to bear arms under the 2d Amendment. Let me see if I understand all of the balderdash on this. I will agree MacCormack should not have brandished his weapon and there is a law in most states concerning this. The next point with which I must disagree is on his lying to the police. Some idiot said that you cannot commit perjury in court. He wasn’t in a court Ta Dum! The minute the police started asking him questions for all practical purposes he became a defendant, he should not have lied, but at that point under the 5th Amendment he can tell them to pound sand and then stand mute. Another point here is that if there were no children in the household the requirement that weapons be secured is next to ridiculous and is nothing but nanny overreaching by the state of Mass. I’m sure glad the Minutemen weren’t so reckless as to brandish their weapons at the British at Concord Bridge. As far as the ammunition found in the apartment, if he was a firearms instructor was his apartment supposed to be full of legal pads and pencils? He did not exercise very rational behavior he should have just written down the license number of the pizza driver and reported him, end of story.

  21. #21 OAWehmanen
    July 10, 2011

    From a New York State report

    Since 1981, some 26 police officers across the United States have been shot and killed by
    fellow police officers who have mistaken them for dangerous criminals. These fatal
    shootings are doubly tragic, first because both the shooters and victims in such situations
    are risking their lives to enforce the law and protect the public, and second because many
    of these deaths are preventable. The dangers that give rise to these deaths are inherent in
    policing, but those dangers can be reduced and more deaths prevented.

    So the best trained and responsible shooters kill each other.
    And we want the common Joe to to have an AK47!

  22. #22 Lord Setar
    July 11, 2011

    “Something I think we should all know is that we have a right to bear arms under the 2d Amendment”
    Awesome! I’m off to buy some nuclear warheads!

  23. #23 Nomen Nescio
    July 12, 2011

    @#21, you’re assuming that police officers are “the best trained and responsible shooters”. citation needed.

    @#22, you do not appear to have a point. no constitutional right is absolute. having the same sort of legal discussion (and culture) around the limitations of the 2nd amendment as we have already long had around the 1st would hurt noone; in fact such is already beginning to emerge, post-Heller.

  24. #24 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    @23, the police are supposed to be trained and responsible. If they aren’t, then they’re failing at their job.

    Also, given that the right to bear arms was for the defence of the state and for a militia, in what way does PERSONAL ownership of arms become a constitutional right?

  25. #25 Nomen Nescio
    July 12, 2011

    the police are supposed to be trained and responsible.

    at handling and using firearms, specifically? or at apprehending criminal suspects and keeping the peace? there’s a difference, after all, and one should hope noone decides to be a cop just because they want to handle guns. (how much firearms specific training do your local beat cops get? how often do they train, and how much shooting is involved in such a training session? maybe you should ask them.)

    as to your second question, the answers (plural) and the debate around them were the kernel of our still-growing legal debate around the second amendment. given that this was lawyers and friends of the court making their cases, the explanation won’t fit in a blog comment, naturally. you could do worse than to look up the filings and amicus briefs — yes, for both sides — in the case of D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008). its various follow-on rulings have continued the debate further, and the issue is sure to gain more elaboration over many years to come.

    the executive summary is that private, individual, firearms ownership is a legal and constitutional right in the USA, as interpreted by the supreme court. the reasoning and arguments for this can’t be summed up very concisely; partly because lawyers, and partly because the issue is genuinely complex.

    overall, though, allowing people this right doesn’t sem to be very troublesome in practice — the vast majority of people can in fact be trusted with deadly force (we trust people to drive cars, don’t we?) and the small minority who are not so trustworthy would be causing trouble even if causing trouble was entirely illegal. we need to deal with such troublemakers on an individual basis, not by passing laws that presume the populace at large are not to be trusted — nothing less would be justice.

  26. #26 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    “at handling and using firearms, specifically?”

    Yes. Armed police are trained and expected to be experts at firearms specifically.

    “or at apprehending criminal suspects”

    Well, yes. That too. But you don’t need armed police for that.

    “and keeping the peace?”

    And definitely no arms needed for that.

    “as to your second question, the answers (plural) and the debate around them were the kernel of our still-growing legal debate around the second amendment.”

    Isn’t that called “not in the constitution”?

    It’s fine to make laws allowing or restricting things when those things aren’t mentioned in the constitution, but the constitution makes provision for a millita and says that FOR THAT REASON the right to bear arms should not be infringed.

    If there’s no millitia, no such reason exists, therefore no such right is in the constitution.

    Make a law saying that you can keep an AK47 by all means, but don’t make out it’s a constitutional right.

    After all, the fact that tactical nukes aren’t allowed was dismissed summarily by you for the same reasoning.

  27. #27 Nomen Nescio
    July 12, 2011

    Yes. Armed police are trained and expected to be experts at firearms specifically.

    that’s nice. if it’s actually true, then we can have a discussion over whether or not it’s a good idea. but where’s your evidence that this is so in reality?

    Isn’t that called “not in the constitution”?

    lots of things aren’t in the constitution. lots of things couldn’t possibly be, given the hard-fought compromises that made up its creation. i’m not a constitutional originalist; i’m proudly in the living-document camp when it comes to constitutional law.

    we pretty much have to be constantly reinterpreting it, reading new things into it to fit the changing circumstances of society, because the people who wrote it are dead and their unspoken intentions lost to us. (and even if they weren’t, they were just people too, same as us; they’d be inventing new compromises to fit the circumstances, just as we are, were they still around.)

    currently we’re reading an individual right to arms into it. that’s judicial reality, as well as political and factual reality — cope.

    (incidentally, i am mightily amused to see someone who apparently wants to ban — or at least strictly restrict — personal firearms making a constitutional originalist argument for it. how the worm has turned!)

  28. #28 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    “that’s nice. if it’s actually true”

    OK, if it isn’t true, what are police officers doing with handguns?

    Remember the original post you cottoned on to?
    ++++
    21

    From a New York State report

    Since 1981, some 26 police officers across the United States have been shot and killed by fellow police officers who have mistaken them for dangerous criminals. These fatal shootings are doubly tragic, first because both the shooters and victims in such situations are risking their lives to enforce the law and protect the public, and second because many of these deaths are preventable. The dangers that give rise to these deaths are inherent in policing, but those dangers can be reduced and more deaths prevented.

    So the best trained and responsible shooters kill each other.

    ++++

    So what are police officers doing with firearms if they’re not trained in them?

    That your brain seems to be unable or unwilling to answer drives your other theories of right well into woo-territory.

  29. #29 Nomen Nescio
    July 12, 2011

    if it isn’t true, what are police officers doing with handguns?

    wrong comeback. if it isn’t true, it can be disproven.

    police officers being part of a bureaucracy, there’s any number of reasons they may have access to things they should rightfully have no business going near. the existence of SWAT teams provides all manner of cases in point. read some of Ed Brayton’s more incensed postings on these SciBlogs, or read some of Radley Balko’s classics on the militarization of U.S. police departments. the mere fact that they are carrying guns is by no means evidence that they should — and that goes for anybody, not just the police.

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