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Gross Misconduct
June 21, 2007 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Man fired for saving life. Follow-up here.
posted by Snyder (410 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I do feel for him---this kind of thing is why I'm self-employed now.
posted by metasonix at 10:56 AM on June 21, 2007


he didn't need the gun to save the woman's life and that's not why they fired him
posted by pyramid termite at 10:59 AM on June 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


Yeah, p t, he should've just run toward the sound of a gunshot unarmed. That would've been smarter.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:01 AM on June 21, 2007 [10 favorites]


Not in my backyard! No wait, go ahead.
posted by phaedon at 11:01 AM on June 21, 2007


It's gun-control gone crazy! It’s perfectly reasonable that he’d carry a gun when helping a woman who’d been shot in a domestic brawl! …hang on a second, what was that last part?
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on June 21, 2007


Seems fine to me. The outrage is predictable, but misplaced.
posted by OmieWise at 11:05 AM on June 21, 2007


Was he on the clock? "Dozing in his apartment" doesn't indicate so - and that makes it his home, not his workplace, and not subject to workplace policies. Or am I totally misunderstanding?
posted by goo at 11:08 AM on June 21, 2007


Here is part of the company's response:

"In a signed statement by Mr. Bruley that we have released, he states he heard what sounded like a domestic dispute at midnight and then two hours later at 2:00 a.m. he grabbed his shotgun and went to the scene. When he left his apartment armed, he had no indication a gun was in play at the scene. He did not follow procedures and contact 911 at any time that night. We do not condone residents or associates jeopardizing their safety or the safety of others by intervening in police matters. Our policy does not permit weapons of any kind at the workplace for the safety of all."
posted by Outlawyr at 11:09 AM on June 21, 2007


Seems fine to me. The outrage is predictable, but misplaced.

Any and all outrage not directed to the Bush administration is indeed misplaced. However, a guy getting fired for acting as a good Samaritan? I don't see any reason why that shouldn't piss us off.
posted by Epenthesis at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2007


Outlawyr: Can you cite that somewhere? The story states that he heard a gunshot, grabbed his rifle, and went to the scene.
posted by triolus at 11:11 AM on June 21, 2007


Just because he was trying to help, and did help, doesn't mean he made all the right choices.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:12 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


mister termite, as a self-employed gun owner, i'm willing to sacrifice your life to an unknown gunman in the adjacent apartment on the altar of gun control, but not my own, and what i do in that situation isn't your decision to make.
posted by bruce at 11:12 AM on June 21, 2007


He wasn't fired for saving the woman's life. He was fired for having a gun at his work. Nice editorializing, there.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:13 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


On a related note; this just goes to show that you should never help anyone and never be nice. It always backfires.
posted by triolus at 11:13 AM on June 21, 2007


He wasn't fired for saving the woman's life. He was fired for having a gun at his work. Nice editorializing, there.

Semantics.
posted by Snyder at 11:16 AM on June 21, 2007


I wish I knew more about the scene. Bloodied leg?
posted by voltairemodern at 11:16 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


He wasn't fired for saving the woman's life. He was fired for having a gun at his work. Nice editorializing, there.

He wasn't on the clock, he was fired for having a gun at his home. Nice editorializing, there.
posted by TungstenChef at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


fandango_matt: He wasn't fired for saving the woman's life. He was fired for having a gun at his work. Nice editorializing, there.


No, he was fired for having a gun IN HIS OWN APARTMENT and using it to protect someone else. "Leaving it to the police" is horseshit... where I live, it would take the police at least 30 minutes to get to my house.

An employer can not strip you of your rights.
posted by triolus at 11:19 AM on June 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


He was fired for having a gun at his work.

Getting fired should be the least of his worries. Bringing a firearm into the workplace is a very serious deal.

It's not clear if he carried a weapon while on call prior to this incident, and if I worked around someone who decides to arm himself before coming to the job — for whatever reason — I'd be very concerned for my safety and the safety of my coworkers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:20 AM on June 21, 2007


No, according to the story:

"...his employers, the same people who own the Arlington complex where Bruley lives, reacted differently. They fired him.

Bruley, a leasing agent at the Oaks at Mill Creek, said he lost his job after being told that brandishing the weapon was a workplace violation, as was failing to notify supervisors after the incident occurred. He'd worked at the Monument Road complex since December and for the owner, Village Green Cos., since 2005."


Since he worked at the complex, that makes it his workplace.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2007


Bringing a firearm into the workplace is a very serious deal.

Are you even reading? He had it in his home and responded to what was clearly distress in the wee hours of the morning in an apartment in the same building that he lives in. He did not bring a gun to work.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2007


Getting fired should be the least of his worries. Bringing a firearm into the workplace is a very serious deal.

It's not clear if he carried a weapon while on call prior to this incident, and if I worked around someone who decides to arm himself before coming to the job — for whatever reason — I'd be very concerned for my safety and the safety of my coworkers.


He lived at his job. He kept the shotgun in his apartment. He was a leasing agent, so he was not on-call, or working 24/7. If he was packing all day in his office, or bringing his gun to the Bippy-Mart, I'd be more inclined to agree with you.
posted by Snyder at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


An employer can not strip you of your rights.

You mean along the lines of, say, drug testing?

Employers can do whatever they want, doubly so if they think that you don't have the financial means to engage in lengthy - and expensive - legal battles.
posted by dbiedny at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


The only thing stupider than zero tolerance policies are the pinheads that uncritically enforce them. ("I have no choice. The rules plainly say......")
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


It's not a handgun, it's a rifle, and apparently his home is located at his place of employment -- an apartment complex. So they fired him not so much because he "brought a gun to work" as the fact that he has a hunting rifle at all.
posted by cotterpin at 11:24 AM on June 21, 2007


Since he worked at the complex, that makes it his workplace.

So if you work as a building supintendant, you lose your ability to own a firearm? Bullshit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:24 AM on June 21, 2007


He should have brought his gun to the meeting where they fired him, it might have ended differently.
posted by jonson at 11:26 AM on June 21, 2007 [7 favorites]


An employer can not strip you of your rights.

he can strip you of your job, however

it's obvious that his apartment was at the complex his employer owned, therefore he was carrying a gun on his employer's property

mister termite, as a self-employed gun owner, i'm willing to sacrifice your life to an unknown gunman in the adjacent apartment on the altar of gun control

bzzzzt - it's not a gun control issue, it's a private property issue ... an employer says he does not want employees having guns on the property, an employee violates it

So if you work as a building supintendant, you lose your ability to own a firearm? Bullshit.

if it's a condition of your employment that you don't have one on the property, yes

you are free to work for someone else
posted by pyramid termite at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2007 [6 favorites]


The complex where I live forbids its residents -- all its residents -- to have guns on the premises. The legality of this is fuzzy to me...on the one hand, you're within your constitutional rights to own a firearm, but on the other, waiving this right is written into the lease. In any event, if this guy signed a similar lease, he (as well as his neighbors!) violated it. And if those were the rules, and if everyone in the building had followed them, there would have been no incident to respond to in the first place. Just sayin'.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2007


>>Just because he was trying to help, and did help, doesn't mean he made all the right choices.

Hindsight from a comfy chair, in front of a computer, with plenty of time to consider the matter being 20/20 and all.
posted by SaintCynr at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Aren't Constitutional rights statutory, in that you can't agree to be deprived of them?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2007


a: The article does not say he heard a gunshot. It says he heard a scream.

b: His home was his workplace -- he worked for the apartment complex on site.
posted by The World Famous at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2007


Semantics.

It really isn't. I'm as pro-gun as they come, but they did not fire him for saving the womans life.

Now if they do in fact have policies which restrict him from having a firearm in the workplace, and he willingly continued to be employed by them, then this termination is justified.

I don't think it's appropriate, and I don't think what he did was wrong, and in the same circumstances, I like to think that I would have done the exact same thing.

But, that doesn't necessarily make the company that fired him wrong.
posted by quin at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2007


posted by Pope Guilty So if you work as a building supintendant[sic], you lose your ability to own a firearm? Bullshit.

That probably depends on the conditions of your employment with the owners of the building of which you are the superintendent.

If I was a building owner, I wouldn't want my super running around with a shotgun, either. I'd want him to call the cops and the ambulance and administer first aid. Building supers are not cops, and I don't want them pretending they are.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2007


If I was a building owner, I wouldn't want my super running around with a shotgun, either. I'd want him to call the cops and the ambulance and administer first aid. Building supers are not cops, and I don't want them pretending they are.

So which private citizens are allowed to own guns?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:30 AM on June 21, 2007


you are free to work for someone else

Oh, so the people who don't like smoke can do the same right? And the smoking bans can go away? < /derail>

This is not a property rights issue. It's a civil rights issue. People in America have the right to own a gun. Period. The apartment complex can't stop their residents form having one, let alone an employee. You do not become a vassal to your landlord when you sign a lease (though they make you feel like one).
posted by triolus at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


you are free to work for someone else

Libertarianism only works if you want to pack heat.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, p t, he should've just run toward the sound of a gunshot unarmed. That would've been smarter.

i once worked at a gas station job where i was told there had been someone shot outside on the sidewalk

i went outside, unarmed, to check it out while my partner called the police

there had been two shot, one fairly seriously ... i flagged down the police car

i'm sorry that you don't feel that was an intelligent thing for me to do

i wonder if it's a matter of intelligence or courage
posted by pyramid termite at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by Pope Guilty So which private citizens are allowed to own guns?

Only straw men who live on slippery slopes.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2007 [9 favorites]


On preview:
And if those were the rules, and if everyone in the building had followed them, there would have been no incident to respond to in the first place. Just sayin'.

Right. There would no violence without guns. He couldn't _possibly_ have beaten, stabbed, or raped her. That couldn't happen without a gun.
posted by triolus at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2007


posted by triolus The apartment complex can't stop their residents form[sic] having one, let alone an employee.

Wrong.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2007


He was fired for having a gun at his work.

He was fired for a having a gun in his home.

His home also happens to be his place of work. And it seemed like he was in his "off hours" at the time, but as anyone who has every worked for the housing they live in know, the division between "off time" and "on time" can be fuzzy at best.

I don't own a gun, I don't like guns, but then again I'm a hardcore art wuss. But if someone hears a gunshot and cries for help, god bless them if they get it into their head to grab a gun and run to the scene to help, because I'll be the dude cowering in the safety of my living room or running in the other direction.

As I said I don't care for guns because I believe the bad clearly outweighs the good, but I can at least recognize that in some situations they provide a good. In this case it would have been great if neither the shooter or the Samaritan had a gun, but once the "bad guy" is armed it's good for "good guys" to feel they can defend themselves, if it means they will be more inclined to take action and help.

Of course soooo many MeFites are that brand of hard-lefties that I as a moderate-lefty tend to be embarrassed to be lumped together with at times like these. So I was expecting nothing less then a shitload of people happy to see a man fired for owning a gun in his home and using it to try and protect his fellow human beings. You never let me down MeFi!
posted by Jezztek at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2007 [8 favorites]


The articles are pretty unclear as to the situation. From what I understand, the guy was at work, heard a gunshot and a scream, grabbed his shotgun, and went to help the woman, who was bleeding heavily from the leg, and had collapsed. He rendered aid, and was later fired for having a gun on company property, failing to notify his supervisor of the incident, and failing to call 911.

Please correct my understanding of the scenario if it in incorrect.

Now, as to what happened, I think he did the right thing. I can't say that I entirely fault the employer for firing him, but given the particular circumstance, it seems like disciplinary action (for having the gun on company property, and for failing to follow protocol post-event) would be more appropriate.
posted by !Jim at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2007


This is not a property rights issue. It's a civil rights issue. People in America have the right to own a gun. Period. The apartment complex can't stop their residents form having one, let alone an employee. You do not become a vassal to your landlord when you sign a lease (though they make you feel like one).

On the other hand -- and call this semantics if you will, 'cause it may be -- they're not curtailing your right to own a gun; they're curtailing your right to bring a gun to their property. How all this works in terms of landlord/tenant law, I have no idea (i.e., how legal this actually is, I have no idea), but there is a distinction.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:36 AM on June 21, 2007



i'm sorry that you don't feel that was an intelligent thing for me to do

i wonder if it's a matter of intelligence or courage


If you had ready access to a weapon, and were trained in it's use, then yes, it would have been stupid, not courageous if you chose not to bring it.
posted by Jezztek at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2007


fandango_matt: He wasn't fired for saving the woman's life. He was fired for having a gun at his work. Nice editorializing, there.
But wasn't he a resident employee, akin to on-site apartment managers (who are usually residents given a moderate rent discount in return for being the on-site manager). It's not like he came from off-site with a gun, from what I'm gathering he woke up from his own apartment, where he legally had a gun (surely they can't forbid him from having a gun in his own home) and took it with him.


Larger question: what's with the lack of common sense in these situations? I.e., why is it so hard for so many people who are these paper pushing management types to just breathe in, relax, and put it all in perspective? Just take the simple "Technically you did something wrong- so if some emergency happens again, please make sure you tell us as soon as possible we we're not in the dark. Good work, but watch for that in the future, but in this case it turned out well." Problem solved- you don't wade into these PR nightmares where you just end up on the defensive.

It still never ceases to shock me that there are people so stupid as to think a by-the-book process-following idiocy will end up turning out well. Are they psychopaths or something, completely unable to foresee or understand how other people will react to their behavior?
posted by hincandenza at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2007 [10 favorites]


Right. There would no violence without guns. He couldn't _possibly_ have beaten, stabbed, or raped her. That couldn't happen without a gun.

Would have been tough to shoot her, I'd argue.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


i wonder if it's a matter of intelligence or courage

There's a difference between courage and foolhardiness.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2007


There's a difference between courage and foolhardiness.

there's a difference between experience and internet wanking
posted by pyramid termite at 11:40 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"On a related note; this just goes to show that you should never help anyone and never be nice. It always backfires."
Unlesss......you are a character on the Seinfeld. finale.

Good Samaritan Law (wiki)
posted by HyperBlue at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2007


He had it in his home and responded to what was clearly distress in the wee hours of the morning in an apartment in the same building that he lives in. He did not bring a gun to work.

There's nothing in the Constitution that says you have the right to carry a weapon into the workplace.

For those who bothered to read the article, he was not fired for owning and storing a firearm in his home.

Once he left his home, he "brandished" the weapon: entering the workplace armed. This is the basis for his termination.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


there's a difference between experience and internet wanking

Wow, you must be the only person to ever render aid to a gunshot victim. You're my new hero.
posted by Snyder at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2007


So which private citizens are allowed to own guns?

Ownership =/= running around the workplace brandishing a weapon.

This is not a property rights issue.

Sure it is. The owner of the property gets to tell the non-owners not to have guns on the property. The renters can still own guns, but they can't keep them on someone else's property w/o permission.

It's a civil rights issue. People in America have the right to own a gun. Period.

The right to own a gun is in no way implicated in this situation. You may be confusing the right to own a gun with what you think is the right to carry a gun anywhere you want and keep it anywhere you want, which is not a right.

The apartment complex can't stop their residents form having one, let alone an employee.

They can certainly prohibit the residents from brining firearms onto the property. They can most definitely prohibit their employees from brandishing firearms in the workplace. Try waving a loaded gun around your office sometime and see if you don't get fired.

You do not become a vassal to your landlord when you sign a lease (though they make you feel like one).

What does that have to do with anything?
posted by The World Famous at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


This is not a property rights issue. It's a civil rights issue.

what about an employer's civil right not to have firearms on their property?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2007


It still never ceases to shock me that there are people so stupid as to think a by-the-book process-following idiocy will end up turning out well. Are they psychopaths or something, completely unable to foresee or understand how other people will react to their behavior?

As I tried to point out earlier, this guy is a victim of the zero-tolerance mentality that pervades everything nowadays. Organizations try to codify every fucking thing they can think of so, if anything unusual happens, no actual thinking has to take place.

It's only gonna get worse, because schoolchildren learn early on that by-the-book is the way situations are to be handled. It's why you see a story seemingly every month that a student gets sent home for possessing aspirin or mints that look like pills, etc.

Brains -use 'em or lose 'em.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow, wtf is up with all the "He brought a gun to work, so of course he should be fired."

He was at home, kids. Learn to read.
But his employers, the same people who own the Arlington complex where Bruley lives, reacted differently. They fired him.
Bruley said he was too shaken to call his supervisor immediately after the incident, which occurred just before 2 a.m., but planned to eventually do so.
It wasn't like he was working at a bank and kept an uzi in his desk. He was at home. It was the middle of the night. He heard gunshots.

Most of the people saying he deserved to be fired would probably stay in their apartments like cowards.

My favorite quote from this whole story:
When he left his apartment armed, he had no indication a gun was in play at the scene.
You know, aside from the SOUND OF GUNSHOTS.

Meanwhile...
Bruley said he found the woman bleeding heavily. He handed the shotgun to a neighbor, tied a tourniquet around her right leg and waited for police and rescue to arrive.
He wasn't waving a gun around, and apparently somehow emergency services were summoned.
After emergency officials took Lee to the hospital, Bruley returned to his apartment and tried to settle down, eventually falling asleep. He said he could have called his supervisor but didn't think she could do anything at the time. He said he was called into the office about 9:30 a.m., gave his account and then left. He said he was called back that afternoon and told he was fired.
So police and paramedics show up. They take her to the hospital. That's sorta like what happens when you call 911, isn't it? Remind me, what was it that he was fired for? Why should he think he needed to call 911 when the police and paramedics are already there? He gets home, says "Whoa, that was messed up!" and goes to sleep. It was probably 3 or 4 in the morning. He woke up and explained the event to his employers at 9:30 the next morning. Apparently he was supposed to know to wake up his bosses, who could do absolutely nothing about it, in the middle of the night.

The people who fired him are huge fucking douchebags, and I hope he gets lawyered up and cleans out their bank accounts.
posted by mullingitover at 11:44 AM on June 21, 2007 [13 favorites]


Metafilter: Nice editorializing, there.
posted by psmealey at 11:45 AM on June 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


Yeah Benny, my 5 year old was sent home from school for using his thumb and forefinger to emulate a gun. WTF.
posted by HyperBlue at 11:45 AM on June 21, 2007


Aren't Constitutional rights statutory, in that you can't agree to be deprived of them?

That is not the case. You can agree in a contract to not exercise a civil right. Happens all the time. For instance, a lot of contracts contain mandatory arbitration clauses, in which the signatories sign away their right to file civil lawsuits.

A lot of employment contracts for professionals contain secrecy clauses (where the employee explicitly signs away part of their right of free speech) and non-compete clauses (where the employee signs away part of their right to work for anyone who will offer them a job).
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:45 AM on June 21, 2007


Clickwrap, employwrap, where does it end? I still can't figure out the EULA on this can of pepsi.
posted by zerolives at 11:47 AM on June 21, 2007


Well, if you're feeling like formally expressing your feelings on the topic, here' where you should go. Please do not harass The Kinks.
posted by nanojath at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2007


An employer can not strip you of your rights.

pyramid termite: he can strip you of your job, however
So, if we have a 1st amendment right to religion, my employer can't prevent me from exercising my religious freedom in my personal life- but he can strip me of my job for holding religious beliefs? Wait- no, that doesn't sound right. That sounds illegal, actually... so why would the 2nd amendment be similarly curtailed? In this case, he owned a gun, in his home. Can they any more strip that right than they could have a "No Christians" rental policy on their apartment units?

The only fuzzy loophole here is when he was an "employee at the workplace" where they might be allowed to have a no-gun policy, and when he was a "private citizen" in his own home. Well, he can't be an employee 24/7 or they owe him a shit load of back overtime pay; so he must be "on-call" at best during the night time, and in that case was he "on-duty" when he responded? I think the argument can be readily made he was not, and that he was responding not to a formal "fix my leaky plumbing" request from a tenant, but as a private citizen.

So they can't realistically have fired him for *owning* or brandishing a gun, but they can fire him at-will- and doing so makes them look like utter fucktards.
Benny Andajetz: The only thing stupider than zero tolerance policies are the pinheads that uncritically enforce them. ("I have no choice. The rules plainly say......")
Right, that's exactly what puzzles me. Who are these people, and are they as emotionally broken as it seems? I can't imagine being so unimaginative that I wouldn't even think to simply ignore the rules when it was for the best.
posted by hincandenza at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2007


It might be useful here to explain that his being fired is not stepping on his Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment is related to what the government can and can't do, not private companies.

Much like it's not a violation of my First Amendment rights if I post confidential information about the company I work for, and they fire me. I have the right to speak, but they have a right to terminate me for violating their rules.

Now, it might be worth discussing if it is right that we allow companies to have policies that supersede those granted to us by the Constitution, but with the reality of the way thing work in the United States today, companies can most certainly dictate polices like this to their employees.
posted by quin at 11:49 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Once again for the slow: He was not fired for owning a gun in his home, he was fired for brandishing the gun in the workplace.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:51 AM on June 21, 2007


He did not hear gunshots.
posted by The World Famous at 11:51 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Once again for the slow: He was not fired for owning a gun in his home, he was fired for brandishing the gun in the workplace.

Does that make it right?
posted by Snyder at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2007


Yes.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:54 AM on June 21, 2007


It's irrelevant he used the gun in a legal manner while rendering first aid to someone?
posted by Snyder at 11:56 AM on June 21, 2007


It's irrelevant he used the gun in a legal manner while rendering first aid to someone?

As it turns out, yes. Is it outrageous? Absolutely. Is it legal? Apparently.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2007


It's irrelevant he used the gun in a legal manner while rendering first aid to someone?

Yes.
posted by The World Famous at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2007


Does that make it right?

As a safety issue, I don't want my employees bringing weapons into where I work. Period. I don't care how well-intentioned they may seem after the fact. It's not even relevant.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2007


And since Blazecock Pileon is apparently a bit slow as well, he wasn't at the workplace, he was at his home. I mean, I telecommute every now and then- does that mean my apartment is now the workplace too, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Can I be fired for what I do in the privacy of my own home, even if legal, simply because my employer doesn't approve and the workplace now apparently extends to "all points in the space/time continuum"?

Unless.. well, this is where the "feudal cocksuckers/willing vassal" term is bandied about, because if you steadfastly refuse to see a distinction between the workplace and your private and life home... you're kind of a tool.
quin: Much like it's not a violation of my First Amendment rights if I post confidential information about the company I work for, and they fire me. I have the right to speak, but they have a right to terminate me for violating their rules.
Along with what ScdB said, isn't the clear distinction here that your employment included the contractual obligation to not reveal information pertaining to your work? I mean, they couldn't make you sign a document saying you wouldn't participate in the gay pride parade when it was a personal, private, non-work matter that had no bearing on your work? Clearly, there's a difference between "commercial speech that may be bound by a contract with civil repurcussions such as lawsuits or termination of employment/contract" and "the company gets to regulate EVERYTHING you ever say or do!"

Nice try, Mussolini.
posted by hincandenza at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2007


triolus writes "This is not a property rights issue. It's a civil rights issue. People in America have the right to own a gun. Period. The apartment complex can't stop their residents form having one, let alone an employee. You do not become a vassal to your landlord when you sign a lease (though they make you feel like one)."

I don't disagree with your sentiment, but he has not been evicted. He has been fired, but he's still living at the complex.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:59 AM on June 21, 2007


he was fired for brandishing the gun in the workplace

He did not hear gunshots

So what? He did a good thing. He didn't use the gun. He didn't intend to use the gun in any kind of offensive ( as opposed to defensive) way.

Was what he did smart? Maybe, maybe not. He lived and worked there, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as to whether a gun was reasonable or not. Are his actions worthy of inspection and discussion? Certainly. Was it wrong to summarily fire him because a rule was broken? Almost certainly.

What would everyone's reaction be if he went unarmed, didn't assist the victim, and got himself killed?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:00 PM on June 21, 2007


What would everyone's reaction be if he went unarmed, didn't assist the victim, and got himself killed?

Do you even have to ask?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:00 PM on June 21, 2007


As a safety issue, I don't want my employees bringing weapons into where I work. Period. I don't care how well-intentioned they may seem after the fact. It's not even relevant.

He was also a tenant, a private citizen on his own time in his residence, helping out another tenant.
posted by Snyder at 12:01 PM on June 21, 2007


And since Blazecock Pileon is apparently a bit slow as well, he wasn't at the workplace, he was at his home.

You don't do your opinion any favors by mischaracterizing the factual reason for his being fired.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by hincandenza And since Blazecock Pileon is apparently a bit slow as well, he wasn't at the workplace, he was at his home.

And since you're a bit slow, he wasn't in his apartment, he was at the scene of the shooting, which was on the property of his employers.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:02 PM on June 21, 2007


hincandenza writes "The only fuzzy loophole here is when he was an 'employee at the workplace' where they might be allowed to have a no-gun policy, and when he was a 'private citizen' in his own home. Well, he can't be an employee 24/7 or they owe him a shit load of back overtime pay; so he must be 'on-call' at best during the night time, and in that case was he 'on-duty' when he responded? I think the argument can be readily made he was not, and that he was responding not to a formal 'fix my leaky plumbing' request from a tenant, but as a private citizen."

He was responding to an emergency, and there is a clear policy for such, which he violated. I think I would have done the same thing, though I don't own a gun, so I can't fault the guy. But his employer is sticking to their policy.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:02 PM on June 21, 2007


He didn't intend to use the gun in any kind of offensive ( as opposed to defensive) way.

Defensively using a gun? What, shooting the other bullets out of the sky? Blocking bullets with the gun?
posted by The World Famous at 12:05 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I think "outrageous" is a bit strong. Mind you, my feelings on gun ownership are far from cut-and-dried...the notion of a society where functional adults without criminal histories can't own guns -- where only agents of the state are allowed to own guns -- makes me nervous, frankly. And I think it's great that this guy rushed to this woman's defense. On the other hand, had I been a resident of the complex...walking back to my place late, let's say, or taking out the trash in the dead of night...and all of a sudden this silly fucker who thinks he's Bruce Willis is all hopped up on adrenalin and pointing a gun in my general direction? Frankly, that makes me pretty damn nervous as well. Were I a resident of that complex, I don't think I'd be outraged to learn that he had been let go.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2007


You don't do your opinion any favors by mischaracterizing the factual bullshit reason for his being fired.

Fixed that for you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:09 PM on June 21, 2007


Hmm... given the current information, I'm leaning towards "it's within the company's rights to fire this guy and give themselves a bunch of bad publicity."

Defensively using a gun? What, shooting the other bullets out of the sky? Blocking bullets with the gun?

So you don't think it's possible to use a gun defensively? You'd have to rule out a ton of cases of "self-defense" where people physically fought back (not simply deflected an attack) in order to ward off or stop an attacker. Simply brandishing an gun can be defensive in itself.
posted by the other side at 12:12 PM on June 21, 2007


Hey I agree with the gun-nuts on this one. What happened to common sense? I mean, hey, maybe it's technically against regulations, but he saved this lady from a terrible fate, no? This guy was fired for using his own judgment, and for placing a higher premium on achieving a good outcome than he placed on following every ridiculous regulation to the letter.
posted by Mister_A at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Defensively using a gun? What, shooting the other bullets out of the sky? Blocking bullets with the gun?

The "brains- use 'em or lose 'em" defense rests, your honor.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fixed that for you.

Well, at least if folks aren't repeatedly lying about him being fired for having a weapon in his home, that's progress, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:16 PM on June 21, 2007


And if those were the rules, and if everyone in the building had followed them, there would have been no incident to respond to in the first place.

Unless a visitor is on property with a concealed firearm. I bet ya' 'dollars-to-dougnuts' they don't have a security screening with metal detectors at the apartment complex.
posted by ericb at 12:17 PM on June 21, 2007


all the people on this thread who support the firing have a special obligation. if you're ever shot by someone, don't just yell "help, i've been shot, save me." you must yell "help, i've been shot, i'm a liberal, save me." that way, knowing in advance your scorn at my bringing a gun along to protect us while i try to save you, i have the option to respectfully and regretfully decline.
posted by bruce at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


Once again for the slow: He was not fired for owning a gun in his home, he was fired for brandishing the gun in the workplace.

And since you're a bit slow, he wasn't in his apartment, he was at the scene of the shooting, which was on the property of his employers.


That doesn't make it his workplace. He's a leasing agent. Does he do that in his apartment? In his neighbor's apartment? No. It does it at an office. An office that he was called into in the morning, as stated in the article. Could the office be in the same complex? Maybe. That still doesn't make his apartment his workplace.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


hincandenza : Along with what ScdB said, isn't the clear distinction here that your employment included the contractual obligation to not reveal information pertaining to your work?

Ok, and I believe the company in question here is saying that they had a contractual obligation with their employees to not have firearms in the workplace. (And before we have another go-around on this, when the gun was in his apartment, it was fine, the moment he took it into a common area it became 'having a gun in the workplace.')

I think they are making a mistake by firing a guy who did something heroic, but that is their choice. Just as it was his choice to work for them in the first place.

Nice try, Mussolini.

Awesome!
posted by quin at 12:20 PM on June 21, 2007


He did not hear gunshots.

From the first article: "When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg."
posted by ericb at 12:22 PM on June 21, 2007


Well, at least if folks aren't repeatedly lying about him being fired for having a weapon in his home, that's progress, I guess.

Good thing no one said that. Yes, he did take it out of the apartment, but, we wasn't just wandering around work brandishing it, either, as you imply.
posted by Snyder at 12:22 PM on June 21, 2007


There is one, and only one, lesson to be learned from this: Unless one is self-employed, it is unwise to live and work in the same place.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:23 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


posted by Mister_A What happened to common sense?

When will we stop asking rhetorical questions?

posted by Mister_A I mean, hey, maybe it's technically against regulations, but he saved this lady from a terrible fate, no?

If by "terrible fate" you mean "bleeding to death/losing a leg," then let's be clear: he didn't use the shotgun to administer first aid.

posted by Mister_A This guy was fired for using his own judgment, and for placing a higher premium on achieving a good outcome than he placed on following every ridiculous regulation to the letter.

No, he was fired for bringing a gun to his workplace.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:25 PM on June 21, 2007


Here is the link to the employer's version of what happened:
http://www.jacksonville.com/images/062107/statement.pdf

If in fact Bruley signed a statement that says, "When he left his apartment armed, he had no indication a gun was in play at the scene" then that is pretty significant. It was 2 hours after the domestic dispute. The article says "When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg."

It was a scream he heard, not a gunshot. He heard someone scream she had been shot, but the dispute was 2 hours ago, and he signed a statement saying he had no indication a gun was in play when he grabbed his own gun and went running up there. It would be nice if the employer had just said, hey, no big deal. But they didn't. They fired him. Is that nice? No. Is it legal? Yes. Is it a good business decision? Maybe.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2007


The "brains- use 'em or lose 'em" defense rests, your honor.

Then give me an example of defensive gun use.

Pretend for a moment that you're an employment lawyer asked by the employer to render advice:

Employee brandished gun in the workplace. Employer has unambiguous policy about it.

What do you advise them?

Consider future liability issues if he's not fired.

Odds of future liability of some kind related to not firing him? Non-zero.

Odds of liability for firing an employee who violated an unambiguous and lawful policy? Zero.

Do you advise your client to take the action with a non-zero chance of future liability, or the action with a zero chance of liability?

Do you want to know who the heartless people are who make these bright line rule decisions are? They're lawyers.

ericb: He did not hear gunshots.

From the first article: "When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg."


I assume you posted that to confirm that he did not hear gunshots.
posted by The World Famous at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2007


Simply brandishing an gun can be defensive in itself.

Or simply get you shot. Brandishing a gun, in and of itself, can also be viewed as a criminal act; an offensive act, as it were.

Read the article, sided with the company. Not sure what he planned on doing, really, as he neither confronted anyone with a firearm, nor could he use a shotgun as a makeshift tourniquet.

What would everyone's reaction be if he went unarmed, didn't assist the victim, and got himself killed?

Let's bat this strawman around, shall we? If he went unarmed, he'd have been, well, almost everyone else. If he didn't assist the victim, he'd have been heartless. If he had gotten himself killed, he'd have been dead.

None of those instances happened - he went armed, he assisted the victim, but, see, the third opposite never occurred. He didn't engage in a shootout to save her life, he never fired the gun, he, in fact, wasn't even supposed to have it on the premises.

Let's try a more interesting strawman. Replace every single instance of "shotgun" with "kilo of coke," and tell me then what you think? Same principle - it's something he wasn't supposed to have there, period. Doesn't matter if he saved her life while carrying around a kilo of coke, does it? He would've still been arrested for the coke. He still would've lost his job for possessing drugs in the workplace. However, I doubt folks would've been up in arms (excuse the pun) over it, because, well, we all know drugs are bad, right?

What clouds this issue is that there was a firearm involved. He wasn't supposed to have it, he was caught with it, case closed. The fact that, while being in possession of it, he also saved someone's life, is a separate issue. The firearm apparently had no role in saving her life, so I fail to see why it's a point of discussion.
posted by FormlessOne at 12:28 PM on June 21, 2007


Washington Post:
"The story begins at approximately 2 a.m. on June 12, when Bruley awoke to screams in his apartment complex near Jacksonville. The 24-year-old, who worked and lives in the complex, was on medical leave at the time and recuperating in his apartment. When he heard a female voice shout, ‘I've been shot,’ he grabbed his shotgun and rushed to the scene in only his boxer shorts.

His neighbor, Tonnetta Lee, had been shot in the leg in a third-floor ‘breezeway.’ A former hospital attendant and nursing school student, Bruley began administering first aid. He located the exit wound at the back of her right leg and surmised (accurately, as it turns out) that the bullet had struck an artery. He then removed Lee's belt and used it as a tourniquet, applied pressure to the wound and kept her calm until an ambulance arrived some 15 minutes later. His actions, according to the victim's family, ‘saved her life, or at least her leg.’

Covered in blood and still shaking from the incident, Bruley stumbled back to his apartment and attempted to relax. ‘It felt like I was coming down after drinking seven shots of coffee,’ he told me. He showered, called an old friend in Detroit and tried to fall back asleep. He did not, however, immediately call his supervisor about the incident.

The next morning, at about 10:30, he was called into the leasing office and asked to file an incident report. The victim's sister, Erica Jenkins, was also there, and she thanked Bruley.

When he was called back to the office that afternoon, he said, he thought that his employer intended to give him a commendation. Instead, another manager, on the phone from Cincinnati, said she was ‘very disappointed’ in the way Bruley handled the situation. Bruley was then fired for ‘gross misconduct,’ he says.

According to a complaint he says his supervisor gave him, Bruley violated The Village Green Company's rules by failing to notify his supervisor immediately and by brandishing a weapon in the workplace.

…Yes, Bruley may have deviated from protocol -- but he did so in an emergency situation. He put the life of his neighbor -- who was also his client -- ahead of his own safety. Which raises the question: Isn't this the kind of person any company would want as an employee?"
posted by ericb at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


posted by oneirodynia That doesn't make it his workplace. He's a leasing agent. Does he do that in his apartment? In his neighbor's apartment? No. It does it at an office. An office that he was called into in the morning, as stated in the article. Could the office be in the same complex? Maybe. That still doesn't make his apartment his workplace.

Once he left his apartment, he was at his workplace and on his employers' property.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2007


I mean, they couldn't make you sign a document saying you wouldn't participate in the gay pride parade when it was a personal, private, non-work matter that had no bearing on your work? Clearly, there's a difference between "commercial speech that may be bound by a contract with civil repurcussions such as lawsuits or termination of employment/contract" and "the company gets to regulate EVERYTHING you ever say or do!"

IANAL. My understanding is that there is no constitutional issue involved here. The reason that things like employment contracts are not permitted to contain clauses like "We may fire you if you become Muslim" is because Congress has acted to prevent such things from appearing in employment contracts. Such a contract clause could be challenged on that basis.

But it cannot be challenged on First Amendment grounds, because the First Amendment doesn't apply. The First Amendment says that "Congress shall not..." but doesn't say anything about what private citizens do to each other.

Based on what I've read, the issues are these:

1. Apparently the guy was fired for carrying a shotgun in response to an emergency situation.
2. The guy was on his own time.
3. He was in his home when he heard an altercation and grabbed the shotgun he legally owned, and carried it to the scene of the altercation, where it turned out he didn't need it, and ultimately didn't point it at anyone.
4. His "home" was an apartment provided to him by his employer, the complex.

So if this ends up in court, there would be lots and lots of fun legal issues.

1. Does his employment contract actually contain any clause pertaining to firearms, and exactly what does it say?
2. Does his employment contract actually apply to periods when he's off duty, even if he is living in company-provided residence?
3. Is the clause in question genuinely work-related? Could it be considered invalid according to statute?

I don't think anyone participating in this discussion knows enough about his contract, or the specific applicable law, to actually answer any of these questions.

I will say this: irrespective of the legal situation, this was a profoundly stupid act by the employer. It's a major public relations gaffe.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:32 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Can't you get fired for attempting to stop a robbery if you work at some convenience stores or banks? The companies don't want the liability or potential increase in conflict the a "John McClain" can impose on coworkers, customers, police, and passersby.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:32 PM on June 21, 2007


"Right. There would no violence without guns. He couldn't _possibly_ have beaten, stabbed, or raped her. That couldn't happen without a gun.

Would have been tough to shoot her, I'd argue."

He could have shot her up with a crossbow.

Just saying.

----------

I have no idea of the legalities here and the description is a bit confused. But what I'm interested in is that some people almost seem critical of him getting involved, that he should leave it to the experts. Don't we want people to extend themselves? I admit that holding a gun when you're scared and not trained to military/LEO standards does bring some danger to others but this is a pretty extreme situation. Even if they are nervous or don't have the best idea of what to do I'm grateful some people are willing to respond just as ordinary citizens. Tragedies will happen as a result but I would rather they come that way than the disconnection present when Kitty Genovese was murdered. I think that by sticking to their zero tolerance policy here the landlords are removing a little bit of the inclination one has to respond to someone else's distress beyond making a phone call. For litigation reasons that might be all they want but I'm glad some would do a little more.
posted by BigSky at 12:32 PM on June 21, 2007


I can't believe the number of people so totally missing the point here. Really, it's shocking.

1. He is a leasing agent, not a "super". That means he has a cubicle in the central office that he performs his job in between regular business hours. He is not an employee of the apartments and on call 24/7. He's an office worker. He shuffles papers and shows people the pool and work out room.

2. He had a gun in his private domicile, which happens to be at the same complex he works.

3. The entire apartment complex is not "his workplace". His workplace is his cubicle at the central office.

4. I assume they have policies against having sex on the job as well. Does that mean he can't have sex in his own apartment at 2am?

Seriously, I can't imagine how some of you are arriving at your conclusions.

Absurd.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:33 PM on June 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


Oops... damn Post button...

I mean, if this guy had burst into her apartment, and the b/f was still there, and they had gotten into a shootout, perhaps sending bullets and buckshot through the walls, you don't think every one of those tenants involved (or potentially injured/killed) wouldn't sue the crap out of the property mgmt. company? It just makes sense. If you leave it to the police, the only entity liable is the state. I do agree it's bad PR, but like mentioned above, the publics' reaction is misplaced.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2007


"Three months earlier Bruley received a commendation from the company for diffusing a fight on the property and treating the wounds of a man hit in the head with a baseball bat. 'I was told I handled that situation excellent,' Bruley said.

It seems the one thing Bruley did different this time was carry self-protection – which happened to be a gun. A touchy subject in some circles. But after listening to Bruley tell me about going deer and duck hunting while growing up in Michigan, I had no doubt he knew how to safely handle a gun.

Amazingly, the shotgun Bruley took with him had only one shell in it, and it was bird shot at that. If you know anything about bird shot, it’s the same thing Dick Cheney was using when he shot his friend in the face a few years back. It would have been enough to annoy somebody, but certainly not enough to bring someone down.

Given the fact that Bruley had only one shot, and that he did not know where the shooter was nor how many weapons or rounds he had, going out to find this shooting victim was a pretty gusty thing to do.

But know that he didn’t do this alone in Rambo-style. One of Bruley’s neighbors served 21 years in the US Navy, and it was the two of them together that went into the dark, calling out to the woman, 'Where are you?'

Bruley said 'I can see them terminating me if I was firing off rounds or if I had shot someone. But I didn’t do that. I saved a woman’s life.'

And that he did. He was the right person in the right place at the right time.

Here's why:

At age 18 Bruley took life support/first responder training, took nursing classes at college, and worked at a hospital—with a lot of experience transferring patients from the Life Flight helicopter to the emergency room.

'I had a lot of OJT dealing with emergency trauma situations,' Bruley said.

And that training paid off. They did not know where the woman was. He called out questions to assess the situation:
Where are you?
Where are you shot?
Where is the shooter?
Upon reaching the woman and examining the wound, he noticed an extraordinarily large amount of blood between the door of her apartment and where she was. He told his neighbor 'it looks like a femoral artery wound.' He handed his gun to the retired Navy man and applied a tourniquet, which he tended until the police arrived.

Bruley said that by the time the police arrived ten minutes later, he was pretty much covered with blood.

...in the ten minutes it took for the police to get there, she probably would have bled to death. The doctors told her the tourniquet had definitely saved her leg, and probably her life."*
posted by ericb at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


"This is not a property rights issue. It's a civil rights issue. People in America have the right to own a gun. Period. The apartment complex can't stop their residents form having one, let alone an employee. You do not become a vassal to your landlord when you sign a lease (though they make you feel like one).”

My lease says I can’t have a fishtank, waterbed, or a dog. I can own one, just like this guy can own a gun, I just can’t take it on the property that is owned by my landlord.

I think this company is trying to send a message to any other employees. You’re not cops, you’re not supermen. If something like this happens, call the cops. Follow company policy.

What if two people responded with guns? One of them might have shot the other.

Yes, this guy might have saved this woman’s life. That’s good. He got fired as a result. That sucks. But he didn’t get fired for saving her life, he got fired because he violated company policy. Things very well could have turned out another way, leaving this guy or someone else dead. I don’t think his employer would want that hanging over their heads.

Also, a good Samaritan law holds people to different levels of protection, depending on their level of training. A doctor who gives a tracheotomy to a choking victim at the mall and screws up is not going to be protected just because he was trying to do a good thing. I don’t know if that would matter in this situation, but its possibly a factor.

All that said, I think this guy did The Right Thing. I hope I would do the same, regardless of the outcome.
posted by bondcliff at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2007


4. I assume they have policies against having sex on the job as well. Does that mean he can't have sex in his own apartment at 2am?

No, it means he can't have sex in a public area of his workplace.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:38 PM on June 21, 2007


Or simply get you shot. Brandishing a gun, in and of itself, can also be viewed as a criminal act; an offensive act, as it were.

Of course it can be (and is often) an offensive/criminal act. But that has absolutely nothing to do with my point.
posted by the other side at 12:39 PM on June 21, 2007


ericb: He did not hear gunshots.

From the first article: "When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg."

I assume you posted that to confirm that he did not hear gunshots.


Yes, but more importantly he knew that someone had been shot ("I've been shot.") -- and it is reasonable for him to take a gun with him, sinse he suspected (as he has stated) that a gunman might still have been on property at the time he went to assist his wounded neighbor. With his previous emergency response training he appears to have followed protocol for such (i.e. shouting out "Where are you? Where are you shot? Where is the shooter?" and progressing to her assistance with another neighbor.)
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2007


[...] which was on the property of his employers [...]

Employee brandished gun in the workplace.

Once he left his apartment, he was at his workplace and on his employers' property.

Sounds like spurious reasoning to me. If I have a job at a convenience store that has a dress code, do they get to fire me if I decided to buy a coke there one day and don't actually meet the dress code? Seriously? Employers get to dictate their employees' behaviour even when not on the clock?

I understand employment at will. I also understand that "he was brandishing a gun at his workplace" is a bs argument because the employee was not on the clock and was at his place of residence. That he might have worked in the same building is completely irrelevant if he's not on the clock. I also very much doubt the employer would be remotely liable for any illegal activity by an employee who is off the clock and at his residence.

I imagine legally the company had every right to fire him for any reason they felt like. It's just that the reasons given are complete bullshit.

On Preview: what Ynoxas said.
posted by splice at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2007


Also, I meant to add that if he were somehow illegally possessing the firearm in public, the police would have taken care of that detail.

In the absence of an "illegal possession of a firearm in public" charge by the police, then I think the apartment complex erred badly.

The complex was counting on this being a non-story. It became a huge story. They will suffer because of this.

Chances you take.

This guy needs to get back into medicine.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2007


on reading ericb's comments, I was almost swayed, but I still must side (partly) with the company. Just because this fellow was calm and qualified to medically assist, doesn't mean that every employee will react in the same fashion. Still, if he had a decent job record, it shoulda been a write up at most. Additionally, they should be slapped with a hypocrisy charge for commending him in the earlier incidents.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:42 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by oneirodynia That doesn't make it his workplace. He's a leasing agent. Does he do that in his apartment? In his neighbor's apartment? No. It does it at an office. An office that he was called into in the morning, as stated in the article. Could the office be in the same complex? Maybe. That still doesn't make his apartment his workplace.

Once he left his apartment, he was at his workplace and on his employers' property.


No leasing agent I know works in the hallway, either.

The owner of the landscaping company I worked for also owned a cafe, on the same property, actually. If I stopped by the cafe and hung out for two hours on the weekend, can the owner fire me for taking an unauthorized lunch? I'm not on the clock. I'm not at my workplace. But you're arguing that because the people I work for own the piece of property, I could be fired for violating the terms of my employment. That makes no sense.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:42 PM on June 21, 2007


3. The entire apartment complex is not "his workplace". His workplace is his cubicle at the central office.

Is that your legal opinion, based on the legal definition of "workplace" in that jurisdiction?

4. I assume they have policies against having sex on the job as well. Does that mean he can't have sex in his own apartment at 2am?


If he was fired for having sex outside in the middle of the apartment complex where he works, nobody, including you, would be saying the termination was wrong.

ericb: If you know anything about bird shot, it’s the same thing Dick Cheney was using when he shot his friend in the face a few years back. It would have been enough to annoy somebody, but certainly not enough to bring someone down.

If you know anything about Dick Cheney shooting his friend in the face, you'll know that his friend was most definitely "brought down."

But that's not relevant. I think this guy did the right thing, and I think it's unfortunate that he got fired. But I can see why it happened, and why an employer would make that decision. If he has a valid legal claim against them for it, I'd like to know what it is.
posted by The World Famous at 12:43 PM on June 21, 2007


What clouds this issue is that there was a firearm involved. He wasn't supposed to have it, he was caught with it, case closed. The fact that, while being in possession of it, he also saved someone's life, is a separate issue. The firearm apparently had no role in saving her life, so I fail to see why it's a point of discussion.

Well, the gun got him fired, so it's an important point of discussion.

I haven't argued about any legalities here, and I don't know whether the firing was reasonable or not. I am simply that, IMO, the population is more and more under the foot of martinets unable to comprehend the concept of extenuating circumstances.

I'll say it one last time - he did a good thing.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:44 PM on June 21, 2007


Does that mean he can't have sex in his own apartment at 2am?

No, but he probably shouldn't have sex in the 3rd-floor breezeway.
posted by NationalKato at 12:44 PM on June 21, 2007


that way, knowing in advance your scorn at my bringing a gun along to protect us while i try to save you, i have the option to respectfully and regretfully decline.

I am a reluctant supporter of (licensed, trained) gun ownership, and I will say that you are doing gun ownership rights a major disservice by casting his firing as some kind of violation of the Second Amendment. The Constitution has absolutely nothing to do with this issue whatsoever. Gun ownership right supporters have a hard enough time preserving their rights as it is: don't make it harder by lying about why this guy lost his job.

Good thing no one said that.

Actually, it was said repeatedly that this gentleman was fired for having a firearm in his home (example). This is an utter falsehood. He was terminated from his position, in the words of his former employer, for "brandishing" a firearm in the place of employment. This is not being publicly contested by him, or by his legal representation.

You may choose to reinvent this statement on his behalf however you please, but I suggest that it doesn't benefit your argument any.

Further, once you finally read the article and comprehend why he was fired, I suggest to you that any benefit from his having carried a weapon to the scene is post hoc rationalization.

The outcome could have gone any number of (bad) ways — such as a potential assailant taking his gun from him and harming others — which is one reason among many why employers have this policy in the first place.

The ends do not justify the means, and the Bill of Rights doesn't have a damned thing to do with why he was fired.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:44 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


It is not legally cut-and-dried that the Second Amendment guarantees the individual right to bear arms. I personally believe it does, but Supreme Court rulings go both ways on this.
posted by erikharmon at 12:45 PM on June 21, 2007


So, crappy things happen to good people.

This company may have discarded him, but if MeFi serves as any sort of cross-section of the community, there are plenty of people out there who support his actions. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, all things considered. I'd wager most people would stand there dumbfounded letting the woman bleed, afraid to touch her until the cops rolled in. From this incident, he may very well end up in a much better position elsewhere with people who appreciate him.

Roll the bones. (/geddylee)
posted by aftermarketradio at 12:50 PM on June 21, 2007


>>The outcome could have gone any number of (bad) ways — such as a potential assailant taking his gun from him and harming others — which is one reason among many why employers have this policy in the first place.

To protect themselves from liability. Not to protect anyone else, not to save a life, not to have compassion, but to protect themselves from liability.
posted by SaintCynr at 12:50 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


and what i do in that situation isn't your decision to make.

Whether or not you keep the job you were given isn't your decision to make, either.

The guy should have immediately called 911 when he heard the gunshot. He chose instead to grab his gun and investigate himself. Whether he had a gun or not should be irrelevant to the opinion that he should lose his job.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:50 PM on June 21, 2007


If he was fired for having sex outside in the middle of the apartment complex where he works, nobody, including you, would be saying the termination was wrong.

Not me, I encourage outdoor sex. If everyone was doing it, they'd be more relaxed and wouldn't be trying to fire people for stupid reasons.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:50 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ynoxas : 3. The entire apartment complex is not "his workplace". His workplace is his cubicle at the central office.

I think this would be pretty tough to defend; I have a cubical in my office building, but I'd be willing to bet that if I stood on any property that my company owns with a visible shotgun, and my boss found out about it, I'd get fired.
posted by quin at 12:51 PM on June 21, 2007


The guy should have immediately called 911 when he heard the gunshot.

He did not hear a gunshot.
posted by The World Famous at 12:51 PM on June 21, 2007


Yeah oneirodynia, that makes no sense at all. But you could probably get fired if you take a gun into the cafe.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2007


This is exactly why Batman doesn't carry a gun.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


So if you work as a building supintendant, you lose your ability to own a firearm? Bullshit.

Sort of. You implicitly waive the right to own a firearm, which is not bullshit. You have all sorts of rights which you may have to choose to waive to take on some jobs.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2007


He was terminated from his position, in the words of his former employer, for "brandishing" a firearm in the place of employment. This is not being publicly contested by him, or by his legal representation.

He doesn't have "legal representation" at this time. He is considering it:
"Bruley said he is considering contacting a lawyer about his dismissal, but will first look for another job and possibly another home. He promises he won't shy away from aiding others in need."*
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on June 21, 2007


In any event, I'd bet this guy has had several decent job offers by now. Not to mention marriage proposals. He'll do ok in the end.
posted by bondcliff at 12:57 PM on June 21, 2007


So if he had a gun in his apartment, and then tried to carry that gun out to his car to drive off to do some duck hunting, then he should be fired for "brandishing a weapon at his workplace" because the area from his front door to his car is considered "the workplace"?

Absurd. Amazingly absurd.

You could come up with ridiculous things like that all day with very little effort.

The fact of the matter is that he was a private citizen acting on his own time.

Period.

If they consider him to be working 24/7 then I would file a gigantic back-pay lawsuit.

Again, think about police officers, or perhaps better, a mayor or city councilman, or utility worker. The entire city is their "workplace". That doesn't mean their behavior is governed anywhere in the city 24 hours per day.

Use a little common sense people.

If he was fired for having sex outside in the middle of the apartment complex where he works, nobody, including you, would be saying the termination was wrong.

Well, in most places, having sex in public would run afoul of indecency laws. So it would be illegal. What he did in this situation is not illegal, or at least wasn't in the eyes of the police that showed up.

What I'm saying is that if the entire complex is considered "his workplace" then if there is a rule about not having sex "in the workplace" then he could not have sex in his apartment, nor the apartment of any resident.

quin: an apartment complex is fundamentally different from any other business enterprise since private residents live there.

The common areas of apartment complexes are, for all intents and purposes, "public".

He carried a shotgun into public to assist another citizen.

If that is illegal, then the cops should have hauled him off.

But saying he was "at the workplace" when he was not in his workplace and not during business hours, it's just a hell of a stretch in my mind.

A hell of a stretch that I wouldn't have been willing to make for a shitstorm of negative PR.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:57 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


posted by solid-one-love You implicitly waive the right to own a firearm, which is not bullshit. You have all sorts of rights which you may have to choose to waive to take on some jobs.

You don't waive the right to own a firearm. You agree not to bring firearms onto your employer's property.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:58 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by Ynoxas The common areas of apartment complexes are, for all intents and purposes, "public". He carried a shotgun into public to assist another citizen.

No, they aren't public. They're the employer's property.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2007


Actually, it was said repeatedly that this gentleman was fired for having a firearm in his home (example). This is an utter falsehood. He was terminated from his position, in the words of his former employer, for "brandishing" a firearm in the place of employment.

Since it could be argued that his home and his place of employment are, in fact, the same place -- and certainly that a cursory reading of the article in question could create confusion in the reader for this reason -- I really think you should take a deep breath, take it down a notch, and dwell for a moment in the very real possibility that no one here is attempting to reframe this scenario into a "lie" better suited to his/her agenda. Seriously, I'm imagining you bleeding out one eye here, and it's just not worth it, man.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2007


In any event, I'd bet this guy has had several decent job offers by now.

"Bruley said people have offered to send him money, which he says he's refused, and at least two people have contacted him about a job."*
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2007


MetaFilter = Moot court
posted by Cranberry at 1:03 PM on June 21, 2007


Actually, it was said repeatedly that this gentleman was fired for having a firearm in his home

That he had the firearm at home, and that he does not enter the workplace simply by leaving his apartment.

Further, once you finally read the article and comprehend why he was fired, I suggest to you that any benefit from his having carried a weapon to the scene is post hoc rationalization.

Dude, I fucking posted the articles. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I didn't read them, so stop arguing in bad faith.

The outcome could have gone any number of (bad) ways — such as a potential assailant taking his gun from him and harming others — which is one reason among many why employers have this policy in the first place.

That's why you should never do anything more proactive then hiding and using the phone, ever. Because people trying to protect themselves while rendering aid could lead to an unfortunate outcome, we should just outlaw that in general. I generally think people should render aid that they are able, and should be able to protect themselves as well, but I'm a freedom over safety kind of guy. Does the company have the right to fire him? Probably, but it makes them small-minded and unnecessarily rules-beholden, especially when there were a number of other options they had.
posted by Snyder at 1:04 PM on June 21, 2007


If that is illegal, then the cops should have hauled him off.

It's not about illegality, it is about an employee's behavior on private property.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 PM on June 21, 2007


So if he had a gun in his apartment, and then tried to carry that gun out to his car to drive off to do some duck hunting, then he should be fired for "brandishing a weapon at his workplace" because the area from his front door to his car is considered "the workplace"?

Absurd. Amazingly absurd.


Would be, if your strawman had any weight. All sorts of ways to transport a gun from a house to a vehicle without carrying it, loaded, in the open air.

If they consider him to be working 24/7 then I would file a gigantic back-pay lawsuit.

They don't have to consider him 24/7. He's working in an at-will state, so they can give any kind of reason they like (or none at all) to fire him. He has no recourse.

The common areas of apartment complexes are, for all intents and purposes, "public".

False.

Use a little common sense, Ynoxas.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:06 PM on June 21, 2007


So if he had a gun in his apartment, and then tried to carry that gun out to his car to drive off to do some duck hunting, then he should be fired for "brandishing a weapon at his workplace" because the area from his front door to his car is considered "the workplace"?

One would assume that any attempt to transport a firearm to a hunting area would involve the gun being in a case (for legal transport in a car), I would argue that this would preclude it being 'brandished'.

If that is illegal, then the cops should have hauled him off.

No one is saying that it's illegal. Just that it violated terms of his employment.
posted by quin at 1:07 PM on June 21, 2007


It's not about illegality, it is about an employee's behavior on private property.

Then it's a good thing he got fired, 'cause we don't want to encourage bad behavior like lending aid to people in distress.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:08 PM on June 21, 2007



Then it's a good thing he got fired, 'cause we don't want to encourage bad behavior like lending aid to people in distress.

Fortunately for all us good-natured people that wasn't what he was fired for.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:12 PM on June 21, 2007


Then it's a good thing he got fired, 'cause we don't want to encourage bad behavior like lending aid to people in distress.

While brandishing a gun.
posted by The World Famous at 1:13 PM on June 21, 2007


Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I didn't read them

Are you sure you read the article? Because this mischaracterization:

Man fired for saving life.

in no way agrees with the content of the article.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:14 PM on June 21, 2007


Seems fine to me. It's probably not the best PR move, but I there isn't any legal problem with it.
posted by dios at 1:16 PM on June 21, 2007


Colin Bruley did a good thing in saving Tonnetta Lee's leg and likely her life; she and her family thank him; he's proud that he was able to render the aid to her and has said he would do it again. With many people on his side ("The story hit a record on Jacksonville.com with more than 485,000 page views, and the Times-Union received more than 300 e-mails from as far away as London and Australia - all but one in favor of Bruley. Many of the responders mentioned their support for Bruley to carry his weapon."* he should be thankful for being fired by folks who have no appreciation for his actions, as he'll likely be hired by a company that appreciates his quick-thinking, his courage and his general character.
posted by ericb at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Would be, if your strawman had any weight. All sorts of ways to transport a gun from a house to a vehicle without carrying it, loaded, in the open air.

Yeah, except that's all but certainly not what the policy says. The policy, unless different from any other typical employment policy, would prohibit bringing a firearm into the workplace. That would mean bringing one in a case, or broken down into pieces for cleaning, or encased in a solid acrylic block. I would be shocked and amazed if their policy said carrying firearms was perfectly fine, but only "brandishing" them was a violation. Seriously, you think they define "brandishing" in the company handbook?

It undoubtedly would have a prohibition against simply bringing firearms "into the workplace".

From the story:

One policy prohibits any type of weapons being used in the workplace.

This is surely a paraphrase, because no way they would want to get into a semantic argument over what "use" means. Do you use a shotgun simply by carrying it?

Regarding those of you saying common areas are not public, and are private property, then I urge you to go to an apartment complex and have sex, or openly drink, or walk around nude in the common areas, and see how long before you are cited for ______ in public by the police.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:19 PM on June 21, 2007


Chaotic Good is better than Lawful Good.
posted by SaintCynr at 1:19 PM on June 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


fandango_matt writes "Yes No."

Fixed that for ya.

solid-one-love writes "They don't have to consider him 24/7. He's working in an at-will state, so they can give any kind of reason they like (or none at all) to fire him. He has no recourse."

This is absolutely correct. They have every right to be douchebags, and they excercised that right to the fullest in this case. I'm glad so many Mefites are willing to stand up for an employer's right to be a douchebag.
posted by mullingitover at 1:19 PM on June 21, 2007


Then again...

...Bruley stumbled back to his apartment and attempted to relax. ‘It felt like I was coming down after drinking seven shots of coffee,’ he told me.

His quick thinking and courage are great and admirable qualities. I am not sure the former was in play when he decided to charge through an apartment complex feeling like he'd just snorted some crystal meth. I'm glad that everything worked out for the best, but that resolution was NOT inevitable.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2007


The guy should have immediately called 911 when he heard the gunshot.

In a city I used to live in, it is not unheard of for people to have to let the phone ring for upwards of half an hour while waiting for the 911 operator to simply pick up, much less dispatch cops or an ambulance. Of course, that may not be the case where this occurred, but sometimes waiting around for the authorities to take over is not the right choice.
posted by frobozz at 1:24 PM on June 21, 2007


The guy should have immediately called 911 when he heard the gunshot.

Since it's been reported that an ambulance came within fifteen minutes of Bruley and his neighbor reaching Lee and rendering aid, it appears likely that others in the complex probably called 911 concurrently.
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on June 21, 2007


This is absolutely correct. They have every right to be douchebags, and they excercised that right to the fullest in this case. I'm glad so many Mefites are willing to stand up for an employer's right to be a douchebag.

Yeah, I don't know how people think gibbering about "employer's propitty" wins these kinds of arguments. It's possible to be within your rights and also the subject of righteous outrage, as discussions on Metafilter prove every day.
posted by furiousthought at 1:28 PM on June 21, 2007


He's working in an at-will state, so they can give any kind of reason they like (or none at all) to fire him.
Read that sentence again. We can disagree on the rightness or wrongness of his actions, whether or not his lawn was his workplace, about the definition of brandishing, whatever, but all that matters is this:
He's working in an at-will state, so they can give any kind of reason they like (or none at all) to fire him.
He took a job in Florida. In Florida, your boss doesn't have to have a reason to fire you. He can fire you for coming to work drunk, or for sexually harrassing your coworkers, or maybe because he doesn't like that pink shirt you always wear on Tuesdays. He can fire you because he doesn't think you make good business decisions, or because your sales numbers aren't high enough this month, or because he hates it when you mispronounce his name. Makes it a bitch to work in Florida, sure, but he chose to take the transfer from Michigan (as is mentioned in the Washington Post blog). He could have been fired even if he lived off-site, and the incident had no connection whatsoever to the property.

Personally, I think the management company was foolish to cite a reason at all, thus giving folks like us all sorts of things to hold against them.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:30 PM on June 21, 2007


The guy should have immediately called 911 when he heard the gunshot.

HE DID NOT HEAR A GUNSHOT.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:31 PM on June 21, 2007


I am not sure the former was in play when he decided to charge through an apartment complex feeling like he'd just snorted some crystal meth.

That is the state he found himself in after the incident was over and he went back to his apartment, coming down off of a likely adrenaline rush.

He was awakened by the screaming ... and pulled himself together. Joining forces with his neighbor they took great care in approaching the vicitim ... shouting out questions he was taught in emergency training: Where are you? Where are you hurt? Where is the gunman?

Your characterization of a "wild-eyed" crazy man, "brandishing" a gun, running through the complex does not coorelate to what we are learning in various reports.
posted by ericb at 1:33 PM on June 21, 2007


I'd want this guy in my apartment complex.
posted by MarshallPoe at 1:33 PM on June 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


No good deed goes unpunished.

What the complex did may be legally right but it is morally abhorrent. Any system that cannot make exceptions in such situations is completely broken.
posted by localroger at 1:33 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Are you sure you read the article?
Why don't you cut the passive-aggressive bullshit?

Because this mischaracterization:

Man fired for saving life.

in no way agrees with the content of the article.


Actually, I read the article as 'Man saves someone, carries gun to protect himself and others, is fired,' while you and his former employer seem to see it as, 'Man carries gun, is fired.' You and the employers seem not to give a shit about the circumstances, and be more concerned about a rules infraction, while largely ignoring the circumstances that lead him to carry that gun, and what he did while carrying it, and the results that followed, namely, saving someone's life. So ok, fine, be pedantic and say he got fired over carrying a gun, you're right, that's what his termination states, but recall the article where he states he was acting as a private citizen and saved someone's life in the process, and it was all of that, (yes, including carrying a gun,) lead to his firing.

He could have chosen to go out there unarmed, putting his life at unnecessary risk (what if the shooter was still there or came back?) or chosen to stay inside while someone was hurt, but he did the responsible thing, protected himself and the victim while rendering aid, and for that, he gets fired. You might not agree with that characterization, but it's not false.
posted by Snyder at 1:33 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


This just sucks all the way around. First, this is apparently a fairly dangerous building to live in based on the event a couple of months earlier; can't blame the guy for wanting a own a gun. Second, he seems to know what to do with that gun, which is more than can be said for a lot of other people who have them. Third, what an amazing thing he did, with minimal concern for his own safety (hence having the gun with him and getting the neighbor to assist), and to get fired for keeping a cool head and a steady hand? Man. Before I get to the rest of this post, I'll say I think his firing sucks and is a PR nightmare.

But the legal issues here are actually really interesting. Or would be, if they could be discussed dispassionately; unfortunately, someone always has to come in and accuse "liberals" of jumping on some kind of bandwagon, then snarkily commenting that we should wear our liberal status on our sleeves so if we're up for saving, they can choose to pass. *Sigh* Why's it gotta be so hard? Can't I be a "liberal" who supports responsible gun ownership, who thanks God there are guys like this around, but who sees the employer's side of this argument, too?

See, it's like this: the Constitution is irrelevant in this case. Yeah yeah yeah, you can make an argument as to what the Framers really meant when they established the right to bear arms, but let's just say for the sake of this argument that they meant that every Tom, Dick and (Dirty) Harry could get themselves a gun. No one curtailed this guy's Constitutional right to own a weapon. His employer simply told him he couldn't have it at work. Like it or not, he lived at his work. He responded to an emergency situation at his place of employment, and as soon as he stepped outside his apartment into the common area, he was no longer at home. Think about it like this: you work in an office building downtown, and you live in the suburbs. It is clearly stated on several signs posted around the building that firearms are prohibited; this in no way affects your right to own a gun at home. Let's say a co-worker calls at 2:00 am and says "Come to the office quick, I've been shot!" and you grab your gun and go. Guess what? You just violated the building's "no firearms" policy. It wouldn't matter if you were on the clock or off the clock, if the co-worker was in your cubicle at the office or laid out on the floor in the lobby - it was work. As much as it sucks, this guy was in a common area of a building owned by his employer. He was at work. His employer has the right to regulate his use and/or possession of firearms while on their property; for all we know, they have the right to regulate the tenants' use and/or possession of firearms on the property. This in no way affects a person's (debatable) Constitutional right to own a gun at all. He can still own a gun; he can't "brandish" it on their property.

And here's another interesting point: if we're going to get hung up on semantics, we should get hung up on "brandish." It means 1 : to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly, or 2 : to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner. His employers would have no way of knowing if he "brandished" the weapon, or if he only, just, you know, had it around. As someone else pointed out, we don't know what the terms of his employment contract were (whether or not it addressed this issue) or what the terms of his rental contract were. So far all we know, they fired him for a bullshit reason and are using "brandish" to imply unsafe handling of a firearm. But again, we don't know any of that. All we know is a good samaritan saved a woman's leg at least, if not her life, and got fired because he had a gun with him while he did it.

Do I think the firing was ridiculous? Damn skippy. But it's not as cut-and-dried as some seem to think, or it wouldn't be worth talking about at all.
posted by jennaratrix at 1:36 PM on June 21, 2007


So if everywhere outside his apartment proper is his workplace, if he slips outside on some ice one morning, does it count for workman's comp?
posted by notsnot at 1:39 PM on June 21, 2007


[a few comments removed -- take your shut the fuck up talk to METATALK or email and get it out of here.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:39 PM on June 21, 2007


You and the employers seem not to give a shit about the circumstances, and be more concerned about a rules infraction

Exactly. Remember, kids, never, ever, under any cicrumstances break a rule, especially if doing so might involve saving someone's life.
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on June 21, 2007


more concerned about a rules infraction

This guy is not, by most reports, the Incredible Hulk, and did not wrap the barrels of the shotgun around her leg to stop the bleeding. The gun did not save her life, him carrying a gun did not save her life, making a tourniquet around her leg saved her life. Him carrying the gun into that situation got him fired, not the act of saving her life with the tourniquet.

(what if the shooter was still there or came back?)

What if the shooter grabbed his weapon from him and started peeling off rounds into him, the shooting victim, and any unlucky bystanders? That hypothetical would probably not serve the greater good.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:46 PM on June 21, 2007


Blazecock: There's nothing in the Constitution that says you have the right to carry a weapon into the workplace.

There's nothing in the Constitution that says you have the right to sit on the couch and drink lite beer while watching football. And yet people do it all the time!

The Constitution is not perfectly prescriptive when it comes to the rights of citizens so stop making such a ridiculous argument.

The Constitution has absolutely nothing to do with this issue whatsoever.

Er, uh, what?
posted by oncogenesis at 1:47 PM on June 21, 2007


in the flames of burning Confederate flags

and declawed LOLCATS!
posted by ericb at 1:47 PM on June 21, 2007


What I find ridiculous, actually, is that many on either side of the issue here paint it as if the solution were obvious and that anyone in opposition is just too stupid to see it. As tempting as it is to try to reduce the issue to some simple notion, it is a complicated issue in which any single detail, revealed or as yet unrevealed, could shift a thinking person's opinion from one leaning to the other.
posted by troybob at 1:48 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Exactly. Remember, kids, never, ever, under any cicrumstances break a rule, especially if doing so might involve saving someone's life.

Or, break the rules and understand the consequences, say, as conscientious objectors had to find out during Vietnam.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:48 PM on June 21, 2007


What if the shooter grabbed his weapon from him and started peeling off rounds into him, the shooting victim, and any unlucky bystanders?

The shooter already had a gun. The shotgun had one shell.
posted by Snyder at 1:50 PM on June 21, 2007


So if everywhere outside his apartment proper is his workplace, if he slips outside on some ice one morning, does it count for workman's comp?

That depends on state workers' comp. law.

Exactly. Remember, kids, never, ever, under any cicrumstances break a rule, especially if doing so might involve saving someone's life.

Unless you're willing to live with the forseeable consequences. Fortunately, he thought that another person's life was more valuable than his job. It's unfortunate that he decided to take a gun with him when he went to save a life, since the gun, and not the lifesaving, was the reason for the termination, and unfortunate that his employer made the termination decision. It's also too bad that the FPP says "man fired for saving life" rather than "man fired for violation of employer's no guns policy after saving life on employer's property."
posted by The World Famous at 1:52 PM on June 21, 2007


Or, break the rules and understand the consequences, say, as conscientious objectors had to find out during Vietnam.

Yep ... and Bruley said he'd do it again -- and is looking for a new job and a new home (likely to get as far away from the assholes who fired him).
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2007


That's not the point, invoking hypothetical what-ifs is the point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2007


Fortunately, he thought that another person's life was more valuable than his job.

This for me is the salient point. This guy didn't care what was going to happen to him, or more likely, didn't think about it at the time. He did what he needed to do, in one of the most selfless acts I can imagine, and didn't consider what might happen to him. And when he was fired, did he go on some rampage, sue, claim mistreatment? No. He said "I'd do it again," picked himself up off the floor and started looking for a new job and a new home.

Good god. How many of us could say we'd do the same? Good on him. I second that he ought to go back into medicine. Not too many people can keep such a clear head even with training.
posted by jennaratrix at 1:57 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't know if any of you have ever been in this situation, but I have. I was jerked out of sleep one night by a woman screaming "Help, please, someone help me!" Over and over again. It was a residential area, with some streetlights, but overall very dark and quiet. We called 911 right away, but they took at least ten minutes to get there, while the woman continued to scream. My roommate was brave enough to run out into the night to try to find her, while we (my other roommate and I) cowered close to the house and shouted "Help is coming!" I'm not proud of that, but I was scared shitless, and I didn't know if her attackers were still around.

Colin seems pretty cool under fire, and not likely to wildly shoot at someone. If he felt safer bringing his gun along, I say more power to him - if you haven't heard someone sreaming bloody murder in the middle of the night, and you have no idea where they are, or who might be out there with them, then stop blithering about how he "shouldn't have had a gun on his employer's property." Bunch of ninnies.
posted by Liosliath at 2:00 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Reading the article, there's nothing that says the man was prohibited from keeping a gun on the premises in his apartment. It says he was was fired for "brandishing" (which is a pretty loaded word, BTW) the weapon in the workplace. That implies that he was considered to be 'on the clock' when he responded to the incident. Which is a stretch, I'd think, for a leasing agent (although it might not be for a super or similar.)

I find it hard to believe that so many people are supported the employer's actions here, as if the situation is utterly cut and dried. I have a feeling that if the man was fired for something like having an anti-Bush poster in the window of his apartment the chorus of condemnation of the employer would be pretty loud.
posted by miss tea at 2:00 PM on June 21, 2007


That gun saved that women's life as sure as the tourniquet around her leg. That gun provided the courage to go out, that gun was the legs that got help there, that gun was the brains that formulated the plan.

Hell, that gun should be given a freakin' medal!
posted by mazola at 2:03 PM on June 21, 2007


That implies that he was considered to be 'on the clock' when he responded to the incident. Which is a stretch, I'd think, for a leasing agent.

Exactly.

And as has been reported: "The 24-year-old, who worked and lives in the complex, was on medical leave at the time and recuperating in his apartment. When he heard a female voice shout, ‘I've been shot,’ he grabbed his shotgun and rushed to the scene in only his boxer shorts."*
posted by ericb at 2:07 PM on June 21, 2007


They should have fired him for showing up at work in his boxer shorts.
posted by Floydd at 2:09 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Makes it a bitch to work in Florida, sure, but he chose to take the transfer from Michigan...

Michigan is also an at will state, so in that respect he wasn't trading down by moving to Florida.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:10 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by miss teaReading the article, there's nothing that says the man was prohibited from keeping a gun on the premises in his apartment.

Probably because it's not the issue. The issue is the man bringing a gun onto his employer's property, which is the chief reason for which he was fired.

posted by miss tea It says he was was fired for "brandishing" (which is a pretty loaded word, BTW) the weapon in the workplace. That implies that he was considered to be 'on the clock' when he responded to the incident. Which is a stretch, I'd think, for a leasing agent (although it might not be for a super or similar.)

No, because the rule is almost certainly, "Employees may not bring guns to the workplace at any time."

posted by miss tea I find it hard to believe that so many people are supported the employer's actions here, as if the situation is utterly cut and dried. I have a feeling that if the man was fired for something like having an anti-Bush poster in the window of his apartment the chorus of condemnation of the employer would be pretty loud.

Oh, good grief.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:14 PM on June 21, 2007


The man had already received a commendation for diffusing another sticky situation. This time, he saved the woman's life, but brandished a firearm in the process. Weighing the infraction with the result, and given his earlier commendation, it is reasonable to expect that his employers would, at the very least, let the man off with a warning that carrying a gun around at night on their property is considered inappropriate, whether or not you hear someone shouting "I've been shot."

I'm liberal and I'm for gun control, and I would love to have this guy working for me. He sounds like he did just the right thing under the circumstances. He didn't go off on a wild-goose chase, firing errant bullets into the night in the hope of hitting the assailant, or shoot someone else in the face like our Vice President.

His employers, though, are typical fucktards who take advantage of Floridians because we don't have any unions, and fired him. They were more worried about potential liability than about their actual residents. This is not at all unusual in the less affluent areas of our state, especially where minorities are involved, and it sucks rocks. If the victim had been, say, the daughter of Jeb Bush, the man would have been given the frickin' key to the city.
posted by misha at 2:19 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Further, once you finally read the article and comprehend why he was fired, I suggest to you that any benefit from his having carried a weapon to the scene is post hoc rationalization.

The benefit seems quite clear; he may well have been unwilling to run in the direction of someone saying "Help, I've been shot!" without being armed. That would have been a perfectly rational decision on his part, and he would still have his job, but the woman would be dead.

The fact that he didn't hear a gunshot is irrelevant. Again, if you hear someone yelling that they've been shot, the obvious rational response is to think that the person who shot them may be nearby.

So if he had a gun in his apartment, and then tried to carry that gun out to his car to drive off to do some duck hunting, then he should be fired for "brandishing a weapon at his workplace" because the area from his front door to his car is considered "the workplace"?

If the gun isn't in a case, that wouldn't surprise me a bit. If the gun is loaded, that also wouldn't surprise me a bit. How you present a weapon is the difference between "brandishing" and just carrying it from one place to another.

Defensively using a gun? What, shooting the other bullets out of the sky? Blocking bullets with the gun?

I think that's the dumbest thing I've ever read here, and that's saying quite a bit. In my own personal experience, I've found that other people with guns are a lot less likely to shoot at you if you have a gun. I've been held up repeatedly, and have used guns in self-defense. Most of the time, the sight of the gun itself in my belt was enough to defuse the situation. I have been very fortunate in that I never had to actually shoot someone in self-defense.

Yes, this guy might have saved this woman’s life. That’s good. He got fired as a result. That sucks. But he didn’t get fired for saving her life, he got fired because he violated company policy. Things very well could have turned out another way, leaving this guy or someone else dead. I don’t think his employer would want that hanging over their heads.

And as an employer myself, I can't say I don't sympathize with the employer's position here. Just because this guy's judgment was sound, doesn't mean that you can let it go, because at that point you no longer have a policy. And you WILL get sued if something similar happens in the future, and things don't work out so happily.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:19 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't tell what the argument is over. Was this a savvy and charitable employment decision? Of course not. Is there a legal issue? Nope. So what's the argument over? (Or is there an argument or just displays of outrage?)
posted by dios at 2:20 PM on June 21, 2007


It is possible that both the employee and the employer did the right thing in the situations they faced. The black-and-white approach around here is exactly why employers have to make nitpicking and rigid rules and stick to them. (Really, the same ones faulting the company for their stupid rules will not hesitate to criticize them in other situations where they lack them or their enforcement.) In keeping this guy, they might face legal issues (what if they've fired a previous employee for having a gun on the property?) or insurance issues (what if their policies, including workers' compensation, would be void without taking this kind of action?). Had they kept the guy, what if some other employee did the same kind of thing but, instead, accidentally shot innocent people? Said victim's family would no doubt raise the issue that the employer implicitly tolerated guns on site by not firing this guy. (And, no doubt, the same ones criticizing the employer for this action would bemoan this negligence--a pose that I don't doubt would be reversed had this guy killed someone innocent in his action.)
posted by troybob at 2:22 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


And here's my last contribution to this thread, because I've been staring at the blue for a while now; how sad is it that a man does an amazingly brave thing, something that most of us, if honest, would admit we wouldn't or couldn't do, and we are sitting here debating the legality of his firing? Not that WE'RE doing it, exactly, but that it's being done at all? It's fucking ridiculous that he was fired. Not from a legal standpoint, or a rules standpoint, or a "but he was at home, not work!" standpoint, or a Constitutional standpoint, but from a human standpoint. He risked his life to save another's. That is amazing. I have so much respect for this man. But we as a society are so screwed up that we actually have to think about things like gun laws, and employment contracts, and rental agreements, when considering whether or not we could or should perform an action like this.
posted by jennaratrix at 2:22 PM on June 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


I can't tell what the argument is over. Was this a savvy and charitable employment decision? Of course not. Is there a legal issue? Nope. So what's the argument over? (Or is there an argument or just displays of outrage?)

Well, there clearly is an argument over the actions of the employer, and I think, Blazecock posits that it was a bad idea for him to carry a gun, period, which there is some disagreement about.
posted by Snyder at 2:24 PM on June 21, 2007


It is possible that both the employee and the employer did the right thing in the situations they faced.

I agree with this.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:27 PM on June 21, 2007


I have so much respect for this man. But we as a society are so screwed up that we actually have to think about things like gun laws, and employment contracts, and rental agreements, when considering whether or not we could or should perform an action like this.

Exactly. I got caught up in the home/work argument, but you're right. It's one thing to have rules, but to follow them blindly, even at the expense of someone's life? Judaism has a number of holy rules but, almost all of them have an exception for life saving, it's a shame that our society has such difficulty in doing the same.
posted by Snyder at 2:30 PM on June 21, 2007


I think that's the dumbest thing I've ever read here, and that's saying quite a bit. In my own personal experience, I've found that other people with guns are a lot less likely to shoot at you if you have a gun. I've been held up repeatedly, and have used guns in self-defense. Most of the time, the sight of the gun itself in my belt was enough to defuse the situation. I have been very fortunate in that I never had to actually shoot someone in self-defense.

First, I'm glad I could provide the dumbest thing you've ever read here. Is it dumb because you don't understand the difference between defense and offense, or because I don't?

Second, where do you live and what are you doing that a) you get held up all the time and b) you pull guns on people all the time? I'd like to know so that I can avoid both the place and you.

Third, I keep hearing that everybody's got something to hide except for you, and then I hear that you have a gun hidden in your belt. It's all very disconcerting.

we are sitting here debating the legality of his firing?


I don't think anyone is claiming that it was illegal to fire him. Just that it was immoral and dumb.
posted by The World Famous at 2:31 PM on June 21, 2007


Your characterization of a "wild-eyed" crazy man, "brandishing" a gun, running through the complex does not coorelate to what we are learning in various reports.

Scare quotes, I think, are generally meant to imply that one is quoting something that was actually said; I never referred to the gentleman in question as "wild-eyed," though I suppose he was indeed "brandishing" a gun. I have no idea whether his eyes were wild or otherwise, and I kinda don't care. I don't believe that his adrenalin rush kicked in only after he began to treat the woman's wound...if anything, I would imagine his adrenalin rush began to subside at that point, else he probably could not have tended to her as well as he did. Anyway, these various reports are not exactly 100% reliable -- as witnesses, we have (a) the man himself, (b) his friend, and (c) a woman who'd just been shot and was in pain. I don't believe any reporters were actually standing out in the breezeway, notebooks in hand, waiting for something to jump off. All we really have are the statements of those personally involved and our ability to tender reasonable speculation...which, I'm sorry, does include the notion that someone who thinks he may be about to encounter a crazy man with a gun may be kinda hopped up. And he said he was himself. So I'm gonna go ahead and say he was probably a little jumpy, and that a jumpy guy with a gun is not someone I personally want to have mistake me for a bad guy. Because that's how I'm quite likely to get shot.

Again, this did NOT happen. Do I think this could have happened? Oh yes. Had someone stumbled into his path, sure. And if it couldn't have happened with this guy, could it not happen with someone else who was encouraged to take similar action...someone who maybe isn't so nerves-of-steel, but perhaps brains-of-gerbil?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:33 PM on June 21, 2007


Unscientific poll --

Should Colin Bruley be fired for bringing a gun to the scene where a neighbor was shot?

Current results:
Yes, he violated his employer's rules and must be punished. -- 2%

No. Even though he broke the rules, he tried to help and getting fired is too harsh. -- 13%

Not only should be keep his job, he should be commended for helping a neighbor. -- 85%
posted by ericb at 2:34 PM on June 21, 2007


It is possible that both the employee and the employer did the right thing in the situations they faced.

Did they have to fire him? Why not an official letter of reprimand, maybe followed by an unofficial beer for cool thinking and courage? A serious acknowledgment of their liability or insurance issues (if they exist) while recognizing his deed and the good publicity it bought them?
posted by Snyder at 2:35 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Calling the apartment complex his workplace is pathetic weasel talk. What the hell kind of workplace is it, when he sleeps in part of it? When he probably has sex in part of it?

Not to mention that in an emergency situation like this, rules should be disregarded. You don't want employees to die in a fire because they're afraid of getting fired for leaving before the end of their shift.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:39 PM on June 21, 2007


Did they have to fire him? Why not an official letter of reprimand, maybe followed by an unofficial beer for cool thinking and courage?

Unfortunately, to shield themselves from liability, I strongly suspect that they'd have had to fire him. And their liability and insurance issues certainly do exist. The real culprit here is our litigious society.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:41 PM on June 21, 2007


If the owners of the complex felt like they had to interpret their own rules to the letter, so be it, they can and should do what they want; but that doesn't change the fact that this man did a heroic thing and thereby saved a woman's life, and, being experienced with firearms, he was not irresponsible in bringing his gun to the scene of an alleged shooting.

And, seriously, enough of this 'brandishing' nonsense.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:43 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Should Colin Bruley be fired for bringing a gun to the scene where a neighbor was shot?

Here's a poll that could have happened:

Should Colin Bruley be fired for bringing a gun to the scene where a neighbor was shot, which through negligence resulted in several additional deaths?

It's (too) easy to vote on the flexibility of what makes the right decision after the fact. Monday-morning quarterbacks do it all the time. Luckily no one else got hurt in this case.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:45 PM on June 21, 2007


Mitrovarr writes "Calling the apartment complex his workplace is pathetic weasel talk. What the hell kind of workplace is it"

He's a superintendent. If the complex where he works is not his workplace, then what is? We're not talking about inside his apartment, as that is not where this happened.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:46 PM on June 21, 2007


kittens for breakfast -- I agree that we only have the statements of the participants and witnesses. I'll go with Bruley being collected when he went about rendering aid. He was trained in emergency situations. He had the frame-of-mind to question her from a distance before approaching. He identified the injury correctly and adminstered the proper aid. Again, I'm a betting man -- and bet that he was calm as he progressed through the steps for which he had been trained. The enormity of the incident seems to have washed over him afterwards in his apartment.
"'I had a lot of OJT dealing with emergency trauma situations,' Bruley said.

And that training paid off. They did not know where the woman was. He called out questions to assess the situation:
Where are you?
Where are you shot?
Where is the shooter?
Upon reaching the woman and examining the wound, he noticed an extraordinarily large amount of blood between the door of her apartment and where she was. He told his neighbor 'it looks like a femoral artery wound.' He handed his gun to the retired Navy man and applied a tourniquet, which he tended until the police arrived.

Bruley said that by the time the police arrived ten minutes later, he was pretty much covered with blood.

...in the ten minutes it took for the police to get there, she probably would have bled to death. The doctors told her the tourniquet had definitely saved her leg, and probably her life."*
BTW -- he had also been instrumental in breaking up a violent fight involving someone getting hit in the head with a baseball bat at the apartment complex three-months prior. I suspect he has had other experiences in dangerous and/or emergency situations and responded rationally in those, as he appears to have been trained to do.
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on June 21, 2007


Not to mention that in an emergency situation like this, rules should be disregarded.

So are you saying that if this guy had accidentally shot some innocent kid in the process, he should still be judged by his admirable intentions and not be fired? It's basically saying that the action is okay despite its consequences (particularly since it would be dishonest to say that it was okay for him to break the rule merely because of the consequences). If there was indeed a rule here, the rule was possibly broken well before this incident, not at the time this occurred; so it would not have been disregarded in the midst of the emergency.

I'd give some more thought to the willingness to part with rules in emergency situations, in any case. I can imagine situations in which you might appreciate them being in place.
posted by troybob at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2007


The complex where I live forbids its residents -- all its residents -- to have guns on the premises. The legality of this is fuzzy to me...on the one hand, you're within your constitutional rights to own a firearm, but on the other, waiving this right is written into the lease.

You're in Virginia, kittens for breakfast, that is illegal for them to do that. In VA your home (other than a dorm room) is your's and you have the right to protect yourself. I looked into this, as we were looking into moving into an apartment complex that put the same rules into their leases. We could have rented from them, and kept our guns, but decided that it we didn't want to give them our money.
posted by SuzySmith at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2007


showbiz_liz writes "If the owners of the complex felt like they had to interpret their own rules to the letter, so be it, they can and should do what they want; but that doesn't change the fact that this man did a heroic thing and thereby saved a woman's life, and, being experienced with firearms, he was not irresponsible in bringing his gun to the scene of an alleged shooting."

Of course. Perhaps he should consider working for an employer which will not only allow such action but take responsibility for it in case something goes wrong.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2007


Okay, I know some of us don't deal with hypotheticals very well but let's give it a shot...

Let's say I live in a city like New York or Chicago or some other place where there is a tendency for office buildings to be next to apartment buildings. Let's say I work 9-5 in the office across the street from my apartment building. Let's say it's 2am and I am in my apartment and the windows are open. So then let's say I hear a woman screaming from the office building where I work during the day saying she is getting raped. Let's say I own a gun. I grab the gun for my own protection, run over to the office building, and save her life by aiding a stab wound. The police and ambulance come and she is off. I return home with my gun go home and go to sleep. If 3 or 4 hours later I wake up in the morning and go into the office and get fired for having a weapon in the workplace then THAT IS SOME SERIOUSLY MESSED UP LOGIC for getting fired. Screw that and screw any employer who would fire me.

I feel this situation is analogous.
posted by rlef98 at 2:52 PM on June 21, 2007


He's a superintendent. If the complex where he works is not his workplace, then what is?

No. He's a leasing agent who happened to be on medical leave, recuperating in his apartment.
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


>>Was this a savvy and charitable employment decision? Of course not. Is there a legal issue? Nope. So what's the argument over? (Or is there an argument or just displays of outrage?)

Some of us seek to promote compassion and goodness in the world, and feel a great deal of empathy for this man's situation. Since Law has nothing to do with that, I can see why you'd be confused.
posted by SaintCynr at 2:54 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I feel this situation is analogous.

Depending on how the law reads in this case (living at the place of employment) I think analogous would be more like you run over to the office building and retrieve the gun from the desk drawer where you keep it though it is against the rules.
posted by troybob at 2:58 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by SaintCynr Some of us seek to promote compassion and goodness in the world, and feel a great deal of empathy for this man's situation. Since Law has nothing to do with that, I can see why you'd be confused.

And the best way to promote compassion and goodness is with the barrel of a gun!
posted by fandango_matt at 3:00 PM on June 21, 2007


Eric -- I hear what you're saying, and you may be right. But we don't actually know, because (thankfully) his composure was not tested by the sudden appearance of someone who could have been the shooter...someone unfamiliar to him who also ran out of an apartment with or without a gun, let's say.

(Not to come off all action hero or anything, but a TON of college students live in my complex nine months a year, said college students have a tendency to party pretty hard on the weekends, said parties have a tendency to cough a shouting couple into the parking lot just outside my window, and I have on more than one occasion had occasion to go outside in the dead of night -- unarmed -- to see what the hell was happening when I heard a woman screaming and/or crying. So the notion that I could be the guy Mr. Bruley mistakes for the bad guy is not a far-fetched one, to me.)

Maybe more to the point, though, had Mr. Bruley's employer blown the situation off, commended him even, that would send a message to people much LESS equipped to handle matters like this one. I don't think that this is a small consideration.

Generally, though, I do think he did the right thing, much as I have misgivings about what could have gone wrong. That nothing did go wrong I think speaks as much to his training as it does to luck. Like others have said above, I'm leaning toward the idea that both Bruley and his employers made the best choices available.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:02 PM on June 21, 2007


"Going out there unarmed, I think, would have been dumb," Bruley said. "Anybody that had access to a weapon would have done the same thing." *
posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on June 21, 2007


troybob: So are you saying that if this guy had accidentally shot some innocent kid in the process, he should still be judged by his admirable intentions and not be fired?

Perhaps, if he didn't act in a grossly negligent manner. Any time you come to the aid of another, there's always a chance you'll make the situation worse, instead of better. For example, there's situations where CPR can actually kill someone, such as with hypothermia. I don't see anything about this situation that is particularly unsafe - he was skilled with his firearm and kept a level head.

If people have to worry about every little law, rule, and technicality before they help one another, they never will.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:05 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Going out there unarmed, I think, would have been dumb," Bruley said. "Anybody that had access to a weapon would have done the same thing."

So the neighbor who came out and helped him, and who he gave the gun to when he started actually helping the woman, was dumb? It's a good thing that dumb guy helped the guy with the gun.
posted by The World Famous at 3:08 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by Mitrovarr If people have to worry about every little law, rule, and technicality before they help one another, they never will.

In that case, if you're hit by a car you won't mind if instead of calling an ambulance, I rush you to my basement so I can practice my own special brand of homeopathic and voodoo medicine to help you.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:10 PM on June 21, 2007


So the neighbor who came out and helped him, and who he gave the gun to when he started actually helping the woman, was dumb? It's a good thing that dumb guy helped the guy with the gun.

Uh -- actually:
"Neighbor Kevin Courson joined Bruley at the crime scene when he saw Bruley had a gun for protection. Courson said he is incensed by the dismissal. 'Here was a guy trying to do a good deed. He wasn't trying to hurt nobody,' said Courson, 31. "*
posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on June 21, 2007


Here's the message I just left on the company's website:

To whom it may concern,

Your company's firing of Colin Bruley is sickening, cowardly and appalling. I hope whoever was involved in making and rubberstamping this asinine, callous and bureaucratic decision has cause to regret their actions.

Your company's actions disgust me.

posted by kcds at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2007


If people have to worry about every little law, rule, and technicality before they help one another, they never will.

And yet your invocation of "grossly negligent manner" is itself a technicality. I think in this situation, if you are saying that what this guy did was admirable and should not be punished by the employer, then you are being disingenuous if you do not also agree that both (1) any person in this position should be able to take the same action based on self-assessment of his/her qualification to do so, whether or not he/she is actually qualified or competent to do so; and (2) your leniency and admiration also apply if this kind soul happens to misjudge the situation and kill/harm innocent people. You can't say that his action is fine just because of how it turned out; if you are honest, you have to say that what he did would be okay no matter how it turned out.
posted by troybob at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


>>And the best way to promote compassion and goodness is with the barrel of a gun!

He helped someone who was in trouble, and sought to protect their lives and his own. I wish guns didn't exist. They do. We must exist in the world that's been given us. Prudently trying to do good for others is admirable. If more people did, this entire incident might not have taken place, and we wouldn't be pointlessly talking about it, each of so certain we have the right opinion.
posted by SaintCynr at 3:15 PM on June 21, 2007


Probably because it's not the issue. The issue is the man bringing a gun onto his employer's property, which is the chief reason for which he was fired.

No, because the rule is almost certainly, "Employees may not bring guns to the workplace at any time."

You're using two different phrases, there: "the workplace" and "the employer's property", and as others have pointed out, there's a case to be made that you may not be able to consider them as the same thing.

There's also probably a case to be made about what stipulations an owner may make regarding property they lease out as living space, and I wouldn't be too surprised if Ynoxas' argument that breezeways could be considered public spaces for legal purposes ended up having merit.

None of those questions are ridiculous -- they all turn on tensions between legitimate values (and the legitimacy of those values is probably why people are arguing so vehemently in the thread). We probably won't find out actual answers to those questions unless there's a court case.

But regardless of the legal questions... why fire him for a happy outcome? To send a message regarding some of the negative things that could have happened by carrying the firearm? A memo explaining the legitimate concerns the employer could have about the situation could have done the job just as well as a firing, quite possibly better.

So my own personal box to put this in, it's pretty much what Benny Andajetz had to say: this looks a lot like mechanistic thinking winning out over the ability to evaluate the outcome of the situation and respond appropriately. Bad things could have happened because Bruley took a gun on his way to save a life, but they didn't. Saying "We're really glad things turned out the way they did, and this case turned out to be the exception to the rule, but as a matter of safety and policy we don't want anyone carrying firearms around the property" would have been all it took.
posted by weston at 3:16 PM on June 21, 2007


Each of us, that is. Mea Culpa.
posted by SaintCynr at 3:17 PM on June 21, 2007


fandango_matt: In that case, if you're hit by a car you won't mind if instead of calling an ambulance, I rush you to my basement so I can practice my own special brand of homeopathic and voodoo medicine to help you.

Good samaritan laws have exceptions for 'gross negligence', which I consider a good idea. That's easy to remember and understand, so it's not a hindrance in an emergency.

That being said, I'd rather risk the extremely rare voodoo doctor than the chance that I might bleed to death on the pavement while a crowd full of first responders watches helplessly, paralyzed in fear that if they don't do things exactly right the lawyers will take their house and kick their dog.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:27 PM on June 21, 2007


ericb writes "No. He's a leasing agent who happened to be on medical leave, recuperating in his apartment."

OK, then. Maybe you should take it up with his employer.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:27 PM on June 21, 2007


Is it dumb because you don't understand the difference between defense and offense, or because I don't?

Not speaking for me & my monkey, but, in all sincerity, it seems to me you must be using either a really warped or a really narrow definition of defense. If someone attacks me unprovoked and I stop them from harming me, that's self defense. The law would seem to agree with this as well; otherwise I'm baffled as to how you could explain how people will, at times, not be charged with a crime based on the fact that they were defending themselves (despite harm inflicted upon the attacker that would otherwise necessitate an arrest).
posted by the other side at 3:28 PM on June 21, 2007


Woo-hoo, the company is going at it:
"The company said Bruley's rent was delinquent and his May rent check had bounced, according to the company. They said Burley's lease was missing from the management office.

The company also said that a police officer said Bruley's attempt at medical aid to the victim of the June 12 shooting at the apartments 'actually caused the victim more harm than good.'"*
But, doctors at the hospital have said his actions saved her leg and possibly her life.

I wonder if they've got a Karl Rove protégé advising them in their PR affairs.
posted by ericb at 3:31 PM on June 21, 2007


Nice use of modifiers, kcds.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:33 PM on June 21, 2007


Mostly kidding, though. Your excessively emotionally charged and asinine harassment of this guy's former employers is, um, kinda silly.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:35 PM on June 21, 2007


troybob: And yet your invocation of "grossly negligent manner" is itself a technicality.

Yes, but it's just one rule that covers all situations. It is acceptable to ask people rendering aid to think "Is what I'm doing grossly negligent? Do I not know what I'm doing right now?" It's easy to remember and easy to understand, and it allows for the occasional mistake.

It is unacceptable to ask people "Do my actions comply with all federal, state, and city laws regarding this sort of situation as well as the rules stated by the property owner, homeowner's society, and/or my employer? What about under civil case law and precedent?" Even a team of lawyers couldn't answer that one without thinking about it for a couple of days, and most of the time, the answer would be 'maybe'.

You can't say that his action is fine just because of how it turned out; if you are honest, you have to say that what he did would be okay no matter how it turned out.

I'm pretty sure I said up above that I didn't think he should necessarily lose his job, even if he'd accidentally shot someone, assuming he acted in a responsible manner.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:36 PM on June 21, 2007


The issue is the man bringing a gun onto his employer's property, which is the chief reason for which he was fired.

He lives there. His employers property IS his home. So will you shut up with the "employer property" refrain already. It's both. His home. And his employers property. AND he was OFF THE CLOCK. People are making it sound like he was camping out at his office cubicle polishing his AK-47 or something. This makes the situation unique and not clear cut.

I'm sure his employer has rules against drinking on the job, too. So what if there was a fire alarm when he was off the clock and, in the heat of the moment, he ran outside with a beer in his hand.

Would you be: OMFG. He is "brandishing" a beer on his precious employers property! FIRE HIS ASS!

Probably not.

I can't believe the unprincipled hypocrisy I am reading in this thread. So depressing.
posted by tkchrist at 3:39 PM on June 21, 2007


He lives there. His employers property IS his home. So will you shut up with the "employer property" refrain already. It's both. His home. And his employers property. AND he was OFF THE CLOCK.

And like ever other tenant in the complex he pays/paid rent.
posted by ericb at 3:41 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by tkchrist He lives there. His employers property IS his home. So will you shut up with the "employer property" refrain already. It's both. His home. And his employers property. AND he was OFF THE CLOCK. People are making it sound like he was camping out at his office cubicle polishing his AK-47 or something. This makes the situation unique and not clear cut.

As I and others have already pointed out, it doesn't matter whether he was "on the clock." The employer's rule is almost certainly, "Employees may not bring guns to the workplace at any time."
posted by fandango_matt at 3:43 PM on June 21, 2007


Photo of Colin Bruley with the shotgun that got him fired.
posted by ericb at 3:46 PM on June 21, 2007


What the hell kind of workplace is it, when he sleeps in part of it? When he probably has sex in part of it?

Every workplace I have ever had?


Defensively using a gun? What, shooting the other bullets out of the sky? Blocking bullets with the gun?


If there is no defensive use of firearms then you must believe that the police must not be allowed carry firearms, right?
posted by tkchrist at 3:47 PM on June 21, 2007


But, doctors at the hospital have said his actions saved her leg and possibly her life.

Is this directly quoted in one of the (many) articles, though? I see it noted (but not quoted) in one of the more editorializing articles upthread, but I don't see a Doctor X said "Y". If the complex is indeed telling the truth (about the medical attention, not the rent, which...yeah, whatever), that would change a great deal. As would, for all of that, confirmation that they're lying...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:47 PM on June 21, 2007


As I and others have already pointed out,

Yes. You have pointed it out. And out. And out. Yet you obtusely and stubbornly refuse to recognize the pertinent details that make the situation unique.

So for the sake of argument, given the employers theoretical ban of alcohol "in the workplace", if he walked out of his domicile (that happens to be on the employer property) with a beer in his hand let's say his hair was on fire... he should be let go? Yes or no?

According to your black and white reasoning the work place exists 24/7. So just having a beer in the fridge should be reason to fire him.

Is your world really this black and white? Fandango this all about your personal view on guns. It has nothing to do with this case. Just admit it and move on.
posted by tkchrist at 3:55 PM on June 21, 2007


I find it surprising that someone thinks the idea of a tourniquet was a good one.
posted by Big_B at 3:57 PM on June 21, 2007


As I and others have already pointed out, it doesn't matter whether he was "on the clock." The employer's rule is almost certainly, "Employees may not bring guns to the workplace at any time."

So, as asked before, how did he get his gun to his aprtment in the first place. He wasn't, as others have said, fired for having it at all, and he didn't teleport it there, so the employer's rule is most certianly NOT "Employees may not bring guns to the workplace at any time."
posted by Snyder at 3:58 PM on June 21, 2007


But, doctors at the hospital have said his actions saved her leg and possibly her life. Is this directly quoted in one of the (many) articles, though?

Dan Bobinski interviewed Colin Bruley and others, including victim Tonnetta Lee's sister, Erica Jenkins:
"Bruley received confirmation of his diagnosis the next morning, when he received a visit from the victim’s sister. She told him her sister spent several hours in emergency surgery getting her femoral artery repaired.

She thanked Bruley for saving her sister’s life—because in the ten minutes it took for the police to get there, she probably would have bled to death. The doctors told her the tourniquet had definitely saved her leg, and probably her life."
posted by ericb at 4:02 PM on June 21, 2007


I find it surprising that someone thinks the idea of a tourniquet was a good one.

I was surprised too. It is an extreme measure, one not generally recommended, but perhaps he felt it was the only option at the time. Also, it seems, according to the second article, that the patient kept her leg, so, it seems no harm no foul, thus far?
posted by Snyder at 4:03 PM on June 21, 2007


On un-preview: Well, it seems like it was the right choice, dosen't it?
posted by Snyder at 4:04 PM on June 21, 2007


Luckily no one else got hurt in this case.

Do you think it was just a matter of luck? Do you think that it was more likely than not, someone would've gotten hurt?
posted by Snyder at 4:06 PM on June 21, 2007


tkchrist-

What if he walked out of his apartment yelling and just generally acting like a drunken moron? On his employers property, and the neighbors knew he worked for them. Do you think there would be any ramifications?

In my experience if you are on your employers property, regardless of being on the clock or hour of day, you are a representative of the employer.
posted by Big_B at 4:07 PM on June 21, 2007


If there is no defensive use of firearms then you must believe that the police must not be allowed carry firearms, right?

Why? Who says police aren't allowed to use offensive weapons in retaliation for other offensive use of deadly force? In jumping to the conclusion of what I "must believe," you left out an assumption. What was it?

if he walked out of his domicile (that happens to be on the employer property) with a beer in his hand let's say his hair was on fire... he should be let go? Yes or no?

Absolutely. Why would burning hair justify his walking into the workplace with a beer?

And with all these hypotheticals, I missed the part of the article that said that his apartment was part of the workplace. Where was that?

Oh, and that photo of him standing indoors brandishing a shotgun? Not helping his case any.
posted by The World Famous at 4:16 PM on June 21, 2007


I think 'ends justifying the means' is a decent argument. But I think that point of view divorces the outcome of the situation from the action this guy took (e.g., it was okay that he broke the rules, so we won't judge him on that basis, because it turned out fine).

By the same token, however, the employer is justified in divorcing the outcome of the situation from the action this guy took (e.g., it turned out fine, but we won't judge him on that basis, and so for whatever reason we're going to fire him because he broke the rules).
posted by troybob at 4:20 PM on June 21, 2007


Oh, and that photo of him standing indoors brandishing a shotgun? Not helping his case any.

Brandishing? He's holding it. It's pointed in the air, not at anyone. Is it anytime someone carries a firearm they are brandishing it? How does it not help his case? We know he owns a shotgun, here's a picture of him with it. On what planet does that not help his case? How does it have anything at all to do with his case? Are you that afraid of guns that simply seeing him hold it lessesns his crediblity in your eyes?
posted by Snyder at 4:20 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


[NO MORE GO FUCK YOURSELF - take it to metatalk]
posted by jessamyn at 4:24 PM on June 21, 2007


What is with you rule-and-order fascists? Rules are just tools of humanity for the creation of order and a stable society. The majority of them are not meant to be enforced blindly, nor all of the time. I guarantee the owners of that complex are probably breaking plenty of minor rules involving things like building codes, handicap access, and OSHA. It's practically impossible to live life without breaking myriad stupid little rules.

Look, if this guy had encountered the shooter at the scene, he might have shot him - and he wouldn't have been convicted for it. Society considers an emergency of this type sufficient justification for killing someone. Yet, you're going to tell me that it isn't important enough for him to disregard his employer's no-gun rule? That's just ridiculous.

The apartment complex owners aren't a damn clockwork, they have intelligence and judgment and they can let things slide if they want to. They didn't, and for that, they are assholes. I don't believe the lawyer excuse for a moment - who's going to sue? The woman who had her life saved?
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:26 PM on June 21, 2007


Brandishing? He's holding it. It's pointed in the air, not at anyone.

You're sure he has no upstairs neighbors? It's pointed at the ceiling, not in the air.

Is it anytime someone carries a firearm they are brandishing it?

No.

How does it not help his case?

Are you kidding? Evidence that this is a guy who got his shotgun out indoors to have his picture taken with it?

On what planet does that not help his case?

Mine.

How does it have anything at all to do with his case?

Ask ericb that question.

Are you that afraid of guns that simply seeing him hold it lessesns his crediblity in your eyes?

No.
posted by The World Famous at 4:28 PM on June 21, 2007


Your read on that picture is very weird, World Famous. The guy's just carrying the weapon and he isn't posing for the camera. Or even looking at it.
posted by furiousthought at 4:31 PM on June 21, 2007


who's going to sue? The woman who had her life saved?

In a few years, another employee is going to be fired for violation of a policy. He's going to sue alleging that violation of the policy was a pretext for unlawful discrimination. He will present the non-termination of the shotgun brandisher as evidence that the policies are not strictly enforced, and that the reason given for his termination was pretextual.

Or someone is going to be shot by another employee and is going to sue the company alleging that by not firing this guy they encouraged their other employees to have and brandish firearms at the complex.

Lawyers can think of lots of scenarios that are not at all unlikely. That doesn't mean it was right for the employer to terminate this guy, obviously.

Society considers an emergency of this type sufficient justification for killing someone.

No, it doesn't. Hey, there's a woman who's been shot! Quick, kill someone!
posted by The World Famous at 4:33 PM on June 21, 2007


The "lawyer excuse" as I cited it was put up as a possible reason the employer perhaps didn't have a lot of choice in firing the guy (in an effort to illustrate that the complexity of the situation would render black-and-white judgments inadequate). If you don't believe it, though, perhaps you could give some legal justification for that. I only mentioned it because my impression is that issues of litigation and liability are so complicated and threatening that they tend to give business owners the howling fantods.
posted by troybob at 4:36 PM on June 21, 2007


I wouldn't be too surprised if Ynoxas' argument that breezeways could be considered public spaces for legal purposes ended up having merit.

Yo, what? That breezeway what? Keep me out of this.
posted by breezeway at 4:37 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, there's a woman who's been shot! Quick, kill someone!

LOL
posted by troybob at 4:39 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by tkchrist Yet you obtusely and stubbornly refuse to recognize the pertinent details that make the situation unique.

The "pertinent details that make the situation unique" are irrelevant in light of the employer's rule, which is almost certainly, "Employees may not bring guns to the workplace at any time." It's that simple. All you're doing is arguing "But but but he brought the gun to save innocent kittens from being declawed!", in which case you'll have to agree with troybob's excellent comment here.

posted by tkchrist this all about your personal view on guns. It has nothing to do with this case. Just admit it and move on.

You have no idea what my personal views regarding guns are, nor do you have any understanding of the reasons I hold those views, and since they are not the subject of this debate, stop bringing them up.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:39 PM on June 21, 2007


The World Famous: No, it doesn't. Hey, there's a woman who's been shot! Quick, kill someone!

Sure it does. If the guy that shot her would have stayed there and prevented her from receiving medical attention, he could have been shot by the responder, and almost certainly would have been shot by the police when they finally got there. You're allowed to kill to defend other people, not just yourself.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:40 PM on June 21, 2007


I don't believe the lawyer excuse for a moment - who's going to sue? The woman who had her life saved?

Maybe a bystander the next time one of their employees without a cool head or the knowledge to responsibly handle a firearm accidently shoots someone when acting in a similar way.

If the company establishes a precedent of letting these things slide it could bite them on the arse in a society where people tend to sue when ever they see dollar signs.

As far as the PR goes, yeah they look like dicks but how long are people going to remember this? And how many people are actually going to base the decision of where to live based on the fact that the company was a dick to an employee?

I would bet that if the place seemed nice, and the price was right (and baseball bat beatings and shootings weren't a regular event) a person would go right ahead and take the place, i can't see the company losing big on this, but in a lawsuit they could get royally fucked.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:42 PM on June 21, 2007


If the guy that shot her would have stayed there and prevented her from receiving medical attention, he could have been shot by the responder, and almost certainly would have been shot by the police when they finally got there. You're allowed to kill to defend other people, not just yourself.

in Jack Bauer world, the hero is allowed to kill anyone who stands in the way of justice. In the real world (in the U.S.) you don't get to kill people just because they're keeping someone else from getting medical attention or because they shot someone before you got there. In an emergency where there's a woman who has been shot, you don't automatically get to kill people. Unless you're Jack Bauer. Or Antonin Scalia.
posted by The World Famous at 4:47 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


In my experience if you are on your employers property, regardless of being on the clock or hour of day, you are a representative of the employer.

The mitigating fact is it is his HOME. There fore he would NEVER be relieved of the burden of his employers rules. Ever. Therefore if his employer has a rule against drinking "on the job" him having a glass of wine with dinner would be a fireing offense.

There HAS to be some grey area.
posted by tkchrist at 4:49 PM on June 21, 2007


you don't get to kill people just because they're keeping someone else from getting medical attention or because they shot someone before you got there.

You do if they are preventing aid by pointing a lethal firearm at you and threatening YOUR life. Cops do it all the time.

Again. If there is no such animal as a defensive firearm use then you must be against the police having guns, right?
posted by tkchrist at 4:51 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by tkchrist The mitigating fact is it is his HOME. There fore he would NEVER be relieved of the burden of his employers rules. Ever. Therefore if his employer has a rule against drinking "on the job" him having a glass of wine with dinner would be a fireing offense. There HAS to be some grey area.

The shooting did not take place inside his apartment.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:52 PM on June 21, 2007


How does it have anything at all to do with his case? Ask ericb that question.

Okay, I'll bite. It puts a face to the name.
posted by ericb at 4:52 PM on June 21, 2007



The shooting did not take place inside his apartment.

You mean his employer property. It was his employers property remember. Don't forget. Employers. Property.


I'm still fucking myself. Can you call back later?
posted by tkchrist at 4:56 PM on June 21, 2007


You do if they are preventing aid by pointing a lethal firearm at you and threatening YOUR life. Cops do it all the time.

Was he a cop? Was that the situation he was in? Because you said "Society considers an emergency of this type sufficient justification for killing someone." This type. Not your hypothetical type.

Again. If there is no such animal as a defensive firearm use then you must be against the police having guns, right?

Why do you think I'm opposed to police using offensive tactics? But sure, take the cops' guns away. I don't really care if they have them or not.
posted by The World Famous at 4:57 PM on June 21, 2007


Why do you think I'm opposed to police using offensive tactics? But sure, take the cops' guns away. I don't really care if they have them or not.

Okay. Then in your world there is absolutely no defense use of firearms. Basically the only defense weapon in not a weapon. It's like a wall. Bullet proof vest. Sandbags. Or Force shield. Or maybe non-lethals. Right?
posted by tkchrist at 5:01 PM on June 21, 2007


On reflection -- since we know of two incidents at the apartment complex -- one involving someone getting their head bashed by a baseball bat amd the other involving a woman geting shot -- maybe management should train and arm their employees.
posted by ericb at 5:03 PM on June 21, 2007


BTW. World Famous you didn't really answer the question.
posted by tkchrist at 5:03 PM on June 21, 2007


Do you think it was just a matter of luck? Do you think that it was more likely than not, someone would've gotten hurt?

Probably, who knows? Gun-related manslaughter happens all the time. Another hypothetical. This particular scenario where he is a hero could have easily played out in less heroic outcomes.

Why do you automatically assume the gentleman is adequately trained to safely handle a lethal weapon?

How does skill with a shotgun somehow absolve him of the consequences?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:04 PM on June 21, 2007


Okay. Then in your world there is absolutely no defense use of firearms. Basically the only defense weapon in not a weapon. It's like a wall. Bullet proof vest. Sandbags. Or Force shield. Or maybe non-lethals. Right?

Right. Because in my world the word "defense" means "defense," and not "preemption" or "retaliation." Yes, I live in a different world that George W. Bush. It's nice here.

BTW. World Famous you didn't really answer the question.

Which one? The nonsequitur about police officers not carrying guns that assumed that I believe something that I don't? I'll try again:

If there is no such animal as a defensive firearm use then you must be against the police having guns, right?

No. Because I'm all for the police using force offensively, which is what shooting someone is. I think that the police should definitely shoot people sometimes, and that shooting people is never defense. And on top of that, I don't care if the police have guns or not.
posted by The World Famous at 5:09 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by Blazecock Pileon How does skill with a shotgun somehow absolve him of the consequences?

Ask Harry Whittington.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:10 PM on June 21, 2007


I wouldn't want to presume to speak for fandango_matt, but I can see that points that he (and I, and others) have made are being misinterpreted, and that seems to be still fueling this debate. Let me try to clarify my (and perhaps others) point:

The guy in the story is a hero, no argument. I said it upthread, I also said that were I in his position, I would hope that I was brave enough to do the exact same thing.

The company that fired him did likely did so to protect themselves from being sued. It was a shitty move. It was horrible for Public Relations, and they came across as asses for doing it. But under the law, they were probably justified in doing so.

There is a lot of debate about whether this took place on his employer's property, and whether or not that should have bearing. Personally, I think it does, but only insofar as it provided a justification for his termination. A justification that was totally unneeded as Florida is an at-will state and they could have fired him for any reason they wanted to.

So, to sum up: guy is a hero, company is justified but a bunch of douchbags, and shotguns should be put in cases when transporting them for hunting.
posted by quin at 5:13 PM on June 21, 2007


Ask Harry Whittington.

Ah, yet another Real American Hero.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:19 PM on June 21, 2007


She told him her sister spent several hours in emergency surgery getting her femoral artery repaired.

Going back to the "are the apartment owners lying sacks of shit" question, I seem to recall from good old Red Cross multi-media that a severed femoral artery gave you about 5 min. to deal with the situation before you no longer needed to deal with the situation. If this description is true than the apartment owners are lying sacks of shit and I hope they get their collective asses royally reamed for this kind of defamation.

In local news, The World, the fact is, HE DIDN'T KNOW what situation he was in. You, and his employers, seem to be arguing that he should have stayed in his apartment and ate corn chips or some such which, it seems, would have resulted in one dead tenant. If dead tenants are no big deal, why make a big deal out of something that might kill one of them. Just mop up the blood and God will give you a shiny new tenant.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:26 PM on June 21, 2007


Right. Because in my world the word "defense" means "defense," and not "preemption" or "retaliation." Yes, I live in a different world that George W. Bush. It's nice here.

For pete's sake. Defense is resistance to an attack. Defending yourself from an armed attacker is... defense. A gun can be used for "preemption" or "retaliation," as you put it, but it can also be used to resist an attacker (i.e. defense). To go back to basic here, if I physically shove someone who began landing punches on me for no good reason, am I not defending myself? Is that not a form of defense?
posted by the other side at 5:29 PM on June 21, 2007


Right. Because in my world the word "defense" means "defense," and not "preemption" or "retaliation." Yes, I live in a different world that George W. Bush. It's nice here.

For pete's sake. Defense is resistance to an attack. Defending yourself from an armed attacker is... defense. A gun can be used for "preemption" or "retaliation," as you put it, but it can also be used to resist an attacker (i.e. defense). To go back to basic here, if I physically shove someone who began landing punches on me for no good reason, am I not defending myself? Is that not a form of defense?
posted by the other side at 5:29 PM on June 21, 2007


"...in light of the employer's rule, which is almost certainly, "Employees may not bring guns to the workplace at any time."

Do you have any proof of that?
posted by Liosliath at 5:37 PM on June 21, 2007


I would also like to state that Colin is gorgeous, and can come help me with his gun anytime.
posted by Liosliath at 5:38 PM on June 21, 2007


Defending yourself from an armed attacker is... defense.

Yes, Webster, defending is defense.
posted by The World Famous at 5:49 PM on June 21, 2007


Here, Liosliath:

"Officials of the company that owns the apartments, the Oaks at Mill Creek, released a statement Tuesday night that said employees were trained to properly handle emergency situations, such as calling for help in a dangerous situations, and that weapons were not permitted in the workplace." link

"Our policy does not permit weapons of any kind at the workplace for the safety of all." link
posted by fandango_matt at 5:49 PM on June 21, 2007


Some of us seek to promote compassion and goodness in the world, and feel a great deal of empathy for this man's situation.

Ummm.... yeah. I loved the final scene in Unforgiven when Clint Eastwood promoted compassion and goodness all over the bar. I often get that confused with the Sermon on the Mount.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:55 PM on June 21, 2007


Yes, I saw that, but that was after the fact - of course they're going to claim that it's forbidden. I'd like to see an actual copy of the pertinent page in the handbook, or some kind of policy that Colin signed off on.

It probably does say that, but taking the apartment management's word for it is naive.
posted by Liosliath at 5:55 PM on June 21, 2007


I've lurked this site for six years, and I've read countless infuriating arguments. And yet, it took the profound levels of intellectual disingenuity in this thread to finally convince me to shell out my fiver. (in retrospect, the hazing this usernumber will get me will probably make me sincerely regret not doing it sooner, yes?) Anyway, let's go ahead and clear up something that's been bugging me and obviously muddying the waters of this conversation.

quin: There is a lot of debate about whether this took place on his employer's property, and whether or not that should have bearing.

I don't think anyone here is debating that this took place on his employer's property. The problem is that some people, for whatever reason, are trying to make it sound like that puts the employer in a defensible position w.r.t. policies. But, regard:

First article: "...he lost his job after being told that brandishing the weapon was a workplace violation..."
Second article: "...he violated a series of company policies. Those include having weapons in the workplace..."

So what has happened probably, I don't know, at least a dozen times in the thread so far is that someone says "this is bonkers, he was at home," and someone else says "yeah but he worked for the company that owned the complex, he was on his EMPLOYER'S PROPERTY." ...And?

He's not a super. He's a leasing agent. As many have pointed out, his workplace is a cube in an office somewhere. This was an OPEN BREEZEWAY, AFTER HOURS, WHILE HE WAS ON MEDICAL LEAVE. It was not his workplace either in SPATIAL OR TEMPORAL LOCATION.

If I worked for Qualcomm, I could not get hammered at the company cafeteria at noon on a Thursday. I most certainly COULD go to Qualcomm Stadium and get hammered on beers while watching a Chargers game (that is, if only I could afford enough NFL beers to produce hammeration), even though it would be on my employer's property. Why? Because it's not my fucking workplace, just as neither was the breezeway outside of Colin Bruley's apartment.

So can we stop the 1-2 workplace vs. "employer's property" switcheroo a lot of the participants in this discussion keep trying to pull? If you want to defend them for firing him for not having reported the emergency to him or immediately calling 911, THEN you have grounds for an argument, but it's still pretty silly because it seems as though sssssooomehow both of those parties managed to find out anyway.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 5:59 PM on June 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


Furthermore, the smear tactics the company's trying are pathetic.

"The company said Bruley's rent was delinquent and his May rent check had bounced, according to the company. They said Burley's lease was missing from the management office.

The company also said that a police officer said Bruley's attempt at medical aid to the victim of the June 12 shooting at the apartments "actually caused the victim more harm than good."


Let's see...releasing personal financial info...blaming him for a missing file (no reasons/proof)...quoting a negative opinion from an unidentified police officer... (Who cares what a PO says about first aid? I'd like to hear from one of the paramedics.)
posted by Liosliath at 6:02 PM on June 21, 2007


Yes, Webster, defending is defense.
posted by The World Famous at 5:49 PM on June 21 [+] [!]


Heh, okay... What an intelligent response. I'm glad that we both agree that you were indeed mistaken, though. Cheers!
posted by the other side at 6:04 PM on June 21, 2007


CHT - Agreed, but as for being a leasing agent, most of the ones I've met for apartment communities had a little office in the complex somewhere.
posted by Liosliath at 6:05 PM on June 21, 2007


Liosliath: CHT - Agreed, but as for being a leasing agent, most of the ones I've met for apartment communities had a little office in the complex somewhere.

I figured as much, but then again, as far as the stories tell us, he also never took the shotgun into that office on the way out to the breezeway before saving someone's life.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 6:08 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know if any of you know this, but Village Green Companies has a "We Care" philosophy. Unless, of course, you're an employee who brings a gun with you because you heard shots fired, and you responded to a woman cying for help and saved her life. Other than that, they care.
posted by joaniemcchicken at 6:09 PM on June 21, 2007


Unless, of course, you're an employee who brings a gun with you because you heard shots fired, and you responded to a woman cying for help and saved her life. Other than that, they care.

He did not hear shots fired.
posted by The World Famous at 6:14 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by cobra_high_tigers I figured as much, but then again, as far as the stories tell us, he also never took the shotgun into that office on the way out to the breezeway before saving someone's life.

Which probably doesn't matter, because their policy probably says, "Employees may not bring weapons onto the premises at any time"--that is, onto the grounds, onto the property, or into the buildings. But we don't have the employee handbook available to us, so this is all speculation, even though it's not hard to surmise that's probably what it says, based on the employee handbook of every other place at which I've worked.
posted by fandango_matt at 6:16 PM on June 21, 2007


In Soviet Russia, gun fires you!

/slashdot
posted by zippy at 6:26 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


i'm with the company on this one. anyone who thinks it's approporate to arm themselves with a deadly weapon and then run to a crime scene is not acting responsibly. and plenty of people get fired for coming to work on their off time. the company could be found to be liable for his actions.

this is kinda related to the recent beating of someone after their car hit a pedestrian. just like this guy, their quest for justice was blinded by the passion of the moment. the only difference is that there was only one of them here, and he had enough common sense not to blast the guy.

and frankly, the guy is an irresponsible gun owner. a shotgun is a hunting tool, not something you use for protection outside of your own home. there might be some justification for welding a weapon in protection of your own life (and maybe property) but not something like this.
posted by lester at 6:31 PM on June 21, 2007


Fandango - so we're back to the "not allowed to have a gun in his personal domicile." That's kind of why I'd like to see the policy itself - I won't argue against the standard of not allowing guns in the workplace, but the wording varies quite a bit. You have to admit that it's an unusual situation - not a super or maintenance, just an 8-5 leasing agent, which does not normally have 24/7 responsibility - so his "workplace" is just the leasing office.
posted by Liosliath at 6:38 PM on June 21, 2007


fandango_matt: Which probably doesn't matter, because their policy probably says, "Employees may not bring weapons onto the premises at any time"--that is, onto the grounds, onto the property, or into the buildings. But we don't have the employee handbook available to us, so this is all speculation, even though it's not hard to surmise that's probably what it says, based on the employee handbook of every other place at which I've worked.

Ever worked at an apartment complex before?

I haven't either, and thus have no insight into the mysteries of their employee handbooks, but I would imagine the workplace boundary would HAVE to be less all-encompassing than in the typical job, because of the work/home boundary issues. I mean, if "workplace" == "entire premises of the complex," then that doesn't even allow for the it-was-in-his-own-home! exceptions people have been using throughout this entire thread. And the inability to drink, have sex, engage in reading for pleasure, doodle, look at porn, or any number of other things that his employer surely restricts in the "workplace" would make this complex a pretty dull place to live
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 6:46 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by Liosliath so we're back to the "not allowed to have a gun in his personal domicile." That's kind of why I'd like to see the policy itself - I won't argue against the standard of not allowing guns in the workplace, but the wording varies quite a bit. You have to admit that it's an unusual situation - not a super or maintenance, just an 8-5 leasing agent, which does not normally have 24/7 responsibility - so his "workplace" is just the leasing office.

I do admit this is an unusual situation. But I also think the company was entirely justified in firing Mr. Bruley. The word "workplace" refers to everything--the grounds, the buildings, the property, with the sole exception being the apartment he rented from his employers. Inside his apartment Mr. Bruley is bound by the terms of his lease and the laws of Florida. But since the incident didn't take place in his apartment, that's irrelevant. The employer's policy about guns on the premises/grounds/property applies 24/7, and that's where the incident took place.
posted by fandango_matt at 6:52 PM on June 21, 2007


FM - Hm, yes, point taken. I know what CHT means, but now that I think about it, what if Colin had been violating some other kind of company policy while in the complex, but outside his apartment? (Assuming they share your definition of "workplace.") Sexually harassing another tenant, for example? In this situation, he was trying to help someone, which I find admirable - but I suppose I can understand where the company management is coming from. I think they stink, though, and I'd never rent from them.
posted by Liosliath at 7:05 PM on June 21, 2007


Whether the entire complex constituted the workplace would fall on the agreement between this guy and the employer. If he was informed that as an employee he could not have a gun on the premises, and he agreed to that--no matter what the definition of workplace--then the employer would have a point.

Also, given that the employee represents the company, and would be identified as such within the complex, there are possibly a number of restrictions he might have agreed to about his behavior on site that would not apply if his home were off site--rules like getting embarrassingly drunk at the complex pool or sleeping around with tenants, for instance--that might not fit into a normal definition of employer-employee agreement but which he nonetheless might have agreed to as a condition of his employment. (Generally, can employers disciplinary action against employees for behavior they engage in off the work site but within contexts in which they can be clearly identified as representatives of the company?)

Also, his display of the gun was not merely within the privacy of his own apartment. Despite his heroical actions on behalf of a tenant, his appearance on scene with a gun (and subsequent word of such) might have disturbed the other tenants, who would view this guy as part of the company and might be bothered by the fact that someone who works for the owner lives on site with a gun. Depending on their relationship with the employee or the company, they might not accept the clarification that it is "against policy" without corresponding dismissal of the employee. Old Miss Martha in 7-C is paranoid enough without worrying that she'll be held at gunpoint if she's late with the rent.
posted by troybob at 7:08 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


People, he was running around in his underwear!
Won't someone think of the children?
posted by Floydd at 7:14 PM on June 21, 2007


Despite his heroical actions on behalf of a tenant, his appearance on scene with a gun (and subsequent word of such) might have disturbed the other tenants, who would view this guy as part of the company and might be bothered by the fact that someone who works for the owner lives on site with a gun.

Okay, but you'd think they might be a little more concerned with the OTHER GUY running around capping their tenants?
posted by kid ichorous at 7:15 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by troybob (Generally, can employers disciplinary action against employees for behavior they engage in off the work site but within contexts in which they can be clearly identified as representatives of the company?)

Yes.
posted by fandango_matt at 7:17 PM on June 21, 2007


The letter killeth, the spirit giveth life.
posted by namespan at 7:46 PM on June 21, 2007


Podcast: Fired Man's Story Creates Mass Attention [Length: 7:18]
"Times-Union reporter Jim Schoettler and Jacksonville.com's Tracy Collins discuss the massive attention received on Jim's coverage of a 24-year-old Jacksonville man who was fired after saving a woman's life."
posted by ericb at 7:54 PM on June 21, 2007


But here's the deal, maybe the gun thing is against policy, but shouldn't the punishment be mitigated by his heroism in saving a life? Like, what about a warning?
posted by joaniemcchicken at 7:56 PM on June 21, 2007


Taking the ends-justify-the-means argument to the next level, it would appear that this guy might come out ahead because of the firing, with all the offers he'll get at this point. Not to mention that if he is replaced by a minority, he'll be in the running for the Rush Limbaugh Disenfranchised White Male of the Week™, which makes him eligible for cash, prizes, a supply of OxyContin®, and a phone consultation with James Dobson.
posted by troybob at 8:06 PM on June 21, 2007


posted by joaniemcchicken But here's the deal, maybe the gun thing is against policy, but shouldn't the punishment be mitigated by his heroism in saving a life? Like, what about a warning?

No. See troybob's comment here.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:14 PM on June 21, 2007


I mean, if this guy had burst into her apartment, and the b/f was still there, and they had gotten into a shootout, perhaps sending bullets and buckshot through the walls, you don't think every one of those tenants involved (or potentially injured/killed) wouldn't sue the crap out of the property mgmt. company? It just makes sense. If you leave it to the police, the only entity liable is the state. I do agree it's bad PR, but like mentioned above, the publics' reaction is misplaced.
posted by Debaser626 at 3:36 PM


Thank you, Debaser!! Finally someone hits it on the head. I got home late and I was getting very frustrated reading this thread that some law-talking-guy hadn't said this yet. Actually, I can imagine a situation where the company is sued as a result of an injury/fatality to the rescuer. What if he wound up dead? There is no saying what one of his family members and a lawyer could pull together. Hopefully, that wouldn't get too far in the courts, but stranger things have happened.
posted by glycolized at 8:16 PM on June 21, 2007


man oh manischevitz, there's a lot of nincompoopery in this thread.

fortunately for the shooting victim, she lived next to someone whose first thought was to try to help and/or protect someone in danger rather than cower in his own apartment and wait for someone else to do something, like it seems most of the rule-worshipping ninnies in this thread would have done.
posted by Hat Maui at 8:32 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"But here's the deal, maybe the gun thing is against policy, but shouldn't the punishment be mitigated by his heroism in saving a life? Like, what about a warning?
posted by joaniemcchicken at 7:56 PM"


It would be up to the company to identify the consequences - obviously, they chose to be policy sticklers. I'd rather live next to someone who was willing to help me, too. I forgot to mention that during the incident I related above, not one of my other neighbors came out of their homes. Apparently we were the only ones to call 911 as well.

I left notes on all their doors the next day, saying that if I ever heard any screaming from their homes, I'd roll over happily in my bed and go back to sleep.
posted by Liosliath at 8:41 PM on June 21, 2007


No. See troybob's comment here.

"The rules must be followed or we could get SUED for doing the right thing JUST LIKE we fired THIS GUY for doing something GOOD."

Who were the plaintiffs lining up to call the employer to legal account for Bruley's actions again?
posted by namespan at 8:54 PM on June 21, 2007


I'm a little farther along from my last post (reading, that is).

What if he'd been blown away by another gun-wielding hero that DID hear the shots, and bumps into this dude on the way to investigating? No doubt that some lawyers would FIND a way to have the family sue the management company. We all know stupider things have happened in US courts. As bad as a PR move as it has become, but I'm sure that the company has to err on the side of caution on this one (and someone did mention a matter with the employers insurer as additional reasoning).
posted by glycolized at 9:07 PM on June 21, 2007


Thank you, Debaser!! Finally someone hits it on the head. I got home late and I was getting very frustrated reading this thread that some law-talking-guy hadn't said this yet. Actually, I can imagine a situation where the company is sued as a result of an injury/fatality to the rescuer. What if he wound up dead? There is no saying what one of his family members and a lawyer could pull together. Hopefully, that wouldn't get too far in the courts, but stranger things have happened.

Ah, yes ... note to all ... if and when you are on property and/or on the "time clock" and you are witness to anyone who has been shot and might require life-saving assistance (and you are qualified to administer such life-saving assistance) by all means do not offer any aid. The potential liability to us (as a corporation) outweighs any and all considerations to the victim to whom you seek to render aid ... and to you. Our advice: do not react to any screams for help; cower behind your shades and call 911. After all, only the "experts" are qualified to administer aid. Fuck if it takes them 10-minutes to get to the scene of the crime. Too bad she bled to death. It's not our problem. It's not your problem. Don't feel bad. Your inaction saved us from any liability. Our lawyers and insurance company thank you for your diligence in thinking of the owners and management of "Oaks at Mill Creek" first and the "victim" second.

We commend you. We chalk this up next to your commendation for interrupting a violent fight three-months ago.

By the way, how is that victim doing after having his head bashed in by that baseball bat to whom you rendered aid while on our property?
posted by ericb at 9:13 PM on June 21, 2007


He did not hear shots fired.

OK, for everyone who puts this in bold in response to a mistaken comment that asserts it, instead of putting it in bold, insert "heard a women scream she was shot." They both amount to the same thing in this situation, so this is merely a factual correction that changes nothing of substance, like attacking someone's argument because they misspelled a word.
posted by Falconetti at 9:18 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


... like it seems most of the rule-worshipping ninnies in this thread would have done

Well, it only seems that way when you hype up the indignation so thick you could choke on it (a voice namespan's mocking CAPS emphasize with perfection). Many people in here thought the guy did the decent thing and then considered the possibility that the employer might have had little choice in the matter. Believe it or not, managers don't just wake up in the morning and think, "Hmm, might be good for business if we crap all over a hero today." There is indeed a complex real world operating beyond your knee-jerk, ill-considered moral certainties, and one tends to benefit from examining it.

Not to mention that in my experience (not the least due to living in the age of the baby boomer), those who tend to decry "rule-worshipping ninnies" are the first to point to the rulebook when they don't get what they want.
posted by troybob at 9:24 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


They both amount to the same thing in this situation

The core of the problem with this FPP is that people equate "man fired for saving life" with "man fired for carrying gun into work". These situations do not amount to the same thing, and it would behoove the majority of participants in this thread to read really, really carefully before jumping in to add one's righteous indignation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 PM on June 21, 2007


troybob, you at least are making good enough points without putting words in other people's mouths. Stop it.
posted by furiousthought at 9:29 PM on June 21, 2007


What if he'd been blown away by another gun-wielding hero that DID hear the shots, and bumps into this dude on the way to investigating?

None of that happened, and therefore it's nothing the employer had to worry about.

Now, what if it played out that way the next time? Could the company have been faulted because they didn't fire Bruley (and therefore had no polict at all!!!!1!!)?

If firing someone is the only way an employer has of reinforcing a policy violation, that argument might make some sense, but that's generally not true.

Sit Bruley down, say "Look, awesome job on the life saving, we like that, especially since that tenant pays their rent on time usually, help yourself to a free soda, but if you ever, ever decide to put your ass on the line again, don't even think about taking a firearm with you on our property while you're our employee, or you won't be anymore, and maybe worse, because it's our ass too if it doesn't turn out so well." Have him sign a piece of paper agreeing to that. Companies actually do this kind of thing, and if I were the owner deciding on this, I'd bet my business ass that's as good a paper trail about company policy as an actual firing.

Many people in here thought the guy did the decent thing and then considered the possibility that the employer might have had little choice in the matter.

That's what I completely reject: the idea that they had no choice. Even assuming for the moment that the possibility of reinforcing company policy without exposing them to liability just isn't there (and I haven't seen a convincing argument that it isn't), the management of the company still has the choice of doing the right thing instead of the cover-your-ass thing on principle alone -- and in favorable circumstances, at that, given that it's far from certain that Bruley's actions did or will ever result in circumstances that present a genuine liability. All the angry plaintiffs chasing the business at this point are theoretical. That fact alone should be enough to mitigate a disciplinary action down from a firing to a warning.
posted by namespan at 9:45 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


The core of the problem with this FPP is that people equate "man fired for saving life" with "man fired for carrying gun into work". These situations do not amount to the same thing, and it would behoove the majority of participants in this thread to read really, really carefully before jumping in to add one's righteous indignation.

I don't know if you were referring to me as having "righteous indignation" but I didn't post what I did because of that. I read the attack on people saying "he heard shots fired" as meaning "no he didn't, and therefore there was no need to bring the gun because he had no reason to believe he would need protection." But since he heard someone yelling that they were shot, the "there was no need to bring a gun" sliver of that argument seems meaningless to me. One may disagree with the entire premise, of course, but that wouldn't explain why it is important to repeatedly correct the mistaken fact.

If that is not the reason people are making single posts to attack that misapprehension (that he heard shots fired), then I don't understand what they are getting at. Does whether he heard shots fired or heard a women scream she was shot make a substantive difference in any argument being made, pro or con, on any of the mutliple issues raised in this thread? Perhaps I am missing some contingency I can't see or some other point of someone's argument that hinges on this distinction.
posted by Falconetti at 9:58 PM on June 21, 2007


what namespan said.

there's some really active contingency fantasizing here, but the stone cold fact is that this person's actions saved a life. all the whafififying is utterly pointless.

the possibility that the employer might have had little choice in the matter

okay, i'll bite, troybob -- why do you imagine that they had little choice? again, aside from a few speculative contingencies about future or past lawsuits just waiting to happen, or the 'true romance' gun battles that are bubbling out of some people's imaginations, just what would the consequences for the company really have been?

i can think of one really significant one -- the priceless p.r. they'd have gotten if they'd have done the right thing and commended this brave guy.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:16 PM on June 21, 2007


The idea that he shouldn't be judged by the outcome of the situation is ludicrous. People are fired or not based on the outcome of their decisions all the time. That's because most decisions in life don't have inevitable outcomes; some outcomes have a greater probability than others, but there are many situations where the end isn't at all clear. Those are the issues we're arguing about.

Say, for example, he had shot through the walls with bullets (that weren't in his rifle) and killed an innocent kid? That would be terrible. How likely was that? We don't know. It obviously wasn't 100% because it didn't happen.

Okay, well, say he left his gun behind, he wandered out and got shot in the head by the angry boyfriend, and both he and the victim died? That would also be terrible. Would that have been more terrible than him shooting an innocent person? If that outcome was less terrible, but more likely, should he have done it?

Good and bad outcomes are virtually impossible to score. Trying to combine them with likelihood is left as an exercise for God. In those situations, we can only look at what actually did happen to decide whether he made the right choice.

The company seems to have had the right to fire him. But based on this guy's history, he's still a hero. The fact that he recognizes the righteousness of his actions should be a good enough ending.
posted by one_bean at 10:31 PM on June 21, 2007


No. Because I'm all for the police using force offensively, which is what shooting someone is. I think that the police should definitely shoot people sometimes, and that shooting people is never defense. And on top of that, I don't care if the police have guns or not.

Are you fucking kidding me?

World Famous you are switching positions in rather inconsistent ways. Before you clearly said you don't want cops to have guns. Now you playing Orwellian semantics with the words offensive and defensive.

Now your all for police shooting people? But you don't believe guns can be used defensively. Oookaaay.

So shooting people OFFENSIVELY is, sometimes, moral. But by your definition there is no defensive use of a firearm. It's always offensive. Is this only a view you have of guns or is that true of swords and knives and bow and arrows. Whatever.

I have to say that is... not only a rather narrow unsupportable definition it's well... stupid. It clearly flies in the face of years of jurisprudence and uses of the terms considered self-defense.

So. Say you were armed and in Darfur it is not a defensive action for you to shoot at Janjaweed who are in the midst of killing innocent defenseless women and children? In your world you, what, parachute in bulletproof vests?

You are not making any sense at all.

Stay tuned for the Word Famous Self Offense courses offered at your local YMCA!
posted by tkchrist at 10:42 PM on June 21, 2007


That's what I completely reject: the idea that they had no choice.

And you might well be right about that. I still think the argument could go either way, hinging on any number of details unknown or unclear to us. The issue I have with it has to do in part with what BP mentioned, which is the way the FPP here is worded and the tendency to buy into that bias with a minimum of consideration. This is one of those popular viral stories, and from what I've seen so far, it is reported with sufficient paucity of detail to be intended as such. The story would bring little attention at all, I think, except that it is packaged and headlined for maximum indignation with minimum effort. It is a gift for the morally superior and the incurious. It is a complex issue that can be easily oversimplified, by those so tempted, in a couple sentences and then painted with the faux sheen of commensense wisdom. It's designed for old ladies and their like to look at and say "Isn't that a shame" and "What's the world coming to," and for the terminally angry to polarize into black-and-white in order to applaud their own moral certainty, mourn the rest of the world's lack of such, verify their preconceived biases, and demonize those who might take a different view (or even suggest the possibility of one).

I don't so much personally mind that people do this. It's an interesting phenomenon to observe, if one can set aside (1) that some of them vote, and (2) that the results of #1 are tragically obvious.
posted by troybob at 10:42 PM on June 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


i can think of one really significant one -- the priceless p.r. they'd have gotten if they'd have done the right thing and commended this brave guy.

Well, interestingly, here you make my point for me. Why would a company so readily give up this kind of gift? I'm not saying with certainty that they have legitimate reasons for doing so; I'm merely suggesting the possibility that they're not complete morons and that there could be well-considered reasons for their decision. Of course, they might just be complete morons. The thing is: given what we do know, and probably a good deal more we don't know, it's presumptuous to make a definite assertion either way.
posted by troybob at 10:53 PM on June 21, 2007


What?

Troybob, it's NOT oversimplifying by saying "It was his employers property" or "His employers had no choice" over and over. Your being disingenuous.

Obviously this situation is full of grey areas. And BIG one is the complications of him living in his employers property and this incredible one in a million life threatening circumstance happens.

What can be more NOT simple than that?

I mean c'mon. Firing this guy is not about adhering to some big picture policy that is simply too important to the greater good of humanity.

Truly we don't know what the motives were for firing this guy but claiming outrage over it to be the only source of oversimplification in this thread is just dishonest and self serving only side of the argument.

Frankly this guy could have been dealt with any number of ways if the issue was policy.

The fact is he will be rehired and the company will apologize I bet you ten bucks.
posted by tkchrist at 10:58 PM on June 21, 2007


The thing is: given what we do know, and probably a good deal more we don't know, it's presumptuous to make a definite assertion either way.

Um. You've been seeming pretty certain in this thread.
posted by tkchrist at 11:00 PM on June 21, 2007


If I've been sloppy, perhaps. Looking back, it seems I've merely presented a range of possibilities (crap, I used the word "possibly" enough) that would challenge that the issue can be easily decided definitively one way or the other, without settling on one or the other, and without accepting that there are merely two opposing sides to the issue.
posted by troybob at 11:05 PM on June 21, 2007


All my life, outside of travel, I've seen real, functioning guns in only two places - at a rifle range, and on the belts of police officers.

If I ever saw a guy running around with a shotgun, I'd just assume I was probably about to be killed. This whole discussion seems very bizarre to me.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:27 PM on June 21, 2007


also, if anyone has actually read the entire thread (i have), it's clear that there is anything BUT a paucity of detail.

ericb's supporting links and info alone makes things crystal clear. sure, the thread was presented in an oversimplified fashion, but the assertion snyder made is actually supported by all the rest of the details unearthed by ericb and others.

i would agree with you, troybob, that things aren't usually so black and white, except in this case they are.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:48 PM on June 21, 2007


lester,

"i'm with the company on this one. anyone who thinks it's approporate to arm themselves with a deadly weapon and then run to a crime scene is not acting responsibly."

I see, so if you were about to run to a crime scene, a violent one at that, and there was a deadly weapon nearby, the smart play is to leave the weapon where it is and get on over to the victim's location? What are you talking about? That is completely inane.

"there might be some justification for welding a weapon in protection of your own life"

Might be? Some justification? I get the feeling that you have a 50 page list of stipulations that must be considered before granting that someone did the right thing in using a firearm.

-----------

kittens for breakfast,

"he decided to charge through an apartment complex feeling like he'd just snorted some crystal meth"

This phrasing is a pretty derogatory way to talk about a man who is putting himself out there for a stranger. Have you experienced or read accounts of these kinds of extreme situations? It is fairly common that only after the incident does the person start to experience some strong physiological responses to the stress, like for example, shaking. You have no idea what his state of mind was at the moments of response. Your comments are nothing but speculation. But even if he was nervous and moving a bit jerky, is it better for him to stay in his room when a shot woman is calling out for help? Moving around with a gun in a stressful situation does add to everybody's danger but he wasn't doing it for the hell of it, someone was bleeding to death. You're quick to point out that something may have gone wrong, like an innocent being shot, but remember to balance out the equation. The woman could have died, or to be both more accurate and fair since he was acting on limited information, there could have been any number of threatening situations to the woman where a man showing up with a shotgun would have been beneficial.

What I find most disturbing though is that you would be concerned by the company not disciplining him because it would encourage others to respond. Me, I want people to respond. There is something wrong about discouraging others from stepping forward. We won't all do perfect but there is something perverse in only judging the action as OK if it gets a good result. Cops, and other experts, have accidents and make mistakes as well. There are almost always too many variables in play to judge an action solely by the result. I understand that the ending shapes the narrative but it distorts it as well. I think community depends on people being willing to show up for each other, even in times of danger. My dislike of the company's action is that they make not responding a little easier, a little more "normal".
posted by BigSky at 12:07 AM on June 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


all i can say is that i've worked as a security guard and a motel desk clerk and i'd have been fired for what this man did

we were not supposed to be armed

we were not supposed to physically confront people

in my current job i am not allowed to have firearms on company property

and i dare say most of you aren't either

if people could carry their guns to work with them, i daresay there's be a few more dead bodies around ... and i daresay employers don't need to be faced with this kind of thing

and, yes, if he's living on his employer's property, then this is exactly the kind of thing he needs to be cautious of in order to keep his job

there's a bottom line here and that is the employer's right to say whether employees will be armed on their property or not

you have a right to say whether your visitors in your home are armed ... why can't you give an employer the same right with his property? ... because he's an employer?

it's THEIR liability, THEIR reputation, THEIR property, THEIR job to fill, and THEIR judgment to make unless there is a law preventing them from doing so ... it's easy for all of you to say what should have been done, because none of you actually have to deal with or pay for the consequences

but keep swallowing the spin on this and twisting the facts around ... it's not your asses on the line, is it?

one more thing ... i take it that because he went out there with a shotgun loaded with bird shot, that he perhaps was expecting to be attacked by a bird?

you don't aim unless you mean to shoot ... you don't shoot unless you mean to kill ... and you are not going to be confident of killing someone with birdshot ... and giving it to a neighbor who may or may not know what the hell to do with it isn't a good idea either

he was not well armed, he was not able to be sure of self-protection and he was not using good judgment in this

again, i've been in a similar situation and do not feel a gun would have done me a damn bit of good

and to those who call that dumb i say this ... "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." ... or for that matter perfect strangers

now you may continue ranting and raving
posted by pyramid termite at 1:26 AM on June 22, 2007


bigsky:

if i was at that scene, and heard what that guy did, my first instinct would be to go to give the woman medical assistance, not arm myself. i don't see how a shotgun would help in that regard, except as maybe a splint. the fact that that guy decided his best course of action was to arm himself indicates to me that his desire was to confront the alleged shooter, not render assistance.

the guy wasn't threatened. his response to the shooting was to bring another gun to the scene. that's not a good thing to do. his action of taking the gun to the scene indicates more of an offensive action then defensive.

if the situation had been different, and the guy was legitimately threatened, i'd be more willing to agree with him. if he used his shotgun to stop someone from being beaten to death in the parking lot, then i'd call him a hero. if he had responded to hearing multiple gunshots and people screaming as the assailant randomly shot people ala virginia tech and blasted the guy, once again, hero.

but arming himself and running to intervene in a domestic situation? stupid.

yeah, maybe i have too many rules for judging when violence is justified. and i also have the benefit of hindsight that one does not have in the heat of the moment. but people are responsible for their actions regardless of the heat of the moment.

i'm reminded of a case that happened quite a few years ago where a homeowner shot and killed a foreign exchange student who came to his house at night to ask for directions. i'm sure the homeowner felt threatened, which is why he shot the guy--but the end result is that someone was killed because the homeowner had bad judgement. situations like these are often complex, and can't be easily summed up byu a generalization, which is why i used the words "might" and "some".
posted by lester at 5:22 AM on June 22, 2007


This phrasing is a pretty derogatory way to talk about a man who is putting himself out there for a stranger. Have you experienced or read accounts of these kinds of extreme situations? It is fairly common that only after the incident does the person start to experience some strong physiological responses to the stress, like for example, shaking. You have no idea what his state of mind was at the moments of response.

Actually, I have a pretty good idea indeed, and I imagine most people reading this do as well. Maybe I'm far less sheltered than I realize, but the notion that most of us can't imagine what it would feel like to be in a sudden, intense situation where lives were potentially at stake is ridiculous to me. If you said, "You have no idea what it would be like to walk the streets of Fallujah, not knowing which second could be your last, etc.," then okay, you're right, I really don't have any idea. I bet it would suck, but beyond that...nope. But do I know how Bruley felt? Yeah, pretty much. His situation wasn't like some earth-shatteringly bizarre experience unique only to him. Or maybe my own life has just been far more intense and unusual than I realize. I doubt it, though.

In terms of discouraging others, I think you're making very simple a situation that's really pretty complicated. If someone cries for help and you don't go, to me that seems craven. But it's not exactly a testament to one's true badassery that investigating a cry for help is off the table if you're not allowed to take a gun with you. My issue is not with Mr. Bruley going out there to see what was happening, it's with the fucking GUN. Now: Let's say that the gun would under no circumstances have been fired at anyone other than someone who came at Bruley with an intent to kill, because he has nerves of steel and is so awesome and heroic you can't believe it...well, as noted in an article recently featured here that someone else can perhaps link to, one's own concept of personal proficiency in any endeavor often far exceeds the reality of one's competence, and it is not hard for me to imagine others who think themselves similarly amazing being emboldened to run out of their domiciles, guns in hand, at the merest provocation, and promptly shooting some hapless asshole who was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. Were I the owner of this property, is this behavior I would strongly discourage? Oh my yes. Is a slap on the back for running around the property late at night, gun in hand, a precedent I would want to establish, even if this particular incident worked out for the best? Nope. YMMV, as the net cliche goes...but I know I would not.

To reiterate: I think what Mr. Bruley did was very noble, and I'm glad it worked out as well as it did. Do I think it worked out as well as it did because he knew what he was doing, or because he was very VERY lucky? Both.

Can you count on a potential hero of the day knowing what he's doing? No.

Can you count on a potential hero of the day getting lucky? HELL no.

Simple answers on either side are probably the wrong answers. Bruley did what seemed best to him in his situation. His employers did what seemed best to them in theirs. Same precipitating incident, two very different sets of considerations.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:29 AM on June 22, 2007


stinkycheese wrote: If I ever saw a guy running around with a shotgun, I'd just assume I was probably about to be killed. This whole discussion seems very bizarre to me.

I'm glad that your fears are unfounded, for if they weren't, I'd be dead by now even if I were a cat with nine lives.

Someone merely possessing a deadly weapon in no way indicates you will be harmed. Do you assume you are about to be attacked when someone is holding a large field knife? Or if you see someone with a compound bow?

I have a feeling that many of the words wasted on this page have more to do with people's deep seated fear of firearms than anything else. If everyone would spend the time to understand the point of view of others, we could avoid a lot of unpleasantness.

For me, that involves understanding the culture of fear that permeates large cities with violent crime problems. For many city dwellers, it involves going to a range and shooting some targets. You'll soon realize that guns are just another tool. A very heavy one. One that I'm not incredibly comfortable around, unless I know the person wielding it to be responsible with them. Sort of like cars. I'm uncomfortable around them. The kill more people each year than guns do, because people do not take the time to learn how to use them properly.
posted by wierdo at 5:31 AM on June 22, 2007


It might not be the fear of firearms so much as whether, despite that it seems to have worked out fine (for the saved woman, at least) in this case, it is generally a good policy for one to react to the sound of a screaming woman by grabbing a gun and approaching the scene. Just as people who don't use cars properly tend not to accurately self-diagnose their problem, some people with guns tend to think that merely possessing it endows them with qualification to wield it.

Not to mention that if his guy had responded to the imperiled woman by driving a car into her apartment, everyone would be all 'they should fire that guy' or 'she should sue the apartment complex.' ;-)
posted by troybob at 6:11 AM on June 22, 2007


Whether by chance or by plan, this guy had almost the perfect weapon for the situation. (A handgun with the proper ammunition would have been better) He had a shotgun, not too long, loaded with birdshot, which would almost certainly not penetrate any walls, and if it did, a small enough amount of it would that it would be unlikely to harm anyone on the other side, and even if it did, would be unlikely to deeply penetrate the skin. Any serious injury from a bird shot shell through a wall would be freakish.

It would have been wiser to have multiple shells, but as others mentioned, the mere sight of a firearm is often enough to cause an attacker to decide it's not worth it. He doesn't know whether you've got the shotgun loaded with buck shot or bird shot.

While it may not be the best plan of action to approach the scene in that situation, it's certainly not unreasonable, if you are the sort who would prefer not to stand idly by while someone is being harmed by an attacker. The police do not have a monopoly on heroism.

In this case, the fellow did everything right, IMO. He communicated with the victim to determine her injuries and the location of the attacker. He did not, as some seem to imagine, rush out blindly with a gun, brandishing it as if he were in an action movie. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe action movies have made people unfamiliar with guns unable to think of them outside of that frame of reference.

For the record, I would probably not have the stones to go help the woman. Luckily, I have never been put in a situation like that.
posted by wierdo at 6:36 AM on June 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


It wasn't just a "screaming woman", it was a woman screaming that shed' been shot. Don't mention one, without the other, it slants things.

He got fired. Okay. This "at will" shit we put up with in America is just sooooo third world. Pity the people don't run things any more, or perhaps we could fix it. Liability? Yea, I get that problem. The company's property, yea. Okay. I hope they enjoy the publicity. And I suppose they'll be needing to hire a new rental agent quick, as I imagine there will be lots of vacancies, although, perhaps not many applicants. But they gotta do what they gotta do.

As for Mr. Bruley, he's a hero. I hope the publicity does him no further harm.
posted by Goofyy at 6:38 AM on June 22, 2007


Better to have the tool and not need it, than need it and not have it. A gun being present isn't an unwaveringly "bad thing". He heard someone yell that she had been shot, grabbed his gun and went to help. He didn't know if an assailant was still present, lying in wait, or fleeing the scene. Better to have the gun to attempt to dissuade a potential attacker from doing more harm, than wandering blindly and helplessly into a crime scene.

As far as his employer firing him? Probably legally they are in the right. But that doesn't make them honorable.
posted by jbelshaw at 6:53 AM on June 22, 2007


lester,

You are going to a victim's aid who is a stranger to you. There might be someone lurking around who is both armed and had strong enough feelings to shoot that person. It is difficult for me to understand why someone would prefer to leave a gun behind. There is a very real possibility that you might encounter someone who has hostile intent towards you. It seems to me that going unarmed increases that possibility, while taking the shotgun decreases it.

I agree with jbelshaw and wierdo, there is too much condemnation of simply carrying a gun.

I don't know enough about the case with the homeowner and the foreign student to comment. In my previous post I said a few words about the problems in judging an action solely by the result. But I am hesitant to condemn anyone on a tragic result alone. Decisions are best evaluated by looking at what the person knew at the time he made the decision.

-------------

kittens for breakfast,

I did not intend to imply that you can't imagine his experience because your own history does not have any of similar intensity. If the question offended you, I apologize.

I asked because people respond in multiple ways, and acting calmly while in the midst of it all only to start shaking and sweating afterwards is not unusual. So to state that he was charging through the complex like he was on meth is speculation, when the only testimony to him having an overwhelming physiological response is after the incident.

I have to echo my comment to lester here. If going towards a gun shot victim with a potentially hostile attacker out and about, is an occasion to leave your gun behind, then, to you both, I salute your courage, I guess.

It's understandable why the owners would want to discourage such a precedent. Firing him is likely a prudent move to protect their liability. Where I disagree, is that as a citizen you want to discourage others from doing the same. I can't argue against the fact that there will always be those whose self-image grossly exceeds their competence. Even with the more proficient, accidents happen, let alone the unskilled. But still, it's the very fact that situations like this are extreme that make it appropriate to face the relatively small risk of causing an innocent fatality.

Yes, he was lucky. So was she.
posted by BigSky at 8:27 AM on June 22, 2007


one more thing ... i take it that because he went out there with a shotgun loaded with bird shot, that he perhaps was expecting to be attacked by a bird? you don't aim unless you mean to shoot ... you don't shoot unless you mean to kill ... and you are not going to be confident of killing someone with birdshot

No, you take a shotgun loaded with bird shot PRECISELY because you live in an apartment complex and you DON'T want to kill anyone if you have to shoot them. You want to protect yourself and get an intruder off the property with the least danger to others. A rifle or handgun fires a round that may punch through several aprtments if you miss. A spray of birdshot won't. But it'll sure stop a guy from coming in through your window.

he was not well armed, he was not able to be sure of self-protection and he was not using good judgment in this

His choice of weapon seems sensible to me.

I've been in a similar situation and do not feel a gun would have done me a damn bit of good

And I've had the opposite experience. So all that proves is that a small enough sample can prove anything.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:50 AM on June 22, 2007


Three things that stand out to me:

1. Some people really need to become acquainted with the actual definition of the word "brandish" in its practical form.

2. If this large, multi-state company doesn't automatically deduct rent from its resident employees' paychecks, I'll eat my hat.

3. Intent matters. It matters in every interaction we have with our fellow human beings. It matters in courts of law. It matters here. And that intent is being wholly ignored in favor of some nebulous concept of "there are rules and rules must be obeyed" is truly repulsive.
posted by Dreama at 9:51 AM on June 22, 2007


No, you take a shotgun loaded with bird shot PRECISELY because you live in an apartment complex and you DON'T want to kill anyone if you have to shoot them.

the only way you can be certain your target can't shoot back is if he's dead ... and you cannot ensure that with one round of birdshot

especially if a neighbor who may not know how to use the gun is holding it

Intent matters.

so does judgment

And that intent is being wholly ignored in favor of some nebulous concept of "there are rules and rules must be obeyed" is truly repulsive.

except that this isn't really a matter of rules, it's a matter of rights ... an employer's right to have unarmed employees on their property

it's the same right you demand when you say that you don't want certain things or certain people on your property

does that right suddenly end when you put up an "open for business" sign and start hiring people?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:35 AM on June 22, 2007


by the way, i find this thread to be depressing as hell ... the most favorited comments in this thread both state that the guy heard gunshots, when he did not

i guess having the "right" opinion is more important than having your facts straight
posted by pyramid termite at 10:45 AM on June 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


So if the facts are wrong in a comment you like, but the sentiment behind it you do, you're wrong to favorite it?

I'm puzzled that people are so upset over the "he didn't hear a gunshot" angle. He knew a woman had been shot. What's the difference?
posted by agregoli at 10:54 AM on June 22, 2007


OK-I'll finally jump in here.

I live less than 5 miles from the Oaks at Mill Creek. I'm a leasing agent and actually turned down a job there last August, to work for another large, multi state property management company.

As a leasing agent, you do sign with all the other paperwork the typical "do not bring weapons onto property" employee handbook page. That governs your behavior and activity while at work.

If you, as an employee, choose to live "on property" some companies will give you a discount as a perk. You have to qualify and sign a lease just like any other tenant. You don't have a separate "employee" lease or any other difference in your leasing paperwork. I checked with the company website for Village Green, I didn't see anywhere that a discount was given for employees. I did see other employee discounts for things, which makes me believe that employees pay full rent. You pay your rent just like anyone else, the company does not garnish your rent from your paycheck. You are treated as a tenant, not as an employee for the purposes of the lease.

My personal opinion is that there is more to the story (isn't there always?) and that the company has more reason to fire Mr Bruley than they are saying. Florida is a right to work state and technically, they don't HAVE to have any reason to let him go. This is something that could have gone either way, the fact that they chose to let him go over it leads me to believe that there are other reasons aside from this incident that put them in a mind to fire him.

Also, I can't believe that something like this happened and he was involved and he didn't call the manager at home. Managers need to know every little thing that happens on their property. That fact right there could have swayed the company when making their decision.
posted by hollygoheavy at 11:01 AM on June 22, 2007


So if the facts are wrong in a comment you like, but the sentiment behind it you do, you're wrong to favorite it?

that depends on whether you want to face things as they are or pretend otherwise because it makes you feel better

I'm puzzled that people are so upset over the "he didn't hear a gunshot" angle. He knew a woman had been shot. What's the difference?

it's rhetorical spin at the expense of the facts ... it's the same kind of bullshitting that people have pilloried the bush administration for

but if it's for something you think is a good cause, all of a sudden, it's alright?

on preview

Also, I can't believe that something like this happened and he was involved and he didn't call the manager at home.

good point ... companies like this have a contact person for emergencies and that person MUST be notified ... he didn't do that and it probably did hurt him ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:07 AM on June 22, 2007


that depends on whether you want to face things as they are or pretend otherwise because it makes you feel better

LOL, oh thank you, thank you! You totally made my day with that. So. freaking. dramatic. You're right, all those people are poopyheads who can't face facts because they favorited a sentiment on a website that has a mistake in it.

it's rhetorical spin at the expense of the facts ... it's the same kind of bullshitting that people have pilloried the bush administration for

but if it's for something you think is a good cause, all of a sudden, it's alright?


Yes, I do think it's alright to favorite something I like the sentiment of. Keep reaching for that rhetorical spin - everyone who has read the thread knows he didn't hear a gunshot. But like I already pointed out, it doesn't matter since he knew someone was shot. The agreement or disagreement of his actions is based on the same knowledge, so it matters not.

But keep frothing at the mouth, it's cute! =)
posted by agregoli at 11:16 AM on June 22, 2007


wierdo: Maybe you missed the first part of my post? My fears are not at all unfounded where I live. That's kind of my point. I find it bizarre that all this gun knowledge, this gun culture, has become so normalized in the US. The fact that people here are now discussing the kind of shot in the shotgun makes sense within the framework of this story, sure - but it still seems nutty to me.

I've lived in parts of Toronto where gunshots are sometimes heard, and, even if I were to go running to someone's aid after they'd screamed that they were shot, chances are it would either be a gang shooting, or domestic violence - in other words, I wouldn't be worried about being shot myself. And I certainly wouldn't have to worry about being shot by someone else trying to help.

I'm just trying to inject a little perspective here. After reading through all these comments last night, I wanted to see at least one acknowledgement that the whole situation is kinda absurd.

As for guns = cars, I know what you're saying, but respectfully must disagree. Cars transport people and goods; guns put holes in people and goods at high rates of velocity. I've fired guns myself, by the way (not for many years) - but they stayed locked up at the range when I was finished.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:16 AM on June 22, 2007


Keep reaching for that rhetorical spin - everyone who has read the thread knows he didn't hear a gunshot.

only because people repeated that fact until it sank in

But keep frothing at the mouth, it's cute! =)

keep telling us facts don't matter ... that's sure to make your opinions right

this thread is a prime example of cognitive dissonance ... people not seeing, or even making up, facts because the actual incident doesn't conform to what would be consistent with the story they want to hear

Yes, I do think it's alright to favorite something I like the sentiment of.

you're not thinking then, you're just emoting
posted by pyramid termite at 11:37 AM on June 22, 2007


I find it bizarre that all this gun knowledge, this gun culture, has become so normalized in the US.

I'm just trying to inject a little perspective here.


I find it bizarre that you think that your expirences are somehow 'normal' why ours are "absurd."

...if I were to go running to someone's aid after they'd screamed that they were shot, chances are it would either be a gang shooting, or domestic violence - in other words, I wouldn't be worried about being shot myself.

I don't think you know about the dangers to bystanders in domestic violence cases.
posted by Snyder at 11:43 AM on June 22, 2007


Yes, I do think it's alright to favorite something I like the sentiment of. Keep reaching for that rhetorical spin - everyone who has read the thread knows he didn't hear a gunshot. But like I already pointed out, it doesn't matter since he knew someone was shot. The agreement or disagreement of his actions is based on the same knowledge, so it matters not.

First of all, he is talking about the favoriting of a comment that includes something that is false. And if YOU read the thread you would see that not everyone understands he DID NOT HEAR a gunshot. That's why it is repeated over and over again.

Secondly, there is a huge difference between hearing a gun shot and hearing someone say they were shot. Have you ever heard of people lying? Or being confused as to what actually happened in the heat of the moment?

Just to let you know, I am not anti-gun. I am a gun owner, and I think this is doing a lot of disservice to gun ownership.
posted by Big_B at 11:44 AM on June 22, 2007


people not seeing, or even making up, facts because the actual incident doesn't conform to what would be consistent with the story they want to hear

That starts with the shameless editorializing in the very title of this FPP.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:51 AM on June 22, 2007


What, Gross Misconduct?
posted by Snyder at 11:54 AM on June 22, 2007


I think the criticism and second-guessing the company is getting, as well as the willful oversimplification of the story, is a product of what I tend to call the Unfortunate Transubstantion of the Andy Rooney Mindset. Andy Rooney is known for making innocuous observations and criticisms about everyday things that were humorous, and it seemed acknowledgedly so, because the humor was derived from the fact that he was taking such elements out of context. So he would be all 'don't you hate it when they put that cotton in the top of the aspirin bottle?,' which is one of those common little annoyances that, when viewed within the context of pharmaceutical sales and distribution, actually serves a legitimate purpose. So Rooney was basically playing, for effect, the role of a guy who has more insight than, say, someone who is expert in the specific field of pharmaceutical distribution. You would have a silly laugh but would be considered essentially mentally challenged if you took it on as a crusade or anything.

The problem is that somewhere along the line people started to take this point of view seriously, to the point where they have gained a false confidence (and accompanying self-congratulation) that their own particular brand of commonsense or folk wisdom is more insightful than the experiential or otherwise expert knowledge of any given authority in any given field. So someone with little knowledge of, for instance, medicine, could maintain a comfortable position of moral superiority over, say, a doctor whose patient dies on the table, by merely reducing the complexity of some diagnosto-therapeutic phenomenon into a polarized simplification so obvious that even a child could see that the doctor was, say, a total idiot, and doesn't that go to show you that those people with book learnin' really aren't any smarter than the rest of us. I mean, gosh, this mentality was a huge part of why Bush got into office, and not too many people refer to his lack of knowledge or experience these days as particularly dynamic or refreshing.

I think that this is not only driving the popularity of this story, it is what I see here in those who not only are absolutely sure the management did the wrong thing in this case, despite the absence of relevant data or knowledge to make such determination.
posted by troybob at 12:12 PM on June 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


posted by Blazecock Pileon That starts with the shameless editorializing in the very title of this FPP.

And ends with asinine comments about intent, the definition of "brandish", and whether his employer deducted his rent directly from his paycheck.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:12 PM on June 22, 2007


I'm a bit curious about the nature of Bruley's medical leave, in that a) whatever has ailed him didn't seem to interfere with his rescue, and b) one wonders if that had anything to do with the company's desire to fire him. Obviously any number of scenarios can be conjured here.
posted by furiousthought at 12:13 PM on June 22, 2007


pyramid termite: The birdshot would almost certainly be enough to stun an attacker long enough to beat the fuck out of him with the shotgun. Unless perhaps it's the middle of winter in the northeast and he's bundled up very well.

stinky cheese: I suppose those fears are, in a way, the price of living in a society where only criminals have access to firearms. (aside from sport shooters and locked up at the firing range, anyway) I see a gun and I genuinely don't care, unless the person holding it is threatening me with it or I think they might. I probably ought to concern myself with it a little more, now that I live in a city with more shootings, although lately most of them seem to be the police shooting unarmed "criminals."

I find it more bizarre that many in other countries have so little gun knowledge when a century ago they were common in every country. It's not as if you never had guns in the great white north, or the English never had guns; that's a recent development. What's even more bizarre is how grossly misinformed some people who live in the US are about guns.

While I find it sad that we have to sit here discussing this because some fucktard decided it would be a good idea to shoot his girlfriend, I find it a good thing that at least some here are educated about firearms. They are an important part of history, if nothing else.

What's absurd is that the company was a) stupid enough to fire the guy, and b) has now resorted to telling people he's late on his rent, they've lost his lease, and saying a police officer didn't like his treatment of the victim as their defense.

FWIW, I wasn't saying that cars and guns are equivalent, only that cars kill many more people than guns, yet rather than do something meaningful to rectify that, like improving licensing standards, we instead rail about gun control and pass ever increasing restrictions on drinking and driving, past the point of ridiculousness. Interestingly (or not, depending on your personal point of view), it seems to me that people who have a problem with alcohol and people who have a problem with guns are in the same frame of mind. They seem not to be able to see how they can be used responsibly, instead only seeing the bad side. People get equally religious over each, even.
posted by wierdo at 12:27 PM on June 22, 2007


Around here, the leasing agent doesn't just work in an office at a cubicle. They also show the apartments, and drive golf carts from the office down to open properties so that prospective tennants can view them. That would make the office, the grounds, the cart, the breezeways, and much of anywhere on the property except for rented apartments, the workplace.

Right?

Or, does that not make sense?
posted by dwivian at 12:28 PM on June 22, 2007


And ends with asinine comments about intent, the definition of "brandish", and whether his employer deducted his rent directly from his paycheck.

In between, there are childish repated comments about him not actually hearing gunshots while ignoring that someone was calling out that someone had been shot, bringing up silly hypotheticals, and repeated changing of goal-posts between "employer's property" and "workplace."
posted by Snyder at 12:54 PM on June 22, 2007


The problem is that somewhere along the line people started to take this point of view seriously, to the point where they have gained a false confidence (and accompanying self-congratulation) that their own particular brand of commonsense or folk wisdom is more insightful than the experiential or otherwise expert knowledge of any given authority in any given field.

Who are the experts here, buddy, you? The company? I see the company doing plenty of what you describe, contradicting the doctors about the first aid, but I certianly don't see how people who think the firing was amoral and stupid are contradicting the "experts." Way to get dramatic about it, though.
posted by Snyder at 1:00 PM on June 22, 2007


there are childish repated comments about him not actually hearing gunshots

Synder, you know very well that this reflected frustration with people, and with you, for apparently not reading the article and for taking major editorial liberties with the material, which as a long-time member of the site you know better than to do here.

bringing up silly hypotheticals

Such as your "what-ifs"?

repeated changing of goal-posts between "employer's property" and "workplace"

Either you are being willfully dense or you do not understand basic concepts and legalities of private property.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:06 PM on June 22, 2007


My money's on willfully dense. "Man fired for saving life"? Good grief.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:13 PM on June 22, 2007


I certianly don't see how people who think the firing was amoral and stupid are contradicting the "experts."

Well, it's not only that they would not imagine why a company would make an unpopular decision like this, and what constellation of reasoning might be involved in that; and that they would so assertively deny the existence of such despite an apparent lack of personal knowledge of workplace law or property management considerations that might exist here (or if such knowledge exists among them, it goes un-cited). It's that the lack of such insight doesn't stop them from dismissing as ridiculous even the possibility being proposed that such considerations might play a role. Basically, they like their persecuted-hero story and want to be able to view the employer as the bad guy, without pesky real-world factors ruining it for them.
posted by troybob at 1:20 PM on June 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


At least the city of New York had the decency not to put this guy this guy in jail for being on the subway tracks without authorization.

I don't care how illegal or fireable this man's actions were. He did the only right (going to the aid of a neighbor) and sane (bringing something to protect himself and possibly her) thing he could do under the circumstances. He's a hero in the purest sense of the word.

And the company who fired him are a load of pedantic, soul-less pindicks in the purest sense of those words.

I agree with the people who said this incident is just going to give people one more justification for keeping to their own little worlds and not get involved. So sad.
posted by Jess the Mess at 1:45 PM on June 22, 2007


I see the company doing plenty of what you describe, contradicting the doctors about the first aid, but I certianly don't see how people who think the firing was amoral and stupid are contradicting the "experts."

As far as I can tell, the "experts" have been quite silent on the matter as a whole. In one article that is clearly and openly taking Bruley's side (and therefore can't be seen as news-news, but an op-ed piece), it is said that the victim's sister said that the doctors said Bruley saved the victim's life, and very probably her leg. It's easy to misread that as a doctor having said something; if a doctor did say something, however, we know neither know who that doctor was nor what s/he really did say. In other words, this entire exchange between sister and reporter may be outright fabrication...hell, the reporter doesn't even quote the sister! At the same time, have we any assurance that the complex heard this from a cop at all -- do we know who this cop is, which doctors he talked to, etc.? On both sides, I'm seeing "sources" mentioned, but without anything more substantial than what's offered...well, I'm sorry, but as it stands this is some flimsy shit.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2007


Synder, you know very well that this reflected frustration with people, and with you, for apparently not reading the article and for taking major editorial liberties with the material, which as a long-time member of the site you know better than to do here.

I never said anything about him hearing gunshots, and I think that 'hearing gunshots,' and 'hearing someone say that someone's been shot,' is a distinction with little to no difference, and if you believe that I took "major editorial libirties," please, take it to MeTa, and I'll be happy to discuss it and defend my actions there.

bringing up silly hypotheticals

Such as your "what-ifs"?


I responded to your inital hypotheticals,
I think it's a bit silly to to criticize me or others when you brought them up.

repeated changing of goal-posts between "employer's property" and "workplace"

Either you are being willfully dense or you do not understand basic concepts and legalities of private property.


No, I'm mentioning fandango_matt's confusion between his terms of employment and his terms of lease, "Employer's property" includes his apartment, "workplace," which, at the very least, does not.
posted by Snyder at 2:04 PM on June 22, 2007


if you believe that I took "major editorial libirties," please, take it to MeTa, and I'll be happy to discuss it and defend my actions there.

or email
posted by Snyder at 2:12 PM on June 22, 2007


None of that changes the relevant facts you keep ignoring, which are:

1. Man exits his apartment with a loaded gun and in so doing enters the grounds/premises/property of his employer/his workplace carrying said gun;

2. Employer has policy about employees bringing guns onto grounds/premises/employer's property/workplace

3. Man is fired for bringing a gun onto the grounds/premises/property of his employer/his workplace.

It's that simple. The incident did not take place in his apartment, so what he did in his apartment is irrelevant. His reasons for bringing the gun onto the grounds/premises/property of his employer/his workplace are irrelevant. Yes, he saved a woman's leg and life, but that's irrelevant. I know how badly you want to believe the persecuted-hero and evil-employer story and continue ignoring the facts, but it's just not true.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:22 PM on June 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


wierdo: I suppose those fears are, in a way, the price of living in a society where only criminals have access to firearms.

The price? Whoa. I could use more prices like that. I don't think we're quite getting each other here. I *never* have those fears because that *never* happens. I'd rather live in my pretty-much-gun-free society, thanks.

I find it more bizarre that many in other countries have so little gun knowledge when a century ago they were common in every country. It's not as if you never had guns in the great white north, or the English never had guns; that's a recent development.

That's called progress. We don't have plagues, mass starvation or wild animal attacks much anymore either. And incidents of people getting shot? Way down.

Look, I really have no interest whatsoever in getting into an online gun control argument. I'm just saying: the situation outlined in this thread is pretty specific to one Western, first world country. It isn't like this most places in the 21st century and blessedly so. Thank you and goodnight.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:26 PM on June 22, 2007


1. Man exits his apartment with a loaded gun because his apartment is on fire and in so doing enters the grounds/premises/property of his employer/his workplace carrying said gun holding a beer;

2. Employer has policy about employees bringing guns having alcohol onto grounds/premises/employer's property/workplace

3. Man is fired for bringing a gun onto having beer the grounds/premises/property of his employer/his workplace.

It's that simple. Yes, he saved a woman's leg and life, was on fire, but that's irrelevant.

Yes. We should never including mitigation circumstances when considering violations of policy.

Hey! Did you just spit on the side walk? Don't give big brother that shit about "there was poison in your mouth"... fifty lashes for you— you crybaby. It's POLICY!
posted by tkchrist at 4:31 PM on June 22, 2007


posted by tkchrist Yes. We should never including mitigation circumstances when considering violations of policy.

Since you've moved into the realm of absurdist conjecture and you're ignoring the posts which address the point you're trying to make, I'm going to assume you don't have a cogent response to the facts and I'll bid you good day.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:44 PM on June 22, 2007


His house was on fire, and he decided he had to save a half-drunk beer? Fire him.
posted by The World Famous at 4:53 PM on June 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


He got drunk and set his house on fire? Fire him!
posted by fandango_matt at 4:56 PM on June 22, 2007


fandango_matt: Very few (if any) people are arguing that the employer was not legally entitled to fire the man. Most everyone, save the people whose world view is colored by an irrationally extreme hatred of firearms, are saying that the company are fucking idiots for firing him.

If it were in the employee handbook that he was not allowed to bleed on the property and he were shot while attempting to help this woman, thus bleeding on the property, I suppose they'd be well within their rights to fire him, but it would be equally stupid.

I just thank God that my clients do not have such asinine rules regarding the things I may or may not bring to their place of business (save one nonprofit who is in a building that bans firearms in accordance with state law, and is signed as such at all entrances) Hell, most of my clients have their own guns in the workplace.

Of course, I don't take a gun to work, but I do commonly use things in my work that could be considered weapons by some PHB. I pretty regularly use what amounts to a spear...

stinkycheese: The price I was referring to is the pissing your pants every time you see a gun because you presume you are about to be killed when you see one. That's no way to live. (yes, I exaggerated a little, sorry)

I don't really consider it progress to have people so unfamiliar with the tools of self and national defense, but that's just me. I would be interested to know statistics on the rates of gun violence over the last hundred years, though!
posted by wierdo at 5:02 PM on June 22, 2007


wierdo: The price I was referring to is the pissing your pants every time you see a gun because you presume you are about to be killed when you see one. That's no way to live. (yes, I exaggerated a little, sorry)

One more time: I have actively been afraid of seeing guns carried around in public the exact same amount of times I've been afraid of giant werewolves walking the streets with the ability to blow up people's brains telepathically. That is to say no times.

I do not have this fear, in other words. Guns don't enter my thinking in day-to-day life. Because I am fortunate enough to live in a relatively gun-free society. This didn't happen by accident; it was the co-ordinated effort of many layers of government, directed by the will of the voters. And it's great. It's worked out really well, I'd say.

You're talking as if I am afraid of guns all the time and wish I could have my own gun so I wouldn't feel so scared of everyone else's guns. That is utterly not the case. I wouldn't have one in my house if it were offered me for free.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:46 PM on June 22, 2007


I'm going to assume you don't have a cogent response to the facts and I'll bid you good day.

Cogent response? Facts? Ha hah ha oh... good one. Mr. Pot meet Mr. Kettle. Mr. Kettle, Mr. Pot. Oh god. Fandango you're precious. After your "go fuck yourself" histrionics yesterday THAT there my friend is a keeper.

Most everyone, save the people whose world view is colored by an irrationally extreme hatred of firearms, are saying that the company are fucking idiots for firing him.

It is doubtful the real reason they fired this guy was solely based in a single policy violation. They did not anticipate this going public.

I would call them reactionaries lacking compassion and flexibility. Yes. What they have done is handed themselves a public relations nightmare. I guarantee you this guy will either get rehired of get some hush money.
posted by tkchrist at 5:49 PM on June 22, 2007


stinkycheese where do you live?
posted by tkchrist at 5:52 PM on June 22, 2007


It's in my profile. I live in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada tkchrist - but I'd imagine what I'm saying would be true of anywhere in Canada, as well as many (most?) other Western first world countries. Certainly Western Europe.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:44 PM on June 22, 2007


Weirdo: Interestingly (or not, depending on your personal point of view), it seems to me that people who have a problem with alcohol and people who have a problem with guns are in the same frame of mind. They seem not to be able to see how they can be used responsibly, instead only seeing the bad side.

Just because I was watching Blade Runner the other night:
"Replicants are like any other machine - they're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem."

I've been pretty much feeling the opposite of you on this one - and, yes, I can see the situations where hauling out a shotgun might be a good idea - I own one myself (A Remington 870 I picked up around Y2K.) , but I wouldn't take it out in an apartment complex under just about any circumstances: Too many variables, too many really bad ways for things to go wrong, including but not in any way limited to being shot by trigger-happy cops responding to a reported shooting, or better yet, getting tagged as the perp because I'm convenient and have a weapon.

To me, it seems like 'The other side' can only see the benefits of their solution, and not the problems. I mean, most of them never seem to think that what they're most likely to do (statistically speaking) with their gun is stuff it in their mouth, for example.
posted by Orb2069 at 6:45 PM on June 22, 2007


bigsky:

not everyone who owns a gun has it for protection. i don't own one, but if i did, i certainly wouldn't use it in that manner--at least not in that kind of situation. yeah, maybe i'd get shot for my efforts, but that's a chance i would take. then again, i have experience handling crisis situations that are very similar, and i have confidence in my ability to stay out of trouble.

ya know, despite the fact that i think bringing a shotgun was a stupid thing, i still think he did the right thing overall. it was certainly better then doing nothing.

you seem like a reasonable guy(?). do you own a gun? if so, i'm guessing by the nature of your comments here that you would probably handle the situation pretty well if you brought it. unfortunately, i've also seen a lot of irresponsible gun owners who wouldn't--after all, the original assailant also owned a gun, and chose to shoot someone with it. there is a significant chance that whatever gun bearing rescuer has the same mindset as the the original assailant ... and they start swapping lead.
posted by lester at 7:34 PM on June 22, 2007


it's not only that they would not imagine why a company would make an unpopular decision like this

tkchrist beat me to it -- they quite obviously didn't expect this story to get the kind of attention it's gotten, but rather went right into the kind of ass-covering that robot corporate attorneys do best, which unfortunately for them sometimes results in PR disasters like this.

how much deliberation could there have been on the part of the corporate parent? without even getting any feedback from their own staffer who was the most directly involved of anyone save the gunshot victim, they had made the decision to fire, within hours of learning the basics of the story.

it was knee-jerk asscovering that went wrong. to suggest that the unpopularity of the decision is somehow evidence that the company must be wiser than we think is asinine.

also, i agree that there's an awful lot of andy rooneyism in the world, troybob, but if you think this is an example of it, you're wrong.
posted by Hat Maui at 7:37 PM on June 22, 2007


stinkycheese: If that's not your response, then why did you post that it is? I only have what you write to go on, after all. I don't at all think that you need a gun to feel safe, or even that you (or anybody else) should have one. If you don't want to, that's fine by me.

I didn't intend to offend you.

Orb2069, I agree that it might not have been the wisest idea, but I also think that it wasn't a bad decision, either, given the actual circumstances. Had it been loaded with buckshot, I would have called him a fucking moron, but his gun was (properly for self defense in an arrangement like that) loaded with birdshot.

As someone else said upthread, if the gun was what gave him the courage to go outside and save the woman, I'm happy he had it.

Luckily, chances are incredibly high that the woman was shot with a handgun, so it would be essentially impossible for him to be presumed to be the shooter for any significant length of time. Now, an overzealous cop shooting him, that I could see, but I could see that even if he didn't have a weapon.
posted by wierdo at 7:48 PM on June 22, 2007


Most everyone, save the people whose world view is colored by an irrationally extreme hatred of firearms, are saying that the company are fucking idiots for firing him.

wrong ... in fact, i support 2nd amendment rights and do not wish to see gun ownership banned

i also do not wish to see people's property rights violated ... and that includes employers

funny how everyone keeps glossing over that issue
posted by pyramid termite at 8:29 PM on June 22, 2007


wierdo: If that's not your response, then why did you post that it is?

I assume you refer to my initial statement that, "If I ever saw a guy running around with a shotgun, I'd just assume I was probably about to be killed" (please note I didn't say anything about being afraid BTW), and then my follow-up statement that this isn't a fear of mine?

My reality can be broken down as follows:
1. I never see functioning guns, unless they're on police officer's belts. I never go to the range anymore, so that's really the only time I see them now.
2. I have no fear of guns in my day-to-day life.
3. If hypothetically I were to see some non-police-looking-person running around with a gun (which I am fortunate enough to never have), I would assume I was probably about to be shot.

This is because I'd further assume that they were some lone nut-type gun person just killing people like me who happened to run across them in their travels. Assuming I had time to really have any thoughts at all.

If, on the other hand, I owned several guns, had a gun store in my neighbourhood, talked guns with my friends (who all had guns), and saw people with guns all the time, I would have a greatly reduced, if not absent, 'freak out' reaction to guns.

This makes sense, surely?

I would submit that the real danger of guns to any of us has very little to do with our attitude to them, and more to do with how many of them there are around us. More guns, more deaths by guns.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:35 PM on June 22, 2007


to suggest that the unpopularity of the decision is somehow evidence that the company must be wiser than we think is asinine

It wasn't really the unpopularity of the decision in terms of the wider public I had in mind; it was the unpopularity (or, perhaps, the popularity or encouragement to fire the guy) on behalf of their other tenants that might have had potential to be an factor.

It's not that I think they necessarily made the right decision; I maintain that I don't know enough to say. But it's not so asinine to think the company might indeed be wiser than us when it comes to issues of their own well-being and protection. It's easy enough for us to dismiss those kinds of annoying but unavoidable concerns that don't magically disappear because a hero-angel gets a pair of wings, or to say that they're being assholes for giving into them, but then we're not the ones who have to live with the consequences of their decision, except as gossipy observers. I imagine you would be of little help to them if a decision more to your liking were to come around and bite them in the ass. But then, of course, such decision would have made the heroism of this guy a local murmur, at best.
posted by troybob at 9:40 PM on June 22, 2007


I'm a viking at my workplace on my employees property at the apatrment complex where I live.
posted by eye of newt at 10:27 PM on June 22, 2007


it was the unpopularity (or, perhaps, the popularity or encouragement to fire the guy) on behalf of their other tenants that might have had potential to be an factor.

it might just be me, but i'm having trouble parsing this.

I maintain that I don't know enough to say

okay, well, what more would you need to know to arrive at some conclusion? internal deliberations? what other factors aren't we considering?

and as long as speculation is the order of the day with regard to this thread, what ill consequence can you imagine befalling them if they hadn't fired him? or more to the point, what ill consequence might have befallen them that is worse than the incredible measure of bad p.r. of which they're now in receipt?
posted by Hat Maui at 10:29 PM on June 22, 2007


Stinkycheese: Canada has LOTS of guns, BTW. In year 2000 19.1% of households own a firearm in Canada. It was 32% in the US.

That this guy grabbed a gun as (one of) his first defensive response(s) to violence is not that unusual in many parts of the US. Where my family is from in SE Idaho people will do exactly that. I think the "reasonable man" standard applies. I think he was "reasonable." Perhaps not perfect. But reasonable given the standards of his community. We don't know what other options he considered first, if any. Maybe there were better ones. But humans are not perfect. Especially people untrained in this sort of thing.

I AM trained and I have made rash decisions. Even cops do it all the time. In the heat of the moment no matter your training you may not be thinking ideally. ESPECIALLY if you feel your needing to defend somebody else.

When a neighbor was getting her head slammed in her car door by some drunk asshole I intervened. Against all my training I just jumped in there. In hindsight there were many other options. But his 5ft tall women was getting the fuck beat out of her by a guy twice her size. I grabbed a weapon. An ASP baton. Maybe if there HAD been a gun by the door I would have grabbed that. But since I had been training in Kali earlier that day I had the baton. Lucky for him.

A shotgun is not a bad choice. It won't over penetrate walls, it's intimidating and recognizable. Much better than a hand gun in that situation. Unless there was a hostage or something. But I "get" it. He thought there was a gun and he reacted like many people in this country would. He went and got his. Maybe he had just got back from hunting and it was right there. Who knows.

My dad once (a combat veteran and former Green Beret himself) once shoo'd a guy away who was fucking (as in exposing himself) with my mom while she was gardening. My dad grabbed his 12 gauge which was right by the door because he was going to go Chucker hunting the next day. He didn't even think. He acted when he heard my mom scream. It wasn't loaded. Which didn't matter because he was even thinking of it as a firearm but as a club. He jammed the stock in the guys face and the guy ran off. It was only then my old man even realized he had a gun in his hands.

Some people react. Some people just sit and wish they would react. Some people run away.
posted by tkchrist at 10:29 PM on June 22, 2007


what more would you need to know to arrive at some conclusion?

Whether there are indeed issues within the realm of property management or of liability that made the decision unavoidable or at least understandable. Whether their decision involved (as has been suggested) something in the employee's history that is unknown to us (which the company maintains it cannot discuss due to confidentiality constraints, though I wonder at what point they would be allowed to discuss them, if ever, for the sake of defending their decision). The thing is: it doesn't take a particularly dynamic imagination to come up with possibilities. Maybe in the time between the incident and the firing the other tenants freaked out about this guy having a gun on site and complained. Maybe the employers had known before that the guy had a gun around and told him to get rid of it, and he didn't. Maybe he was not particularly mentally stable. It's not likely that the hero of the moment is going to volunteer to the merrily indignant something that would diminish the scale of the perceived injustice.

I think that while it's certainly possible that the company made a bad decision, it is just as likely that the "incredible measure of bad p.r." they are getting has really to do with the phenomenon of the story and it's built-in appeal for people who have a need to see everything in terms of good versus evil, with nothing in between. Again, this is demonstrated in that some who are so unequivocal in their condemnation of the company are so disproportionately antagonistic to the mere suggestion that their quick assumptions aren't necessarily correct. People get off on stories of (supposed) injustice like this--it's the reason this story is getting so much response; it just seems that sometimes they get a little overly defensive if someone threatens to deflate the illusions propping up their persecuted-noble-underdog world view.
posted by troybob at 11:14 PM on June 22, 2007


(Or, from another perspective, the story seems to play to the same crowd who would buy a line like "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists.")
posted by troybob at 11:30 PM on June 22, 2007


(Or, from another perspective, the story seems to play to the same crowd who would buy a line like "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists.")

Who is this crowd you are talking about? A portion of those in this thread here who strongly disagree with you? Please give us an estimate, because right now it sort of seems that you have there an overenthusiastically displayed false assumption.
posted by Anything at 6:26 AM on June 23, 2007


People get off on stories of (supposed) injustice like this--it's the reason this story is getting so much response; it just seems that sometimes they get a little overly defensive if someone threatens to deflate the illusions propping up their persecuted-noble-underdog world view.

At the moment, I'm waiting to hear legit, on-the-record responses from actual authorities..."I'm telling you that the sister told me (paraphrase) that the doctors told her (paraphrase)"...Jesus, this is practically an urban legend at that point. All we really know is that he ran outside with a gun and put a tourniquet on this woman's leg. Did he save her life and leg? Uh, well, she still has them...but I have mine as well, no thanks to Mr. Bruley. We know for sure he acted bravely; we do NOT know that he acted correctly. Nor do we know that he acted incorrectly -- the complex's statement is about as unqualified as the "saved life and limb" one. Currently, this seems to me like people fighting over their favorite version of a ghost story or something. When "saved life and limb" went uncontested, I was willing to accept it at face value; once contested, and with nothing (as yet) to back up the idea that Mr. Bruley did in fact save and life and limb other than something I'm not sure even qualifies as hearsay, it becomes a baffling non-story, an anecdote if anything, until someone with the authority to level a meaningful fucking judgment -- i.e., no one in this room -- weighs in. So somebody nudge me awake when that happens, provided the media remembers this story at all come Monday.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:38 AM on June 23, 2007


Did he save her life and leg?

the reason you're confused is that had nothing to do with why he was fired

Nor do we know that he acted incorrectly -- the complex's statement is about as unqualified as the "saved life and limb" one.

both sides agree a gun was brought onto company property and the company's statement that this is against their policy is quite believable, being a common workplace rule and if mr bruley wants to sue, easily verifiable
posted by pyramid termite at 7:13 AM on June 23, 2007


FUCK this thread must be setting a record for instances of people having words put in their mouths. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I understand why he was fired, after like six hundred posts. Obviously whether Bruley in fact DID save the woman's life, however, is relevant to the discussion, given that his main moral defense seems to be that he (a) behaved heroically and (b) saved the woman's life, meaning to some that the company was wrong not to overlook their rules and retain him. If in fact Bruley made her situation worse -- as the complex maintains -- this surely places a different spin on a moral dimension of the situation, which is what the pro-Bruley side is focusing upon. Unless his supporters would like to continue supporting him with the knowledge that (a) he violated his workplace's rules and (b) he did not in fact help the woman, even if that was his intent, and did in fact worsen her condition.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:48 AM on June 23, 2007


lester,

Despite being a pretty strong opponent of gun control, I don't own one of any kind myself. My lifestyle over the past few years hasn't really been a good fit with ownership. At some point over the next few years it's likely I will buy one, probably a shotgun, maybe a handgun. It's kind of funny how the market segment that would benefit the most from gun ownership in my opinion, young women, buy the fewest, and those who benefit least, semi isolated middle age guys, buy the most.

There are a lot of dumb asses and I'm not exactly thrilled about them running around playing Rambo. I certainly understand and concede the point. But that said one of the aspects of our culture that I despise is our over reliance on experts. I think that having faith in one another and encouraging initiative promote virtue. Relying on experts and judging every action by some extreme standard does the opposite. Looking into it further as a political issue, if we consider all the dumb assess and decide we need an authoritarian structure to control them, then dumbassery eventually seeps into our social authority. That's not so good.

And on a side note, I don't understand why firearms training does not routinely include learning to function with surges of adrenaline. I'm not saying it should be required or there needs to be legislation, but I don't get why it isn't more available. Many gun owners seem to minimize its importance.
posted by BigSky at 7:55 AM on June 23, 2007


Who is this crowd you are talking about? A portion of those in this thread here who strongly disagree with you?

Basically, it is the crowd that accepts the false dynamic that (a) the employee did right thing and is a hero, so one must necessarily believe that (b) the employer did the wrong thing and is an asshole.

If we accept that most people looking at this situation believe that the guy should not be fired, then we might ask: why would the employer do other than what the average person would do in the same situation? Is there something that makes the people who made the decision somehow inherently different than the average person? (e.g., a person is a member of a corporation, which automatically makes one an asshole) One can figure that either (a) the employer was just being a jerk for some reason or (b) that the employer had a reason to do what we would see as counterintuitive. The false dynamic here relies on people defaulting to belief in the former absent any justification for dismissing that the latter might be true.
posted by troybob at 8:16 AM on June 23, 2007


Maybe he was not particularly mentally stable.

BTW -- listen and watch a (truncated) television interview with Bruley here. (click on the photo of the complex to activate the video). Seems to be quite a reasonable, rational guy to me.
posted by ericb at 8:40 AM on June 23, 2007


Maybe in the time between the incident and the firing the other tenants freaked out about this guy having a gun on site and complained.

"While his neighbors commended his actions, Bruley's employers fired him for violating company policy."*
posted by ericb at 8:44 AM on June 23, 2007


At the moment, I'm waiting to hear legit, on-the-record responses from actual authorities.

I'd say the victim qulaifies as an authority on the subject this sistuation.
"Jacksonville shooting victim Tonnetta Lee said she wonders what countless others from around the world are now asking: Why was her neighbor fired after coming to her rescue?

...Lee said she was bleeding heavily from a damaged artery when she left her apartment and sought help. Despite her knocks on a neighbor's door, no one answered and she collapsed nearby. The next thing she knew, Bruley was there.

'He said, "How's it going, Tonnetta?" and I said, "Not so good right now,"' Lee said. 'I was in shock.'

...Lee said she hopes Bruley will find a job soon. Meanwhile, she said she's so angry she no longer wants to live in the complex.

'I really do think he saved my life,' Lee said. 'He was helping a neighbor.'"
posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on June 23, 2007


Oops -- link for above comment.
posted by ericb at 8:54 AM on June 23, 2007


Basically, it is the crowd that accepts the false dynamic that (a) the employee did right thing and is a hero, so one must necessarily believe that (b) the employer did the wrong thing and is an asshole.

My personal position:

- Colin Bruley is a hero and should be commended for the actions he took.

- The company has every right to fire him for whatever reason and they did so. This firing has turned out to be a "blessing-in-disguise" as it pertains to Colin Bruley. He has been commended by the victim, her family and a significant portion of the public for his heroic efforts. Some think -- and I beleive rightfully so -- that the company could have disciplined him less harshly than firing. Whether or not they were prepared for a barrage of 'bad publicity' is not clear. Their attempts to counter this 'bad press' by what appears to be smears and slights against Bruley is unconscionable.
posted by ericb at 9:04 AM on June 23, 2007


FUCK this thread must be setting a record for instances of people having words put in their mouths.

where did i say "kittens for breakfast said such and such"?

Obviously whether Bruley in fact DID save the woman's life, however, is relevant to the discussion

and this is why i said you were confused ... it's not ... period

the gun did not save the womans life ... period

he did not need the gun ... period

bruley, the reporter and many people are deliberately confusing two different issues here and a lot of people are falling for it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:44 AM on June 23, 2007


pyramid termite: Firstly, I said most everyone. In internet discussions, there will be those who inevitably those who do not fall into any generalization made about those making a particular argument. It seems reasonable to expect those people to be capable of understanding when a particular statement does not apply to them.

While the gun did not save her life, I don't really care. As I stated before, he is awesome for having the balls to go out and save her, but the company is well within their rights to fire him, even if I think they're morons for doing so. I can support someone's right to do something and still think it's a bad idea. If it was the gun that provided him the confidence to go out there and do what he did, I'd say that in a way, the gun did indeed save her life. None of us know whether he would have been willing to risk his life in that way without a means of defending himself. Maybe he would have, maybe he wouldn't have.

I don't think it's at all clear whether he was technically "in the workplace," given the facts in this particular situation, either. Regardless, the company is short sighted for firing him.
posted by wierdo at 10:04 AM on June 23, 2007


bigsky says "I think that having faith in one another and encouraging initiative promote virtue."

damn good point. i agree.
posted by lester at 10:55 AM on June 23, 2007


I'd say the victim qulaifies as an authority on the subject this sistuation.

Respectfully, I disagree. Bruley went to the victim with the intent of saving her life; she did not die; there is no necessary correlation between these facts. That his intent was good is not a question in mind, but it does not resolve the question of whether what he actually did made her condition worse.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:59 AM on June 23, 2007


bruley, the reporter and many people are deliberately confusing two different issues here and a lot of people are falling for it

I kind of agree with that...but. It seems to me there are two separate issues here, and neither is invalid:

1. Did the employer act legally? Yes.

2. Did the employer act morally? If Bruley did in fact save the woman's life, it could be argued that the employer should overlook their policy in this instance, as Bruley served the greater good. (I would not make this argument, for reasons you can find above, if interested.) If, in fact, what Bruley did worsened the victim's condition, this argument is much harder to make. At that point, the only argument to be made for the employer having done the morally wrong thing is that Bruley meant well, and exceptions should be made for people who mean well, even if their well-meaning actions jeopardize others' lives. This line of thinking, not to put too fine a point on it, is insane bullshit. So -- although the outcome of the moral argument does not and should not affect the legal argument -- I think it's an important argument to resolve nonetheless.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:10 AM on June 23, 2007


Did the employer act morally?


Oh my.

I'll go with what reporters -- Adam Landau (News4Jax), Emil Steiner (Washington Post columnist), Ryan Duffy (NBC1), Dan Bobinksi (Center for Workplace Excellence) and others -- each of whom have personally interviewed Bruley, Lee, her sister and neighbors, as well as others -- are reporting: that Bruley staved off bleeding from a severed femural artery and that such kept her from bleeding to death before emergency personnel reached the scene. The victim and her sister are representing that doctors confirmed Bruley's diagnosis (a severed artery) and that such saved her leg -- and likely her life. That's enough for me to settle any "moral" ambiguity to this situation.

As is obvious, kittens for breakfast YMDV.
posted by ericb at 12:13 PM on June 23, 2007


I disagree. Bruley went to the victim with the intent of saving her life; she did not die...

Actually --

Bruley went to the victim with the intent of helping out a victim who had cried out that she had been shot and rendering what turned out to be appropriate aid.
posted by ericb at 12:16 PM on June 23, 2007


BTW -- Times Union reporter Jim Schoeffler mentions in the podcast (mentioned above) that he "corroborated" Bruley's details of the incident.
posted by ericb at 12:24 PM on June 23, 2007


"[Lee] was taken to Shands Jacksonville hospital and released two days later."*

kittens for breakfast -- since you are having a difficult time accepting the words of the participants of this affair and those who are reporting them, I suspect that you won't be satisifed until you get information directly from the attending doctors, nurses and ER personnel. Why not give them a call?
Shands Jacksonville
655 W. Eighth St.
Jacksonville, FL 32209
904-244-0411
I doubt you'll get very far due to patient confidentialty, but maybe their Communication Office can help you (904-244-9750).
posted by ericb at 12:32 PM on June 23, 2007


troybob, you're imputing nuance to the company's approach/thinking that simply isn't there. they made the decision to fire long before they could have had all the pertinent facts and time to evaluate them.

what's more likely -- that there's some unknown, important factor that they haven't bothered to state (even as they go public with the irrelevant fact that bruley was behind on his rent) or that they totally stepped in it by doing what many corporations would do in such a situation -- kneejerk ass-covering?
posted by Hat Maui at 2:05 PM on June 23, 2007


Or, from another perspective, the story seems to play to the same crowd who would buy a line like "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists."

Nice troll.

Independent thinking liberals could never sympathize with a guy losing his job under extreme mitigating circumstances. Only Hurf Durf Rush Limbaugh listeners.

Troybob your reeeeeeeal impartial here.
posted by tkchrist at 5:12 PM on June 23, 2007


Eric --

I've known a number of hospital workers, and believe me, they don't wanna be bothered with phone calls from random strangers pertaining to a case I'm sure they're really tired of answering questions about anyway. I'm sure that eventually an official statement will come from their camp, though, at which point I'll be sure to listen in. At present, it seems to me that both sides of this debate are sticking to the version of the story they'd most like to believe, which just seems like a sucker's game to me.* The victim's statement is meaningless -- I'm sure she was very comforted by the presence of Mr. Bruley, but that really has nothing to do with whether he gave her appropriate treatment for her injury (which she isn't qualified to judge anyway) -- and editorializing articles may be fun to read and all, but are not exactly trustworthy news sources. As I said, wake me up when a credible source says something on the record.

(*Especially since I don't even have a dog in this race. The employer was legally entitled to do with they did for any reason, up to and including that Mr. Bruley was smelly...they are under no obligation to account for why they fired him at all. I think that's shitty for reasons that have nothing to do with this case, but it's the law there. I think they made the right call, but it actually doesn't matter what I think in that regard...they were within their rights to make any call they wanted. The moral dimension seems to be what Bruley's supporters are arguing...I hope so, anyway, because they don't have a legal leg to stand on...and I would be curious as to whether the moral argument has any validity. Would change anything if it did? Not really.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:30 PM on June 23, 2007


the reporter and many people are deliberately confusing two different issues

No sir, pyramid_termine would never put words in people's mouths. Or attribute arbitrary ulterior motives to their arguments.

I think that while it's certainly possible that the company made a bad decision, it is just as likely that the "incredible measure of bad p.r." they are getting has really to do with the phenomenon of the story and it's built-in appeal for people who have a need to see everything in terms of good versus evil, with nothing in between.

Troybob, I'm sympathetic to the idea that these stories can be catnip for certain social tendencies and ideological crusades. The problem is that it looks to me like your argument inevitable leads to a sort of agnostic inert-response to any story. Is event X *really* outrageous? Well, we don't know. We can't know. Best not to make any kind of judgment about it, right? In other words, your point leaves little room for distinguishing along a continuum from a story that's genuinely worth of outrage and attention to a little fluffy bread-and-circus bit that's good for business to an outright propaganda piece. I think that if you want it to be taken seriously, especially as your theory relates to this particular event, you should develop some way of making the distinction and insert it into the discussion.

Not only that, but especially with the over-the-top non-sequitur about how people upset about this case are tied into "with us or against us" terrorism rhetoric, you're taking the storytelling about the reporters and those who've gotten excited about the event to at least the same level as what you're accusing the audience of, if not beyond.

Again, this is demonstrated in that some who are so unequivocal in their condemnation of the company are so disproportionately antagonistic to the mere suggestion that their quick assumptions aren't necessarily correct.

I think it's possible there are facts about what actually happened that could change the story. If they come out, lots of people may well change their mind about this. But right now, the details people have seem to back Bruley, and it may be that the antagonism you're encountering has as much to do with a reluctance toward a change of mind about the situation on the basis of speculated contingencies as it has to do with the resonance factor of any kind of meme.

Not to mention that it sometimes isn't hard to eliminate certain conclusions regardless of contingencies. Given A=true, what's (A or B)? B doesn't matter. I think that's also a source of a lot of some antagonism here. If it seems quite likely there are other ways to avoid liability and reinforce company policy besides a firing (or if you believe that the company has some obligation to recognize quality of action outside of internal rules or external liabilities), then it doesn't matter much to whether or not the firing served those ends. Certain contingencies can be factored out on the basis of other assumptions.

(To some extent, that actually lines up with your theory, but the takeaway lesson should end up being that it's best to ferret out the other assumption and engage it, rather than dismiss people who have it.)
posted by namespan at 11:21 AM on June 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interview with Colin Bruley.
posted by ericb at 12:18 PM on June 24, 2007


"I have all kinds of awards and accommodation for top sales in the company nationwide. Actually the 2007, I'd been a top ten closer I think 20 weeks out of 22 weeks of employment."

BTW -- Colin has provided his cellphone number for people to call him -- especially if they can refer him to a good employment attorney: 734-771-9921.*
posted by ericb at 12:24 PM on June 24, 2007


the reporter and many people are deliberately confusing two different issues

No sir, pyramid_termine would never put words in people's mouths.

he says, as he deliberately eliminates bruley's name from the beginning of the sentence he quotes ... how disingenuous and dishonest

thanks for going overboard in proving my point

ps - even if you'd quoted me correctly, i'm still not putting words in anyone's mouth ... no quote marks, no claim anyone said "x" = no putting words in people's mouths

i'm getting tired of this whiny meme and the generally dishonest way it's used on this site ... especially from people who distort the record of discussion like you just did
posted by pyramid termite at 12:35 PM on June 24, 2007


"Through a fortunate chain of events, I was able to connect with Bruley via telephone.

...The next morning, Bruley received word that the woman spent several hours in emergency surgery getting her artery repaired.

But Bruley was called to the manager's office that evening and fired via teleconference by his area director. She told him when he heard the woman screaming she'd been shot, he should have first called the property manager, then the area director, and then the police, after which he should have waited in his apartment for the police to arrive.

'That would have been a dumb thing to do,' Bruley told me. 'This woman had been shot. The situation needed immediate attention. The property manager doesn't even live on the property, and the area director is in a different state – in Ohio. I didn't even have her phone number.'

After getting more details from Bruley, I was even more astonished at the brashness of his employer's decision to fire him. They didn't collect statements from any of the five eyewitnesses. They didn't consider Bruley's background or the details behind the particulars.

...Everything is not black and white. Each situation is unique, and the increasing frequency of Good Samaritans getting punished is a disturbing trend."*
posted by ericb at 9:08 AM on June 25, 2007


he says, as he deliberately eliminates bruley's name from the beginning of the sentence he quotes ... how disingenuous and dishonest

Please enlighten me on the deep shift of meaning involved in including Bruley's name at the beginning of the sentence.

I don't think it matters much whether or not whether you accused two parties (the reporters and people upset about the story) of deliberately confusing two issues, or three (Bruley and reporters and people upset about the story). Either way, you're going well beyond putting words in people's mouths and solidly into putting motives in their heads.

And you're doing it again in the comment you're addressing me in by stating I have some other ulterior motive for leaving off Bruley's name. None exist.
posted by namespan at 5:17 PM on June 25, 2007


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