On August 8, in the wake of two mass shootings, a young white male in his twenties, showed up at a Walmart Superstore in Springfield Mo. dressed in body armor and military fatigues, carrying a rifle and handgun along with more than 100 rounds of ammunition.
He reportedly got a shopping cart upon his arrival, and took a stroll through the store while taking video of the entire scene. That’s when a store manager spotted the man and pulled a fire alarm, urging people to evacuate immediately.
The suspect slipped out an emergency exit, where an off-duty firefighter spotted him and held him at gunpoint (with a weapon he was carrying!) until the police arrived. The man offered no resistance.
Why was he arrested given that EVERYTHING he was carrying was completely legal as was his carrying it in the open? Lieutenant Mike Lucas, an officer with the Springfield Police Department, said that although the man’s motives and intentions were unclear at the time, he believed that the suspect’s intent was to cause chaos. “His intent was not to cause peace or comfort,” Lucas said. “He’s lucky he’s alive still, to be honest.” WHAT!? There is no collaborating testimony that supports the officer’s claim. Per witnesses, the man was calm, friendly, and never threatening. He never pointed a weapon at anyone.
It has now been a week since this incident. The man says he was “testing” his Second Amendment rights. Dmitriy Andreychenko, 20, is charged with making a terrorist threat. Andreychenko said in a probable cause statement to police that he was testing whether Walmart would actually protect his right to openly carry weapons. He said that he spoke with a Walmart manager prior to his “demonstration” and was assured that WalMart recognized the right to open carry of legal weapons in states where this was legal. Missouri is one of those states.
He says that he decided to check this out for himself by walking through the store with the weapons, and to his surprise this prompted shoppers and employees to flee.
Missouri is an open-carry state requiring no special licensing to do so. Wielding the weapons identified in this instance in public is not illegal. Carrying 100 rounds of ammo and wearing military gear are not prohibited. It was all legal. .
But he has stil been charged with making a terrorist threat because he caused a storewide panic — by doing something that is explicitly permitted under Missouri law. He was arrested because fellow shoppers ran from the store and police responded to calls and a fire alarm. It could be argued that it was the shoppers who acted inappropriately…yep, it sure could be argued that way.
The irony here is that Missouri, like many other states, allows most people 19 years or older to carry a variety of firearms in public, open or concealed. It only becomes illegal if the weapon is “displayed in an angry or threatening manner.” That’s a standard so murky, so subjective, as to be meaningless, and it is also one the Springfield gunman doesn’t seem to have violated by merely strolling even as his fellow shoppers scattered in fear. There’s been no report to suggest he did anything threatening BEYOND having those weapons on display WHICH IS LEGAL IN MISSOURI. What made him subject to arrest was the reaction of others to his legal behavior.
That has necessitated some logical contortions from Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson to explain how it is that Andreychenko faces criminal charges: “Missouri protects the right of people to open carry a firearm,” Patterson said in a statement, “but that does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner endangering other citizens.” WHAT WAS ANDREYCHENKO’S RECKLESS OR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR?
Again, Missouri law explicitly permits scenarios exactly like this one. If what Andreychenko did was “reckless” and “endangering” in and of itself since there is no evidence to corroborate police or prosecutor statements that he was threatening, then it is the law itself that is reckless and endangering.
The entire point of the “carry” movements, both open and concealed, was to create a society in which the people all around us are armed, to serve notice to all bad guys out there. Warnings that this was unwise as it would create scenarios like the one described here fell on deaf ears, as the gun lobby and its political lackeys promoted irrational rhetoric about gun violence having nothing to do with guns.
Some Walmart shoppers — and people in other public spaces wherever such laws are in effect — understandably have to wonder which of those legally carrying gunmen will suddenly decide to illegally use what he’s carrying. This is the world that a permissive gun culture creates. Polling is showing that fear of public gatherings as a result of the presence of guns in civilian hands is growing.
We’re all prisoners in it, and will continue to be until sanity returns to the state legislatures where such laws exist.
Now, don’t make it too easy for me and ask: “What was the simulation of a terroristic act?” He dressed like a mass murderer; went to a place crowded with children, in body armor; and carried weapons of war. To Walmart. He was simulating a specific, recent act. His object was terror!
In a crowded open space, a single sabot from a .223 rifle can kill several people. They used to say, the G.I.’s that is, that a .223 round can hit you in the elbow, twist through major organs, and come out at your knee. It travels at 3 times the speed of sound. In Moore Oklahoma, a single .223 round missed an intruder, went through the outer wall, went all the way through the house across the street, killing a man passing by in his car on the next street. In Chicago, after the Bulls Threepeat, a small child was killed sleeping in his bed, by an assault rifle round fired two blocks away. I was there. In Meridian, Mississippi a cop named, “Sudburry” had to respond to a hostage situation where the shooter had an assault rifle, in an overcrowded tenement apartment building. Sudburry took off his gun and holster, and locked them in the trunk. He said to my dad, “Ain’t no use getting a bunch of people killed, sleeping in their beds.” A few minutes later he came out, leading a very troubled youth, and carrying a rifle.
If you want a weapon for self defense, get a pump shotgun. There’s no man alive who has the juice to stare down a 12 guage shotgun. Been there too. I think that fellow is still running.
Very well — and most powerfully — said, Steppenwolf! I know something
about firearms and firepower — having learned to fire .22 rifles very well
during 5 years of summer camp starting from the age of 8, participating
in my high school rifle club, and many years later getting to fire a friend’s
Uzi and H&K MP5 (he was a licensed gun dealer).
And while Dmitriy Andreychenko is more a right-wing nincompoop (pardon
the redundancy) than an actual terrorist, the people he scared out of their
skins at the Springfield, MO Walmart had no way of knowing that.
I doubt Andreychenko is capable of learning from his rather serious faux
pas, but I hope Missouri’s judicial system — less insane than its radical
ultra right-wing reactionary Republican Governor and state legislature —
will at least remove him from circulation for long enough to lessen his
longing to exercise his overblown sense of his so-called 2nd Amendment
So he was performing a “social experiment?” On persons who had no idea that they were subjects – in an experiment that could have caused injury or death. By a boy with no qualifications. An experiment in terror, and the limits of psychological endurance. Without regard for the trauma your experiment will cause.
Simulation of a terroristic act is an act of terror.
I read about the fool and guarantee he will get away with it. A perfect example of why changes to Open Carry is a must. There is no justification for it and is nothing but a threat to public safety. I see people with guns all the time now – and never seen anything like it in my life. On the road, walking, and was at a work lunch and a woman had one in her bag with sparkles on it … The gun culture has increased like a bat out of hell around here. Facts are 100 people in the United States die every day from gun violence, and unless real gun reform laws are implemented and enforced – it will hit closer to home for all of us. I certainly hope that never happens.
I too see them far too often.
Of course from his point of view he will not be getting away with it…he will have exercised his “rights”. And, in truth, I only put some of the onus on him…I put most of it on those who have provided a milieu in which people with his mindset can be encouraged and allowed to do this. Those providers, those enablers are legislators who are beholding to the NRA and to the weapons industry.
I take and agree with your points. But while it’s possible he will get
away with it, I wouldn’t guarantee he will. We shall see what we shall
I live in Missouri, and many of us aren’t gun nuts and 2nd Amendment
fanatics. Some of us, including me, are responsible gun owners and
have nothing but contempt for the National Reprehensibles Assoc. and
their partners in condoning and enabling bloody mayhem, the weapons
and ammunition manufacturers of the now Dis-united States.
Sickening display of white privilege.
The law covers everyone no matter the race but, in reality, a black or hispanic man would have been perceived to be a threat more quickly and more readily.
Yes! We have more and more of these sickening displays in recent years.
And there are court challenges right now re. businesses, schools, churches etc. post “no guns” rules for their establishments….the angle is that the suits claim that no individual can block the exercise of the a constitutional right.