[Instructor Michael] Cargill returned to a case that had riveted Austin itself. Daniel Perry, an Army sergeant shot and killed Garrett Foster, an armed Black Lives Matter demonstrator in July. Some people at the scene have said Foster didn’t raise the AK-47 rifle he was carrying, and that Perry, who had made statements on social media critical of protesters, seemed to use his car as a weapon. But Cargill sided with the sergeant. Perry, he said, was justified. Horner, who had recently been watching YouTube videos that dissect shootings, agreed.
“He made a turn and all these guys were in the street,” Horner told me later. “I think that he was justified because they started banging on his car and that guy’s walking up with an AR. That’s pretty scary.”
[Student Noah] Horner understands protesting during the day, he said, but after the sun sets, people who want to cause trouble show up. He tries to avoid downtown at night. He’s from Oklahoma, where he attended college in a small town that didn’t see much crime. Arriving in Austin, he said, “immediately you could just tell there’s evil people here.”
But if those fears seem to echo recent Republican talking points about the capital city and a host of other big cities around the country, Horner also said he thinks “this is a pretty important year to vote blue.”
Like Horner, [Zachary] Harris said that there are things about both the major political parties that he and Taylor disagree with. But they’ve been turned off by what feels to them like a president steering the country toward civil unrest. “We’d like a president that would at least not push people to political violence,” he said.
Harris was disconcerted by how some of the people in the license to carry class “almost sounded eager” to shoot someone. But Cargill also dedicated much of the class to discouraging people from drawing their weapons in tense situations. A license to carry is supposed to help you protect yourself and your family, Cargill said—not turn you into a one-person armed security force. Don’t chase down the suspect in a convenience store robbery you happen to witness, he said. Use your phone to take pictures and call the police instead. The last option should be a gun, he explained, because “once you use that gun your life is going to change forever.”
“Do we shoot to kill in Texas?” he shouted. When no one responded, he said it again. “Do we shoot to kill in Texas?”
A few people said yes.
“No!” he said. “We shoot to end the threat.”
– Ciara O’Rourke in They’re Afraid. They’re Buying Guns. But They’re Not Voting for Trump.