In light of the list's recent discussions regarding illegal guns and
deterrence of crimes, I thought people might find the following of interest.
"(Ronald) Dixon was upstairs, in bed, when he heard a noise in the hallway.
Half asleep, he opened his eyes and saw a man at the top of the stairs
heading toward the bedroom of Mr. Dixon's 2-year-old son, Kyle. That was
enough for the father. He grabbed a 9-millimeter pistol that he kept in a
closet, walked toward the man and asked what he was doing there. This man,
Mr. Dixon said, ran at him, screaming. That's when he pulled the trigger. He
shot the intruder twice, wounding him seriously but not mortally. Other
points are worth noting.
"Mr. Dixon, 27, is your basic straight arrow, a Navy veteran who works two
jobs as a computer specialist to provide for his girlfriend and their two
small children. The man accused of being the intruder, Ivan Thompson, 40, is
a career lowlife with a blocklong record of burglaries and other crimes. If
convicted this time, he could be hammering out license plates for years to
"Case closed, you might think. But there is one more critical detail:
"Mr. Dixon's gun was illegal. He had no New York license for it. He also
lives in a borough whose district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, considers the
prosecution of illegal-gun charges a supreme virtue. Mr. Hynes wants Mr.
Dixon to do jail time - not much, but at least some. If convicted of the
misdemeanor charge against him, Mr. Dixon could get as much as a year. Mr.
Hynes is offering a plea bargain that would involve four weekends, tops, on
"'Nobody,' the district attorney said, 'is going to get a bye' on a gun
charge. 'Everybody is going to do some time. There have to be some
consequences. The Dixon case is a perfect example of what we're trying to
do. We're sympathetic. No question, he had the right to shoot the guy in his
house. But he had no right to have an illegal weapon.'"
- New York Times, 2/7/03