Gun-Wielding Felon is Killed by Police. His Family and Friends Absolve Him of Any Wrong-Doing.

Gun-Wielding Felon is Killed by Police. His Family and Friends Absolve Him of Any Wrong-Doing.

Late Sunday evening, a large fight broke out in Milwaukee, prompting a massive police response. Witnesses claimed that 40-50 people were engaged in the melee, some using baseball bats as weapons.

At some point during the brawl, 37-year-old resident Antwon Springer stepped out of his home with a gun and fired several times. Reports are still unclear on exactly what or who Springer was firing at. Two responding officers arrived and ordered Springer to drop his weapon shortly before shooting him. Springer later died from his injuries.

Friends and family spoke out on Springer's behalf, claiming that although he was armed, he was legally blind and fired into the air to stop the fight.

This is completely asinine.

For one, if you're legally blind, it's hardly ever a good idea to handle a firearm. If Springer really had severely compromised vision (as his family claims), he should be the last person to use a gun; the risks simply outweigh the benefits.

“His intentions was to stop everybody from fighting before it lead to somebody getting killed.”
— Sharmane Anderson, Springer's cousin

Uh, no. Springer's decision put lives at risk. For one, there's the issue of background — what if there was a helicopter passing over the area? In situations involving large numbers of people, police often call in air support to monitor the situation — firing into the air would certainly endanger the lives of airborne police officers.

Physics dictates that what goes up must come down. Even if shooting into the air didn't harm anyone in the immediate vicinity, falling bullets have been known to injure or even kill. Again, Springer's decision put lives at risk.

Let's say Springer was indeed "legally blind." Typically, the term is used to describe a medically diagnosed central visual acuity of 20/200 or less. This means that rather than the pitch darkness associated with 'traditional' blindness, the affected individual can still make out blurs and shapes.

This means that even with extremely blurred vision, Springer should still have been able to make out the distinctive red and blue flashing lights of arriving police cars. Still, Springer's family and friends claimed that responding police did not have their lights or sirens going. Okay, fine — was Springer deaf as well? 

As interesting as the story sounds, it's not the first time legal blindness has been used as an excuse for reckless criminal behavior. In 2011, a woman claimed just that before being convicted of numerous felonies:

As it so happens, even if Springer had perfect vision and intended only to break up a fight by firing his gun into the air, there's one last problem:

Springer is a convicted felon and cannot legally possess a firearm.

In 1999, Springer was convicted of driving a stolen vehicle. In 2006, he was convicted of illegal possession of a firearm. As a felon, Springer should not have even had a firearm on the night of his death, let alone fired one.

While Springer's death could've been avoided had he made better decisions, the narrative would not have changed much had he survived, given his family's enabling attitude. Even if Springer had complied with police orders and laid down his weapon, he would've been arrested yet again for being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm. The headlines would roll out claiming he'd been arrested simply for breaking up a fight, much in the way criminal Eric Garner became a martyr in 2014.

From Fox 6 Now:

Police described Springer as a convicted felon. Court records show a 1999 conviction for driving a stolen car and a 2006 conviction for felon possessing a firearm.

A man who would only identify himself as Springer’s longtime friend, Pernell, said relatives are upset police were quick to announce that.

”I don’t see why you put that out there to create this narrative that, you know, he was wrong,” Pernell said.

Well, Pernell, maybe it's because he was wrong. He was wrong in a way that cost him his life, but wrong nonetheless. The truth is an inconvenient narrative, isn't it?

Attitudes like these are exactly why America continues to deteriorate. Until Americans can wake up and stop absolving each other of personal responsibility, the results of bad decision making will continue plaguing us all. Thankfully, Springer has at least one reasonable friend. A man that refused to appear on camera had this to say:

“We understand [that the] police, they gotta make split second decisions ... their lives are on the line too. But at the same time, is there any more options than shooting and killing somebody?”

Unfortunately, no, not in this case. Springer's poor decisions cost him his life. His family and friends should bear the burden for enabling his behavior.

Stay alert. Stay alive.

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