In the United States these days, it seems like we cannot go a single week without hearing a story regarding guns and race. This week is no different as we are reporting on a story involving a women pulling a gun out on a man in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Murfeesboro, Tennessee is where this story unfolded, and according to local news reports, the woman drew her gun because a man was talking loudly and approaching her aggressively.
When Is It Ok to Draw Your Weapon?
Sherry McLain, 67, was reportedly loading groceries into the back of her vehicle when she heard an African-American man “hollering behind her.” Having caught her attention, McLain looked up to see that this man was swiftly approaching her vehicle, yelling all the while. Before long, McLain instructed the man to halt, and he refused. Seconds later, McLain made a verbal announcement that she was in possession of a firearm and proceeded to draw her weapon. At this point, McLain alleges that the man halted his approach towards her and instead turned his attention to another woman close by.
James Crutchfield is the name of the 52 year old man, and he claims that he was simply approaching McLain to inquire as to whether she had a lighter he could borrow. Crutchfield, in explaining to police, stated that he had purchased a pack of cigarettes but did not have a lighter, so his instinct was to ask someone nearby. In his version of the story, McLain pulled her gun mere seconds after he began approaching her. In reviewing security footage, police determined that McLain now only unlawfully drew her weapon, but also pointed the weapon at Crutchfield while he was in close proximity to a woman and her child.
In the security camera footage, one can clearly see that Crutchfield immediately halted his progress and threw his hands in the air as soon as McLain drew her weapon. He then asked for someone to call the police and proceeded to run back into Wal-Mart out of fear of being shot.
McLain was apprehended due to the officers determining that no immediate threat was presented by Crutchfield at the time the weapon was drawn. While this seems to be nothing more than a basic, yet almost deadly, misunderstanding, it brings our attention back to the hot topics of race and gun laws in this country. For some, McLain’s pulling her weapon is being interpreted as her acting on racial stereotypes. For others, her actions were justified as dark parking lots are often the scene of muggings and other criminal activity. McLain is being charged, though there is no saying whether the charges will stick. For Crutchfield, this whole scenario was an eye-opening experience and one that he will not soon forget.