Stupid Excuse

I meant to comment on this on Wednesday, but things have been a bit crazy lately.  The “tattoo bandit” decided to have a press conference to talk about her escapades.  First, though, she seemed to be surprised by all the attention:

Surrounded by photographers, videographers and reporters from six TV stations and two newspapers, Harvey said she was surprised by all the media attention.

“I couldn’t believe that I was getting that much coverage,” she said. “I was freaking out. … I couldn’t even go into Wal-Mart without people staring at me. That was not the reaction I wanted. I was trying to hide.”

I don’t know… maybe that whole armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping thing might just be something that catches the public’s attention.  But maybe I’m just strange that way.

But this isn’t the main topic I wanted to discuss.  This is what was bugging me:

Phyllis Dawn Harvey, who became known as the “tattoo bandit” during a 12-day crime spree, said she never had any bullets in her gun.

I always hate it when people say “it wasn’t loaded.”  Either as an excuse for poor gun handling or as a mitigating factor in a criminal case, it sets my teeth on edge.  In real life, there’s no way to tell a gun is loaded without close inspection.  If someone is pointing one at you or waving it around your best bet is to proceed as if it’s loaded.  She’s just lucky that she didn’t encounter a police officer or an armed citizen. 

In general, Texas law doesn’t seem to distinguish between loaded and unloaded (there is an exception for making a firearm accessible to a child).  Either with regards to aggravated robbery or simple carrying, the law appears to regard a firearm as a deadly weapon.  I think this makes sense, because as I mentioned above, there is generally no readily distinguishable feature that can help someone (at a distance and under the influence of adrenalin) tell if a gun is loaded.


  1. Mike says:

    A certain young fool discovered that you are very right about encountering a cop or armed citizen when doing something brilliant like you describe, just up the road from you at a local whataburger, two days ago.
    He was waving around what turned out to be a pellet gun that appeared to the police to be real, would not drop it, in fact pointed it at the cop…..
    He is now at room temperature….

  2. I remember seeing that on the news.  I used to go to that Whataburger quite a bit when I lived in Denton, so it caught my eye.

    It definitely doesn’t pay to play with guns.

    There was another teenager killed by the police in Grand Prairie this morning.  The police spokesman made a good point:  “If you point a handgun at a police officer, he’s in fear for his life, and he’s going to do whatever it takes to go home at the end of his shift.”