Decent New York Times Article on Detroit Home Depot Vigilante Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez

I don’t always read New York Times articles even on topics of interest to me because they are frequently so biased, but a colleague forwarded me a link to a follow-up story about the woman — now identified as 46-year old Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez — who shot at a fleeing shoplifter’s car at a suburban Detroit Home Depot.

Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez

In this story, I was pleased to find the Times reporter reaching out to people in the self-defense firearms community who could offer some insider perspective on the event. I was very surprised to see Concealed Nation quoted:

“You do not draw your firearm and fire at a fleeing suspect that is of no threat to yourself or others,” Concealed Nation, a group that advocates the legal carrying of concealed weapons, said in a statement it posted online. It added that “your job as a witness is to gather as much information as you can about the suspect, the vehicle and anything else that could help police.”

And they even got to the person who is in many ways the face of concealed carry in Detroit, Rick Ector:

Under most circumstances, officers are allowed to use deadly force only if there is imminent danger of death or great bodily harm to themselves or someone else. A licensed concealed weapon holder is held to a similar standard, said Rick Ector, a firearms trainer at Rick’s Firearm Academy of Detroit.

“This is an aberration,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong. In metro Detroit, there is a lot of crime and there have been numerous cases in which people used firearms lawfully to defend themselves. But this is just a case in which someone who was trained didn’t follow the law.”

rick ector
Photo of Rick Ector by Regina H. Boone/Detroit Free Press

I don’t know the extent to which she was “trained.” If she only took the mandatory class to get her concealed carry permit, many people would not consider that training. This might be taken as an argument for more mandatory training to get concealed carry permits, but even those who are highly trained can make mistakes. I guess the question is whether more training equals fewer mistakes in general.

At the same time, we do well to recall that permitted gun carriers in general don’t make many mistakes in the first place. Whatever you think of him generally, John Lott is 100% accurate in this case, as quoted in the story:

John Lott, an economist, author and prominent advocate of concealed carry, said millions of people have concealed carry permits, yet incidents like these “are incredibly rare.”

Rare, to be sure. But are they becoming less rare as shall-issue concealed carry becomes institutionalized and gun carry promoted? Time will tell, but this is the concern raised by another (not surprising) voice in the Times story:

But John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group backed by Michael R. Bloomberg, said the shootings should be viewed in light of the campaigns to pass “stand your ground” laws — which he said had led directly to shootings — and statutes making it easier to carry a firearm.

“The subliminal message is that people should take the law into their own hands,” Mr. Feinblatt said. “You essentially are promoting a culture of vigilantism.”

Although “stand your ground” laws as written are not “shoot first and ask questions later” laws as some critics charge, how people in their everyday lives understand the law can differ greatly from what the laws actually say. So vigilance in curtailing any sign of a culture of vigilantism is important.


  1. Why is everyone so up in arms about this? People are acting like it’s the crime of the century. Does she even get a trial before she gets tossed under the bus? Do we gun owners actually believe that if we burn this woman at the stake, that gun haters will magically have a “come to John Moses Browning moment” and suddenly say “Oh, we were wrong about you gun owners and gun carriers. You aren’t total retard rednecks with tiny penises and Charles Bronson fantasies. You’re actually reasonable people just like us, who have simply come to a different conclusion about guns as personal defense items!” Get off it. They hate because that’s who they are. They won’t love gun owners because hating us is one of their defining characteristics.

    Let the woman have a fair trial, unencumbered by thousands of gun owners screaming “NO TRUE SCOTSMAN!!!” and “BURN THE WITCH!”

    The facts of the case as we know them are, 1. She shot her gun. 2. She hit her target. 3. No one got hurt in any way. That’s all we really know.

    Things we don’t know. 1. Was she, or anyone else directly threatened by the fleeing felons? 2. Does Michigan’s “fleeing felon” law apply in her case? She used deadly force, but in a decidedly non-deadly fashion. She isn’t claiming to have been shooting at the tires. She actually hit the tire of the fleeing vehicle. It’s not a mere claim (should she claim to have been shooting at the tire) it’s an actual, provable fact.

    This does not make her actions, as described by law enforcement, actions that others should emulate. She took a risk that I would have deemed unnecessary. But lacking all the information, I can’t pass judgement on her. More to the point, neither can anyone else. That’s why we have trials. And even taking all the information as true, putting her in the worst light possible, this is hardly the crime of the century. She’s only charged with a 93 day misdemeanor, which is basically the lowest class of misdemeanor in Michigan. This is equivalent to a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor in NC. Even if she is found guilty of it she’s going to get a fine, a strong admonishment never to repeat her actions, and maybe some community service.

    Why are we spilling so many barrels of pixels over this incredibly minor (possible) offense? Are gun carrying citizens such a hated minority that our every transgression, no matter how tiny, warrants national news coverage?

    Also, when are you going to be a guest on the podcast?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the comment. Well said and appropriately cautious. I guess it is easy to get caught up in the media hype, even when trying to critically engage. Soon enough we’ll all be onto the next story. Like I was trying to find additional information on the (possible) armed citizen intervention at the gas station in Houston, where the shooter (allegedly) pick up his/her spent brass and disappeared. I couldn’t find any follow-up stories after the initial report. Onto the next headline.

      Teaching the sociology of guns for the first time this fall has taken up alot of my “free” time — but definitely still want to get on the podcast one day!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m pretty sure that the “shooter” is a figment of someone’s imagination. I’ll bet that it was a couple of criminals with a beef and the “victim” told the cops a fanciful story to prevent getting shanked on his next visit to the pokey.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “take the law into their own hands”–such a piously authoritarian sentiment. Electing representatives and paying professional enforcers does not mean we are no longer the foundational, atomic element of our society. Legislators and law enforcement are our handmaidens, not our masters. We willingly submit for the sake of law and order and a civilised society, but when our constructs begin to fail us in maintaining those goals, it is our definite prerogative to assert ourselves as the source and sustainers of a lawful society.

    We can debate the rights or wrongs of what she did, and vigilante justice should certainly be avoided, but apparently we may also need to be reminded that government of, for, and by the people is more profound than merely casting the occasional ballot.

    That being said, for all our sakes may the gears of civilized society function as intended so that vigilante/mob justice will not flourish to fill the void.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.