By William Thomas

On February 23rd, in Frostproof, Florida a dog shot a man.  I know.  I know.  You’re as startled as I was when I first heard the news.  Frostproof!!!  A town in Florida named Frostproof!!!  Like Sweatsoak, Alaska?  Or Compromise, D.C.?

Gregory Lanier, 35 was driving along State Road 17 when his rambunctious bulldog accidently kicked the trigger of a loaded 9 mm Beretta pistol lying on the floor of his Ford pick-up truck.  The bullet went through his left calf, out the shin and lodged up in the driver’s side door.  After a thorough investigation of this near-tragic incident, Sebring police determined that the dog acted alone.  The name of the alleged shooter cannot be released because he’s under 126 in dog years.

Police from nearby Sebring labelled the shooting as ‘accidental’ even though Lanier had just left the Blue Crab Restaurant and – I do not want to get into motive or premeditation here but – the “doggie bag” belongs to the dog, okay.  That’s the rule.  How many times can you put the leftovers on the dashboard before the dog, spotting the loaded gun at his feet, takes the law into his own paws.

Despite the fact the pistol was loaded and Lanier thought it wasn’t, despite the loaded Martin XT.243 rifle, the empty .243 shell casings in the ashtray, two boxes of ammunition, several rounds of .308 bullets and green-tipped ‘zombie killers’ – despite all this weaponry found in his vehicle, Lanier was let go with a warning “to be more careful in securing his firearms.”

In America where 307 million people possess 300 million guns (and those are the weapons with permits, the ones they know about) and in Florida where they brag about being the most heavily-armed state in the union – having all that weaponry discovered in your vehicle is like passing gas in church.  Not pretty but also not illegal.

Lanier claimed he was just toolin’ down the highway when all of a sudden:  “BANG!”  He immediately smelled smoke and felt burning in his lower left leg.  It was at that point the dog jumped up on the passenger seat and stuck his head out the window as if nothing had happened, as if he hadn’t even been down there on the floor when the gun went off.  Apparently the dog maintained his innocence until the police finally drove off without laying charges and then he “snorgled” … mockingly.  I hate to repeat myself but leftovers secured in a “doggie bag” lawfully belong to the dog and he is not in any way responsible for the consequences resulting from a violation of that law.  Period.

Bleeding badly and probably fearing for his life – “I know what you’re thinking, punk.  Was there one or were there two bullets in that Beretta?  Go ahead.  Make my day.” – Lanier pulled over at a BP station where he applied paper towels to his wound and the attendant called 911.

President Obama used the Florida shooting to reiterate his stance on gun control and his plan for universal background checks on four-footed gun buyers who have mental health problems or harbour grudges against their owners.

In a quick and aggressive response, National Rifle Association Vice president Wayne LaPierre called a press conference to say:  “The only thing that stops a bad dog with a gun is (“Who’s a good dog!?!  He’s a good dog!??) a good dog with a gun.”

Repeating his mantra that “guns don’t kill, dogs do,” LaPierre called for the installation of well-armed guards at the entrances of every vet clinic and boarding kennel in America.

“SPCA buildings where stray dogs and dogs with behavioral problems housed should have two well-armed guards and they should be humans, not guard dogs with automatic weapons.”

LaPierre noted that everybody lucked out this time.  Endorsing a universal program in which every dog in America be armed, LaPierre explained that if it had been a pack of dogs in a crowded public area, say the Westminster Dog Show, the other dogs could have shot the shooter before more human life was taken.

“I will defend every American dog’s right to the Second Amendment” said LaPierre, “and yes, I would even allow bears to bear arms.  But only good bears like Yogi The Bear.”

This dog-on-owner gun violence is not to be confused or even outdone by another incident, this time in St. Petersburg, Florida where a woman claims she was shot by an oven.  And 18-year-old woman by the name of Aalaya Walker (I swear I do not make this stuff up!) was visiting her boyfriend JJ Sandy when she decided to preheat the oven in order to make late-night waffles.  Not knowing that’s where JJ keeps his bullets, Aalaya opened the hot oven and “BANG!”  She was later treated at hospital for wounds to her legs and chest from bullet fragments for a .45 caliber Glock pistol.

While President Obama called for universal background checks on kitchen stoves, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre stated that while guns don’t kill and bullets don’t wound, under certain circumstances, ovens, freezers and even bread baskets can snuff out a human life in the blink of an eye.  He then called for well-armed electricians and handymen to be stationed at every kitchen door in America.

Meanwhile in Frostproof, Florida Gregory Lanier is keeping his Beretta well away from Bingo and giving the dog pretty much everything he wants.  Shame that it nearly cost him his life before he finally understood the man/dog relationship.

For comments, ideas and copies of The True Story of  Wainfleet, go to


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