What If He Shot Someone Else?

Jim BouchardCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2008

Guns and booze; great combination!

It’s just plain stupid to carry a loaded weapon while drinking. Plaxico Burress messed up big time. Antonio Pierce may have made some poor decisions trying to protect his friend.

What about the benefit of the doubt? Okay: Plax was drinking in a nightclub with a loaded handgun, which was poorly secured and improperly handled at best. I do believe the gun went off accidentally; he’s paying a price for that. What if the round found its way into some innocent bystander’s chest instead of Plaxico’s leg? What would we be talking about now?

I’ve heard the arguments about the athlete’s life being different warranting certain considerations. I’ll grant that in some circumstances, but this isn’t one of them. As a law-abiding handgun owner I’m offended by any suggestion of special treatment in this case.

This is the type of incident that makes it difficult for us to defend the right to bear arms. When you’re carrying a weapon your life changes. If you conceal a weapon you’ve got to change the way you dress. You’ve got to be aware of where you’re going and where you’re not allowed to go and who you’re with. Under any circumstances, you shouldn’t be drinking.

Did Plaxico have the right to carry a weapon for the purposes of self-defense? Yes, provided he followed the appropriate regulations. He did not. He did not have a permit to carry in New York City. In most jurisdictions you’re not supposed to be carrying in drinking establishments. He made a number of poor choices in this one and he’s got to face up to it.

I can understand a profile athlete being given some consideration when he punches out a drunk trying to show his minerals on a high-profile target. I’d even give him a pass if he lost his cool with an obnoxious reporter or the paparazzi. There’s no defense for the decisions Plaxico Burress made the other night.

When I’m not blogging for Bleacher Report I’m a professional speaker, coach and author of Dynamic Components of Personal Power. I teach people that power is your ability or capacity to act or perform effectively.

The tremendous blessings available to a professional athlete are deserved rewards for a life of incredible self-motivation and discipline. It’s a tragedy in the purest sense when an athlete squanders these blessings and the blood, sweat, and tears it took to earn them.

I sincerely hope that Plaxico will get through this and continue a career full of success & happiness. I sincerely hope that he will learn from this and help others avoid this type of self-imposed situation. I hope that he can return to his team and be an effective and beneficial resource for his team, his family, his community, and for himself.

Most of all, I hope that this situation wakes up a few more players to the dangerous realities of life in the fast lane.


If you’re an athlete or anyone else struggling to create a productive, effective and powerful life visit my website: JimBouchard.org. Free PowerCOACHING session available.