The Edmond Sun


March 1, 2013

Dog shoots man story smells fishy

EDMOND — Sometimes a news story comes over the wire that causes you to say, “Now wait just a minute.” Sometimes, when the official police statement is, “We see no need for further investigation,” a mental alert goes off saying: Warning, there could be a cover up here. These are precisely my reactions to a story covered by Reuters news service this week.

Here’s the background. Last Saturday, 35-year-old Gregory Lanier showed up at a Florida hospital with a gunshot wound to his left leg. Since law enforcement is bound to investigate reports involving gunshots, officers were dispatched to look into it. According to Mr. Lanier, he was shot while driving his truck on a highway near Sebring, Fla. He informed the officers that this was not a random drive-by shooting committed by an unknown assailant. He insisted there was no need to look for a suspect as he knew who shot him. He assured the officers there was no crime. It was clearly an accident. It was his dog. That’s right. His dog shot him.

He insisted there was no foul play as he (and presumably the dog) both thought the gun was unloaded. No doubt you could have knocked them both over with a proverbial feather when the thing went off. So how, you may ask, exactly did the dog accidentally discharge this allegedly unloaded weapon? This is precisely the question the investigators asked.

Well, it’s like this. There was this .380 Beretta semi-automatic — presumably unloaded like I said — just sitting on the passenger floor board. The dog, described in the report as “the black and tan English bulldog,” for his unspecified motive, kicked the weapon causing it to discharge. The bullet traveled over or under Lanier’s right leg producing a hole in his left.

As you can see, there are aspects of the story that might cause a police investigator to be — skeptical. First, regarding the weapon’s caliber. According to some reports, Lanier first claimed it was a .380. The firearm found in his truck was a 9 mm. This appears to be an inconsistency, but let’s put that aside. There remains the question of the safety. My Berettas all have safeties. I’m assuming this one did as well. If “someone” left the safety “off,” we’re dealing with another level of recklessness in addition to the “I didn’t think it was loaded” gaff.

If it was “on,” that means the bulldog had to release it and then “accidentally” kick the firearm. The situation is starting to get complicated.

At this point, we have to entertain one of three possibilities. First, the dog didn’t shoot Lanier at all. We might be dealing with a self-inflicted wound — deliberate or accidental. Surely not. Surely Lanier wouldn’t blame an innocent dog for his own foolishness. Surely he’d be adult enough to say, “It’s not the dog’s fault. I accidentally shot my own self.” So, I think we can eliminate a self-inflicted gunshot wound — don’t you?

Maybe it wasn’t the dog at all. Maybe it was someone else. Lanier might be trying to frame the dog in order to protect the real shooter. Maybe some other person (or pet) had or thought they had a good reason to plug Mr. Lanier and, for reasons of his own, Lanier doesn’t want the real shooter to face the consequences. It’s better, according to this theory, to let the dog take the rap than turn the real culprit over to the law. After all, it’s Lanier’s word against the bulldog’s. Possible. But what kind of jerk would let a dog, man’s best friend, take the fall for something he didn’t do?

Finally, it’s possible this was no accident. Maybe the dog meant to plug him. I had occasion to discuss this “accident” with a retired Florida policeman. He wasn’t buying it.

“Let’s face it Hink, there are some breeds that are more likely to pull the trigger than others. If it was a cat in that truck, I’d say it was an open and shut case of attempted murder. But since it was a bulldog, I have doubts. Firearms are just not a bulldog’s weapon of choice. Or, in official police terms, it’s not his modus operandi.”

I read my police friend the official department statement: “We didn’t spend a lot of time investigating it. There doesn’t appear to be any criminal act involved. You don’t have to be licensed in Florida to carry a handgun.” My friend smiled and winked. “That’s right. Let’s hope Mr. Lanier learned his lesson. The dog may have intended this to be only a warning shot.” I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is an Edmond resident and retired attorney.

Text Only
  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results