I just got off the phone with First Sergeant Jeff Gordon of the NC Highway Patrol. I called him and asked him about the story in the Raleigh News and Observer that I quoted earlier today. The weapon involved was a Smith and Wesson M&P in .357 SIG. Here’s what he said about my two questions.
FSGT Gordon says that it was a long conversation, and he probably did say that “stuff happens.” The context was that State Troopers are only human and mistakes can happen. Luckily no one was injured. He did not mean to imply that it was not a serious issue, nor that he or the Highway Patrol takes it lightly.
Civilians carrying on an empty chamber.
FSGT Gordon categorically denied ever having said anything at all about how civilians can or should carry their firearms. He said that this was something written by the article’s author, perhaps based upon the authors training and experience.
I have also just spoken to the reporter, Michael Biesecker. He states that he would not “do my reporting for me.” When I asked him if he would characterize what FSGT Gordon said as “cavalier,” he refused to say and referred me to FSGT Gordon. When I asked him about the civilian carry, he said that it was entirely his own words as part of a question to FSGT Gordon, not something the Trooper said. Mr. Biesecker was as unhelpful as possible, and seemed to consider it an affront that I was questioning him.
This whole story smells. What first sounded like a fool quoted in the newspaper is starting to sound very much like the victim of a hit piece. Few people advocate carrying a defensive pistol in Condition 3. For a reporter to have written it down, it means that he lacks a lot of firearms specific knowledge. For a reporter to have had a long conversation with a PAO and to have reduced his words to “Stuff happens,” making him sound like a negligent discharge is not a big deal, sounds like a hit piece.
I’d like to thank First Sergeant Gordon for being polite with my questions. Michael Biesecker was as rude as possible. In the future, I will make sure to take any story containing his byline with a grain of salt.