What If Deedy Didn’t Pack A Gun?

Christopher Deedy on the stand last Thursday | Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo

There’s much to be learned from the Christopher Deedy murder trial, whether you agree with the eventual outcome or not.

It’s about our gun culture.

Deedy, a very young and inexperienced State Department diplomatic security officer, never should have been out on the town in his shorts and slippers with a loaded gun tucked under a shirt. He was off duty and bar-hopping. At best, he should have had the gun in a lock box in the trunk of his car.

But he had a gun and, according to a witness, said he had a gun when he confronted the man he eventually shot and killed in a Waikiki McDonald’s.

It was an “I have a gun and you don’t” situation.

It also was a 20-something on alcohol saying, “I’m a cop.” Honolulu police officer? He was not that. When he was not out drinking he was security for diplomats. Why did he elect to “police” some argumentative words between two strangers in McDonald’s? I think it was youth, alcohol and the gun. I think no gun and he walks away.

The State Department will have to review the way it trains its agents. If you believed Deedy, if an officer is knocked to the ground he must immediately consider employing deadly force, even against a fist-armed foe.

Every study I’ve seen shows that if somebody has a gun he’s more likely to use it to kill somebody in a confrontation than in cases of unarmed people. Why get beat up if you can shoot your opponent?

Stand your ground? I guess so. But my problem with that kind of law or attitude is that it negates the option of walking away. That’s what Deedy prosecutor Jan Futa kept pounding on last week. Deedy could have walked out the door. Until he kicked at Kollin Elderts, no crime was committed, and that kicking was only misdemeanor assault on Deedy’s part.

Why didn’t he walk away? He says he didn’t know what Elderts would do if he passed him on the right or the left. That’s testosterone talking.

A mature, sober, experienced federal officer would have said, “I’m through, I’m not going to fight you, I’m sorry I ever intervened and I’m leaving.”

Had Elderts kept it going, well, that would have been another case altogether.

I’ve covered dozens of homicide trials. I do have a law degree. But mainly I’m a man of good sense.

Christopher Deedy had no reasonable need to pack a gun as he hit the bars starting at 9 p.m. with his friends and with no diplomatic protection duties whatsoever.

I think that without the gun and the badge and his youth and his drinking, he had no impetus to confront Kollin Elderts or anybody else.

He was being a “somebody” in front of his drinking friends. He had a gun.

He’s guilty of manslaughter.