On May 4th in Kalamazoo, Mich., White 63-year-old Joseph Houseman (pictured) engaged a phalanx of local police for a 40-plus-minute argument as he held a rifle over his shoulder, parade-style, in broad daylight. After receiving several calls about the odd site by passersby, police finally went to where Houseman, who was wearing pajamas, was spotted. Standing on a sidewalk, Houseman defiantly mouthed off to them as if he somehow knew no harm would come to him.
Openly carrying a gun in Michigan is certainly legal but brandishing one is a different story and could land someone in hot water with police.
But that didn’t stop Houseman from making lewd gestures and cursing at them — all while refusing to produce identification and lay down his weapons. And while the officers eventually surrounded him behind their cruisers, with guns drawn, they NEVER made an aggressive move toward him.
In fact, the officers remained respectful toward Houseman during the entire standoff and addressed him as “sir” on a few occasions.
At one point, Houseman, who had constantly reminded the law enforcers of his right to bear arms openly, can be seen fumbling with the gun while reaching for chewing tobacco from a tin in his pocket. Still the officers show no aggression toward him and continue to placate him.
Houseman finally agrees to sit on the ground and lay his rifle down. After police approach him and check his rifle, they find out that his weapon is actually empty and then offer him the opportunity to walk home and retrieve his rifle the following day or drive him home.
The Kalamazoo resident refuses both offers.
After a discussion about Houseman’s sanity and amendment rights, he and the officer actually shake hands and the old man is free to walk away.
No charges were brought up on Houseman by the Department of Public Safety because even though he did not have the rifle in a sling and was “fidgeting” with it, it was not evident that he was “brandishing” it.
We all know what would have happened if he were Black.