Mike Adams

It was just after midnight in January of 1993 when John and Tiffany left a party at the Sigma Chi house in Starkville, Mississippi. The band was winding down as the couple walked to their car in the parking lot close to where Highway 12 runs into Scott Field on the campus of Mississippi State University.

When they came upon a man who was trying to break into a car parked near their own, all hell broke loose. Before they knew it, they had been abducted at gunpoint. Words cannot describe the horror that John witnessed before Tiffany?s life was taken. Shortly thereafter, he too was murdered execution-style by the side of Highway 45. Many tears were shed on Monday night when our fraternity met to mourn the deaths of the two young students.

After the murders, I had to endure driving by the murder site every Thursday night at about six o?clock on my way to Tupelo, Mississippi. My band played once a week at a bar in Tupelo called Jefferson Place. That meant that I had to drive by the murder site again on my way home at about two in the morning. The images got to me after a couple of weeks, so I called my friend David and asked whether he was still selling his .357 magnum. It was a model 19 by Smith and Wesson. I bought the gun thinking that it would be better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.

After I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, I sold that .357 magnum. At the time, my friend Barry Whitehead told me that selling a gun was always a big mistake. Three years later, when I bought my first house in downtown Wilmington, I learned that Barry was right. Despite rampant crack sales, it took almost nine months to get the police to take an interest in the drug trafficking in my neighborhood. Later, I bought my second .357 magnum and a concealed carry permit to go along with it.

In the three years that I lived in that neighborhood, I rarely ?used? my permit by carrying a concealed weapon. Nonetheless, it came in handy late one evening when I was walking in my neighborhood and accidentally stumbled upon a crack deal. When the dealer asked what I as doing there, I simply told him that it was my neighborhood. He smiled and told me his name. I suppose that he knew I was carrying a gun because of my confidence. Two months later, eighteen people were arrested smoking crack in his house. I should know because I arranged the drug bust. I told him it was my neighborhood. He should have listened.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.