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I'm not going to spend a lot of time telling you what lessons should be learned from this incident. I will only mention the following: 1. The man killed was only 39. The murderer was 72. 2. The murderer killed the victim because he thought the guy shot his dog. Even though it would have never been an acceptable reason for murder, it was a mistake anyway. 3. The murder took place at a boat dock in a rural area near a small town. 4. The victim was murdered, shot twice in the chest, then once in the head at close range, in front of his daughter, who is 7 or 8 years old, and two other adults, who were with him at the time. 5. The victim had taken a gun class and had already recieved his permit. He was not carrying a gun at the time of the incident. 6. It's likely most people would not have a gun with them on a "family day out" anyway. Most people only carry guns when they think they are going somewhere they may need it. 7. There is nowhere you can go and be truly assured of complete safety. Crime can happen anywhere, anytime, to anybody, and it's not just "certain people" you have to be afraid of. Almost anyone can be a threat. 8. Being with someone else may or may not make any difference. This man was killed in front of a little girl and two adults. There is no guaranteed "safety in numbers". 9. If you've convinced yourself number 7 and 8 are not true you're just wrong. Sorry. You must be aware and alert at all times, no matter where you are, and being armed doesn't hurt either. Reprinted from the Septemer 17, 2003 Jackson (TN) Sun HENRY COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER By Julie Dodson An argument over the death of a dog left a Jackson man dead last weekend. Jackson resident Ron Walker, 39, was shot and killed Saturday while spending the day with his family on the lake in Springville. Henry County resident James D. Haynes, 72, is charged with first-degree murder. "Mr. Haynes was very upset, believing that Ron had killed his dog, and just basically shot and killed him," said John Mehr, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's special agent in charge of West Tennessee. Haynes fired two shots at Walker from a distance with a pistol, then shot him once in the head at close range, the warrant said. He was arrested Sunday morning at his home after a standoff with police, and his arraignment was Tuesday at Henry County General Sessions Court in Paris. Haynes is being held without bond at the Henry County Jail. He is being represented by a public defender, said Investigator Damon Lowe, director of criminal investigations for the Henry County Sheriff's Department. A mental competency test will be done on Haynes, which is standard procedure, Lowe said. Investigators are still determining whether Hayes has a history of mental illness. Lowe could not say Tuesday whether Hayes had a criminal record. Walker's family and several other people witnessed the shooting, Mehr said. Walker is survived by his wife, Leslie Walker; a son and daughter, Jordan Walker and Caroline Walker; his parents, Ronald and Michael Ann Walker; and a sister, Dawn Thomas, all of Jackson. He worked as an industrial engineer for Delta Faucet in Jackson and attended Grace United Methodist Church in Jackson. Haynes' preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 30. Services for Ron Walker will be held at 1 p.m. today in the chapel of Arrington Funeral Directors, with burial to follow in Ridgecrest Cemetery. - Julie Dodson, (731) 425-9763
Update as of February, 2012. I got the following email from a friend of the deceased man: "I just read your piece titled a day at the lake when I was searching for some information. I was searching to see if maybe the piece of human garbage who killed my best friend had died yet. I think your piece makes some good points, but I would like to add my point. You never get over an incident like this. The anger and pain diminish over time, but never goes away. That newspaper article paints a pretty grim picture, but the facts of the incident, and the aftermath, are actually much worse. All of Rons ("Bubba") friends are still shocked, angered and in some disbelief even 8 years later. Ron was both a tough guy in incredible shape, as well as one of the nicest guys you would ever meet. He loved firearms, was an excellent shot and had a nice collection. That he was shot to death was a horrible type of irony. If he can be shot to death, absolutely anyone can. It has given me, also a firearms enthusiast, an uneasy feeling about firearms that I cant really explain or understand."