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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Man takes his best shot for all mankind

Thursday, March 6, 2003

"George Doughty fired those four fatal shots for all of us."

It was near the end of a long and frustrating workday on Tuesday for George Doughty. It clearly had not been his best day. But horrified onlookers never realized just how bad it was until Doughty pulled the gun. With cold silence and pinpoint precision, George Doughty stunned the patrons of his Sportsman's Bar and Restaurant when he started shooting.

First, one shot rang out as the crowd watched in amazement. Then another and another. And finally the fourth shot completed the carnage. George Doughty had obviously had enough. His victim lay dead on the floor. And Doughty knew he was headed to jail.

Police arrived and Doughty was taken away. He spent his first night in jail Sunday. He appeared in court on Wednesday. Doughty told the judge he realized after his shooting rampage that he was wrong. His only excuse? "It seemed like the right thing to do at the time." And with those words, George Doughty enshrined himself into the pages of history. And he became my hero.

Doughty's "victim" was his laptop computer that had just crashed for the fourth time on that fateful day. So frustrated with the high-tech gadgets that bring both progress and frustration in equal parts, George Doughty actually did what millions of us have long threatened. He pulled a gun and shot his computer. And then to compound the problem, Doughty hung his trophy on the wall of his bar and grill. The patrons - once they got over the initial shock of the random shooting - actually seemed amused by the "kill."

Police Lt. Rick Bashor booked Doughty for felony menacing, reckless endangerment and the prohibited use of weapons. Lt. Bashor said many people threaten to shoot their computers but Doughty was apparently the first to actually finish the job.

I don't know George Doughty but I most certainly can appreciate his frustration. I too have made those very same threats. And most of you who toil with the aid of a computer have had those pangs as well. Maybe poor George went about it the wrong way. But at least he had the final word.

George Doughty fired those four fatal shots for all of us. In that sudden instant of rage, Doughty defined the silent plague that strikes offices throughout the land. He took that fateful step and crossed the line that separates threat from deadly act.

In the age-old battle of man vs. machine, George Doughty etched one small victory for mankind. He may have spent a night in jail and he may face a stiff fine. But somewhere on that smoke-filled barroom wall sits a computer that pushed its owner too far. Justice, my friends, has been served.

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