A straightforward article in the Columbia Missourian explains the gist of the case, “A Waffle House security guard who feared for his safety fired the shot that killed 30-year-old Anthony Desean Warren at the business on Jan. 1, a court document says.”

A look beneath the case’s surface, however, reveals one layer after another of problems that speak to a cultural decline as undeniable as it was preventible.

According to Columbia police, the incident began with an argument between two men, neither of whom ended up dead. When the argument escalated, one of the men reached for his gun, and the other tried to wrestle it away, resulting in a gunshot wound to the leg of the man who was not carrying the gun. In that a friend of the shooter later tried to hide the gun, it seems likely he was carrying it illegally. Problem one.

At this point the security guard intervened. Problem two is the fact that an establishment as small as Waffle House needed a security guard. Problem three is that after the security guard succeeded in disarming the shooter, the patrons “encroached” on the security guard. Among those encroaching was Warren. The security guard ended up shooting him.

In Missouri, it pays to sue the guy with the deepest pockets.

Problem four is that a week after the shooting, before the facts of the case were even known, the mother of Warren’s three children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Waffle House and the security guard. Problem five is that the woman was not even mentioned in Warren’s obituary.

Problem six is that Warren, 30, has at least three children out of wedlock. Although “Anthony loved his children,” the obituary assures us, his hobbies included raising pit bulls, “keeping up with the latest trends in fashion, working out at the gym and traveling around the world.” Traveling around the world? He did not appear to have a job at the time of his death.

Problem seven is that the mother is being represented by a “personal injury” law firm that prides itself on “helping to make our community a safer and better place.”

Problem eight is that Warren’s mother made it known that she is not part of the baby momma’s law suit. She has retained an attorney of her own.

Problem nine, the overarching problem, is that we have set up a system that makes most of these choices–having children out of wedlock, abandoning them, traveling the world, suing the people who inherit the mess that ensues–logical ones. It is time for a rethinking.

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