Ariz. Man Arrested for Shooting at the Moon

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on June 12, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

"Shoot for the moon" is a common idiom, typically meaning to strive for excellence; to do your best.

Well, an Arizona man was arrested Friday after doing his best to actually shoot at the moon -- like, with a gun. Probably not what folks had in mind when they coined the phrase.

Local police weren't impressed either. What kind of trouble can you get yourself into when your literal take on an idiom makes you look like an idiot?

Moonshots Fired

As The Prescott Valley Tribune reports, 39-year-old Cameron Read told his girlfriend and her son that he had seen a comet, then began firing shots out of the window of their house. The woman and son ran outside and called police.

When officers arrived, Read became confrontational, resisting arrest. He later admitted that he had been shooting at the moon and had smoked marijuana earlier in the evening.

Read was charged with a slew of criminal charges, including disorderly conduct, endangerment, resisting arrest, and of course, unlawful discharge of a firearm.

Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm

Under Arizona's Revised Statutes, a person who with criminal negligence discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Criminal negligence, as defined elsewhere in the statutes, is basically failing to realize how dumb and dangerous what you're doing is, or as the statute puts it: a failure to perceive a risk that "constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation."

It could certainly be argued that shooting at the moon, with a gun, from a window in your house is a "gross deviation" from the way your everyday reasonable person would act.

Unlawful discharge of a firearm is a Class 6 felony. In Arizona, a Class 6 felony is what is typically known as a "wobbler": a crime that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. A judge can also choose to convict a person charged with a Class 6 felony with a Class 1 misdemeanor, if it would be "unduly harsh to sentence the defendant for a felony."

If Read wants to "shoots for the moon" as far as his legal defense goes, he'll want to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fire back at the prosecutor's charges.

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