Showing posts with label gun violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gun violence. Show all posts

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Snooty and Snarky Anti 2nd Amendment Folks Believe You have a Duty to Die



The horrifically tragic Newtown, CT elementary school shooting has brought forth a barrage of 'ban the guns' emotional responses from the media and politicos. CNN's Piers Morgan let loose with "How many more kids have to die, before you guys say, 'we want less guns, not more", here.

In America the 2nd Amendment is considered a sacred constitutional right because the right to defend yourself and your family against deadly force is an absolute natural right.  Folks aren't dying in America because of our gun rights.  They are dying because gun rights have been substantially weakened in many states and unarmed folks have no defense against armed lunatics on the loose.  Banning firearms will never result in less armed lunatics but it will definitely result the decreased ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves when confronted with deadly force.

Let's talk about Kennesaw, GA because the media was stroking out over Kennesaw passing a law in 1982 requiring that at least one member of every household be armed and firearms proficient.  Before 1982, Kennesaw had experienced soaring crime rates so it passed a law with the goal of crime reduction. The crime rate plummeted.  While the media castigated Kennesaw and dubbed it 'Guntown USA' and predicted that Kennesaw would become a Wild West styled shootout town full of gun violence, the truth is much different.  The crime rate plummeted and at one point in 2007, Kennesaw was deemed a murder free down for 25 years.

25 years murder-free in 'Gun Town USA'
In a column titled “Gun Town USA,” Art Buchwald suggested Kennesaw would soon become a place where routine disagreements between neighbors would be settled in shootouts. Reuters, the European news service, today revisited the Kennesaw controversy following the Virginia Tech Massacre. Police Lt. Craig Graydon said: “When the Kennesaw law was passed in 1982 there was a substantial drop in crime … and we have maintained a really low crime rate since then. We are sure it is one of the lowest (crime) towns in the metro area.” Kennesaw is just north of Atlanta.
Does gun ownership reduce gun violence? According to a legal blog, volokh.com, the answer is yes.

Do Civilians Armed With Guns Ever Capture, Kill, or Otherwise Stop Mass Shooters?
1. In Pearl, Mississippi in 1997, 16-year-old Luke Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned to death his mother at home, then killed two students and injured seven at his high school. As he was leaving the school, he was stopped by Assistant Principal Joel Myrick, who had gone out to get a handgun from his car. I have seen sources that state that Woodham was on the way to Pearl Junior High School to continue shooting, though I couldn’t find any contemporaneous news articles that so state.

2. In Edinboro, Pennsylvania in 1996, 14-year-old Andrew Wurst shot and killed a teacher at a school dance, and shot and injured several other students. He had just left the dance hall, carrying his gun — possibly to attack more people, though the stories that I’ve seen are unclear — when he was confronted by the dance hall owner James Strand, who lived next door and kept a shotgun at home. It’s not clear whether Wurst was planning to kill others, would have gotten into a gun battle with the police, or would have otherwise killed more people had Strand not stopped him.

3. In Winnemucca, Nevada in 2008, Ernesto Villagomez killed two people and wounded two others in a bar filled with three hundred people. He was then shot and killed by a patron who was carrying a gun (and had a concealed carry license). It’s not clear whether Villagomez would have killed more people; the killings were apparently the result of a family feud, and I could see no information on whether Villagomez had more names on his list, nor could one tell whether he would have killed more people in trying to evade capture.

4. In Colorado Springs in 2007, Matthew Murray killed four people at a church. He was then shot several times by Jeanne Assam, a church member, volunteer security guard, and former police officer (she had been dismissed by a police department 10 years before, and to my knowledge hadn’t worked as a police officer since). Murray, knocked down and badly wounded, killed himself; it is again not clear whether he would have killed more people had he not been wounded, but my guess is that he would have.

So it appears that civilians armed with guns are sometimes willing to intervene to stop someone who had just committed a mass shooting in public. In what fraction of mass shootings would such interventions happen, if gun possession were allowed in the places where the shootings happen? We don’t know.
When we attempt to understand random gun violence that is typically committed by a mentally unstable individual, the greater question should be: If more folks were armed, would these deranged shooters have succeeded in killing as many folks as they did?

Anti-gun groups love to rate the states according to how draconian their gun laws are because they seek a 100% gun free America.  The anti-gun Brady Campaign rated Connecticut the 5th best state when it comes to having tough gun laws.

Gun Laws: California Is Tops; Connecticut 5th Best

Oathkeepers.org is an organization that endorses the constitution, its specific enumerated powers and the responsibility of local sheriffs to honor the constitution by upholding their oath to defend the constitution.  Oath Keepers offered a highly critical view of the anti 2nd amendment folks, here.
This shooting is yet another tragic example of the failed, grotesque insistence on helpless victim zones where any crazed gunman can be assured of a large number of disarmed, undefended, helpless victims, all crammed into one place, where he can kill many children before an armed defender arrives from elsewhere. It is disturbing and sick that the federal government so hates the right of the American people to bear arms, and so hates their natural right to self defense, that the government insists on making them helpless, disarmed victims for anyone who cares to kill them. And in this case, all of the teachers and staff were willfully disarmed by the Federal Government, by force of law and threat of prison, to ensure that they would be disarmed and incapable of saving the lives of the children entrusted to their care.

That makes the Federal Government complicit in the deaths of these children, and in fact an accessory to their mass murder, by forcibly disarming (with the very real threat of prison) all the teachers, all the staff, and any parent who may have been on school property. That stupid law guaranteed the shooters would meet no immediate armed resistance, which is exactly what is needed to stop such an attack.

In such a shooting (as in every criminal attack), seconds count, and the people best positioned to stop the attack are the people on the scene – the intended victims and/or their care-takers. In this case, that would mean the teachers and staff of the school who were responsible for the well-being of those children, and also the parents, who should have the ability to save the lives of their own children as they take them to and from school.

The police cannot, and do not arrive in time to stop such shooters from killing large numbers of people. They are a slow reactive force compared to an armed citizen on the scene. This should be common sense, as it is obvious that in the immediacy of a criminal attack, it is the intended victims (or their immediate care-takers) who are there, in position to put a stop to the attack, if they are capable. And being capable means being armed, trained, willing, and able to use deadly force, right then, right there. Anything less leads to what we saw here.

But no doubt the rabid anti-gun government supremacists will use this to further their agenda to disarm the American people, totally ignoring that obvious, plain-as-day truth. Anti-gun nuts trust the government with guns, but not the people, and insist that the lowly citizen must be disarmed and helpless in the face of murderous assault, and must wait on slow responding armed government employees, who will not be there when the attack starts, and most often can only really clean up the horrendous crime scene afterwards and maybe, just maybe apprehend a shooter who has chosen not to kill himself (as they usually do).

The bottom line is that these teachers and staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary School were incapable of keeping these children safe, and incapable of defending them. And one of the biggest reasons they were so incapable and unprepared to save the lives of the children entrusted to their care is because the anti-gun nuts and their fellow travelers in government insisted on disarming every adult in the vicinity, by threatening them with prison time – EXCEPT the gunmen, who don’t care about the law and thus were not disarmed. laws against carrying weapons in schools don’t stop evil men with murderous intent. Such laws only disarm the law abiding and virtuous, who are now rendered incompetent to defend the precious children in their care.

This is disgusting.
The above points are indeed powerful. Any society that fails to protect its most helpless and vulnerable members, the children, is a big fail.  Firearms do indeed save lives and countless lives could have been saved in school shootings and other public shootings had responsible citizens with firearms training been allowed to carry firearms.

To deny responsible and trained citizens the right to carry firearms is the equivalent of emphatically stating "you have a duty to die because I hate guns".  Increasingly, the courts are taking tough stands on folks who kill in an act of self defense regardless of the weapon.

In one of the worst miscarriages of justice ever, a Philadelphia judge found a man guilty of killing a man who struck him with a metal pole, knocked him to the ground and was attempting to strangle him in the commission of a robbery. The victim was facing 12.5 to 25 years in prison for the crime of defending himself against a deadly predator.

It all started when Jonathan Lowe, 57, a retired marine who had recently survived a heart attack and multiple strokes, was returning home from dinner with a friend. As Lowe was walking home, he was attacked by 3 thugs. Although Lowe attempted to get away, they followed him and one of the assailants, Loren Manning, age 51, hit Lowe with a metal pole, knocking him to the ground and then proceeded to choke him. With Manning’s hands around his neck and strangling him, Lowe managed to retrieve a pocket knife and started stabbing Manning. Manning died. Lowe was charged with unlawfully killing him and the judge rejected legitimate self-defense as a defense.

Manning was a career criminal with 40 arrests, 18 convictions and was currently awaiting trial for knocking out a woman’s teeth while robbing her.

Lowe was not a career criminal.

Although a judge who ultimately sentenced Jonathan Lowe for the crime of manslaughter said in court that this was "a lot closer to self-defense" than murder, Lowe was still sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison, here, which wasn't nearly as bad as the 12.5 -25 he could have received.

Still, it's a case where legitimate self defense was rejected and for the 'crime' of defending himself against a violent career criminal thug, Lowe is now the criminal and Manning the victim.

Such attitudes only reinforce the perception that criminals indeed have more rights than victims and that victims have a duty to die because the rights of dangerous criminals trump the absolute right of victims to defend themselves against deadly violence.

Unfortunately, it's this attitude that permeates the issue when the the media, politicos and judicial system all jump on board the train to nullify and outlaw legitimate self defense.

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