Saturday, April 29, 2006

Guns Also Stop Violence

When looking for ideas about which to blog, I often find the Metro section in the Sacramento Bee to be a gold mine. I came across something in today's Metro section that instantly stood out because I couldn't believe the leftward tilting Bee actually printed it.

At the bottom of page B1, was an article entitled Eight are honored for selfless actions. The article was about an awards ceremony put on by the city for citizens who had done heroic deeds. The first deed that was profiled went like this:

In the early morning of November 21, freelance news cameraman Paul Thomas Ennis, 54, was driving down Freeport Boulevard to film the aftermath of a shooting. He never made it. Instead he put himself at risk and in doing so joined the ranks of area residents recognized Friday as heroes. Flashing lights of a Sacramento police squad car at a Union 76 gas station at Fruitridge Road grabbed his attention that morning. Ennis could see what looked like an officer struggling with a man. Possible story, he though. Ennis got out of his car, video camera on his shoulder. But suddenly, the officer was on the ground, the man seated on him. Ennis put down his camera, yelled and leveled a licensed gun he carried. Startled, the man put his hands up, and Officer Stephen Moore, 26, gained control... The man, identified as Ricky Williams, 40, faces felony charges of resisting arrest, battery of a peace officer, and driving while under the influence. (my emphasis)

I was astounded that the Bee highlighted this incident. Usually, the media buries defensive uses of firearms as deeply as they can, but this one must have floated under the radar. It has been estimated that guns are used for defensive purposes somewhere between 200,000 and 2 million times a year. Why such a discrepancy? For one thing, defensive uses usually involve no shots being fired, and no police report being filed. That makes it pretty hard to track; unlike offensive uses of guns which usually are reported, even if shots are not fired.

There have been several famous incidents of defensive gun use, and several instances where guns should have been available.

On October 1, 1997 in Pearl, Mississippi, student Luke Woodham killed his mother, then went to his high school and began shooting. When the shooting ended, two students were dead, and seven were injured. What the media rarely told us was how the shooting ended. When the shooting started, a vice principal ran to his car in the school parking lot, took out a gun he had stored in there, and pointed it at Woodham as the deranged student shooter was reloading. Had the VP not done this, Woodham would have reloaded and continued shooting.

In January 2002, a student who had flunked out of Appalachian School of Law in Virginia went to his campus and began shooting, killing three people and wounding three more. Again, as he stopped to reload, he was stopped from committing further violence by two students who had retrieved their own guns from their cars. A CNN story said that the shooter was "grabbed and subdued" by some other students. Golly Gee, how exactly did they "subdue" him if he was armed? CNN left that little part out of the story, now didn't they?

My final scenario is one where there wasn't anyone who shot back, but if they had, the incident could have been stopped like the two above. On December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson, a deranged black man who decided to go kill some white people because of what he described at his trial as "Black Rage", began shooting passengers on a Long Island commuter train. When it was over, six passengers were dead, and nineteen were wounded. Witnesses said that Ferguson calmly walked down the aisle of the train cars, carefully picking his white targets and methodically shooting them. If some of these passengers had been armed, they could have easily taken him out, as he stopped to reload several times. Of course, you don't have to wait for a shooter to stop to reload. If people are being killed anyway, someone should have engaged Ferguson immediately. Unfortunately, this was the state of New York we are talking about, so naturally, these people were not armed. Instead, they were sitting ducks. The same goes for George Hennard, who in 1991, killed 23 people inside a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. One customer, Susanna Gratia Huff watched both her parents die as she rued the fact that her gun was inside her car instead of on her person, due to Texas laws that said she couldn't carry the gun.

Time and again, these violent incidents occur, and of course the knee-jerk reaction is to want to get rid of the guns. I'm sorry folks, but that is not going to happen. You could ban the production of guns tomorrow, but guns last for decades and even centuries. The hundreds of millions of guns that already exist will not just go away. The best thing we can do is allow law abiding citizens to carry guns for self-protection, as is their God-given right to do so. I have a God-given right to defend myself and my family, and I refuse to give up that right, even if it makes people uncomfortable because I am carrying a gun.

Good Day to You, Sir

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Great post!
You are right, it is not the guns that are evil, but people.
When we cease to be self-governed, we need Big Government to step in and govern for us, in other words, when we lose our moral center we need lots of laws to decide for us what is right and wrong (which never works too well).
I believe the only way for our society to truly become self-governing is to have an inner-revolution in the hearts of men and women -- by them coming to know Jesus Christ.