Maybe it’s just me but it seems that there are more shootings in the news and I don’t think it is because shootings are out of control. The stories seem to focus on mass shootings and never on cases where crimes were stopped by armed citizens. There seems to be a push from the left that if enough stories make it into the press immediately followed by the usual suspects on the left calling for more gun control they might just eliminate one more Constitutional right. The most recent case is the shooting in Times Square where two people were killed and nine wounded. This was close on the heels of a shooting at a Sikh Temple in Milwaukee and the Aurora Colorado moving shootings. The cry from the left is, naturally, more gun control. New York Times opinion columnist Gail Collins smugly puts it this way,
We are never going to have a sane national policy on guns until the gun advocates give up on the fantasy that the best protection against armed psychopaths bent on random violence is regular people with loaded pistols on their belts. Is there anything the other side can concede in return?
Well, gun control advocates have to be careful not to say anything that demeans hunting. Virtually every politician in America has already gotten that message. (See: Senator Chuck Schumer holding dead pheasants.) But it’s true that some city-dwellers can be snotty on this point.
So in the rarefied Manhattan air that Ms. Collins drinks in, the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to protect hunting. Ms. Collins then turns her ire on Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country. (The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives it 3 points out of a possible 100.) It was also, of course, the scene of a terrible mass shooting this month by Wade Michael Page at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee.
Well that’s all we need to know then, the Brady Center has spoken. But wait a minute, Chicago and DC have perhaps the toughest gun laws in the country and the murder rate has even Rahm Emmanuel rattled. How does Ms. Collins explain that? She doesn’t. Instead she launches into the size of gun magazines as being the cause of the problem.
[Michael] Page had a high-capacity magazine, which allowed him to shoot at least 17 bullets before reloading. Those magazines tend to be a common theme in all our worst mass shooting incidents. The gunman at the shopping center in Tucson where Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot had one that held more than 30 bullets. The Colorado movie theater shooter had a 100-bullet magazine.
No, what is common in these mass shootings is that the shooter is a nut job. Page was a white supremacist crackpot; Jared Loughner in Tucson was known to be off his rocker for at least six years before the shooting, which by the way made it illegal to buy a gun but the gun laws didn’t stop him; the Colorado movie shooter was also seeing mental health professionals; in the Virginia Tech shooting, it was the same story, but in our PC world they couldn’t force him to get counseling. Nowhere in her article, nor anywhere else in the main stream media do they talk about the real problem: figuring out how to keep dangerous psychopaths off the street before they snap and kill someone.
There was plenty of warning for all of these. If we got them off the streets when the warning bells were blaring, many deaths could have been prevented. If Ms. Collins called a plumber to fix a leak in her bathroom and he failed to do so, would she blame the wrench? Used incorrectly, guns can kill innocent people. Conversely, guns used correctly can save innocent lives from the predators that exist in our society.
She writes about the shooters having high-capacity magazines on their guns. Does she complain about the police having not enough bullets or too many? That fact is that when someone decides to commit mayhem, the police are typically not around. They are called after the bullets start flying and no matter how responsive, much of the carnage is done before they arrive on the scene. The only people who have a fighting chance of stopping the attacker would be someone who happened to be there, armed. It could be an off-duty cop in the theater or it could be an armed citizen, if the law allowed that. Otherwise it is duck for cover and pray.
The Police and Training
I have the utmost respect for the police and the job that they do, but there is evidence that those in civilian authority, like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, should worry less about soda cups that hold more than sixteen ounces and start looking at the training and equipment of the police force.
In 1999, a West African was shot in a confrontation with the police. The police fired 41 shots, hitting Diallo 19 times. That is about ten shots per officer as there were four officers. Diallo was unarmed. The race-baiters claimed the shooting was racially motivated, rather than poor training.
In 2011, Leroy Webster shot Eusi Johnson. The police confronted Mr. Webster who fired on the police. Eight officers returned fire, firing 73 bullets, striking Mr. Webster twice. That’s 2 hits out of 73 fired, but even worse one of the 71 that missed Webster, struck and killed an innocent bystander Denise Gay. Nine shots per officer fired, only one or at most two of the eight officers hit their target, the other six missed entirely.
Darrius H. Kennedy
On Saturday, August 11, 2012 a man, Darius Kennedy, was brandishing a knife in Times Square. The police confronted him, but he refused to drop the knife. Two officers fired 12 shots at the man, at least seven of the bullets struck the man. Are twelve shots really necessary, on the crowded streets of Manhattan, to subdue a man with a knife?
Empire State Building
In the latest incident, nine bystanders were struck by stray police bullets. So what is going on? Part of it may be training, part equipment.
At a training school in Nevada, to promote the effectiveness of their training, they produced a “reality” series, called the Front Site Challenge. In each episode, they would have a competition between among four shooters; two were graduates of the school, two were either police, SWAT, or military personnel. In one of the competitions using handguns was a Brooklyn detective, a grandmother, a software executive, and a SWAT team member from California, I believe.
In the first round the competition consisted of a single shot to a target under time pressure. The accuracy of the shot combined with how long it took to draw and fire, determined the outcome. In that competition, the grandma, the software executive and the SWAT guy moved on. The Brooklyn detective was eliminated. He failed to even hit the target.
In the midst of a gun battle, it is said that you will only be about half as good as you are on your best day on the range. Knowing that, perhaps Mayor Bloomberg should increase the training budget so that in a city of eight million people the police should be damn near perfect on the range, so that in a gun battle they will be at fifty percent.
Another area to look into is the guns the police carry. According to this article the guns issued to the police are modified to make the trigger harder to pull. For example, the factory setting on a Glock is a 5.5 pound trigger pull. The NYPD requires the pull to be 12 pounds. Maybe it was thought to be for safety reasons, but in the midst of a gunfight if you are jerking the trigger instead of squeezing it because it is that much harder to pull, your shots will be thrown off target as well. If you have little confidence that you can hit the target on any given shot, its reasonable to think the police will start throwing as many rounds as they can downrange in the hope of staying alive.
Isn’t confronting dangerous criminals risky enough without making it harder through insufficient training and equipment? It puts the cops at greater risk and bystanders at greater risk as well.
The Real Evidence
Throughout the country where concealed carry laws have been expanded to let citizens carry guns, the violent crime rate has gone down, not up. Unlike what Ms. Collins thinks it would not be utter chaos. Although it is getting easier to obtain a concealed carry permit, it can still be revoked if the holder is reckless. Concealed carry permit holders know this and are very protective of this right and rarely abuse it.
Exactly how many shootings do you hear of where the shooter was both the aggressor and lawfully carrying a gun? As for me, I would feel safer walking down the street with granny packing heat, than I would without her.
Since you probably don’t see these kinds of news reports in the New York Times on the national media, I’ll share it here.
That’s my opinion; I’d like to know yours. Please comment below.