"If they were not meant to be sheared, God would not have made them sheep."
(Eli Wallach, playing a Mexican bandito that took over a village of peasants in the movie. "The Magnificent Seven."
A relative living in the area conveyed a story to me about a shooting that unfolded near her, ironically on Friday, the 13th. Two punks stormed a Marion County Internet cafe in an attempted armed robbery. But a feisty 71 year old guy (allegedly a retired police officer) charged the two thugs and put several shots into each of them before they panicked and fled. They were subsequently arrested and treated for their numerous wounds. Shame on these two knuckle heads for bringing cowardice to a gunfight, and kudos to the elderly gentleman, a true hero, who not only bravely and selflessly thwarted the robbery but possibly also saved countless lives by doing so.
When I conveyed this story to my significant other, hardly a gun enthusiast, her first reaction was "Why was that old guy carrying a gun in the first place?" I replied, "Because the 2nd Amendment says he can, and thank God for those victims that he was."
Fast forward to today, Friday the 20th. Seventy one people have been shot, twelve of them, fatally, when James Holmes allegedly stormed a crowded movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado during the premier showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." Sadly, that feisty old guy, or apparently, anyone of his mindset was not in that crowd. And the caped crusader was confined to a fictional image on the screen as the bullets flied, blood spattered, and undoubtedly gut-wrenching and desperate screams for help went unanswered only until the shooter, himself, finally decided to stop shooting. Somebody did call 911, and according to reports the initial police arrival was within one and half to two minutes of receiving the call, a very good response time, but also long after the rampage ended. So, how did that work out for the caller at the other end of the 911 line? Unlike on TV, in real life, the span of most shootings can usually be more accurately timed in seconds, rather than minutes.
Some people hate to say "I told you so." I am not one of them. But I must concede, that in this case, the shooter was supposedly covered in body armor literally from "head to toe," according to news reports. Depending on the type of body armor, and the type of round fired at him, the shooter could have possibly still been brought down, but realistically, only by a police SWAT team, if even at all. But how many times do we hear reports of armed robberies by garden variety low-lifes with no body armor? And how many times do we hear of the compliant store clerk, or some other victim, being wasted by the departing vermin robber anyway for no reason? Such a case just happened in my home state just a few weeks ago.
On average, approximately two million Americans save themselves or a third party from criminal attack every year by use of a firearm, and in most cases, without having to fire. And only a fraction of crimes are committed by legal gun owners.
Twenty thousand local, state and federal gun laws currently on the books in the U. S. still fail to protect us. Evil will always find a loop hole. And to the extent that it seems to prevail, the reason has far more to do with weak prosecution and sentencing than it does for how many laws are on the books.
The bad guys can always get the guns. Studies in areas with liberal gun carry laws show that violent crime is down, and in areas where the legal citizenry is more restricted, not surprisingly, violent crime stats are through the roof. The city of Chicago bans all firearm carry, and that city has recently turned into the resurrection of the "Wild West". And in case you haven't noticed, bad guys especially love public areas in which the carry of firearms is posted as, or known to be forbidden. For the most part, such knee-jerk, feel-good, Fantasy Island type laws make bad guys laugh, and good guys bleed. I'm a big fan of the wise adage, "It's better to be judged by twelve than buried by six." If Mrs. O'Leary's cow brought about more stringent fire code laws, the rapidly increasing homicide rate in the windy city should wake a few local officials up to raising the odds for the roughly 2.7 million defenseless targets called its citizens. As the saying goes, "Abe Lincoln made all men free, but Sam Colt made them all equal!"
Liberal politicians will tell us with a wink and a nod that they support using guns for hunting and sport shooting. Nice try. The Nazis initially said they same thing, before they confiscated them. As for our police being "out-gunned," such was the intent of our forefathers. Firearms back then were a necessity for a family to eat in many cases, but they were also intended for home and self defense, and to lessen our chances of us ever again being persecuted by a government gone amok. Countless stories of tyrannies in history not coincidentally involve first disarming the law abiding citizenry, which usually follows at some point after the "common sense idea of gun registration." (No one can take the guns unless they know where to look first!)
It is also no coincidence that our forefathers made freedom of speech and religion our 1st Amendment, because such a principle of any free republic is crucial. And they also sagely then created the 2nd Amendment, guaranteeing our right to bear arms, as a guardian to the precious 1st Amendment.
The last I heard, the nations of Israel and Switzerland still require a firearm to be in each home. In Israel especially, that's probably not at all a bad idea. Likewise in Kennesaw, Georgia, where crime also dropped since that law's implementation. Crooks are basically cowards. They are opportunists who hate hard work. They just as soon move on to an easier "mark," than risk a confrontation.
I am not advocating mandatory gun carry or ownership. I believe that is a very personal decision. I have complete respect and understanding (albeit, disagreement) for any person who has no desire to pick up or even possess a gun, so long as they do not infringe upon my God-given, and constitutionally articulated right to hold and possess one.
But those who choose to not carry a gun must realistically assume the risk that they are a substantially more vulnerable target for violence and even death. Is it likely? No. Is it possible? Yes. But as Clint Eastwood once famously said in the movie, "Dirty Harry", "Do you feel lucky?"
For those still foolish enough to think that calling 911 will save then, even the US Supreme Court has realistically ruled that police in society have no realistic expectation to save individual people, rather to protect society collectively, and that the duty of personal protection lies with the individual.
The unarmed farmers in the town commandeered by Eli Wallach sure didn't feel too lucky with picks and shovels against pistolas, rifles and scatterguns. And much like police after a 911 call, Yul Brynner and the boys didn't show up to clean out the town of its human trash until much later, and after far too much suffering.
And I seriously question the logic of "lock-downs" in public buildings. Don't unnecessarily impede officials, but think for yourself and be a survivor. The shooter in the Virginia Tech rampage reportedly put his victims on "lock-down" before the school did. He supposedly chained the doors from the inside, making his compliant "lock down" victims pretty much sitting ducks in a shooting gallery. Having been a cop, I can tell you this, in most cases, we show up later, to ask questions, write reports, draw chalk lines and spill coffee on the evidence within them. I am not necessarily advocating civil disobedience, but certainly common sense. They key is survive first. All else can be explained later.
And whether you choose to pack heat or not, for crying out loud, at least wake up! Most people are generally clueless to their environment. They just don't look around. In the supermarket alone, how many times do you get bumped into or cut off by some clod looking one way while pushing his or her carriage another way? And to you women who walk around while chattering endlessly and cluelessly about virtually nothing on cell phones, or worse yet, jog with earphones in both ears while listening to your music, why don't you just cut to the chase and hang a sign on your back saying: "Open House: Free to Mug, Rape, Murder, Or Mutilate"? People just don't look around. And some years back, a woman jogger, also in my state met that very fate. A buddy of mine, a former cop, said he caught more people in hiding just by looking up, because no one ever expects you to, and rightfully so. At the very least, be constantly aware of your surroundings, including exits to any building you are in. Preparation prevents crisis, and surprise is a bad guy's best friend.
And lamb is his favorite meal.
- (P.S.- To all the victims of the recent Aurora tragedy, and to all their loved ones, my thoughts and prayers are with you.)