Friday, June 30, 2006
AN EMAIL FROM SOUTH AFRICA
Following are summaries of two articles in the same edition of the Star newspaper this week -- a clear illustration of how gun controls don't work.
On the front page (See here), a sensational article reported five random attacks on motorists in the northern parts of the city. In each case, the victim (all white) was approached at an intersection whilst waiting for the lights to change (in one case wanting directions), and simply shot dead in cold blood by two gunmen, who then escaped. Nothing stolen. No apparant motive. The perpetrators were simply having fun. It is abundantly clear that the perpetrators were black, since they were referred to only as "men" and not "white men" as is the practise in the politically correct SA press. None of the victims were armed, perhaps because it is almost impossible to obtain a gun licence. It goes without saying that the attackers could not possibly have had legitimate weapons, but rather stolen ones, as were the cars used in these murders.
Prior to our new "rainbow" lords and masters, and gun controls, this kind of thing never happened. Enough white people were armed to create uncertainty, discouraging cowardly criminals.
On the back page of the same newspaper, an article about gunshop owners - down to 200 from more than 600 since the new regulations - all going bankrupt. They claim that 97% of all license applications are being rejected, forcing them to buy back weapons already purchased by customers, supplementing their already useless stock.
Of interest is the rate of rejection, which cannot possibly reflect objective evaluation of applications: surely 97% of the population cannot be considered incompetent to own firearms? The new controls were supposedly intended to reduce guns by limiting owners to one weapon. In reality, they are being used to disarm the law-abiding public - especially whites - completely.
Son of politician not as invincible as he thought: "A drunken driving stop at a Spanaway gas station ended in the shooting of a Washington State Patrol trooper and the death of a member of the prominent Sonntag clan, a family with deep political roots in Pierce County. Investigators said Thursday that Jack Sonntag, the 25-year-old son of former Tacoma City Councilman Dick Sonntag and the nephew of state Auditor Brian Sonntag, shot the trooper later Wednesday and minutes later was killed by Pierce County sheriff�s deputies. �He probably pulled a macho act on her,� Dick Sonntag said. �He didn�t want to be arrested for drunk driving and went overboard in that situation. Then he did not want to own up to what he did and ran away.� The trooper, Kelly Kalmbach, underwent surgery at Madigan Army Medical Center from five gunshot wounds to her legs and left arm. The five-year State Patrol veteran, a 47-year-old wife and mother, was expected to recover... Meanwhile, the Sonntag family was grieving its loss and wondering what had prompted Jack to shoot the trooper and later raise his gun at the deputies. They also were praying for Kalmbach�s quick recovery � �Thank God she�s alive,� Dick Sonntag said � and do not blame deputies for shooting Jack Sonntag. �They had no choice under their training but to fire,� Dick Sonntag said. �You add booze and a gun, and, sometimes, this is the result.� Still, the death was hitting the family hard. �It�s a hard thing to lose your only son,� Dick Sonntag said."
Thursday, June 29, 2006
AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Many countries already ban private gun ownership. Rwanda and Sierra Leone are two notable examples. Yet, with more than a million people hacked to death in those countries over seven years, were their citizens better off without guns?
What about the massacres of civilians in Bosnia or Darfur? Would that have been so easy if those people had been able to defend themselves? And what about the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II? Wouldn�t it have been better if they had more guns to defend themselves? All the well-deserved publicity for the movie Schindler�s List not withstanding, the movie left out how Schindler, an avid gun collector, stockpiled guns and hand grenades in case the Jews he was protecting needed to defend themselves. During the 1980s, the proposed rules would have prevented the American government from assisting the Afghanis in their fight against the Soviet Union.
There is a second reason to reject a ban on small arms. Even in free countries, where there is little risk of a totalitarian regime, gun bans all but invariably result in higher crime. In the U.S., the states with the highest gun ownership rates have by far the lowest violent crime rates. And similarly, over time, states with the largest increases in gun ownership have experienced the biggest drops in violent crime.
Research by Jeff Miron, now at Harvard, in which he examined homicide rates across 44 countries, found that countries with the strictest gun control laws also tended to have the highest homicide rates.
Granny loses rocket launcher: "An amnesty program designed to reduce the number of illegal and unwanted guns in British Columbia has also turned up an unexpected weapon, a rocket launcher. An elderly Vancouver-area woman turned in the weapon that she and her husband had kept hidden in their attic after discovering it while renovating their house in 1973, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said overnight. The couple had been too afraid to tell anyone about the weapon earlier, police said. The month-long program in Canada's westernmost province allows people to give police unregistered or prohibited guns without threat of prosecution. It has produced more than 1,000 firearms in its first three weeks."
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
CA: Three down: "Police are searching for a would-be victim who fought back against three armed robbers with his own gun early this morning in the Tenderloin neighborhood, according to San Francisco police Lt. John Loftus. The three men, one armed with a shotgun, approached a man and a woman on the corner of Leavenworth and Turk streets around 4 a.m. and held them up. Instead of complying, however, the man pulled out a gun of his own and shot all three assailants. Loftus said the man was acting in self defense, and though he is currently being sought for questioning, police are treating him as the victim in the incident. The three men, who all suffered non-life-threatening injuries, were arrested shortly afterward. Only minutes before, another attempted robbery was reported in the same area, with the same three men listed as suspects, Loftus said."
Washington, D.C.: House GOP to focus on abortion, guns: House Republicans intend to hold votes this summer and fall touching on abortion, guns, religion and other priority issues for social conservatives, part of an attempt to improve the party�s prospects in the midterm elections.... House Republicans, who have the ability to dictate the floor schedule, got a head start on their agenda during the day, winning approval of legislation designed to guarantee members of condominium associations or similar groups the right to display the American flag. The measure cleared with no dissent.... Two measures relate to the rights of gun owners. One would prohibit the confiscation of legal firearms during national emergencies, barring practices such as the one that officials said arose in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit. The measure is backed by the National Rifle Association, which has hailed the recent passage of a state law in Louisiana. "The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina became the proving ground for what American gun owners have always feared: the day that government bureaucrats throw the Bill of Rights in the trash and declare freedom to be whatever they say it is," Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, said in a statement posted on the organization's Web site.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
SC: Suspect in killing of pawn shop owner seeks protection in Canada : "The suspect charged with killing an Easley pawn shop owner earlier this month has filed for refugee status in Canada. Roger Eugene Shephard, 21, will face cruel and unusual punishment if sent back to the United State because he could face the death penalty, said Marie Helene Giroux, one of Shephard's lawyers. "The goal is to receive assurance from the U.S. that he will not go for the death penalty," Giroux said. Since 2001, Canada has asked prosecutors to promise to not seek the death penalty before sending fugitives back to the U.S., said Chris Girouard, spokesman for the Canadian Department of Justice. Shephard is charged with murder in the killing of John Bruin, 65, at his Action Pawn shop. Surveillance video from June 15 shows a man talking to Bruin before pulling out a gun and shooting him in the chest. The man then puts some guns and other items into a bag and leaves, police said. Shephard was arrested two days later in Montreal. Shephard faces a deportation hearing Tuesday to determine if he can stay in Canada as a refugee. But even if Shephard's request is denied, it could be years before he is returned to the U.S., Giroux said. "It's a long process," she said.
New Guns for Indiana State Police: "Indiana State Troopers from the Terre Haute Post got to try out some brand new firearms Monday. The post had been using Glock 40 caliber pistols, but after some reliability issues, decided to try something else. Now the Troopers are fitted with a 9 millimeter Glock model 17, and they�re excited to have the new resource. "We`ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,� says State Trooper and Firearms Instructor Sam Stearley, �reliability has been 100% so far. It�s a low recoil cartridge and everybody is shooting very well.� Troopers say besides being more dependable, the model 17`s are also much easier to handle".
Monday, June 26, 2006
ACQUITTED WOMAN WANTS HER JOB BACK
Sharon Spangler was in the upstairs bathroom of her Dryden home fixing her hair and contemplating her new life. It was November 2002, and Spangler, a DaimlerChrysler Corp. engineer, had signed the divorce papers a day before, ending her 14-year marriage to Steven Spangler. Then, the dog barked. Her estranged husband was coming up the stairs.
She later would tell investigators he had picked up the gun she kept on her nightstand and came at her. They fought and he smashed her face with his fists. Then the gun fell, and she grabbed it and fired.
A Lapeer County jury later would reject prosecutors' claims -- based on Steven Spangler's statements before he died a day later -- that she had provoked the fight to make his killing look like self-defense. It still cost Sharon Spangler her job; she had been on a leave for stress and, while in jail, she couldn't make the required medical appointments, the company said.
And when she was acquitted, DaimlerChrysler told her that her job no longer existed. Now she's suing in Oakland County Circuit Court to get that job back.... Shortly after Spangler's arrest, DaimlerChrysler notified her that she would have to undergo a medical exam to continue her medical leave or show up for work by Jan. 3. Family members and attorneys contacted the company. She's in jail, they said, and the judge won't allow her to post bond.
In early January 2003, Sharon Spangler learned from her jail cell that she had been fired. "I had been OK up until then, but at that point, I lost all hope," she said. She was in jail for eight months, before posting 10% of a $1-million bond. And as she grappled with the loss of her job, her lawyers were putting together her defense.... Jurors deliberated about five hours before acquitting her in March 2004....
In the lawsuit, Spangler alleges that her civil rights have been violated, and that the company also is violating victims rights laws. Such laws prohibit companies from firing victims of crime for failing to show up for work because of pending legal matters.
Carjacking attempt is deadly for gunman: "A trip to the store for gasoline and beef jerky near Cambridge early yesterday turned into a scuffle for a gun after a would-be carjacking, the Guernsey County sheriff said. The altercation ended with the driver wounded and the suspect, John Toubell, 44, of Antrim, dead. Toubell climbed into the back seat as the motorist, Brian Starr, was paying for fuel at a gas station at the intersection of Rt. 513 and Bridgewater Road, Sheriff Mike McCauley said. Starr, 29, of Cambridge, is in Grant Medical Center with a gunshot wound in the thigh. A steel rod has been put in his thigh because the bullet broke his leg bone in half, he said from his hospital bed last night. "Thank God I'm alive," he said. Starr had just gotten back from a softball tournament and was driving his girlfriend's car early yesterday morning. He realized he'd run the car dry, so he went to the gas station, Starr said. He pumped the gas, then went in for some beef jerky. At some point, Toubell slipped inside the car, Starr said. As Starr drove away, "I saw a head in my rear-view mirror," he said. "Then I saw the gun coming around." Starr said he wrestled for the gun with the would-be robber, and a shot hit his thigh. He managed to get the gun from Toubell and shot him three times, according to coroner Janet Brockwell. Toubell was hit at least once in the head, Starr said. An autopsy is scheduled for today. The fatal shooting appeared to be in self-defense because Toubell fired first, wounding Starr, McCauley said. Investigators think Toubell, who had a criminal past, was linked to other robberies in the area. The sheriff's office recently issued a warrant for his arrest and searched his home."
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Quarrelsome Alabama black pays with his life: "This time the victim was 19-year-old Marquis Seawright. Witnesses say it all went down in a gun battle Seawright himself started with another man. The argument was over a game craps. Sadly, Seawright bet his life. Lt. Ronald Cook of the Montgomery Police Department says, "In my preliminary investigation, [Seawright] went and retrieved his shotgun and stared shooting in the direction the guy who he had gotten into an altercation with." The other man fired back, striking Seawright once in the side, then drove away from the scene... Around 6:30 Thursday evening, police found the shooter: 18-year-old DeAndre Stringer. He was questioned and released. Police consider the shooting self-defense and are not charging Stringer with anything.
India: Gun-toting priest: "When Father Jacob Augustine applied for a gun license, he did not expect critics to take aim at him. "I don't understand why people are making a hue and cry about it," Father Augustine told UCA News June 3. The 42-year-old priest said he applied for the license in January and the authorities are still processing his application. "As an Indian citizen, I can apply for a gun license," stated the priest, who manages an engineering college in Kanjirappally diocese in Kerala state, southern India. He explained that he applied for the gun license "as a precaution for self-defense," since he stays alone in the 16.19-hectare college campus and keeps large amounts of cash with him. "But local media have distorted the news and I'm going to sue them in court," he said. His reasons notwithstanding, some people find his decision to purchase the license "unbecoming of a priest," in the words of Joseph Pulikunnel, a Catholic lay leader who says he does not understand why a priest needs a gun for protection.... Christians form 19 percent of Kerala's estimated 31.8 million people. Father Augustine says he feels insecure with crime increasing in the state. The priest's Amal Jyothi Engineering College is near Kanjirappally town, in Kottayam district, where police recently arrested four youths in connection with a bank robbery. S. Sreejith, a police official in Kottayam, clarified that anyone who follows the specified rules and procedures can possess a weapon. "Just because the applicant is a priest, there are no rules to prevent him from holding a weapon. Rules are the same for everyone, and if he is eligible, he will get one," Sreejith told UCA News. According to the 1959 Indian Firearms Act, possessing weapons without a license is an offense punishable with a prison term ranging from six months to life, with or without fine. Police are required to make detailed investigations before granting a license to possess firearms."
Saturday, June 24, 2006
SC: Store heist erupts into shootout: "A Hardeeville liquor store manager decided he'd have his own shot -- or two -- at exacting justice on the man who robbed his store at gunpoint Monday morning. After the robber took about $1,500 to $2,000 in cash from the counter of Greene's Package Shop, manager Herbert Tolar snubbed the man's demand that he stay in the store for 10 minutes, instead chasing the robber out with his .38-caliber revolver in hand. "He threatened my life, and I was going to kill the (SOB)," Tolar said Monday afternoon. Tolar said he shot at the robber twice as he ran away, and the robber shot back. No one was hit. He said the man came in the store on U.S. 17 at 10:19 a.m. and asked about some whisky behind the counter, but by the time Tolar turned around, there was an automatic handgun in his face. Tolar told police he had cash on the counter because he had just opened the store. The robber ran from the store along U.S. 17 North, and though a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office dog team was called in, his scent couldn't be picked up, police said. The robber is described as a black male, 25 to 35 years old, 5-feet-8 inches to 5-feet-10 inches tall and weighing 160 to 170 pounds, according to Hardeeville police".
PA: Homeowner opens fire on trespasser: "In Adams County, trespassing charges have been filed against Anthony Sitts, 37. Police said Sitts was trespassing on a property along Gordon Road in Freedom Township shortly after 9 p.m. Monday and entered the house without permission. Police said he left the home and went back to his vehicle, but the homeowner followed him and blew out the rear windows of the vehicle with a shotgun. Sitts was not hurt.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Canada: Homeowner charged in home invasion: "Two suspects in a weekend home invasion went straight to the police after the incident... because the homeowner shot at them. According to police, it happened about 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon, 45 kilometres north of Roblin. Two men kicked in the front door of the home, and the property owner grabbed a firearm. At that point the invaders left... but as they were going, a shot was fired at their vehicle and hit the driver. The culprits drove to Russell to complain to the RCMP. The driver was treated for his injuries and released to the police. Now, 28 year old Harvey Joseph Young is charged with Attempted Murder, along with eight other weapons and firearm-related charges. Fifty- year- old Terry Eldred Curle of Russell and 37 year old Darren Norman Lindsay of Roblin face several charges each in connection with the home invastion attempt.
TX: Homeowner shoots teen during burglary: "A Longview homeowner early Monday shot and killed a 15-year-old boy who police say was one of three teenagers attempting to burglarize the man's home in the 1100 block of Camille Drive. Longview Police responded to the residence on Camille Drive at approximately 3:30 a.m. The homeowner told police he was sleeping and heard noises, including glass breaking, according to a media release from the Longview Police Department. The man armed himself with a firearm and entered his living room, where he saw several people standing in the room � one person holding what appeared to be a weapon. The man shot toward the person he believed was holding a weapon. When police arrived, they arrested Gregory Allison, 17, of Longview, who was being detained at the scene by the homeowner. A 15-year-old boy was found in the woods behind the residence with a gunshot wound, and was taken to Longview Regional Medical Center, where he later was pronounced dead. Police also found a 14-year-old boy at a residence on Woodway Lane after they received calls the boy also was suffering from a gunshot wound. The 14-year-old boy was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center, and his condition is unknown. Allison is being held at the Gregg County Jail on a charge of burglary of a habitation."
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Self-defense is a right
It seems obvious that a person whose life is in danger would have the right to self-defense, but not in California. The recent string of shootings in the Richmond area proves that anti-gun laws don't work, and that people bent on killing will do so regardless of the law.
There are more than 35 states that have right-to-carry laws that allow properly screened, law-abiding citizens to carry and use firearms for self-defense. After enacting right-to-carry laws in all of those states, violent crime and murders went way down, as documented by the FBI. This last year alone, 10 states enacted "stand-your-ground" laws that expand on law-abiding citizens' right to use deadly force when threatened.
So what is wrong with California? Politics. With the specter of gun violence, many local politicians are not finding issues that can sustain them in office. By keeping guns out of the hands of the people who would use them for good, more carnage is created, leading to the kind of fear that gives a lot of politicians a platform to be re-elected. The people of California need to wake up and join the majority of states and allow honest, law-abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves by carrying the kind of protection only a firearm can provide.
GA:Pawn shop employee shoots robbery suspect : "A man who attempted to rob a DeKalb County pawn shop was in stable condition Tuesday after being shot by an employee, a police spokesman said. The 21-year-old man, armed with a knife, entered Evans Mill Pawn Shop and tried to hold up the store Tuesday morning, Dekalb County police Officer Herschel Grangent said. The man attacked one of the store�s employees, who pulled out a gun and shot the man several times, Grangent said. The employee incurred only minor injuries. Grangent did not immediately release the name of the would-be robber. Grangent said police are investigating the incident, but it likely was self-defense. Police are using footage from security cameras in the store to help with the investigation".
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
CA: San Francisco will appeal on gun ban: "The city plans to appeal a judge's ruling overturning an ordinance banning handgun possession and firearm sales, the city attorney said Tuesday. San Francisco County Judge James Warren ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association on Monday that the California Legislature, not the city's voters, can enact gun regulations. City voters approved Measure H in November after the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, who were frustrated by a rising number of gun-related homicides in the city of 750,000, put the measure on the ballot. San Francisco recorded a 10-year high of at least 94 murders last year. "I respectfully disagree with the court's reasoning, and believe that San Francisco voters acted within their authority to restrict handgun possession and firearm sales within the limits of their own city," City Attorney Dennis Herrera said.
TN: Man shoots robber: "Tuesday, an ex-con was in a hospital bed, and the citizen who put him there said it was self-defense. Police don�t want people to go looking for trouble, but they say people have a right to defend themselves and their family. East Nashville residents tired of being targets said they're not going to let criminals control their streets. �We work hard every day, and we come home and stuff's torn up or stolen,� victim Teddy Frazier said. Frazier watched Monday as a stranger started casing his 1991 Chevy Silverado. "He's looking in the window, pulling up on it," he said. The 46-year-old electrician grabbed his gun and confronted the thief. �The marks are here where he was trying to pry open the window,� Frazier said. �I told him: �You need to get off my truck.� I warned him twice before I actually pointed the gun at him,� Frazier said. Frazier said the man lunged at him. The pool of blood in the grass tells what happened next. �I had no choice. I went ahead and shot him,� Frazier said. Floyd Cleveland took one bullet to the leg. As soon as he's out of the hospital, he'll be charged with aggravated assault and attempted burglary. He's no stranger to the system. Cleveland has been arrested for burglary and assault. In fact, he had just been paroled May 22 of this year."
MI: Bills would permit use of deadly force: "Both chambers of the Legislature, as of last week, have now passed legislation that would allow people to use deadly force, with no duty to retreat, if they reasonably think they face imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault. They could use deadly force anywhere they have a legal right to be. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said she is comfortable with the language of the Senate bill.
GA: Victim jailed for defending himself: "Investigators are now calling a weekend shooting near Claxton self-defense. It happened on Church Street just outside the Claxton city limits Saturday morning around 8am. Sheriff's deputies say Danny Jones, Jr., shot and killed Ray Smith, Sr. They arrested Jones in minutes, but now believe Smith fired his weapon first. "They'd gotten in an argument earlier and the victim went and got a gun and came back and they fired at each other across the street," said Chief Deputy Randall Tippins. Jones remains in jail, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The case is still under investigation.
Monday, June 19, 2006
MS: Intruder shot as he returns to steal again: "Around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, Al Brown shot a man who was allegedly attempting to steal from his home for the second day in a row. Now the alleged intruder is at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the upper-chest. Police are not releasing the name of the man who allegedly broke into Brown's home twice, but he is being charged with burglary. The question is will he be charged with one count or two? Police believe he went Monday and returned Tuesday to finish the job. Brown is being questioned by police, but is not expected to be charged. Sharlott Hewitt, the homeowner's mother-in-law, said after Brown's television, computer and other electronics were taken in broad daylight, police told him the thief may return. She said this time he was waiting with a gun. "They don't like what happened but it couldn't be helped. The first time he did this and took the stuff from his house, he should have stayed away. He came back for what little he left," said Hewitt. Hardy said Brown's two small children were in the home when everything was unfolding. After Brown shot the intruder, he immediately called the police."
FL: Robbery turns into shootout: "A robbery that turned into a shootout at a market left three people hospitalized Tuesday. According to robbery detectives, two armed men wearing skullcaps went into Carmen's Market at 1186 NW 103 St. and demanded money. Police said that an employee immediately handed over money as the owner of the business armed himself with a handgun. It was not clear who fired the first shot, but the robbers fired, striking the owner and the employee and grazing a juvenile customer that was in the market at the time, according to investigators. Police said that the robbers fled the scene in a black Nissan Maxima with tinted windows and chrome rims. Two other black males were in the vehicle with the subjects. The owner and the employee were transported to Ryder Trauma Center in critical but stable condition. The boy is being treated in an area hospital and is expected to be OK. There was no word as to whether either of the robbery suspects was wounded in the shootout."
Sunday, June 18, 2006
McCarthy introduces new victim disarmament bill: "Anti-gun zealot Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has launched her most recent effort to use Orwellian Big Government in order to seize your guns. In fact, her anti-gun bill was recently reported out of a House subcommittee. But when you look at the list of cosponsors on this bill, you find a "Who's Who" of the anti-gun Democratic elite: Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Barney Frank (D-MA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Pete Stark (D-CA) among others. They are all F-rated Representatives. HR 1415 -- the McCarthy bill -- would require states to "make electronically available to the Attorney General records relevant to a determination of whether a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm under [federal law" [Section 102(c)(1)(A)]. Among other things, the bill will help FBI officials to effectively stop thousands upon thousands of Americans from purchasing a firearm. Already, millions of Americans have been disarmed by the Lautenberg Gun Ban which President Bill Clinton signed in 1996. Because of the Lautenberg ban, people who have committed very minor offenses that include pushing, shoving or, in some cases, even yelling at a family member have discovered that they can no longer own a firearm for self-defense."
CA: Gun-wielding resident shoots at burglars: "A gun-wielding resident shot at two alleged burglars parked in his Temecula driveway. The resident called Temecula Police reporting an attempted break-in to his home about 10:30 p.m. located in the 2900 block of Bridgehampton Road. As the resident approached the unfamiliar vehicle, the front passenger window rolled down. He observed what he thought was a hand emerging as if the person in the car had a weapon and discharged a round at the vehicle. The vehicles drove off "at a high rate of speed," according to Sgt. Joe Borga."
Saturday, June 17, 2006
NYC's BLOOMBERG PROBLEM
Then there's the gun control legislation that Mr. Bloomberg is hawking, delighting advocates who ignore statistics that discredit such laws. No matter how many laws are passed to control the sales, ownership, or distribution of guns, criminals will bypass them. Law-abiding citizens in New York cannot obtain legal arms to defend themselves against the lawless, and that is frightening to potential victims.
As the son of Holocaust survivors, Ralph Rubinek is acutely aware of how governments can strip the citizen's right to bear arms. The National Rifle Association member sent me a link to a video of a recent Klu Klux Klan rally where the speakers blamed the oil crisis, unemployment, and the war in Iraq on the Jews. It was disgusting to see these morons chant "Seig Heil" over and over.
It would be easy for some to debunk Mr. Rubinek's anxiety about such events as unfounded paranoia if one didn't remember the three-day pogrom in Crown Heights during the Dinkins administration in which blacks roamed the streets shouting "kill the Jews." Mr. Giuliani made such an event unthinkable. Anti-Semitism is on the rise all over the world as haters blame the Iraqi war on Israel and the Jews. How can any Jewish person not understand the importance of the Second Amendment?
Although Mr. Giuliani was not popular with civil libertarians before September 11, 2001, he helped bring about ethnic peace in New York City because he fostered a universal standard of decency.The quality of life policing methods he promoted with his first chief of police, William Bratton, was applied impartially, to all offenders. In spite of the hue and cry by civil rights groups, minorities actually benefited from these tactics, as crime fell dramatically in their communities.
I once read that all crime is committed by only 3% of the population; that percentage was targeted by the NYPD in the Giuliani administration. Despite reports that crime is down in New York, the city doesn't feel safe. A homeless man this week confessed to stabbing four people, including two Canadian tourists in the Times Square area and a Texan on a C subway train. Meanwhile the mayor goes after smokers, paint that adheres to metal, junk food in bodegas, and restaurant menus. These tactics may make statements, but they don't accomplish much.
CA: County says deadly shooting justified: "A Cochise County Attorney's Office investigation of the July 23, 2005, shooting that left a local man dead and his wife injured has determined the shooting is legally justifiable as self-defense. The office made its findings public in a letter Wednesday addressed to the Sierra Vista Police Department, which was the investigative agency. The case will not be sent to a grand jury or a preliminary court hearing after the office's review, Cochise County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer said. Sierra Vista police and family members of the man killed expressed disappointment Friday that the case won't be reviewed by a grand jury..... "(The boy who shot Pence) was legally entitled to use deadly force in defending himself, his younger brother and their residence from Frank Pence," the letter from the county attorney's office stated. "Under Arizona law, he had no duty to retreat before resorting to the use of deadly force. Physical evidence in the case, including Pence's blood and cigarette butt on the inside of the boy's residence noted by Sierra Vista police investigators, combined with witness statements, indicate justification, "i.e., Frank Pence entering the residence with the intent to assault" the boy's younger brother. "Keep in mind that Mr. Pence had already assaulted (the 16-year-old boy) outside the residence," and the younger brother had physically pushed Mr. Pence off of the older brother and then ran inside, the county attorney's letter stated".
KY: Female store clerk shoots, kills robber: "A Lexington store clerk shot and killed a man who attempted to rob a downtown market this morning, Lexington police said. Charles F. Harmon, 26, of Lexington entered SubCity Market, at the corner of East Seventh Street and Shropshire Avenue, just before 9:30 a.m. and demanded money from the clerk behind the counter, Lexington police Lt. James Curless said. The clerk pulled out a handgun and shot Harmon, who stumbled outside the store and collapsed. The clerk then called 911, Curless said. When firefighters arrived they performed CPR on Harmon and transported him to the University of Kentucky Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:58 a.m., according to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn. Police do not plan to file charges against the female store clerk, whom police did not identify. Curless said Harmon implied to the store clerk that he had a weapon. Police reviewed the store's surveillance video and found that the clerk's description of the robbery was accurate, a key factor in the decision not to file charges, Curless said. "The law allows you to use force, up to deadly force, to defend yourself if you are in fear of your life," Curless said.
AR: Sheriff says Logan County shooting likely justified: "The Logan County sheriff says homeowner who shot an alleged intruder was most likely justified in the shooting. Sheriff Mark Limbird says 22-year-old Casey Steele Weber went to the home early Saturday and demanded to see a person who did not live there. The homeowner told Weber that no one by that name lived at the home but Weber insisted. Two girls between ages 9 and 12 -- the homeowner's daughter and her cousin -- were awakened and the homeowner hid them in a bathroom. Limbird says that when Weber broke a window the homeowner fired a shotgun, inflicting a fatal wound. The sheriff says his office is still investigating and that it will turn over the case file to a prosecutor for review.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Canada: Gun thugs offer "amnesty": "The amnesty gives Powell River residents who have unwanted, unregistered or illegal firearms, which have not been used in a criminal offence, the opportunity to turn them into their local police force without being charged. Powell River RCMP Constable Carl McIntosh said if people have guns they want to turn in, police will go to their homes to pick them up. 'During the amnesty period, police will not be charging anyone,' he said. 'We're encouraging people who have unregistered firearms to let us know. They can do the same thing with ammunition.' Solicitor General John Les described the amnesty as another tool in the fight against gun violence. 'Removing guns from circulation will enhance public safety and reduce the risk of these weapons falling into the hands of criminals,' he said. Police would like all unregistered guns to be turned in, even imitation and pellet weapons. Other dangerous weapons such as registered firearms, pepper spray and knives will also be accepted under the amnesty."
MD: Grand jury -- no indictment for abused woman: "After hearing from the admitted shooter herself, a Baltimore County grand jury declined yesterday to indict a Randallstown woman who killed her estranged husband in April after, she said, he showed up unexpectedly at her home and threatened her with an ax handle. The 23 jurors deliberated for less than a half-hour before deciding not to charge Karen L. Foxx, 35, with a crime in the death of her husband, Herman E. Bullock, 45. In an extremely unusual turn of events, the grand jurors heard about 90 minutes of closed-door testimony from Foxx, and were given the chance to question her about the shooting and her husband's history of abusing her before making their decision. ... Foxx, an office secretary, had sought court orders to keep her estranged husband away, filed criminal assault charges against him, changed her phone number and bought a gun to protect herself."
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
All that California gun control bears fruit: "Sacramento's violent crime rate is at its highest since 1994, new FBI numbers show. Between 2004 and 2005, the city's number of violent crimes grew about 11 percent -- the biggest increase among California's 10 largest cities. It's the fourth time in the last five years that Sacramento has posted an increase. The numbers also show that the suburbs were not immune. In Roseville, the number of violent crimes jumped 27 percent last year, though the Placer County city's overall crime rate remains low. Roseville's increase ranked fifth among roughly 60 California cities with police departments serving more than 100,000 people. These statistics were drawn from data released Monday by the FBI. The nation's violent crime rate rose 2.5 percent, a modest increase but still the largest gain since the early 1990s."
San Francisco ban shot down "An initiative that San Francisco voters approved last November banning residents from owning handguns violated state law, a Superior Court judge ruled today. Proposition H, which won a 58 percent majority, would have outlawed possession of handguns by all city residents except law enforcement officers and others who needed the guns for professional purposes. It also would have forbidden the manufacture, sale and distribution of all guns and ammunition in San Francisco. The National Rifle Association sued on behalf of gun owners, advocates and dealers the day after the measure passed. The NRA argued that Prop. H overstepped local government authority and intruded into an area regulated by the state. The city agreed to delay enforcement of the measure while the suit was pending. In today's ruling, Judge James Warren said California law, which authorizes police agencies to issue handgun permits, implicitly prohibits a city or county from banning handgun possession by law-abiding adults. That law "demonstrates the Legislature's intent to occupy, on a statewide basis, the field of residential and commercial handgun possession to the exclusion of local government entities," Warren wrote in a 30-page decision."
MA: Springfield mayor joins victim disarmers' effort: "Springfield Mayor Charles Ryan has joined mayors from across the country in a collaborative effort aimed at cracking down on illegal guns. Boston Mayor Tom Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently sent letters to mayors around the country, inviting them to participate in the coalition. The letters followed the first Mayors' Summit on Illegal Guns, held April 25th in New York City. Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette said he plans on joining the coalition -- which is called 'Mayors Against Illegal Guns.'"
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
AZ: Court rebuffs appeal in hiker shooting case: "A state court today turned away an appeal asking that a new state law on self-defense be applied retroactively to the second-degree murder trial of a retired Phoenix-area school teacher in a 2004 fatal shooting on a hiking trail in remote southeastern Coconino County. The state Court of Appeals today declined to consider the appeal filed on behalf of Harold Arthur Fish in the May 2004 shooting death of Grant Kuenzli. Fish has said he shot Kuenzli when Kuenzli charged him and ignored warnings to stop after Fish fired a warning shot to keep two dogs away. The new self-defense law passed by the Legislature this spring took effect immediately with Governor Napolitano's signature. The law shifts the burden of proof from a person claiming self-defense to the prosecution and also elevates the level of proof needed."
NY: Court says insuror must pay for wrongful death defense: "An insurance company is being ordered to pay for the legal defense of a man who shot a business associate in self defense, but was then sued by the dead man's estate, the state's highest court ruled Thursday. ... During his trial, Cook testified that Barber, who weighed more than 360 pounds, barged into his home uninvited with two other men, began slamming his fists on tables and demanded money. Cook, who weighed 120 pounds, pulled out a .25-caliber handgun and ordered the men to leave. Barber laughed at the small size of the pistol, prompting Cook to run to his bedroom and retrieve his 12-gauge shotgun. When Barber moved toward Cook and ignored a warning, Cook shot him in the stomach. Cook was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, but the administrator of Barber's estate filed a wrongful death suit against Cook, accusing him of negligence and with intentionally killing Barber. Cook said he only fired to protect himself."
MI: Senate approves self-defense bills: "The Michigan Senate has approved legislation aimed at fortifying and clarifying self-defense rights. The measures would allow people to use deadly force -- with no duty to retreat -- if they reasonably think they face imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault. The legislation also would protect people from civil lawsuits if they have used force in self-defense."
Legal Gun Ownership Saves Lives
It's an age-old story. A criminal shoots someone, and then politicians propose gun-control measures that would have done nothing to prevent the shooting. On March 26, Kyle Huff killed six people at a late-night party in Seattle. Seattle mayor Greg Nickels immediately called for more regulations on guns. None of his proposals would have prevented the tragedy.
There is another side to stories about guns. In 1990 a group of gang members pulled a Seattle man from his bicycle and beat him. He used his legally-registered handgun to shoot one of the assailants and stop the attack. In 2002 a West Seattle woman shot an intruder who had broken into her home and was beating her roommate. In 2003 an elderly Tacoma man confined to his bed shot an intruder who had kicked in his door and attacked him. In 2004 a Spokane woman awoke one morning to discover an intruder in her house, whom she held at gunpoint until the police arrived. In all of these cases, if it were not for the legal use of guns in self-defense, the victims would likely be dead.
The gun control debate has shifted over the last 20 years. Back then it was common to hear that it is in everyone's best interests if the government made guns go away. The legislative agenda of anti-gun groups was much more radical and overt. Activists pointed to Britain, Australia, and Canada as models of gun control policy.
In 1997 Britain banned handguns, and between 1998 and 2003 gun crimes doubled. According the British Home Office, between 1997 and 2001 homicides increased by 19% and violent crime increased by 26%, while in the U.S. those same crimes fell by 12%. Between 2000 and 2001, robbery increased by 28% in Britain but only 4% in the U.S. Domestic burglary increased by 7% in Britain, but only 3% in the U.S.
In 1996 Australia enacted sweeping gun control laws. In the six years following, violent crime rates rose by 32%. Canada isn't faring well under its stringent gun control laws. Today Canada's violent crime rate is more than double that of the U.S.
The fact that during this time right-to-carry laws were expanding in the U.S. makes these statistics all the more telling. Now 40 states issue permits for individuals to carry guns. Violent crime rates are steadily declining in the U.S. Research-and common sense-show the "right-to-carry" by honest citizens deters crimes against persons and property.
Now even the most vocal anti-gun groups in Washington admit there is an individual right to own guns. The debates rage not over the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns, but how to keep them away from criminals. But just because the debate has shifted doesn't mean we are immune from bad ideas masquerading as sound public policy. Exhibit one is Mayor Greg Nickels' knee-jerk call for more gun control.
Citing a rash of gun-related crimes in the past few months, the mayor wants the state to allow cities to tighten restrictions. He is going after the usual targets: "assault" weapons, the supposed "gun show loophole," and requirements for trigger locks and "safe storage." All of these are problematic.
There was a federal assault weapons ban in place from 1994 to 2004. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms says the ban did not reduce crime nationally. Criminals who wanted to obtain such weapons found easy ways to get them in spite of the ban. Moreover, law enforcement research shows these guns are used in only about 1% of violent crimes.
The National Institute of Justice found in the 1980s and again in 1997 that only 2% of criminal guns come from gun shows. A report by Handgun Control, Inc., (hardly a friend of gun rights) found only two of 48 big-city police chiefs said guns bought at shows were a major problem in their cities.
Research shows at least 2.5 million protective uses of guns each year in the U.S. Guns are used about three to five times as often for defensive purposes as for criminal purposes. Most often the mere sight of a gun prevents a crime from occurring or getting worse.
Reasonable gun restrictions are clearly necessary; obviously owning a machine gun shouldn't be legal. But gun ownership is not only a fundamental constitutional right, it is a proven way to reduce crime and save lives.
Why tell the truth when a lie will do? : "A recent Washington Post article claims "More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots: Some shoot themselves, while others kill friends or siblings, often after discovering a gun.' To understand how a biased or under-educated writer makes an inaccurate and misleading error, we must first clarify the term "child." Oxford English Dictionary defines the word "childhood" as: "The state or stage of life as a child.the time from birth to puberty." Oxford defines "puberty" as: "The period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction, distinguished by the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics." In terms of age, there seems to be general agreement that this ability to procreate occurs by the age of 15: childhood is over by then.Citing 2003 data from the Centers for Disease Control-the latest available online-and using the standard definition of "child," the number of accidental firearms deaths was 56, and the total number for minors (under age 18) was 102. To reach the number stated in the article, we must include all fatal firearms accidents through age 45."
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Catholic gun owners urged to send Vatican tough message: "'Law-abiding Catholic firearm owners in the United States should let Church officials know in no uncertain terms that hierarchical opposition to gun rights and the use of firearms to defend life from violent criminal attack simply will not be tolerated,' says gun law expert John M. Snyder. 'Gun owners can do this by depositing spent cartridge casings as well as St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc. coupons in church collection baskets,' he continues. 'The Society honors a nineteenth century Saint who used handguns to rescue Italian villagers from a gang of terrorizing renegade soldiers.'"
LA: Riley backs down on gun grab threat: "Within two hours of an announcement that the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) was calling for a Justice Department investigation of New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley's plan to confiscate guns again if a major storm hits the city this year, SAF learned that Riley has backed off. ...'For months, we ... were stonewalled, ignored and lied to about the post-Katrina gun confiscations,' Gottlieb said. 'After Riley's statement on Friday, SAF decided that enough was enough. Two weeks ago, we warned the city that we would be watching for this sort of thing. Our letter to the Attorney General stands, because we want Riley, and anybody else who considers gun grabs to be a good idea, to understand that we're simply not kidding around.'"
Saturday, June 10, 2006
SC: Shooting injures suspect : "Richland County deputies are searching for two robbers. They believe one of the teens should be easy to spot. He's got a gun shot to the leg. How did the suspect end up shot? Jerome McFadden, a father and store owner, is also now a hero, 'You got to do what you got to do, and because of my son I put my life on the line here today.' Deputies say two teenagers held up Jerome's Fresh Meat and Produce Market on Farrow Road in Columbia. The owner wasn't there alone, his 12-year-old son was working with him. Mcfadden says, 'They told me if we called the police they would shoot all of us come back and kill us.' Defending his store, but more importantly, his son, McFadden fired two shots, hitting one robber in the leg."
KY: 81-year-old liquor store owner shoots would-be robbers: "Three men -- including a liquor store owner -- went to hospitals after a robbery outside Wilson's Liquors in the Shawnee neighborhood just before 5 p.m. yesterday. The store owner, who is 81 years old, shot the two men, ages 17 and 21, after they pistol-whipped him, said Officer Dwight Mitchell, a Louisville Metro Police spokesman. ... The owner was parking his car behind the store, at 3804 River Park Drive, when the two attackers tried to rob him, Mitchell said. The owner pulled a gun and shot at the robbers, who ran off, Mitchell said. Police would not specify either the number or nature of their wounds."
PA: Intended victim shoots robber: "An alleged robber got quite a shock from his victim, who pulled a gun on him and opened fire. ... Police said Luther Cook, 42, pretended to have a weapon and attempted to rob the victim. But the victim actually had a gun and shot Cook."
More mayors join gun grab conspiracy: "Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Sunday that 37 more mayors have signed on to fight illegal guns, joining the 15 who convened in New York in April for the first Mayors Summit on Illegal Guns. At the April 25 summit, the mayors signed a six-point resolution to combat gun violence and said they hoped to put pressure on the federal government and state legislatures to strengthen anti-gun laws. New additions to the coalition include Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta, Mayor Martin O'Malley of Baltimore, Mayor Bill White of Houston and Mayor Manuel Diaz of Miami.
How not to use a gun: "A Hoquiam man who accidentally shot himself in the groin could face charges of reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm within the city limits. Police responded to a report of shots fired Saturday night and found the 21-year-old man bleeding. He told officers he was upset by personal issues and had fired the gun in the air. While putting the 9 mm handgun back in his waistband it accidentally fired again."
Friday, June 09, 2006
New Orleans: Chief threatens to steal more guns: "Gun rights activists were up in arms Friday after New Orleans Police Chief Warren Riley said he would confiscate weapons should disaster strike. Frederick Thomas, from New Orleans, leaves New Orleans Police with his semi-automatic pistol that was confiscated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans on Monday April 17, 2006. The chief�s comments came after a federal lawsuit forced the city to return hundreds of firearms that were seized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In an interview with WWL Radio, Riley said his officers would seize guns from people on the streets if another storm was to hit New Orleans. �During a circumstance like that, we cannot allow people to walk the street carrying guns�as law enforcement officers we will confiscate the weapon if a person is walking down the street and they may be arrested,� Riley said. The National Rifle Association sued the city and forced it to return hundreds of guns, after officers seized them during Katrina. Gun rights activists were once again outraged by Riley's comments. �It�s shocking, there's nothing about a police chief's opinion that gives them a super sized authority to throw the constitution out the window,� said NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne Lapierre".
New Zealand: Slain worker's colleague wants staff armed: "An employee at the Auckland dairy where a worker was shot and killed last year says his colleagues should be allowed to arm themselves in self defence. The call comes a day after a Hamilton dairy owner called for retailers to be allowed guns behind the counter amid growing concerns about robberies in that city. The Auckland dairy employee, who did not wish to be named, said he had been assaulted three times during convenience store robberies in the past five years. He said assaults were increasing and staff were defenceless to protect themselves unless they were armed. "It's not that I'm unlucky... I've heard (similar stories) from so many others," he said. His colleague Bhagubhai Vaghela was shot and killed while working in the Uptown Minimart in June last year. West Auckland man James Lawrie has been charged with his murder and the aggravated robbery of five other stores. After Vaghela's death, the Indian community called on the government for strengthened law and order, but the Uptown employee said he felt nothing had changed and police still did not place enough emphasis on superette robberies. "If you call them see how quickly they come and if I call them see how quickly they come. They'll say there's more serious matters to attend to."
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Prowlers flee Florida homeowner's bullets: "A homeowner in Southwest Ranches said he was frightened by two prowlers when he fired the first shot at them through a garage window. About 2:45 a.m., a live-in housekeeper at a home in the 13400 block of Old Sheridan Street heard noises and saw the men in the garage area possibly trying to break into the garage or a 1995 Ferrari F512. She alerted the homeowner. While his wife was on the phone with Broward sheriff's deputies, he got his Walther P99 semiautomatic pistol and entered the garage through an interior door. Deputies dispatched on the call heard from the dispatcher that shots had been fired. They found seven spent shell casings on the front driveway, one inside the garage and a bullet hole in the garage window. The homeowner said he fired seven shots at the men before they jumped a fence into a neighbor's yard. One of the men wore a black ski hat, black shirt and black gloves. The second wore a light-colored shirt. A search of the area did not locate the prowlers and no blood was found to indicate that either man had been hit."
NC: Burglar assaults woman, is shot: "A Dunn-area man who allegedly broke into a Sampson County home and attempted to assault a woman at the residence was shot in the leg by another man who was at the home at the time, according to reports at the Sheriff's Office. ... Reports state that, just after 2 a.m. Saturday, a suspect barged into 366 Carrolls Store Road and attempted to assault Leslie Ann Skinner, 20, of Maxwell Road, Autryville, who was at the home at the time. William McPhail, 20, of the Carrolls Store Road home, reportedly shot Hickman in the left leg with a double-barrel shotgun."
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
TX: Clerk fatally shoots robber at liquor store: "A liquor store clerk shot and killed one of two armed men who tried to rob the southwest Houston business Wednesday night, police said. 'Two suspects came in; only one came out,' said Houston Police Department investigator A. Taravello. The men tried to rob the R-N-R Liquor store in the 10200 block of Beechnut about 7:30 p.m. when gunfire erupted, police said."
Founders faced many issues still here today: "When the Founders ratified the Second Amendment in 1791, they had in mind English politics of the 1680s, when a Catholic king (James II) was thought to be scheming to impose his religion on a Protestant nation by using a powerful army. After James was deposed, England adopted a bill of rights, including a right to bear arms. A century later the Founders supported militias and an armed citizenry, not to protect Protestants against Catholics, but to allow the states or the people to defend themselves against a national government gone wild."
Monday, June 05, 2006
TN: Crime victims stop would be robbers: "Usually criminals worry about being caught by police but in Murfreesboro criminals need to watch out for their victims. In the last two months, five different victims took bold risks in stopping crime. Tim Davis' Salt and Pepper Christian bookstore is full of statements that mirror is own beliefs. From commandments to bumper stickers, it all points to character and when a man tried to rob him, he believes he knows exactly what Jesus would do. Tim pulled out a pair of scissors and chased his robber down the street holding him at bay until police arrived. 'If you roll over and take it, they will do it again,' Davis defended his action. ... Guillermo Acosta sacrificed his own life while defending his neighbors during a robbery at La Tienda / La Carreta grocery story. A robber stormed into JD's Market and pointed a gun at Karim Barakat. Mr. Barakat remained calm but when the robber pointed the gun at his beloved wife, Barakat pulled out his own gun and shot the robber. A man robbed on East State Street exchanged gunfire with his robber."
Deadly force law goes into effect: "A new state law dubbed the "Castle Doctrine" takes effect today, guaranteeing Alabamians immunity from civil and criminal prosecution if they shoot intruders in their homes, vehicles or offices. The law, backed by the National Rifle Association and opposed by most black lawmakers, was approved by the 2006 Alabama Legislature. Ten other states have similar statues. Immunity is not extended, however, to someone if they shoot their spouses, bosses or others who have a right to be in the home, car or office in question. Individuals also don't have immunity if they shoot law enforcement officers.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
"GUN-FREE" BRITAIN AGAIN
The Packington estate, so decrepit that it is scheduled for demolition, lies between streets of neat Victorian and Georgian terraces in the otherwise leafy borough of Islington, north London. Last Thursday three boys, all aged 15, sat in the estate's ramshackle play park eating Skittles and shooting the breeze. Even though two of them had their hoods up they were not especially intimidating. None had been excluded from school and when asked who they wanted to win this year's Big Brother they cheerily replied, "that one who's got Tourette's". These were normal inner-city boys. Nice, even.
Yet when asked whether they ever carried knives around the neighbourhood or had tried to take one to school, all three responded with a dismaying "for sure". To prove it one boy - who, incidentally, had an innocent smile and sunny disposition - reached into the folds of his tracksuit and pulled out a small kitchen knife, the sort you might use to chop mushrooms. This, he explained, was for "protection".
Perhaps it was to be expected. In recent weeks numerous reports of citizens attacked and slain have fostered the notion that every other hoodie in Britain is carrying a concealed blade. There were more than 50 knife attacks over the bank holiday weekend alone and horror stories involving good-hearted samaritans apparently breaking up public fights only to be knifed to death have multiplied.
Among them was Tom Grant, a 19-year-old student at St Andrews University, who was on the train travelling home to Gloucestershire last Saturday when he reportedly stepped in to help a woman having a savage row with a young man. He was stabbed fatally.
A few hours later in Nottingham, Ian Montgomery, 26, went to help a woman being beaten up outside a nightclub. He, too, was stabbed and is still recovering in hospital. Marlvin Jiro was not so lucky. The 26-year-old father was knifed at about the same time in Birmingham after a fight. He died at the scene.
Just three days later Barry Wilson, 29, was stabbed in Bristol. Following an argument he was killed on his doorstep in front of his two young daughters. Across town, less than 24 hours earlier, another man, an unnamed teen, had lain dying in a pool of blood, yet another victim of a knife. The following evening a 40-year-old woman was stabbed in Norwood, south London, her body left next to her VW Golf which still had its lights on and engine running.
These terrifying tales followed the recent public outcry over the death of Nisha Patel-Nasri, a special police constable whose funeral was held last Thursday. Patel-Nasri had her own kitchen knife turned on her when, for the second time in a week, she had challenged intruders at her home in Wembley, north London. A single clumsy stab wound to the leg was enough to sever her femoral artery. Later that week, 15-year-old Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death outside his school in north London.
Is Britain in the grip of a knife epidemic? Is blade culture out of control? The statistics do not entirely support this conclusion. Although there has been a recent burst of violence - which has coincided (embarrassingly for law enforcers) with a nationwide five-week knife amnesty - the percentage of knife-related violent crime has remained steady at 6% for several years. Home Office records show that the number of people killed with a sharp instrument in 1994 was 231. In 2005 that number was a near identical 236.
Anecdotal evidence from crime and social workers - not to mention the knife carriers themselves - suggests that more people are carrying knives. Last Monday in Luton more than 90 weapons (including scabrous blades, knuckle-dusters and a 10in carving knife) were confiscated from a crowd on its way to a carnival.
The exact percentage of blade carriers remains hard to calculate as it relies on the unscientific process of canvassing members of the public, who are prone to lie. In 2004 the British Crime Survey estimated that 60,000 children aged 11 to 16 were carrying knives, but what of the over-18s? Perhaps the most damning evidence that knives have become a fixture of British life is the rise in the number of people found guilty of carrying blades in public places, up 63.5% in five years.
This certainly chimes with opinion on the ground. "It's been getting worse for a few years now," says Dawn Irwin, head of Offroad Productionz, a mentoring group that tackles gang and violent crime. "Blades are everywhere."
Hippies need guns too: "It was meant to promote peace and love, but ended in a hail of bullets. America's counter- culture has come back under the spotlight after the founder of a New York commune was repeatedly shot by an unhinged former member last week. As Jeff Gross was recovering from gunshot wounds to his chest and arm, the prime suspect for the attack, a 43-year-old woman, was still on the run this weekend. For New Yorkers long used to gun violence, the most shocking aspect of the shooting was the realisation that the hippie lifestyle continues to exist within the confines of their energetic and affluent city. The shooting on Staten Island, a sedate commuter borough, has exposed a tangled network of communal jealousies involving lurid tales of sex with dwarves and lesbian orgies. It has also sent a shudder through the shrinking world of American hippiedom, which has never fully recovered from the Jonestown massacre of 1978, when "Reverend" Jim Jones orchestrated the mass suicide of more than 900 followers at a commune in Guyana. Gross, 51, a co-founder of the Ganas housing co-operative, has identified his assailant as Rebekah Johnson, a former commune member who was expelled 10 years ago and who later returned to threaten Gross and other members."
Communists not gun-shy: "Venezuela has announced overnight it had received 30,000 AK-47 assault rifles from Russia, the first shipment of an order of 100,000. "This is an act of full national sovereignty, they are weapons for the defense of the country," said Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel, speaking at the Puerto Cabello naval base, 130km northwest of Caracas. Mr Rangel also said the weapons were needed to replace outdated Belgian-designed FAL rifles currently in use "and discard obsolete equipment." Also in the shipment were 25 million rounds of ammunition. In mid-2005 Caracas signed an agreement to buy the rifles in a $US54-million deal with Moscow. The remainder of the weapons are scheduled to arrive in August and a third shipment late in the year. Within three to five years Venezuela will also have factories to manufacture both AK-47s and their ammunition, the head of the Venezuelan army, General Raul Baduel, said overnight.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
IN GUN-BANNED BRITAIN, THE RIGHT TO CARRY KNIVES IS NOW UNDER THREAT:
As the following press release shows:
The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties policy institute, today calls on the Home Secretary to ignore the media-led hysteria over knife crimes, and to legalise the carrying and use of weapons for self-defence.
Libertarian Alliance Director, Dr Sean Gabb, says: "Laws against carrying knives in public - or any weapons - are an infringement of our liberties and are a waste of police time. The only people who obey such laws are the respectable, and these cause no trouble. Those who do commit assaults are no more likely to obey the existing or prospective law on weapons than they are to stop listening to horrid music or to wash their hands after using the toilet.
"Even turning the country into a police state, with powers of random stop and search and scanners in public places, will do nothing to disarm these creatures. Such laws will only inconvenience the respectable. They disarm us to the point where criminals can roam among us like a fox among chickens. If we are already disarmed, we still face the indignity of being searched by police officers who are increasingly useless and corrupt.
"We need to get back to the sane legal climate of the Victorian era, when citizens were expected to take part in defending themselves, and were encouraged to use lethal force when they believed it necessary.
"We must be allowed to carry knives for our self-defence if we so wish. But we should also be allowed to carry guns. After all, using a knife requires skills in which the criminal classes tend to have an advantage. But guns equalise, regardless of age or sex; and nothing beats a bullet. "To be precise, we need to go back to the laws of our ancestors when a person could walk into a gun shop and, without showing a licence or any form of identification, buy as many guns and as much ammunition as he pleased, and could keep these at home, or carry them about in public, for the defence of his life or property.
"At the same time, we need real punishments for real crimes. Those who commit assaults on others should be caught and punished with terrifying swiftness and severity. Assuming due process of law, I see no objection to the use of the death penalty.
"But the only certain way to clear away the human trash who infest our streets is to let us, the respectable public, take part in the cleansing. "Further laws to criminalise the carrying of weapons is a retrograde step and should be resisted by the authorities. They are nothing more than victim disarmament."
GA: Teen burglar shot by homeowner: "Police say a man shot and wounded a teenager he found in his home -- attempting to rob him. Police say 27-year-old Ronald Ramsey arrived at his Lawrenceville home Tuesday afternoon and found 17-year-old Alrazi Basher of Duluth inside, robbing him. Officials say when Basher tried to flee the home, Ramsey shot at Basher and hit him and his vehicle. Basher drove to a friend's house nearby, running over a street sign along the way. The friend called 911 after seeing Basher had been shot. Basher was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center to be treated. He is currently listed in serious condition. The Ford SUV that Basher used to drive to a friend's house had been stolen from Lawrenceville. Officials say they found stolen property from other burglaries inside the vehicle. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Police say Ramsey is cooperating with authorities. Basher has been charged with one count of burglary and one count of theft by receiving a motor vehicle."
Friday, June 02, 2006
ID: Shooting leaves one dead: "A Valley County man is dead, and the man who pulled the trigger says he did it in self-defense. The 26-year old shooter admitted to police that he killed the man, but he says he did it for his own protection. ... According to police 11 people were at a party in the home when a fight broke out. Police say a number of metal weapons were used in the fight. The shooter tells police the Prescott brothers attacked him with the weapons, and that's when he shot James Prescott in self-defense."
SC: 2 gunned down in botched robbery : "Two men were killed early Monday in a gunfight sparked by an armed robbery attempt near the intersection of Cassandra Lane and 22nd Avenue South, Myrtle Beach police said. ... A police incident report said that Smith and a friend, Charles Melvin Stocker Jr., 26, of Hopkins, were near Cassandra and 22nd when McCullough and another person approached and tried to rob them at gunpoint. During the robbery, McCullough shot and killed Smith, police said. Stocker then pulled a gun he had and fired on McCullough, police said. Horry County Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said both men were shot multiple times while within a few feet of each other."
Thursday, June 01, 2006
OR: Intruder shot multiple times: "A 9-1-1 call from a woman in Boring reported that a man who had been harassing her, broke into her residence and her boyfriend shot the intruder multiple times. It happened at about 2:30 a.m. Clackamas County Sheriff's officials say the woman told them the intruder had been stalking her. She says the man physically forced his way into her residence. The man, reported to be 49-years-old, was shot multiple times with a handgun in the upper torso and is reported to be in stable condition."
One guy who really needed gun training: "Police say a Salem man accidentally shot and killed himself Tuesday morning while he and his family were trying to climb out of a ravine after a car accident. According to police, 38-year-old Vladimir Gorkavchenko was driving near Detroit early in the morning when he lost control of his minivan. The car rolled multiple times, before coming to a rest at the bottom of a rocky embankment. Gorkavchenko, his wife, and their daughter were uninjured in the crash. Police say Gorkavchenko then removed a rifle from his van to take it with him as the three started climbing out of the ravine. According to police, Gorkavchenko was using the rifle as a brace as he climbed and apparently slipped, causing the gun to fire a round that hit him in his thumb and his head." He must have held it with the barrel pointing UPWARDS
NC: Squabble leads to gunfire: "A confrontation in Nebo Saturday night landed one man in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest. Shortly after 9:30 p.m., McDowell County sheriff�s deputies were called to a residence on Southern Way owned by Darrell Freeman. Capt. Dudley Greene of the Sheriff�s Office said Freeman and several others were in his yard, when 34-year-old Mark Anthony Salyer of Southern Way showed up unannounced. Witness said a confrontation ensued and Salyer brandished a weapon, the captain stated. That�s when Freeman shot Salyer once in the chest with a .45-caliber handgun, according to Greene. "No charges have been filed at this time, but we continue to investigate," said the captain. "We�re still sorting out the details." Salyer was airlifted to Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville, where he was listed in serious but stable condition early Sunday morning. However, authorities say they received word later that Salyer was released. No one by that name was listed as a patient at the hospital Sunday evening."
MI: No murder charge for man who shot rapper Proof: "The man who shot and killed Detroit rapper Proof acted in self defense and will not face murder charges, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Tuesday. Mario Etheridge, 28, shot Proof, whose real name is Deshaun Holton, after Proof allegedly shot and killed Etheridge's cousin, Keith Bender Jr., a U.S. Army veteran. ... The C.C.C. club on 8 Mile was the place where Proof, 32, a close friend of Eminem and a member of the rap group D12, was shot three times in the head and chest after a fight about 4:30 a.m. April 11 -- more than two hours after the club was required by law to close. Before his death, Proof, shot the 35-year-old Bender, police said. Bender died a week later. Etheridge, who prosecutors said shot Proof, was charged last month with gun felonies, but not with the killing. Police said Etheridge, a bouncer at the bar, shot Proof after the rapper shot Bender in a fight over a pool game."