Sunday, May 15, 2005


There is a BIG article here from a pro-gun activist who happens to be on the political Left. It is cheerily written but has a lot of good points. An excerpt about what made him become pro-gun:

"My views on the matter changed dramatically as I aged. After graduate school and a post-doc, I moved to Portland, Oregon. Gun ownership was much easier but one needs a seminal incident to induce a personal paradigm shift. There were several. First, a student called me at home to tell me that because of a grade I had given him, he was going to kill himself on my front lawn (he had a drug problem which led to bad performance). Seemed reasonable that someone killing himself might take a whack at me and family. Of course, I called the cops and the school. So SWAT teams and bodyguards rushed to my place - NOT! The law said: "Well, when he shows up - call us!" Might they increase drive-by frequency on our street that night? Uh - no! The school - fill out a form - Monday. This is not cool. So we get out the tennis racket and ski poles to fight our lives. Nothing happened, though and the kid dropped out.

A second nasty incident also was formative. In between marriages (sigh), I was invited by a young lady to go to a Yo-Yo Ma concert. He is a dude that plays the cello, very exciting and quite the intellectual event (Yeah Right, but a date is a date). At that point in time, the Portland area was home to some virulent Aryan nation types. They had been trained by some California neo-Nazis to pull up to a minority, shout racial epithets and if the person responded, to jump out and beat them. They would claim mutual combat as a defense as the person gave them the finger back. An Ethiopian immigrant was killed in this manner, leading to sentences and a successful major lawsuit against these organizations. So, going from the parking ramp, to the concert - up pulls a car of these guys - they yell at me - Hey, Are You a Jew! Tactical Response - say no and run for the theater. Works OK but, you sure feel helpless.

Third, a good friend of mine was a professor of Eastern Asian history. Two things happened to him. First, his wife's ex-husband did the psycho act. Second, he invited a controversial (leftist) speaker to campus. This was related to the Viet Nam war and led to some pretty frightening vandalism and death threats from what were annoyed `operators' of that era. My buddy was a pretty good martial artist, big, Harley riding, scary looking, knife guy, etc. He decided it was time to buy a gun. He got a SW 640 - the stainless 38 SPL snubbie as a concealed option. He learned how to shoot it and practiced at a local range which was pretty upscale"


Spooked by the courthouse shootings in nearby Atlanta, some Clayton County judges are arming themselves with guns. The judges requested the guns and firearms training from Clayton County police several weeks ago, Clayton County police Capt. Jeff Turner said. Clayton Sheriff Victor Hill said police gave guns to eight Superior and State Court judges. Clerk of Superior Court Linda Miller said she was offered a gun but declined. "I had a conversation with (Chief) Judge (Stephen) Boswell about the courthouse security issue," Miller said. "He said, 'We're getting guns, do you want one?' I said, 'No, no thank you.'"

Sheriff Hill, whose department is in charge of courthouse security, said he was not told in advance that the police were arming the judges and he wants some answers. "To issue and bring guns into the courthouse without advance training and notifying the Sheriff's Office of the intent or the location of these weapons shows poor judgment on the part of all involved in the planning of this idea," he told the Clayton News Daily. Neither Turner nor Will Simmons, the Clayton courts administrator, would give the number of guns issued or name the judges who got guns, citing security concerns.

State law allows judges to carry guns in court, and Fulton County State Court Chief Judge A.L. Thompson said a few Fulton County judges have always carried guns. But since the March 11 shooting rampage, more are bringing their own guns to work, he said. "A number of judges, including myself, have chosen to wear weapons," Thompson said. "I keep one in the car and in chambers." Thompson said the FBI and other agencies have warned them that another defendant might use a gun to escape, settle a score or seek publicity. "We are concerned about copycats," Thompson said.

Terry Norris, executive vice president of the Georgia Sheriffs Association, said it is not unusual for judges to carry guns, especially in rural areas. Arch McGarity, a Superior Court judge in Henry County said he has carried a gun to the bench infrequently for five years but has done so much more often since the Atlanta shootings. "I like having a gun, because it gives me a great deal of confidence that I will complete the day," he said. Cobb County Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs said she doesn't carry a gun but knows judges who do.

State and city judges in Columbus have also been arming themselves and getting firearms training from police. Also, federal marshals will teach a five-day class on courthouse security for 50 Georgia law enforcement officials starting June 13 at the Clayton County Courthouse. On March 11, Brian Nichols, who was on trial in Atlanta for rape, allegedly overpowered a lone deputy and stole her gun. Authorities say he then went on a shooting spree at the courthouse, killing Judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie Ann Brandau and deputy Sgt. Hoyt Teasley. Federal agent David Wilhelm was killed later that day.


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