Thursday, January 07, 2010

The forgotten virtue of firearms

During Christmas week, a registered sex offender with a conviction for attempted murder used a gun to take three hostages at a Wytheville, Va., post office. Not too surprisingly, the national media gave the crime extensive news coverage. Such sensationalism leaves a distorted image about what happens with guns every day in the United States. When guns work to stop crime, there's not nearly as much drama to sensationalize and, as a result, that much less coverage.

In Oklahoma City the previous week, an armed citizen singlehandedly stopped an attack that surely would have resulted in a multiple-victim public shooting. The media gave the event scant attention. The scene went down when a Marine, who was on leave and came home for the holidays, started firing in an apartment parking lot. Before anyone was harmed, another man aimed his permitted concealed handgun at the attacker and ordered him to put down his weapon. The shooter dropped his gun and ran into his father's apartment, barricading himself in. Three-and-a-half hours later, the man surrendered to the police.

A Marine with a gun who wanted to cause harm would surely be able to maim or kill a lot of people. Those dead bodies would have attracted exhaustive coverage. Of course, corpses are newsworthy in our sensational culture, but when an armed citizen stops an attack, the heroism rates barely a blip on the national radar screen. In this case, a search found just one television news story on the incident, and it left out the identity of the man who saved the day. In our confused times, murderers, it seems, are more interesting than heroes.

An important detail that is neglected in news coverage is that all the multiple-victim public shootings in America - crimes in which more than three people were killed - happened where legal concealed handguns are banned. The Wytheville post office is such a gun-free zone, not to mention that the felon who committed the crime was banned from possessing a firearm anywhere. The Oklahoma City attack was stopped because the man who stopped it could carry a concealed handgun.

Often what's true and what makes good TV are two different things. But either way, news standards don't give people any idea about the costs and benefits of people owning guns. Police are extremely important in stopping crimes, but police understand that they almost always arrive on the scene after a crime has occurred. Heroic actions of citizens who stop attacks deserve a lot more attention.


PA: Off-duty cop shoots assailant: "Philadelphia police were continuing their investigation on Wednesday afternoon of the fatal early-morning shooting of a robbery suspect by an off-duty officer. Authorities say the traffic cop was driving his own car near 7th and Willow Streets, just north of Callowhill, about 3:30am when a man jumped in, demanded cash and jewelry, and hit the officer with a gun: ‘During the course of the confrontation, the officer was able to get to his weapon. It was discharged, and the male was struck.’ Lt. Frank Vanore says 23-year-old suspect Altariq Hutchinson of Edgewater Park (Burlington County) NJ, was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital.”

Chicago Fireman On Trial For His Life: "Chicago, IL—Ted Kozak, 58 is a professional hero. He has saved many lives and many millions of dollars of property during his career. Kozak has never been a threat to anyone and has avoided a criminal record. That all changed in September of 2006 when police raided his home. Kozak believes that the words of our Constitution have real meaning. Keeping and bearing of arms suitable for military service is not some special privilege for the elite but the right of the people. Kozak’s close friend, a retired Chicago cop collected guns instead of stamps, cars or toy trains. The retired lawman had a collection worth thousands and prized pieces such as his “Chicago Typewriter” prominently displayed in Michael Mann’s movie, Public Enemies. Needing cancer surgery the ailing fellow asked Kozak to securely store his collection while he was being treated. The collection was safe until Chicago police found and seized the firearms. That Thompson submachine gun is a showpiece and it’s over 70 years old. It’s impressive to look at but it’s not for use in violent crime but to be kept under museum conditions. So were the other collectable firearms, found in his possession. Now Kozak is on trial for engaging in constitutionally protected activity in gun rights hating Chicago. Chicago’s officials want to put Kozak in prison for many years. Is this because he was evil? No, but because he has not bowed to the all powerful Oz and chose to enjoy his American rights.

The Second Amendment faces a decisive year in 2010: "The Second Amendment faces a deci- sive year in 2010. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has called for new semi-automatic gun bans - despite their decade-long record of fraud and failure, and despite his own Justice Department's failure to fully or even half-heartedly prosecute federal firearm felonies. Mr. Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have demonstrated their willingness to use cooked statistics to blame Mexico's violent drug war on Americans and their Second Amendment rights. Anti-gun leaders in Congress have introduced bills to ban guns, license gun owners, register guns, tax bullets, serialize ammunition, shut down gun shows and a hundred other schemes. They're still there, proposing every nonsensical gun law they can imagine that only affect law-abiding citizens, while criminals go about their evil business unfettered. Meanwhile at the United Nations, global citizen-disarmament nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and freedom-fearing dictatorships worldwide maneuver to impose their will on you through international treaties."

No comments: