Monday, August 27, 2012

Empire State Building Shooting : Anti-gunners skipping the important facts, naturally

In their zeal to exploit Friday’s shooting near the Empire State Building in New York City, anti-gunners are deliberately overlooking some facts and adding their own agenda items instead.

Kudos to the Seattle Times for not picking up on the rhetoric in its selection of stories about the incident to publish. Then, again, one might wonder if the Times is just playing down the event because the “mass shooting” that had initially been reported now has been revealed to have been caused by police gunfire, not dead gunman Jeffrey T. Johnson.

His pistol was an old Star .45-caliber semi-auto, a gun that by no stretch of anyone’s imagination — with the exception of the Violence Policy Center — meets the definition of “assault” anything. One glance at the VPC’s statement about the shooting cements that organization’s lack of credibility, because it contains this gem:

“Today's shooter reportedly used a 45 caliber handgun to end the life of a former co-worker, offering yet another example of how the ready availability of semiautomatic handguns that can be equipped with high-capacity ammunition magazines destroy lives and make everyone less safe.”—Violence Policy Center

The Star has a seven-round magazine. Nobody makes a “high capacity” magazine for that gun. Johnson fired five rounds into his victim, 41-year-old Steve Ercolino, and did not fire again, even as he aimed the pistol at patrolmen Robert Sinishtaj and Craig Matthews.

They fired a total of 16 rounds and hit Johnson seven times. All bystanders hit in that shooting were struck by whole bullets or fragments fired by the two cops, and that is why this incident is quickly disappearing from the headlines.

According to an analysis in Mother Jones by Mark Follman, Friday’s incident doesn’t even qualify as a “mass shooting.” That kind of event has three criteria:

* We excluded crimes involving armed robbery or gang violence;

* The event had to have occurred in essentially a single incident, in a public place;

* And the killer, in accordance with the FBI report, had to have taken the lives of at least four people.

The Brady Campaign’s tepid remarks show a little more restraint than the VPC, with that group continuing to push it’s new slogan, “We’re better than this.”

Some folks on the gun forums might suggest that should include better marksmanship by the police, but this column isn’t going that route. Instead, someone should ask a few of the keyboard commandos — as opposed to gun people who are offering serious analysis — out there how easy they think it is to hit a target while you are moving, as were officers Sinishtaj and Matthews.

A look at that video clearly shows the cops spreading out, as this column noted yesterday, making it impossible for the gunman to zero on both cops if he opened fire. The result of this strategic move is simple, as previously noted: At least one of those officers would have been able to return fire without being in Johnson’s line of fire.

They also made themselves moving targets. It’s not that easy, even up close, to hit a moving target under stress, and Johnson was definitely stressed, having just pumped five rounds into Ercolino in front of witnesses, and now facing two armed street cops who drew on a drawn gun.

It is entirely plausible that Johnson committed “suicide by cop.” Do the math. In the eight seconds that encompassed the Johnson shooting, Matthews got off seven rounds and Sinishtaj fired nine times. Johnson, with his gun out, didn’t fire at all. All three men were armed with semiautomatic pistols, capable of the same rate of fire. Johnson could have easily fired his gun empty during that confrontation, but he didn’t.

As more facts emerge about Johnson, it is becoming clearer that he had literally run out his string. It just might turn out, after killing his intended victim, that he merely let the cops cut the cord.



Anonymous said...

Great content,you should add some images of Guns with this article.

Anonymous said...

Published: August 24, 2012

Mr. Johnson did not have a concealed-carry or residential permit in New York, so his possession of the weapon was illegal in New York City, according to city officials.

Gun Used by Shooter Is Known for Its Deadly Power (but accuracy sucks)