Monday, December 17, 2012

Connecticut School Shooting vs Oregon Mall Shooting

Before I start this, I have to say that the Sandy Hook Shooting has broken my heart. I wept during the President's speech on Sunday (12/16/2012) evening. It was a great speech by the way. President Obama absolutely is at his best when he is speaking from the heart. I really liked that he mentioned we have to change, without outlining policy. Everybody knows what his policy will be, but he didn't use the opportunity to start hammering gun control. Instead he gave a very powerful and heart felt speech as "Consoler in Chief." It was the best speech I have ever heard him present.

As information filters in from the tragedy in Connecticut we are starting to get a feel for the situation inside the school. Adam Lanza, armed with many weapons, came to the door of the school, and found it locked. He shot is way through the glass and entered the school. At that point the Principal and School Psychologist attempted to stop him. He killed them. He then went room by room shooting anybody he saw. One room he entered was full of first graders and two teachers. They were cowering, huddled together. He killed them all. Details are sketchy after that. At some point he entered the office, where the school secretary and another administrative professional successfully hid from him. At some point he entered the classroom of Victoria Soto who had hidden her students in closets. She had no place to hide and was killed.
After about 5 minutes or so, the Police arrived at the school, and Adam Lanza ended his rampage by putting a bullet through his own head.

Jacob Tyler Roberts walked in to a Portland Oregon mall with a rifle under his coat. He went to the second floor, pulled out his rifle and began shooting. He killed two people almost instantly, and wounded a third. At that point his rifle jammed, and he began to work the charging handle. At that point, Nick Meli, a legally licensed and trained armed citizen, drew his Glock 22 and put Roberts in to his sights. Meli did not fire, because of the people running behind Roberts, but Roberts saw Meli, and began to run away. After fixing his rifle, the next shot Roberts fired was in to his own head.

What do we see in these tragedies? The both are startling in their similarities:

  • Both shooters used AR-15 style weapons
  • Both shooters illegally possessed their weapons
    • Roberts stole his rifle from an acquaintance
    • Lanza murdered his mother and stole her rifle.
  • Both shooters had several hundred rounds left un-fired on their persons.
  • Both shooters were intent on killing as many people as possible.
  • Both shooters killed themselves on the first hint of resistance.
So, what is the big difference between the two? In the Oregon mall shooting, an armed response was immediately available through an armed citizen. Though he did not fire, Roberts knew that someone else in that mall could throw bullets back at him. Roberts immediately ended his own life. Would an armed citizen have made a difference in the CT shooting? What if the principal was armed and could have threatened or shot Lanza as he forced his way in? What if one of the teachers in the first grade class room could have shot Lanza as he burst in and began firing? What if Victoria Soto, after hiding her students, could have taken a defensive position behind her desk, and shot Lanza as he walked in? A phrase you will hear over and over again over the next few weeks will be, "If this xxx legislation could save just ONE child, it will be worth it." Well... allowing legally armed citizens to defend themselves has proven time and time again that it would saves lives. Had the principal been armed at the door of the school, this tragedy wouldn't have even gathered national attention. Remember the Colorado Springs Church shooting? No?? Because an armed citizen, Jeanne Assam, took down the shooter before he could kill more than two people. This phrase will be used time and time again, along with references to the dead children as emotional tools to remove our freedoms. This solution will be regarded as nuts by most in the media and in the general public. People just don't want to think about their children going to school where there may be guns around. However, when someone intent on killing as many people as possible comes in to that same school, only one thing can stop them. Another person with a gun. You call the police, because they will come with an armed response. But, they are several minutes away. They won't get there in time. The armed citizen is already there, ready to respond, because, quite literally, their life depends on it. The general mindset is that the average person is not competent to handle a gun in the outside world. Or that the normal person would just start spraying bullets around during a confrontation. This just isn't true. Check out the CATO Institue's white paper on the defensive use of guns "Tough Targets: When Criminals Face Armed Resistance From Citizens" At the end of all of this, the problem isn't the gun, it is the people pulling the triggers. They wish to be immortalized somehow. Their lives are unfulfilled, and they lash out in such a way as to "show" everyone who hurt them. They are throwing their final temper tantrum.

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