Perspective in Tragedy

Wade Michael Page, the dead man accused of the killings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, “was eyed by federal investigators ‘more than once’ because of ties to white supremacist and extremist groups, the Los Angeles Times reports, but federal officials “determined there was not enough evidence of a crime to open an investigation.”

They had been tracking Page since 2000, and he had public neo-Nazi ties.

James Holmes’ psychiatrist was treating him at the University of Colorado and told a police officer she was worried about his behavior, and she also was part of the university’s threat assessment team that was concerned with Holmes. This was before he dropped out of college and massacred a dozen people and wounded almost six times that many in Aurora, Colo.

Yet gun-control advocates scream for tighter controls for all of us, most notably Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, a long-time supporter of gun regulation. There’s many more.

So did the University of Colorado and the Feds drop the ball on Holmes and Page?

Absolutely. And the gun control advocates believe that means we should all give up our second amendment rights.

Here’s some information for the informed:

–Roughly 16,272 murders were committed in the United States during 2008. Of these, about 10,886 or 67 percent were committed with firearms.

–A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5 percent of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone “almost certainly would have been killed” if they “had not used a gun for protection.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”

–Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders. Of these, about 436,000 or 8 percent were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.

–Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.

–A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 3.5 percent of households had members who had used a gun “for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 1,029,615 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”

–A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.

A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:

–34 percent had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”

–40 percent had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun”

–69 percent personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”

I realize some of this is old data; that’s apparently because most the government and think-tanks quit compiling such data, except the NRA, which I don’t want to quote here because of the stigma attached to that organization.

Still, the NRA boasts 4.3 million members. The Brady Group has 29,000. Even if NRA inflated their numbers by 50 percent, as they are often accused, that’s 2.15 million members versus 29,000. That sounds like a majority in a democracy.

I don’t agree with NRA on many things, but many I do. Yet I think that there should be some mechanism in place to make sure that people like Page and Holmes cannot buy a firearm, much less a 100-round ammo can to feed a weapon.

Just in the last couple of weeks, YouTube videos have gone viral showing citizens defending themselves and others with licensed guns and permits. In the first, a 71-year-old Florida man opened fire on two men who stormed into an internet café, one with a gun the other a bat, crashing things up and threatening the patrons; in the second, a 65-year-old California woman opened fire on perps trying to rob her jewelry store.

These people would not have received any attention at all beyond their local news reports if they had been victims instead of heroes.

Do you know what gun control is? It’s the notion that becoming a victim is morally superior to defending and protecting yourself and your family, someone noted recently.

Who else is supposed to protect us? The government. In the case of James Holmes and Wade Page, did they live up to that obligation? Certainly not.

During the Sikh temple massacre, the reverent priest attacked Page with the only weapon he could lay his hands on: A butter knife. The priest died when Page gunned him down.

“Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy took nine bullets in the Wisconsin Sikh Temple attack on Sunday, and as he lay bleeding, he waved on fellow officers, telling them to help those who had been shot.” (Huffington Post) Yet another hero.

Sikh people believe in a mono-theistic form of worship, in liberty and peace. They are non-violent. Yet some hate-monger picked them to express his psychopathic rage. James Holmes threw tear gas into a darkened movie theater and massacred people while clad in full body armor. Not only are these monsters evil, they are cowards.

The euphemisms have been repeated so many times they have been relegated to being trite. But they remain true, no matter how scoffed at: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. If guns are banned, only criminals will have guns. If they didn’t have guns, they’d find another way to kill. All true, no matter how over-worked.

Guns also defend people from those who want to harm them. Ask the Brits. During the recent economic riots, English citizens were left with nothing to defend themselves with except rolling pins and golf clubs.

In Australia, home invasion is way up. Because thugs have no fear that there might be a gun-wielding resident behind the door they just busted down.

Here’s another euphemism: When seconds count, a cop is only minutes away. That’s not to disparage police; it’s just a simple fact. They can’t be there to save you instantaneously.

The battle over gun control will probably continue forever. We have to be diligent. The Second Amendment cannot fall by the wayside, not by treaty, not by legislation and not by apathy.

3 comments to Perspective in Tragedy

  • Walt Thompson

    Very simply, AMEN! My old 12 ga pump with 00 buck and slugs has gone downstairs with me a few times in the last many years. Recently, even thinking about getting my son’s old .410 pump cut to “legal” length…would be pretty handy inside with 0 buck.

  • No .410, Walt – bigger is better. Especially when your life depends on it.

  • blufloyd

    Just bought a couple new polypro canes. Indestructible and blood washes right off.
    Did I mention they are flat black and invisible in the dark?

    The Redhawk is quicker but the flash bothers the eyes and the noise wakes the dog.

    I don’t see it getting better any time soon.

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