The headlines this past week have been riddled with horrifying stories about shootings, particularly school shootings. Just in time for the elections on Nov. 5th.
There was the murder of a 24 year-old high school teacher by her 14 year-old student. He didn’t shoot her, though; he slashed her with a knife or box cutter. A robber surrendered after holding three hostages in a North Carolina drug store with a gun. An ex-Marine, middle school math teacher was fatally shot while trying to protect his students from a gun-toting student. Two students were wounded. Reportedly, the teen with the gun turned it on himself before killing anyone else.
A 10-day shooting spree claimed 10 lives in Newark, N.J. in one week this month. At least one more victim in Newark died in September from a gun shooting. At least 15 people were wounded and one person fatally shot in one evening in Chicago’s South and West Wards.
An Arkansas drugstore owner shot and killed a robber. An Oklahoma City pharmacist was charged with first-degree murder for shooting a robber. A robber at a drugstore in Medford, N.Y., shot and killed four people in a robbery gone wrong. In Bean Station, Tenn., two people, including the owner of Downe Home Pharmacy, were murdered in a robbery; two others were wounded.
In September, one man was killed and another wounded at the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island. The body of gunman Sang Ho Kim was later found on an island on the Hudson River in Stony Point, N.Y. The middle-aged Kim was a former employee of Safe Energy Company, next door to the mall. Police described the shooting as a genuine workplace incident carried out by a disgruntled former employee. Finally, a young Waldwick man climbed up to a second-story window of his lover’s parents’ suburban home and strangled the mother of his 9-month old baby, who had been demanding more child support money from the father, who was something of a party guy. He was having trouble adjusting to parenthood.
Again, no gun. Just bare hands. Or perhaps a rope or a sheet. But no gun.
The Media never reports whether the shooters in these woeful tales legally owned these guns. What these stories prove is that you don’t need a gun to kill. You don’t need to legally own a gun if you’re a criminal to kill. You’re also not necessarily a killer if you do own a gun. A man and his wife were hauled out of bed, handcuffed and spread-eagled on their living floor as their children huddled together in tears. A SWAT team used a battering ram to break down a door where the couple’s teenaged son was showering. The emergency call was made by a vengeful ex-wife. All the 40-member SWAT team found were some empty shell casings.
In the November 2013 issue of American Rifleman Magazine (the official magazine of the National Rifle Association), the Inside NRA column describes a column for anti-gun lobbyists and activists. The guide is described as a “step-by-step” roadmap for exploiting tragedy [involving guns and shootings] for political gain. The guide was written long before the Newtown, Mass., Sandy Hook E.S. shooting.
The guide tells anti-gun activists to exploit tragedy while it’s still fresh.
“Don’t hesitate to speak out. Don’t assume the facts – and don’t wait for them…the clearest course is to advance our core message.” The guide goes on to end the section with this advice, “Never apologize” – a tragedy “creates a unique climate for our communications effort.”
“What should the novice gun-ban advocate say after a tragedy?” columnist Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director, asks. The answer is: “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics.”
Wonky statistics. Cox notes, “Those wonky statistics reflect reality, not the gauzy, anecdotal narrative that drives support for gun bans.”
The guide goes on.
“Tell stories with images and feelings. Always start with the pain and anguish that gun violence brings into people’s lives…use images that bring your message home.”
Also, “Don’t talk about ‘gun control’…do talk about ‘preventing gun violence.’ Don’t use the terms ‘stricter’ gun laws…do advocate for ‘stronger’ gun laws.”
Cox says, “This insight is paired with the authors’ clear discomfort with two recent Supreme Court rulings that affirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess a handgun for self-defense.”
The anti-gun lobby’s response? “Don’t let our opponents overstate what the Supreme Court rulings did.” Readers are cautioned to refrain from “ineffective language. We’re not trying to take away anyone’s Second Amendment rights.” Instead, readers are told to mask their gun-ban agenda by talking about “taking reasonable steps to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.”
“One section,” Cox writes, “is dedicated to countering ‘the role of the NRA.’
“When communicating with the general public, we need to be aware of the fact that, beyond our base, people have a positive impression of the organization and its role…most Americans consider the NRA to be a mainstream organization. Always draw distinctions between NRA officials and the organization’s rank-and-file members. [The NRA is] a giant operation defending powerful gun manufacturers at every level.”
This issue also thoughtfully provides a state-oriented legislative scorecard for its subscribers, depending on their address. Living in New Jersey, this subscriber got the New Jersey scorecard, complete with legislators’ grades on Second Amendment rights.
Looking over the scorecard, there’s very little middle ground in this battle. A legislator either gets an A or D/F. Here and there will you see a B- (for District 4 State Representative Philip Dieser-R) or a C for State Sen. Donald Cox (R). The B’s outnumber the C’s. Second Amendment activists need to work on those B legislators in New Jersey: State Sen. Diane Allen (R), Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R), Assemblymen Christopher McManus (D), Gregory McGuckin, David Wolfe, Amy Handlin, Mary Pat Angelini (all running for re-election), Kim Taylor, Stephanie Ziemba (she’s a B-minus), Jon Bramnick, Laura M. Ali, Sean T. Kean, David P. Riple, and Joseph J. Scarpa.
According to the ratings key, a “B” indicates “a generally pro-gun candidate who may oppose some pro-gun reform or support some restrictive legislation.
Finally, there’s AR’s The Armed Citizen Column. These are AR’s good news stories about gun owners who successfully protected themselves from criminals. AR invites bloggers to freely share the stories.
This story made YouTube: “Police were dispatched to Pizza Heaven II [in New Haven, Conn.] late one evening to respond to a robbery. The pizzeria owner reported that he had just been robbed by two men, one of whom was armed with a rifle. The robbers demanded money from the cash register, which the owner handed over. The suspects then ordered the owner into an office, where they demanded more money. Instead, the owner pulled out his own firearm. One robber was so alarmed that he fell backward and dropped his rifle. The owner then chased the two robbers from his business. Both men were later arrested and charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny and conspiracy for both counts. No one was injured.”
Then there’s this tale, from Bedford, Iowa: “Rodney Long, 38, an inmate who had escaped from prison, decided to hide out in the home of 71 year-old Jerome Maidenly and his wife, Carolyn, 66. He broke into the home around 10:15 p.m. and held the couple hostage as he gathered supplies to aid in his escape. But after four hours, Jerome Maidenly decided to put a fight and retrieved his shotgun. Maidenly fired a single shot before a 911 call was made shortly after 2 a.m. Police arrived to find long lying face down in the kitchen with a fatal gunshot wound, putting an end to the manhunt. Long was serving time on a burglary charge and was suspected of shooting a sheriff’s deputy after his escape from prison. The Maude lays sustained no injuries.” And apparently were not charged in Long’s death.
Finally, in Milwaukee, Wisc.: “Shortly before midnight, thee men entered Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall brandishing weapons and attempted to rob the polka bar. The owner of the business, Andy Kochanski, pulled out his own firearm and fired on the suspects, killing one. The other two robbers fled the scene, but were later arrested. ‘I defended myself,’ said Kochanski. ‘I did the shooting. Two guys with guns, what are you going to do? Protect yourself and your customers. That’s what I did.’”
Thank you, Founding Fathers, for the Second Amendment. Helping the good guys win for 222 years. You may be wary of them. You may be scared of them (I know I am). But without the Second Amendment, you’ll have no defense against criminals who aren’t scared of them and neither will your neighbors.