Main


April 27, 2013

Missouri Teachers Trained to Defend School with Guns



SydowAaronPrincipalFaiviewSchool2013-04-26.jpg "Aaron Sydow, the principal of Fairview School in West Plains, Mo., monitoring the halls. After the Newtown, Conn., shooting, the Fairview school board authorized paid training for staff members so that they could be armed." Source of caption: print version of the NYT article quoted and cited below. Source of photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.



(p. A10) WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- At 8:30 on a cloudy, frigid morning late last month in this folksy Ozark town, the superintendent of an area school strolled through the glass doors of the local newspaper office to deliver a news release.

Hours later, the content of that release produced a front-page headline in The West Plains Daily Quill that caught residents off guard: "At Fairview School Some Employees Now Carry Concealed Weapons."

That was how most parents of Fairview students learned that the school had trained some of its staff members to carry weapons, and the reaction was loud -- and mostly gleeful.

"Sooo very glad to hear this," a woman whose grandchildren attend Fairview posted on the Facebook page of The Quill, adding, "All schools in America should do this."




For the full story, see:

JOHN ELIGON. "Rat Kidneys Made in Lab Point to Aid for Humans." The New York Times (Mon., April 15, 2013): A10.

(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 14, 2013.)






March 9, 2013

Chicago Gun Ban Laws Do Not Stop Chicago Gun Deaths



(p. A1) CHICAGO -- Not a single gun shop can be found in this city because they are outlawed. Handguns were banned in Chicago for decades, too, until 2010, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that was going too far, leading city leaders to settle for restrictions some describe as the closest they could get legally to a ban without a ban. Despite a continuing legal fight, Illinois remains the only state in the nation with no provision to let private citizens carry guns in public.

And yet Chicago, a city with no civilian gun ranges and bans on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, finds itself laboring to stem a flood of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings already in 2013, including a fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl on Tuesday.

To gun rights advocates, the city provides stark evidence that even some of the toughest restrictions fail to make places safer. "The gun laws in Chicago only restrict the law-abiding citizens and they've essentially made the citizens prey," said Richard A. Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.



For the full story, see:

MONICA DAVEY. "Strict Gun Laws in Chicago Can't Stem Fatal Shots." The New York Times (Weds., January 30, 2013): A1 & A18.

(Note: the online version of the story has the date January 29, 2013, and has the slightly different title "Strict Gun Laws in Chicago Can't Stem Fatal Shots.")






June 20, 2011

Entrepreneur Defends His Store with Gun



SpinelliAnthonyDefendedStore2011-06-05.jpg















"Anthony Spinelli, outside his store in the Bronx on Thursday, was called brave for shooting a man suspected of trying to rob his shop." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.




(p. A23) On Arthur Avenue, a group of men piled out of Pasquale's Rigoletto restaurant onto the sidewalk to pay their respects to a sudden local hero.

"Anthony, we love you," they shouted across the street.

They summed up the local sentiment about a man, Anthony Spinelli, celebrated for protecting his livelihood. On Wednesday, Mr. Spinelli pulled one of two licensed guns in the store, and shot one of the three people suspected of trying to rob his Arthur Avenue jewelry store at gunpoint.

The Bronx neighborhood seemed energized by the event, which people here saw as a testament to the toughness of one of the last Italian neighborhoods in New York City.

"You don't come in and try to take a man's livelihood," said Nick Lousido, who called himself a neighborhood regular. "His family's store has 50 years on this block, they're going to come in and rob him?"

On Thursday, Mr. Spinelli, 49, had returned to his shop and sized up the broken front windows and the mess inside. He said that a man and woman had entered his store, and the man had held a gun to his head while the woman had gone through jewelry drawers and stuffed jewelry into a bag. He said he had feared for his life, and that he was still shaken.


. . .


Next door to Mr. Spinelli's shop is M & M Painter Supplies, which has photographs of Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa next to a paint color chart on the wall.

"He's a very brave man," said the store owner, Ernie Verino. "He had the gun, and it takes guts to use it."



For the full story, see:

COREY KILGANNON. "Merchant Shooting to Defend His Store Is Celebrated as Hero of Arthur Avenue." The New York Times (Fri., February 18, 2011): A23.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the article is dated February 17, 2011 and has the title "After Shooting, Merchant Is Hero of Arthur Avenue.")






March 13, 2011

Defending the Right to Bear Arms



(p. 20) State Representative Jack Harper, who introduced a bill allowing professors to carry guns, said an Arizona State University professor, whom he has refused to identify, first raised the issue with him. "When law-abiding, responsible adults are able to defend themselves, crime is deterred," Mr. Harper said in a statement.

That is the philosophy in Arizona as a whole, where gun laws are among the least restrictive in the country. If law-abiding people can carry guns one step outside the campus to keep criminals at bay, supporters ask, why not allow them to enter a university with their firearms? That is already permitted in Utah, alone so far in allowing guns to be carried on all state campuses.

"I think that every person has the right to bear arms no matter what the circumstances," said Ashlyn Lucero, a political science student at Arizona State University who has served in the Marine Corps, is the daughter of a sheriff and grew up hunting.

Ms. Lucero carries her Glock pistol whenever possible and would carry it on campus if she could. "If I'm going out to eat somewhere, I usually have a gun with me always," she said. "It's just one of those things that you never know what's going to happen."

Thor Mikesell, a senior majoring in music who grew up hunting, is also a backer of allowing guns on campus. "There's no magic line, there's no magic barrier that makes me more safe on the campus than it is when I'm being a real person in the real world outside of the school," he said.


. . .


"This is not the 1890s' O.K. Corral shoot 'em up, bang 'em up," he said. "These are not vigilante kind of people. Their interest is their personal security and the security of their family."

The State Senate president, Russell Pearce, who recently said he would not prevent senators from taking guns into the Senate chamber despite rules against it, is an advocate for loosening as many gun restrictions as possible.


. . .


"Guns save lives, and it's a constitutional right of our citizens," Mr. Pearce said of the guns-on-campus proposal. Speaking of the Tucson shooting, which took place at a shopping center and not on a university campus, Mr. Pearce, a former sheriff's deputy, said, "If somebody had been there prepared to take action, they could have saved lives."



For the full story, see:

MARC LACEY. "Lawmakers Debate Effect of Weapons on Campus." The New York Times, First Section (Sun., February 27, 2011): 14 & 20.

(Note: ellipses added.)





June 10, 2010

Mr. Africa Carries a Gun to Keep the Press Free



RadioMogadishuStudio2010-05-19.jpg"Anchors read the latest news from around the world this month in the studio at Radio Mogadishu, which opened in 1951." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.


(p. A6) This is a typical day at Radio Mogadishu, the one and only relatively free radio station in south central Somalia where journalists can broadcast what they like -- without worrying about being beheaded. The station's 90-foot antennas, which rise above the rubble of the neighborhood, have literally become a beacon of freedom for reporters, editors, technicians and disc jockeys all across Somalia who have been chased away from their jobs by radical Islamist insurgents.


. . .


Somalia has become one of the most dangerous places in the world to practice journalism, with more than 20 journalists assassinated in the past four years. "We miss them," Mr. Africa said about his fallen colleagues.

He cracked an embarrassed smile when asked about his name. "It's because I'm dark, really dark," he said.

Mr. Africa used to work at one of the city's other radio stations (the city has more than 10) but decided to move on after fighters with the Shabab dropped by and threatened to kill the reporters if they did not broadcast pro-Shabab news. Mr. Africa called the Shabab meddlers "secret editors" and now he carries a gun.

"I tried to get the other journalists to buy pistols," Mr. Africa remembered. "But nobody listened to me."

Another reporter, Musa Osman, said that his real home was only about a mile away.

"But I haven't seen my kids for months," he said.

He drew his finger across his throat and laughed a sharp, bitter laugh when asked what would happen if he went home.

The digs here are hardly plush. Most of the journalists sleep on thin foam mattresses in bald concrete rooms. The station itself is a crumbling, bullet-scarred reflection of this entire nation, which has been essentially governmentless for nearly two decades.


. . .


They air the speeches of insurgent leaders, they say, and stories about government soldiers robbing citizens.

"If the government does something bad," Mr. Africa said. "We report it."



For the full story, see:

JEFFREY GETTLEMAN. "Mogadishu Journal; A Guiding Voice Amid the Ruins of a Capital City." The New York Times (Tues., March 30, 2010): A6.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review is dated March 29, 2010.)





May 11, 2010

Alert Street Vendor Hero Saves the Day



OrtonLanceStreetVendorHero2010-05-05.jpg"Lance Orton, center, who sells T-shirts, said that as a veteran he was proud of his actions. But he spurned most questions." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.


Hernando de Soto has shown that entrepreneurial street-vending is an important path for the very poor to constructively improve their lives. And yet governments around the world, including ours, consistently make it hard for street vendors to ply their trade.

Yet, on balance, street vendors make our lives better, not only through their products and services, but also through their alert eyes that make our city streets safer. Jane Jacobs made the point that the presence of good people observing the streets is a key ingredient of urban safety, one that was too-often removed by well-intentioned, but ill-conceived city-planners' urban-renewal projects.

The incident recounted below also adds one more case to the well-documented conclusions of Amanda Ripley, who showed us that our safety in avoiding and being rescued from disasters rests in the alertness, preparation, level-headedness and good will of ordinary citizens on the scene.

There may be professionals who are better trained, but outcomes often depend on what is done quickly, and usually only those who are on the scene are able to act quickly.

And although the politically correct will glower at you for mentioning it, there are obvious implications for the issue of gun control.


(p. A19) Even in Times Square, where little seems unusual, the Nissan Pathfinder parked just off Broadway on the south side of 45th Street -- engine running, hazard lights flashing, driver nowhere to be found -- looked suspicious to the sidewalk vendors who regularly work this area.

And it was the keen eyes of at least two of them -- both disabled Vietnam War veterans who say they are accustomed to alerting local police officers to pickpockets and hustlers -- that helped point the authorities to the Pathfinder, illegally and unusually parked next to their merchandise of inexpensive handbags and $2.99 "I Love NY" T-shirts.

Shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, the vendors -- Lance Orton and Duane Jackson, who both served during the Vietnam War and now rely on special sidewalk vending privileges for disabled veterans -- said they told nearby officers about the Pathfinder, which had begun filling with smoke and then emitted sparks and popping sounds.


. . .


But in a city hungry for heroes, the spotlight first turned to the vendors. Mr. Orton, a purveyor of T-shirts, ran from the limelight early Sunday morning as he spurned reporters' questions while gathering his merchandise on a table near where the Pathfinder was parked.

When asked if he was proud of his actions, Mr. Orton, who said he had been selling on the street for about 20 years, replied: "Of course, man. I'm a veteran. What do you think?"

Mr. Jackson, on the other hand, embraced his newfound celebrity, receiving an endless line of people congratulating him while he sold cheap handbags, watches and pashmina scarves all day Sunday.


. . .


As for Mr. Orton, he rested on Sunday at a relative's house, leaving others to talk on his behalf. "When he was in Vietnam, he said they had to make decisions and judgments from their gut, from their own feelings," said Miriam Cintron, the mother of Mr. Orton's son. "His instinct was telling him something's not right. I guess he was right."

She said Mr. Orton would mediate disputes between the police and other vendors, and when something did not look right, he would alert the police. "He always said, 'Downtown is where they're going to come to, and I'm going to be right there,' " Ms. Cintron said.

When Mr. Orton left Times Square about 7 a.m. on Sunday, he did so to a hero's reception. As he walked down the street, employees from Junior's restaurant stood outside applauding him. He briefly entered the restaurant before heading toward 44th Street.

Using a cane and wearing a white fedora, Mr. Orton limped away and hopped a cab home to the Bronx, but not before repeating a terror-watch mantra: "See something, say something."



For the full story, see:

COREY KILGANNON and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT. "Vendors Who Alerted Police Called Heroes." The New York Times (Mon., May 3, 2010): A19.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story is dated May 2, 2010 and has the title "Vendors Who Alerted Police Called Heroes.")


The most relevant Hernando de Soto book is:

Soto, Hernando de. The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World. New York: Basic Books, 1989.


The most relevant Jane Jacobs book is:

Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House, 1961.


The Amanda Ripley book mentioned is:

Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why. New York: Crown Publishers, 2008.





December 13, 2008

Regular Citizens Perform Vast Majority of Disaster Rescues


UnthinkableBK.jpg







Source of book image: http://www.cleveland.com/arts/index.ssf/2008/06/the_book_the_unthinkable_expla.html


The most important message of this book is a very important message indeed. That message is that overwhelmingly, disaster survival and rescue depends on the actions of regular people, not the actions of professional lifesavers. (Very often, the professionals cannot get there quickly enough, or in sufficient numbers, to get the job done.)

This message, is itself worth the price of the book---if it were sufficiently understood, it would have enormous implications for individual preparedness, and government policy. (Think about the implications, for instance, for whether individual regular people should be allowed to carry guns.)

(p. xiii) These days, we tend to think of disasters as acts of God and government. Regular people only feature into the equation as victims, which is a shame. Because regular people are the most important people at a disaster scene, every time.

In 1992, a series of sewer explosions caused by a gas leak ripped through Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city. The violence came from below, rupturing neighborhoods block by block. Starting at 10:30 A.M., at least nine separate explosions ripped open a jagged trench more than a mile long. About three hundred people died. Some five thousand houses were razed. The Mexican Army was called in. Rescuers from California raced to help. Search-and-rescue dogs were ordered up.

But first, before anyone else, regular people were on the scene saving one another. They did incredible things, these regular people. They lifted rubble off survivors with car jacks. They used garden hoses to force air into voids where people were trapped. In fact, as in most disasters, the vast majority of rescues were done by ordinary folks. After the first two hours, very few people came out of the debris alive. The search and rescue dogs did not arrive until twenty-six hours after the explosion.



Source:

Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why. New York: Crown Publishers, 2008.




September 11, 2008

Juanita Brown Buys Gun for Self-Defense


BrownJuanitaBuysGun2008-09-09.jpg Source of image: screen capture from the web posting of the WOWT report.

Justin Joseph had a nice "Crime Beat" report on WOWT Tuesday night (9/9/08), in which he documented 61 year-old Juanita Brown's purchase of a gun for self-defense.

View the report at:

http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/28119814.html#





August 18, 2008

Bad Guys Might Think Twice, If More Good Guys Had Guns


JohnsonKarenArizonaState.jpg








"State Senator Karen S. Johnson of Arizona is the sponsor of a bill permitting firearms on campuses." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.


(p. A10) PHOENIX -- Horrified by recent campus shootings, a state lawmaker here has come up with a proposal in keeping with the Taurus .22-caliber pistol tucked in her purse: Get more guns on campus.

The lawmaker, State Senator Karen S. Johnson, has sponsored a bill, which the Senate Judiciary Committee approved last week, that would allow people with a concealed weapons permit -- limited to those 21 and older here -- to carry their firearms at public colleges and universities. Concealed weapons are generally not permitted at most public establishments, including colleges.

Ms. Johnson, a Republican from Mesa, said she believed that the recent carnage at Northern Illinois University could have been prevented or limited if an armed student or professor had intercepted the gunman. The police, she said, respond too slowly to such incidents and, besides, who better than the people staring down the barrel to take action?



For the full story, see:


RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD. "Arizona Weighs Bill to Allow Guns on Campuses." The New York Times (Weds., March 5, 2008): A10.





December 8, 2007

Omaha's Westroads Mall Stops Good Guys From Shooting Back

 

John Lott earned his PhD at the University of Chicago in economics.  What he says below is not popular, or politically correct, but it is probably true.  And if it is true, and if we fail to act on its truth, then more good people will continue to be killed, who could have been saved.

 

The horrible tragedy at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb. received a lot of attention Wednesday and Thursday. It should have. Eight people were killed, and five were wounded.

A Google news search using the phrase "Omaha Mall Shooting" finds an incredible 2,794 news stories worldwide for the last day. From India and Taiwan to Britain and Austria, there are probably few people in the world who haven’t heard about this tragedy.

But despite the massive news coverage, none of the media coverage, at least by 10 a.m. Thursday, mentioned this central fact: Yet another attack occurred in a gun-free zone.

Surely, with all the reporters who appear at these crime scenes and seemingly interview virtually everyone there, why didn’t one simply mention the signs that ban guns from the premises?

Nebraska allows people to carry permitted concealed handguns, but it allows property owners, such as the Westroads Mall, to post signs banning permit holders from legally carrying guns on their property.

. . .

The law-abiding, not criminals, are obeying the rules. Disarming the victims simply means that the killers have less to fear. As Wednesday's attack demonstrated yet again, police are important, but they almost always arrive at the crime scene after the crime has occurred.

The longer it takes for someone to arrive on the scene with a gun, the more people who will be harmed by such an attack.

Most people understand that guns deter criminals. If a killer were stalking your family, would you feel safer putting a sign out front announcing, "This Home Is a Gun-Free Zone"? But that is what the Westroads Mall did.

 

For the full commentary, see: 

John R. Lott, Jr.  "Media Coverage of Mall Shooting Fails to Reveal Mall's Gun-Free-Zone Status."  FOXNEWS.COM  (Thurs., December 6, 2007).

(Note:  ellipsis added.)

(Note:  I am grateful to Luis Locay, for forwarding me Lott's commentary.)

 




April 24, 2007

The Case Against Gun Control

 

   Venus Ramey shows how she balanced her pistol on her walker to shoot out the tires of an intruder on her farm.  Source of photo:  screen capture from CNN clip "Granny's Packing Heat" as viewed on 4/23/07.

 

In the wake of the Virginia Tech killings, there have been some renewed calls for more gun control (see the WSJ and NYT articles cited way below).  But we should not forget that a gun can also be a leveler; it gives the ordinary citizen a fighting chance against the thief and the murderer.

There was a great scene in the first Indiana Jones movie (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984) where Indy is being chased by a huge bad guy armed with swords.  The crowd clears, and the the huge man confidently and ominously twirls his swords.  Indy looks at him quizzically for a couple of seconds, pulls out a pistol, and shoots him. 

When I first saw that scene, the theater erupted in laughter and applause.

Laughter and applause are also appropriate responses to the story of 82 year old, former Miss America, Venus Ramey: 

 

Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder. Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment.

Ramey said the man told her he would leave. "I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave," Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.

"I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it," she said. "If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be 6 feet under by now."

 

For the full story, see: 

Associated Press.   "Armed Miss America 1944 Stops Intruder."  Forbes.com Posted 04.21.07, 5:00 AM ET Downloaded on 4/23/07 from http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/04/21/ap3637737.html

 

CNN has a great clip on this story, under the heading "Granny's Packing Heat."

 

The WSJ article mentioned above, is:

VANESSA O'CONNELL, GARY FIELDS and DEAN TREFTZ.  "Next Debate: Should Colleges Ban Firearms? The Wall Street Journal  (Weds., April 18, 2007):  B1 & B10. 

 

The NYT article mentioned above, is:

LESLIE EATON and MICHAEL LUO.  "Shooting Rekindles Issues of Gun Rights and Restrictions." The New York Times (Weds., April 18, 2007):  A19.

 




February 27, 2007

Guns Deter Crime

 

Knoxville, Tenn.

IT’S a phenomenon that gives the term “gun control” a whole new meaning: community ordinances that encourage citizens to own guns.

Last month, Greenleaf, Idaho, adopted Ordinance 208, calling for its citizens to own guns and keep them ready in their homes in case of emergency. It’s not a response to high crime rates. As The Associated Press reported, “Greenleaf doesn’t really have crime ... the most violent offense reported in the past two years was a fist fight.” Rather, it’s a statement about preparedness in the event of an emergency, and an effort to promote a culture of self-reliance.

. . .  

Criminals, unsurprisingly, would rather break into a house where they aren’t at risk of being shot. As David Kopel noted in a 2001 article in The Arizona Law Review, burglars report that they try to avoid homes where armed residents are likely to be present. We see this phenomenon internationally, too, with the United States having a lower proportion of “hot” burglaries — break-ins where the burglars know the home to be occupied — than countries with restrictive gun laws.

Likewise, in the event of disasters that leave law enforcement overwhelmed, armed citizens can play an important role in stanching crime. Armed neighborhood watches deterred looting in parts of Houston and New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

 

For the full commentary, see:

GLENN REYNOLDS.  "A Rifle in Every Pot."  The New York Times  (Tues., January 16, 2007):  A31.

 

Glenn Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee, and is the blogger of Instapundit.com.  In 2006, he published:

Reynolds, Glenn. An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths. Nashville, TN: Nelson Current, 2006.

 

    Source of book image:  http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/1595550542.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V1136930360_.jpg

 




November 23, 2006

Government War on Drugs Kills 92 Year Old Shut-In Who Defended Her Home

 

As a live-and-let-live libertarian, I think the war on drugs is a waste of money and a violation of rights. 

Consider the news report of the police breaking down the door of a 92 year-old Atlanta woman, who defended her property, and was shot dead.

 

In the CNN report, the woman's 75 year old niece expresses understandable outrage.

 

View CNN's airing of a WSB report by Eric Phillips, broadcast on Weds., Nov. 22nd.

 




September 10, 2005

"Treat Me with Benign Neglect."


Source: Screen capture from CNN "Refusing to Leave" report by Dan Simon on the morning of 9-9-05.

"This is America. Has your neighborhood ever been invaded by state troopers from another state?" "I will leave when I am dead." Ashton O'Dwyer can't understand why he is being forced to leave his dry, intact home in New Orleans. He asks the city: "Treat me with benign neglect." The 9-9-05 report was followed up by Drew Griffin on 9-10-05 with the "Staying Put" report that presented businesses, and Afro-Americans, expressing sentiments similar to O'Dwyer's.

Dr. Michael Baden on the "On the Record" Fox News show, hosted by Greta Van Susteren at about 9:47 PM central time on 9-9-05, stated that there was little danger from the "toxic" water unless people drink it. (Toxic water is the main reason given for the current, post-hurricane, forced evacuations.) Baden claims if the city wants to help people, they would be much more effective if they sprayed the water against mosquitoes.

(Dr. Michael Baden is the Chief Forensic Pathologist of the New York State Police, and was formerly the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City.)

Watch the CNN report: "Refusing to Leave":

Watch the CNN report: "Staying Put":

For more on O'Dwyer, see also:

CHRISTOPHER COOPER. "Old-Line Families Escape Worst of Flood and Plot the Future." THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (September 8, 2005): A1.




HP3D5006CropSmall.jpg


















The StatCounter number above reports the number of "page loads" since the counter was installed late on 2/26/08. Page loads are defined on the site as "The number of times your page has been visited."


View My Stats