Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Contrast to Virginia Tech

I promise not all my posts will be on firearms. They're really in the news right now, and anti-gunners are taking full advantage of that.

Virginia Tech is often cited as a preventable tragedy used as a rallying cry for anti-gun groups. Here's a story with a much different result, because of lawfully armed citizens. CNS has pulled the story (no shock, it's old), so I obtained it here.

An Armed Citizen With A Permit Stopped The Last VA College Shooting Rampage (2002)
CNS News  | September 17, 2002 | By Christine Hall

Student Group Wants Campus Gun Ban Lifted

( - After two armed southwest Virginia law students stopped a campus shooting rampage in January, a Second Amendment group at a northern Virginia law school decided it was time to change their own school's ban on guns.

"We are trying to build a detailed and persuasive brief that would include statistics on increases in safety, decreases in violent crime when you do have concealed carry permit holders in a jurisdiction," said Orest J. Jowyk, president of the Second Amendment group at George Mason University School of Law.

"I think the middle ground is to allow concealed handgun permit holders to carry just like they can anywhere else in Virginia," he said. "You provide extra safety to the student body that way."
Jowyk began researching his law school's gun policy following the January incident in which a disgruntled student at Appalachian Law School, Peter Odighizuwa, allegedly shot and killed the school's dean, a professor and a student on campus before being subdued by two armed students, Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges.

Gross and Bridges reportedly ran to their cars to fetch their own guns and returned to confront Odighizuwa, who surrendered after allegedly initiating a fistfight.

Jowyk was heartened by the students' intervention. But looking into GMU's gun policy, Jowyk found to his dismay that the school's board of visitors had in 1995 passed a ban on all weapons, concealed or otherwise, except by law enforcement officials.

Anyone who violates the school's gun ban would face administrative repercussions but not criminal charges, according to Jowyk.

Then in April, Virginia's Democratic governor, Mark Warner, signed a law prohibiting local governments from using administrative rules to pass gun restrictions that go beyond existing state law.

Jowyk's Second Amendment group is now investigating how that law might apply to GMU, though the group has not yet approached school administrators about changing the policy.
"There is a question that's being bandied about in the Commonwealth whether or not this university qualifies under that law as a locality," said Mike Lynch, chief of police for GMU law school's police department. "Today, I don't think we have the answer."

If that legal question is eventually resolved in the school's favor, Lynch says he will likely recommend that the weapons ban continue.

"The more people that have guns...on them, it is my opinion that that would increase the propensity for somebody getting hurt," either through accident or mischief, said Lynch. "And I don't want to see that."

But the controversy surrounding gun bans on state colleges and universities isn't limited to Virginia.

In January, the Utah legislature launched an inquiry into the University of Utah's 25-year-old gun ban after state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said state laws on concealed weapons prohibited agencies and schools from banning them from state property.

"We need to have the right to exclude weapons on campus," University of Utah President Bernie Machen testified to legislators, describing the decision as a matter of academic freedom. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," he said. Machen has also argued that the ban fosters a safe learning environment.

On March 6, the Utah Senate passed a GOP-sponsored bill allowing the legislature to cut in half the school's administration budget if the gun ban continues. The university responded two weeks later by initiating a court challenge, asking a U.S. District Court judge to uphold the school's gun ban.

Also in March, Ohio University's 2000 "workforce violence policy" prohibiting any carrying or displaying of weapons became the subject of controversy when a journalism professor was directed to remove a Civil War-era gun he had displayed on his wall for more than a decade. University administrators reportedly are re-evaluating the policy.

"I feel like I've really been fingered as a dangerous person," Patrick Washburn told the University Wire.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What Black Lives Matter should be protesting

I don't have words for this.  Some stories are too awful.

So, Black Lives Matter, where are you?  Find the people who did this and make sure nothing like it happens again.

In case the story is taken down at some point:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Missouri father is speaking out after bullets ripped through his family's Kansas City home, killing his 9-year-old son and the boy's 8-year-old cousin.

[Jayson] Ugwuh and his cousin, Montell Ross, were killed early Saturday morning when a gunman sprayed bullets into the family home where they were sleeping. Altogether, there were six children sleeping inside the home at the time.

Three days after their murders, WDAF's Shannon O'Brien spoke to little Jayden's dad. He said Jayden awoke at about 1:30 a.m., to a barrage of bullets and ran out of his bedroom. When he noticed his cousin, Montell wasn't behind him, he turned around, ran back to get him and that's when both boys were shot.

"Didn't even cry, just got hit and ran and laid up under his big brother, you know. Like he knew exactly where to go for comfort, you know what I'm saying," said Ugwuh.
This makes me angry and sick and I can't fix it. Only folks like Black Lives Matter could if they weren't too busy burning and looting in Milwaukee.

A different take on abortion

U.S. law regarding abortion isn't going to change much in coming years.  People are now arguing about what to do about the edges of the issue.

I found this take on the subject interesting, and I hope you'll spend a few minutes reading:

How a Formerly Pro-Choice Nursing Instructor Discusses Abortion with her Students

The author, Cynthia Isabell, doesn't approach this from a religious perspective.  It's all based on her understanding of science and her experience as a nurse.  Some of it has been expressed in short sayings, e.g. "It's not a choice, it's a child."  Ms. Isabell fleshes out and explains why she feels that way.

No matter where you fall on this issue, it's worth a bit of your time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

More Government

I wish I had the talent of a political cartoonist.  This is brilliant:

 It's absolutely true.  And here's a related thought:

In general, freedom makes your life better, not more government.

Monday, August 15, 2016

What happens when a movement chooses an unsympathetic case

I've written before about what happens when a movement chooses an unsympathetic case to highlight their cause.  It doesn't go well.  This morning I wrote about how there's validity to the claims of Black Lives Matter.  They may have undermined their case severely by choosing to make an issue of the shooting of Sylville Smith, a criminal with a history of making poor and illegal choices.

It didn't take long for people to start captioning a picture Smith had taken of himself.

People were also quick to point out how dumb the riots are, and since Black Lives Matter had associated it with the protests, it got caught up in the justified mockery.

Then people who unwisely tried to defend it were justly lampooned.

And finally, even less kind commentary ensued.

If a solid example is used, Black Lives Matter might have gained some ground.  Instead, it's gained the undying support of the New Black Panther Party, which believes blacks should slaughter white babies to combat historical injustice.  I can't imagine this choice resulting in anything good or garnering mainstream support.

Black Lives Should Matter

The big news over this weekend was another police shooting, this one in Milwaukee.  The result has been violent protests.  We don't have all the facts on the shooting yet, and neither do the protesters, but this is drawing the attention of supporters of Black Lives Matter.  An acquaintance shared some thoughts that led to this post.

Let's start here:  The vast majority of police shootings are self-defense.
In 74 percent of all fatal police shootings, the individuals had already fired shots, brandished a gun or attacked a person with a weapon or their bare hands, according to an analysis of actions immediately preceding the shootings, which draws on reports from law enforcement agencies and local media coverage. These 595 cases include fatal shootings that followed a wide range of violent crimes, including shootouts, stabbings, hostage situations, carjackings and assaults.

Another 16 percent of the shootings came after incidents that did not involve firearms or active attacks but featured other potentially dangerous threats. These shootings were most commonly of individuals who brandished knives and refused to drop them.

The 5 percent of cases that are often second-guessed include individuals who police said failed to follow their orders, made sudden movements or were accidentally shot. In another 4 percent of cases, The Post was unable to determine the circumstances of the shootings because of limited information or ongoing investigations.
Source:  The Washington Post

Most police shootings happen when the police truly don't believe they have another choice.  It's also true that blacks are disproportionately shot by police:
In 2015, The Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year. As of Sunday, 1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black (and 382 were of another or unknown race).

But as data scientists and policing experts often note, comparing how many or how often white people are killed by police to how many or how often black people are killed by the police is statistically dubious unless you first adjust for population.

According to the most recent census data, there are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis published last week, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.
Source:  The Washington Post

So that looks bad.  Why are black Americans 2.5 more likely to be shot and killed by police than white Americans?

Former mayor Rudy Giuliani opined:
“There’s too much violence in the black community,” former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” “If you want to deal with this on the black side, you’ve got to teach your children to be respectful to the police, and you’ve got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police; the real danger to them, 99 out of 100 times, 9,900 out of 10,000 times, are other black kids who are going to kill them. That’s the way they’re gonna die.”
(Same Story as immediately above)

As a tangent, according to a Department of Justice report in 2015 about the Philadelphia Police Department, and further confirmed by a study conducted by University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway in 2015 it was determined that black cops were 3.3 times more likely to fire a gun than other cops at a crime scene.  That is, white officers aren't the most likely to fire a gun at a black suspect.

It seems like police, knowing that they're more likely in a violent situation in black communities, are more likely on edge and ready to defend themselves.  That isn't good news.  Both the police and the black community have some important and potentially difficult work ahead to fix this.

Police are also aware that black Americans are more likely to commit homicide.  Around 13% of Americans are black.  According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks commit  52% of America's homicides.

This tells us something:  there's a really, really important step the black community does need to take.

Black Lives Should Matter to Black Americans

93% of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks.*  This is not to say that police-involved shootings of blacks should be ignored.  Both problems should be addressed.  The overwhelming problem is blacks killing other blacks, though.  The combined statistics show something that should trouble individual black people (and it does).  In the black community, life seems to matter less than in many other communities.  That's painful.  That's awful.  That needs to be fixed.

Black Americans are being shot and killed by police disproportionately to other races.  They're also killing disproportionately to other races.  Black Lives Matter has a point, but also needs to turn its attention to the black community to solve the much larger, much more troubling issue of black-on-black violence.  This is a problem the rest of America is not able to solve for the black community, but we want to help in any way we can.  Black lives do matter to me.  Every life matters to me.  I understand the problem, and I want everyone to see life as more precious than we seem to now.

Update:  Several early reports are now saying the officer involved in the police shooting in Milwaukee is also black.  I'm not sure that matters to Black Lives Matter.

Update:  I'm not alone in my thoughts.

*This statistic is similar to white homicides--84% of white people are killed by other whites.  White lives should matter to white Americans.  And every life should matter to every American.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Armed Citizen

A quick note before the stories:  Shooting another person will never make your life better, whether you're a citizen or police officer.  It may be necessary to save your life and that's one reason I post these stories, but it won't make your life better.

Just one week after being released from prison, Kiet Thanh Ly, 34, allegedly entered Smith's Marketplace and purchased a kitchen knife. After leaving the store, Ly used the knife to senselessly stab a 30-year-old man multiple times in the abdomen. He then attacked a 45-year-old man who suffered cuts to his arms and head. Ly continued to threaten and chase people in the store's parking lot until a 47-year-old man with a concealed-carry permit intervened. He was able to detain Ly until police arrived. Ly is being held on suspicion of assault and attempted murder. (The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, UT, 4/28/12)

Raymond Hiles, 25, was arrested after being treated for a gunshot wound to the neck. He was shot after breaking into the home of Fred Ricciutti, an 84-year-old Korean War veteran. Ricciutti had been asleep with his wife, who was ill at the time, and heard a noise at about 4:30 a.m. He then saw someone come into the room. Ricciutti quickly drew a gun from a nearby drawer and-shouted a warning at Hiles before firing once. (York Daily Record, Elizabeth, PA, 5/10/12)

After dropping off her teenage grandson, 57-year-old Lulu Campbell was sitting in her vehicle
searching for her cell phone when two men approached with guns. Brenton Spencer, 32, and Dantre Shivers, 30, shouted at Campbell to open the door and give them her money. As Campbell reached for her .38-cal. revolver, she reclined the car seat in an effort to take cover as both men began to shoot at her. Campbell returned fire, striking Spencer in the chest and causing Shivers to flee the scene. Campbell was uninjured. (The Telegraph, Macon, GA, 4/24/12)

Three men entered a Cigars International store one evening and attempted to purchase a tobacco
product. The store manager, 37-year-old Matthew Bzura, asked to see identification. Bzura explained to them that it was against the law to sell tobacco products without seeing proper identification. One customer became irate and went as far as to angrily knock over a large sign outside of the store. When Bzura confronted the men causing havoc outside, one of them produced a knife and held it to Bzura's throat. Bzura quickly responded by pulling out his legally concealed .40-cal. handgun. All three men fled on foot. Bzura said,"I have never been in a situation like that. Basically, my instincts kicked in." (The Express-Times, Bethlehem, PA, 5/5/12)

Just before noon, a 37-year-old man entered Carillo's Jewelry Store, hopped over the counter and approached the office at the back of the store. The store owner, his wife and 4-year-old daughter were in the office at the time of the incident. When the armed suspect appeared in the office doorway, the owner grabbed a handgun and fired at the aggressor. Although medics attempted to revive the suspect, his wounds proved fatal. (San Francisco Chronicle, Vallejo, CA, 5/4/12)

Sometime before 5 a.m., Jesse Home, 24, began to bang on the door of a residence and yell for a woman. The homeowner, who was not acquainted with Home, explained that he lived alone
and asked Home to leave. After damaging vehicles outside of the residence, the assailant turned his attention to a side door of the home. He kicked in the door and entered, only to be met by the home-owner's .22-cal. handgun. Home was shot several times in the leg before fleeing the scene. He was later arrested and charged with first degree home invasion after being released from the hospital. (, Marquette, MI, 5/22/12)

Two men forced their way into a home early one afternoon and began to assault the resident. During the scuffle, the resident managed to pull a handgun from his pocket and fire it multiple times. Both men fled the scene on foot. The body of Jacob Clark was found a short distance from the residence; he had suffered a single gunshot to the chest. The second alleged intruder, Joey Pugh, 18, was not injured. He was caught soon after the incident, arrested and charged with aggravated burglary, (Knoxville News Sentinel, Crossville, TN, 5/23/12)

When 14-year-old Brady went to the kitchen for a glass of water late one night, he heard voices.
Brady said, "I walked to the edge of the stairs and I [heard] them talking. I didn't recognize their voices and I went back to my room and got my 12-gauge shotgun. I loaded it." The boy confronted the men. The intruders had their own firearms pointed at Brady, but fled upon seeing his shotgun pointed back at them. (FOX16, Little Rock, AR, 4/30/12) 

Want even more stories? Visit The Armed Citizen blog.

Other accounts of self-defense collected on this blog:
Shopkeeper Defends Himself and Employees,
2nd Amendment Saves a Pregnant Woman,
Armed Student Saves 10 People,
2nd Amendment vs. a Serial Rapist,
Crime Spree Stopped with the Simple Presentation of a Firearm.

Failures of Gun Control:
UK Government under reports gun violence to pretend their policies work
Scotland holds a Summit on their Failed Gun Policies, Chicago's gun ban continues to fail
Real Women's Rights (This one includes one of my favorite personal accounts)
Opposition to CA AB 2062
Knife Control?!
Protecting Children through Gun Control?
Futility of the Gun Banning Philosophy
A Contrast to VA Tech

Thoughts just prior to the release of DC v. Heller, with one of the best appellate court quotations ever.

Thoughts on publicized shootings: Shootings early in 2009, Alabama Shootings, Finland School Shooting. Remember: The only proven method to mitigate the disaster of a rogue criminal shooter is to have more first responders, e.g. CCW permit holders lawfully armed and on scene. These criminals do not respect "gun free" zones, but simply view them as target-rich opposition-free areas in which to slaughter innocents.

CCW Holders are an especially lawful group.

Carrying a firearm is an inherently civilized act.

Right to Carry Statistics.

Does Violence Beget Violence?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

CCW Holders Welcome

I saw a couple of stories this week that make for an interesting pairing.  Jack in the Box Has 5th Armed Robbery Since Asking for Unarmed Customers  I would be interested in seeing the statistics on armed robberies prior to the announcement, but it's intuitively true that criminals in general like opposition-free environments, as do most miscreants.

The other story is more interesting:  These Gun Owners Are Least Likely Criminals, Report Finds  This is a write up of a study (linked in the article) and it's fascinating.  We already knew that CCW holders are very law-abiding:
In 21 years, Florida has had to revoke an average of eight licenses a year for crimes involving a gun--out of more than half a million permit holders at any given time. Says Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, "If the United States had a crime rate like that, we'd think we were in Switzerland."
 We knew there seems to be a correlation between increased numbers of CCW permits and reduced violent crime:
NAPLES, FL - In the so-called Gunshine State, home to the most gun permits in the country, firearm violence has fallen to the lowest point on record.

As state and national legislators consider gun control laws in the wake of last month's Connecticut school shooting, Florida finds itself in a gun violence depression. The firearm-involved violent crime rate has dropped 33 percent between 2007 and 2011, while the number of issued concealed weapons permits rose nearly 90 percent during that time, state records show.

"We're happy to have facts and statistics put into these debates, because every time they do, we win," said Sean Caranna, executive director of Florida Carry Inc., a pro-gun-rights advocacy group.  
This new study is a bit shocking when it comes to how very law-abiding CCW holders are. 
“With about 685,464 full-time police officers in the U.S. from 2005 to 2007, we find that there were about 103 crimes per hundred thousand officers,” the report reads. “For the U.S. population as a whole, the crime rate was 37 times higher—3,813 per hundred thousand people.”

The study refers to Texas and Florida, which it says mirror most other states, to compare permit holders with police and the overall population. It used data from 1987 through 2015.

“We find that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth the rate for police officers,” the report says. “Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. Among permit holders in Florida and Texas, the rate is only 2.4 per 100,000.10. That is just one-seventh of the rate for police officers.”
After a moment to think about why this might be, likely reasons come quickly to mind:
Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott, a noted economist, said the finding is not surprising considering the rigorous process it takes to get a concealed-carry permit.

“The type of person that would go through the process, one in which you can often lose the license for fairly trivial offenses,” Lott told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “They are reluctant to use the the guns in a wrong way because they have a lot to lose if they do something wrong.”
So CCW holders know the law and they obey the law.  They're serious enough about their 2nd Amendment rights to be supercitizens, careful to remain lawful and ready to defend themselves and others.

Circling back to Jack in the Box, they should probably rethink their policy.  Many places of business love to have officers visit, even going so far as to give them free food or drink.  The sight of a uniformed officer in one's establishment can absolutely deter crime.  However, this study would suggest that business owners are even smarter and safer to put up "CCW HOLDERS WELCOME!" signs.  This is also common sense.  Criminals are less likely to act when they don't know who might shoot them for putting the lives of others in danger.

Further, CCW holders seem to be a lot more accurate than many of our officers, so you're less likely to get shot as an innocent bystander if a CCW holder opens fire on a violent criminal than if an officer does.

None of this is meant to denigrate our police, of whom the vast majority are upstanding people doing a tough job and keeping us all safer.  Business owners, legislatures and police alike should probably view CCW holders in a different way, though.  CCW holders are a positive force in society and ought to be treated as such.