Currently Browsing: Crime
Jul 25, 2014
Many of you have probably read the story that broke yesterday evening about the doctor who saved his life and is credited with saving numerous others by pulling out his own legally carried firearm and shooting a mental patient who had just shot his caseworker and tried to shoot the doctor. But I have to say for a case that’s still unfolding today, the Daily News has probably the best story I’ve seen on the situation and people involved.
They highlight that the shooter was known as a threat to himself and others, having been involuntarily committed by his local police department two times in the last 5 years and has a known criminal history of firearm and drug offenses. It will be interesting to see if he stole the firearm he used given that he does have a history that includes robbing a bank, according to their research.
They tracked down neighbors at his last known address and none of them were remotely shocked. They said he was clearly deeply troubled, and a friend of an ex-girlfriend of the shooter even said that the guy was a heavy, heavy drug user and claimed he got violent with the girlfriend and kicked her in the stomach while she was known to be pregnant.
In other words, this is a violent, drug addicted mentally ill person who, while in “care,” was allowed to roam the streets and continue committing crimes up until he murdered a woman who was trying to help him in cold blood and tried to take out the doctor, too. The police chief stated that he believes the shooter would not have stopped with the people in the room, and he credits the doctor with keeping the tragedy from turning into a mass shooting.
The shooter was clearly prohibited from possessing firearms, and Pennsylvania already has mandatory background checks on private sales of handguns. You’d think this would make it clear to the other side that the problem lies with our mental health and legal systems. But, no, they still blame the gun even though one in the hands of a lawful owner helped save lives.
Jul 24, 2014
Usually, we have reasons to highlight when cops get something really wrong. Today, I’d just like to highlight a case with an absolutely awesome sheriff’s deputy who really did some good for people today. This video is most of the finale of an incident near Denver that (allegedly) included 4 carjackings/attempted carjackings:
That motorcycle you see fly by on the right around 1:34 with the gun extended as soon as it passes the passenger vehicle and the officer who (off camera) jumped off that bike and chased the suspect, got him to drop his rifle, and then took him down with his bare hands, is the father of one of my dearest college pals – the very woman who actually introduced me to firearms. I’m so happy that he’s okay, and not at all surprised by it. She’s made of awesome, so clearly her parents must be, too.
Jun 30, 2014
It looks like a Pennsylvania gun show vendor may end up facing a reckless endangerment charge after he accidentally shot a customer in the leg. Not surprisingly, the gun show organizer told him to pack up his table and get out.
The vendor is trying to claim that someone else must have loaded the gun while he had his back turned, and then when he picked it up to show the woman the gun in a holster, it went bang and she was injured. There’s so much that sounds wrong here, I’m not going to speculate.
Jun 13, 2014
It seems that two armed robbers decided they needed more guns and robbed people coming out of a local shooting range (Delaware Valley Sports Center) to get them. Unfortunately, they also shot one of the victims as they were fleeing. Police also say that there was a robbery at another area gun shop the night before.
Be careful and extremely observant, shooters in the Philadelphia area. These people have more guns and ammunition, and they are clearly willing to shoot you if they think they can get more guns off of you.
I will say that this makes the private club Sebastian shoots at more appealing because there’s no easy access without having to closely follow a member in and no easy exit.
May 29, 2014
Bob Owens notes that it was in the shooter’s 141 page manifesto that he was fearful of being stopped by someone with a gun. Our opponents have repeatedly told us that these people don’t really care where they commit their acts, and don’t really do that level of planning. These people might be deranged, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of a high degree of planning. As Bob notes, this and many other mass killers may be insane, but they are not crazy. They are capable of keeping themselves together enough to plan, to buy firearms, and in many cases fool therapists and law enforcement as to the extent of their derangement. And yet, the media brings us back to the gun laws. Always the gun laws:
The Second Amendment — regardless of your modern-day interpretation of it — doesn’t touch on one of gun control’s biggest problems: how to keep firearms out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them because of health concerns.
This passage from Monday’s Los Angeles Times is particularly wise. “The mental health system is imperfect, by design — a teeter-totter that weighs patients’ civil liberties against public safety. Rodger existed in the middle, on the fulcrum, simmering and disturbed, just beyond arm’s reach.”
No… he did not exist in the middle of the fulcrum, because at the very very beginning of the fulcrum, California law prohibits those people from buying or possessing firearms. He would have been forced to seek a firearm on the black market, being unable to buy one legally, and the cops just taken him for observation. It’s amazing how many journalists, who know nothing about the subject on which they are speaking, are busy peddling solutions. Before you can peddle solutions, you need to have a basic understanding of current laws.
May 1, 2014
If there’s anything that the European media likes to do, it’s make Americans look like violent whack jobs with our crazy gun laws. Such is the case with a German student killed in what the BBC is calling a castle doctrine case:
Mr Kaarma, a 29-year-old firefighter, has told investigators his home had twice been hit by burglars, and he told a hair stylist he had waited up at night to shoot intruders, prosecutors said.
On the night of the shooting, Mr Kaarma and his partner Janelle Pflager left their garage door open, and Ms Pflager left her purse in the garage in order to bait intruders, she told police.
They set up motion sensors and a video monitor, prosecutors said.
When the sensors went off just after midnight and they saw a man on the monitor screen, Mr Kaarma went outside and fired a shotgun into the garage without warning several times.
The law in Montana still requires that you be in reasonable fear of death or grave bodily injury. “Castle doctrine,” simply means that you have no duty to retreat from your home. In most states, there’s either a statutory or common law presumption that someone unlawfully entering your home amounts to that reasonable fear. But setting up in ambush? That looks an awful lot like this case to me. I think prosecutors in this case probably feel the same way, or they wouldn’t have charged him. So this is another incident that really is not a “castle doctrine” case. This is going to hinge on whether or not the homeowner was in reasonable fear of life and limb, which given the circumstances, it seems pretty obvious he was not, and his planning the ambush establishes a very different frame of mind than the one required to claim self-defense.
This is a pretty run-of-the-mill murder case where the defendant is claiming self-defense. It’s baffling to me the media’s reaction. How do they handle self-defense claims in Europe? Do they just give them a “go straight to jail” card if a homeowner shoots an intruder? No trial? Are people not permitted to defend themselves against murder charges in Europe?
Apr 22, 2014
Our only question: Just how was the woman planning to draw the gun from her…unique…storage…compartment?
Perhaps more interesting, the gun was stolen from a man last year and the police notified him that they had recovered the gun during an arrest. They apparently never told him the story of where the gun was found.
According to The Smoking Gun, in addition to her arrest for driving on a suspended license, she’s been charged with gun possession and introducing contraband into a
penile penal facility.
Apr 15, 2014
When we saw a Facebook acquaintance post a story about the sheriff of Beaver County, Pennsylvania being place on house arrest with electronic monitoring while his ~700 guns are removed from the home as he awaits trial for threatening the lives of a campaign worker and a local reporter, we noticed something odd.
What was odd? There was no mention of party, nor did they make a big deal about an “arsenal” kept in the home. Sebastian told me, as I hit up Google to find any other stories about the case that might mention party affiliation since Pennsylvania’s sheriffs are elected in partisan elections, that he would put money on the fact that the guy is a Democrat. Well, one, two, three stories with no mention of party affiliation, and I started to believe him.
Then, with a few keystrokes, I found the election results page that confirmed the suspicions. George David ran as a Democrat against a GOP opponent in 2011 and now stands accused of threatening one of the campaign workers who helped him win that election. But isn’t it amazing how the party affiliation just magically dropped out of every single story written by locals and the wire?
UPDATE: A local website reports that the action that caused the order for removal of guns and house arrest is that the sheriff (allegedly) went into an area of his office he was ordered not to go, grabbed a long gun and began “racking” a long gun of some kind. According to the report, two of the alleged victims were in that part of the office the court ordered him to stay out of.
Apr 10, 2014
Robb Allen notes an exchange between some pro-gun folks on Twitter, and the Coalition to Stop Gun
Rights Violence, about the recent mass stabbing at a school in Pittsburgh. I think we ought to not kid ourselves about the lethality differential between bladed weapons and firearms. If knives were just as lethal as firearms, most of us would probably be fine with being limited to carrying knives. That’s not to say 20 wounded, some of them quite seriously, isn’t a big deal. Some of these folks will have lasting injuries that will never fully heal and will always live with, just as if the wound had been from a firearm. But the fact is, all things being equal, a person is much more likely to survive a knife attack, if they get medical help quickly, than a gunshot wound.
Of course that assumes all things are equal, which they are not. The tactics of the mass killer or killers matter far more to the outcome of the event than the weapon used, and body counts with edged weapons in countries which have a stronger tradition of using them tend to be higher than in cultures that don’t have much recent experience, like the US and Europe. In the examples above, the body counts look gruesome even compared to many mass shootings in the United States that involve firearms.
I believe our opponents are correct when they note that knives are generally less lethal than firearms. I see no point in arguing that. But what they overlook is that the real weapon isn’t the weapon itself but the person wielding it. They tend to believe these types of mass killings are perpetrated by people who snap, become insane, and then impulsively engage in mass slaughter. The only thing that’s correct in that viewpoint is that mass killers tend to be mentally disturbed. But aside from that, they also tend to plan out their attacks in detail, and that’s definitely been true of the perpetrators of the worst mass shootings. If we could magically suck up all the guns from society, I think it would make it more difficult for mass killers to kill large numbers of people for a time, until they adjusted their tactics to deal with the available remaining weaponry. Adam Lanza meticulously studied past mass shootings when formulating his plan. Also consider that a knife is hardly the pinnacle of non-firearm weapons; the worst school mass killing didn’t even involve firearms. Hell, a knife isn’t even the pinnacle of edged weapons*. At the end of the day a humans are just remarkably inventive when it comes to hurting one another. It’s a cliche that guns don’t kill people, that people do, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
* Hat tip to Tam for that link.
Mar 7, 2014
Not only did a Pennsylvania man have his home broken into by thieves who took off with several antique firearms from his collection, but then added insult to injury by drinking the homeowner’s beer while they were stealing his stuff.
However, the case gets interesting because it appears the state police don’t have a method for getting the word out about really old guns to other law enforcement.
[The stolen guns] included a ["pre-Civil War"] dueling pistol…a pair of blackpowder Derringer pistols and a circa-1914 shotgun, as well as three more modern rifles. …
Police usually file serial numbers to a database in case officers later find the weapons in criminals’ hands, but hunting rifles aren’t as likely as handguns to end up among criminals. …
It’s not clear whether a 19th-century blackpowder pistol could even be filed in the gun database, he noted.
Given the unique variety of historic guns stolen that would be largely ineffective and of no real value in the criminal world, I would think the best solution here would be to put out a description of the guns to all FFLs in the area, as well as any local law enforcement in the region just in case they find them ditched somewhere. But it’s interesting that their system of reporting stolen guns can’t even handle historic firearms.
(The photo shown isn’t one of the guns stolen. At least, I hope it isn’t because the fuller picture shows the price tag of $4,000. It’s a photo I snapped at an antique gun show that I thought was relevant since it was made in Pennsylvania by a Pennsylvanian.)