Archive for Crime

Comforting Lies

I recently read an article, “Running While Female,” and The Comforting Lie of Safety.

From the article…

“But it’s even more misguided to believe that we can create a safe environment for women everywhere.

The fact is, it’s not a safe planet. It’s not safe for rabbits or cows or gazelles, or for women or men. This is a truth that Western societies have beautifully concealed with antibiotics, airbags and security systems, and so it’s always upsetting when a murder or a survey suggests that we’ve been comforting ourselves with a lie.”

“It’s easy to ride around with our Coexist bumper stickers and assume that we ought to be safe, but nature laughs at the concept. A rabbit doesn’t have the “right” to be safe while sitting exposed in a field. Should humans? The inherent brutality of the world, which theologians and philosophers have grappled with for thousands of years, has been papered over so much that we believe safe is the default and become outraged when it becomes clear that it’s not. That’s our bad.

We are not safe, none of us, and we become less safe when we start to believe that we are.”

These concepts go to the heart of what I find problematic with much of the progressive liberal agenda. It seems to be prevalent the thinking that the world owes you everything you need: food, shelter, clothing, tampons, birth control, medical care, smartphones, and so on. All your needs and wants met with little to nothing in return. And anyone who opposes that is racist or classist or full of microaggressions. The very idea that you’re owed something that you didn’t contribute to in any way is basically saying that you have a right to take the fruits of someone else’s labor for nothing in return. That’s slavery. It doesn’t matter what it is, someone had to work to produce it, plant it, take care of it, maintain it, provide the service, etc.

Now none of this is to mean that I think everyone gainfully employed shouldn’t be able to afford the things they need. But I do think that they shouldn’t be able to afford all the things they want. Someone working at McDonald’s cooking fries is not entitled to go to fancy restaurants every night or to get all of the latest and greatest technology gadgets. Of course, I do think that our priorities are screwed up when it comes to compensation. I don’t think an athlete is making a far greater contribution to society than a teacher, for example, to warrant the millions of dollars difference in salaries. But I digress.

Getting back to the topic of safety it also flabbergasts me that it is expected that others are responsible for your safety. So many people respond to stories of criminal attacks with the mindset that you shouldn’t have to worry about how you dress or how you act or where you go. You shouldn’t have to refrain from showing off wads of cash because nobody has a right to attack you. You shouldn’t have to obey a police officer if you don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting drunk and passing out at a frat party because nobody has a right to take advantage of you. Some go so far as to believe there shouldn’t be any consequences for their actions. As Marc likes to say (paraphrasing), “should” is a problematic word: try using “should” with the weather and see how that works out.

That goes hand in hand with “deserve”. No, you won’t deserve to get sexually assaulted or robbed or killed. But people take it to far and rely on what they deserve to determine how to live their lives. Or use their concept of fairness and what is deserved to excuse behavior (that unarmed man attacking a cop didn’t deserve to be shot).

The world doesn’t owe you anything. Not a living, Not your health. Not your safety. If you’re not willing to provide for yourself then maybe in this case you really are getting what you deserve.

Man stabbed for defending girlfriend’s honor

Lot’s of things for the armed citizen to think about in this story.

Overview: a man was walking with his girlfriend at 4:45am when someone started catcalling her. The man told the offender to knock it off and was stabbed nine times for it. He survived and is now calling for catcalling to be made illegal.

He’s mad that some are questioning why he was out walking at that time of night/morning. If it was a bad neighborhood that’s certainly a valid question. But they were walking home from a friend’s house which is a good reason so I give him that one. Though his argument that he shouldn’t be afraid because he lives in the area isn’t a good one to make.

You can also question the wisdom of being out unarmed, though the majority of people are. We can look at the options from both angles.

Many guys would find it difficult to remain silent if their significant other was being verbally harassed. We don’t know what words were exchanged but the fact is an unarmed person tried to correct the behavior of an armed and dangerous person. Whether there were threats or not, obviously the situation escalated.

Whether you are armed or unarmed, there are two common responses to such harassment: ignore it or respond to it.

Ignore it while unarmed
It is highly likely that the catcaller was out to have a good time and was looking for trouble. Had our hero and heroine ignored him he may have pressed the issue but oftentimes it is the fish that take the bait that get reeled in. You may scoff at someone who just “let’s it happen” and may feel it was worth it to end up in the hospital with 60+ stitches. However his woulds were nearly fatal and being dead leaves our fair lady alone as a witness to a killer. Better to ignore and see if the situation escalates.

Respond while unarmed
Well, we see the results of responding while unarmed. Pain, suffering, and nearly killed. Our hero may have thought he could verbally intimidate the bad guy. He may have escalated the confrontation by the manner of response by being so verbally aggressive he forced the villain to attack to save face. In other circumstances a verbal response may have stopped the catcalling but that is a big chance to take when you have nothing to back up your words. This time ended in a trip to the hospital. It could easily have ended in a trip to the morgue.

Ignore it while armed
The possible outcomes of ignoring the behavior while armed are very similar to ignoring it while unarmed but there is the added benefit of being able to defend if the bad guy then follows to escalate while unprovoked. Ignoring is still the best option with a possible armed response an additional benefit.

Respond while armed
There are some who will claim this is the best response. In the fantasy, the hero shuts down the harassment and knows he has the firepower to deal with any response. Or does he? This guy was armed with a knife. He could just as easily have had a gun. Or could have friends with guns. Maybe you get the desired approach, the villain is admonished, and the hero goes home with the girl. In this particular example, let’s say it played out exactly as it did only our hero is armed. Maybe the bad guy stops his attack at the sight of the gun. Or maybe the attack continues and the defender is forced to fire. We end up with a dead or wounded bad guy only the scenario isn’t over.

Bear in mind that indictments in shootings are far more common for regular citizens than police officers. Odds are very high you’re going to court over this and will probably spend at least a little time in jail during the process. You’ll get your day in court and then have to explain to the jury why a man deserved to be shot for making vulgar comments, which is the argument the prosecution is going to make. And remember that your jury isn’t a group of self-defense experts, chivalrous former marines, and gun forum junkies. It’s going to be soccer moms, barristas, waiters, department store clerks, and plumbers. Just regular ordinary folks who might not agree that you had to pull a gun one someone over mere words (and if the bad guy lived, he may sing a different tune as to what those words were).

It may be a hard pill to swallow, but whether armed or unarmed, ignoring idiotic comments is your best bet. The alternatives just aren’t worth death, imprisonment, or the loss of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Armed Lorain woman repels intruder

An as-yet-unnamed man’s drunken antics nearly cost him his life when he broken into the home of an armed nurse, 36-year-old Deborah Krasienko.

“I would have shot him had my daughter been home, just out of fear for her safety,” she said. “I almost killed this man, just because he was too dumb and drunk to know what he was doing.”

From the story, Krasienko had just gotten home from work Saturday morning when the drunken intruder began pounding on her front door. She retrieved her handgun as he went around the house and entered through the rear door, breaking the screen door and using the keys she had left in the lock to unlock the back door. He eventually realized she was armed and fled the scene, later to be picked up by the police, positively identified by Krasienko, then driven home.

Hindsight is always 20-20, and it turned out the intruder was non-violent, but it certainly could have ended much worse.

Krasienko was wise to arm herself when her home was threatened but admits exhaustion lead to her mistake of leaving the keys in the back door lock. Had she not done that, he might not have even been able to enter the house.

Once he entered the house, some would recommend using deadly force immediately. It takes only seconds for an intruder to charge and close the distance in most rooms, and a person impaired by drugs or alcohol has diminished capacity to feel pain. Even if such a person was fatally hit he may live long enough to cause significant bodily harm or death. In fact, Krasienko acknowledged the danger by stating she wouldn’t have taken the risk had her daughter been home.

That said, I believe she made the right choice. Pulling the trigger is a last resort and she still had options available. Hopefully she had furniture between herself and the intruder, but even if she didn’t I think it was a reasonable risk to avoid loss of life.

She stated that once he had entered the house he had gotten distracted by her puppy and hadn’t even acknowledged her presence yet. Although he had entered her home it seems clear he didn’t know where he was and was not yet a threat. Once the reality of the situation sunk in he quickly fled the scene. Had he advanced towards her then she would have been forced to defend herself.

When confronted by a situation like this you will have just seconds to make decisions that will affect your life and the lives of others. Using situations like this as a learning experience can help prepare you for what your response will be and make the decision easier.

Securing your home should always be a top priority. Be sure to lock all your doors and windows and remove the keys from the door. Everyone gets tired but you must focus on this detail.

Arm yourself at the first sign of danger. Had Krasienko waited and the intruder been violent she might not have had time to get her gun once he gained entry.

If an intruder does gain access, get him/her out. Do not try to capture the intruder. They could feign compliance while waiting for the opportune moment to attack. Getting them out is a much safer option. Order them to leave clearly and simply.

During the confrontation, try to maintain your distance and keep furniture between you and them as an impediment. Watch for signs of aggression or weapons. A weapon in hand is an immediate cue to act.

Hopefully you’ll never find yourself in a situation like this but if you do, and have considered your options in advanced, it is more likely to end in a positive manner.

Lessons from Aurora, Colorado theater shooting

In reading some of the accounts of the survivors of the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting there are multiple lessons the armed citizen can take away from them to help be better prepared should you find yourself in a similar situation.

Let’s take a look at some of the statements made and accounts printed in the news to see what can be learned.

The suspect [James Holmes] marched up the aisle in the stadium-style theater, picking off those who tried to flee, witnesses said.

I’ve read this account multiple times and there are several explanations. Holmes may have been focusing simply on keeping as many people from escaping as possible. Or, like a cowardly dog, he was most willing to attack when the victim’s back was turned. Along those lines, and based on the body armor he was wearing, he was most fearful of an armed response and was watching for threats to himself. Fleeing victims could be safely engaged.

In this case the best course of action for an armed citizen would be to remain still until an opportunity for a counter-attack presented itself. For example, when the shooter turned to engage a fleeing victim there would be a reduced risk of return fire while attempting to subdue the threat. Your incoming fire would also have the likely effect of distracting his attack and facilitating escape for the victims.

Holmes, used a military-style semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol, stopping only to reload.

While low light would have made it difficult to determine what Holmes was doing, a pause in gunfire and the sound of a reload might make then a good time to attack. Depending on his skill, though, there might only be a few brief seconds to engage.

[Aurora Police Chief Dan] Oates said the gunman wore a gas mask and a ballistic helmet and vest, as well as leg, groin and throat protectors.

The body armor would have made it very difficult to get stopping hits on Holmes, but it might not have mattered. Since he surrendered without incident is is likely that numerous rounds slamming into his vest, helmet, and visor would have been enough to make him flee or at least distract him enough to allow more people to escape and slow down the engagement to give the police more time to respond.

“I didn’t think it was real,” [Jennifer] Seeger said. She said she was in the second row, about four feet from the gunman, when he pointed a gun at her face. “I was just a deer in headlights. I didn’t know what to do,” she said.

Being stunned into inaction is a common occurrence when confronted with extreme violence. Despite what the media attempts to portray, it really isn’t all that common and most people go their entire lives without facing a deadly threat. Being prepared and having the mindset that bad things do happen to good people can help you to shave precious seconds off beginning your response. If you know what to do and are trained what to do, your body will just start to do it until your brain has a chance to catch up.

Holmes is also believed to have hurled a gas canister into the theater before opening fire.

It has not yet been officially announced whether the substance used was smoke, tear gas, pepper spray, or another substance but it would certainly complicate an armed response. If a chemical irritant and you were close enough to be exposed, you might have a very difficult time engaging. If smoke, it would combine with the darkness to make it even harder to hit the attacker. A flashlight in the darkness could help or hinder. It would make it easier to see the attacker but might draw his fire. If smoke was used, the smoke could reflect the light and make it harder to see instead of easier. Regardless, in the darkened theater having illuminated sights on your firearm would be a help.

A young family’s last-minute decision to sit in the balcony may have saved their lives in the “Dark Knight” movie massacre…Though the couple had planned to sit in the front of the theater by the exit through which a gunman later entered, they decided instead to sit in the second-floor veranda.

It can be hard to govern your life by what is the best tactical location in any given room, and the best location may very well be determined by the source of the threat. If you’re on the right side of the theater and the shooter is on the right side, you’ve got a problem. If he’s on the left side, though, you may be in a position to quickly escape. For these people, being in the balcony was a safe location for them. Had the shooter been in the balcony, it would not have been.

Personally, I don’t like to be in a position where I’m trapped from reaching an exit or cover/concealment. In a theater, for example, I tend to move a few rows up and sit towards the center giving some cushion for response time and equal opportunity to move left or right depending on need.

Matt McQuinn’s last living act was to shield his girlfriend from the hail of bullets sprayed by the gunman behind the Aurora, Colo., multiplex massacre.

If you’re unarmed, you obviously have fewer options. McQuinn chose to shield his girlfriend with his body, sacrificing himself so that she could survive. Another option might be to charge the shooter when he is distracted and try to overpower him. Very difficult without a weapon unless you are well trained or physically larger/stronger. The end result might be the same, or you might survive your injuries or even escape unharmed. Personally, I’d prefer to go down fighting.

Recently, [Aurora victim Jessica] Ghawi survived the June 2 Eaton Centre mall shooting in Toronto that killed two people and sent several others to the hospital.

There are those saying if we had tougher gun laws in the US and banned “assault rifles”, handguns, and severely restricted gun ownership that tragedies like this wouldn’t happen. Yet Ghawi, who was killed in the attack, was unlucky enough to be present at another mass shooting in Canada, where the gun control movement has met many of their goals. Gun control laws don’t stop madmen like this, they only ensure a safe working environment for the killers.

Response of gun grabbers to Dark Knight shooting as predictable as it is wrong

It is inevitable that every tragedy involving a firearm will lead to an attempt by some to broaden gun control and disarm people who didn’t commit the crime. As soon as I heard about the tragic shooting at the Aurora movie theater screening “The Dark Knight Rises” I knew that this would be no exception.

Information is still coming in and the currently known facts of the case will likely change, but most reports indicate that soon after the movie began showing, a little after midnight, James Holmes, a 24-year-old doctoral student in neuroscience, opened fire in the crowded movie theater. Reports also claim that he detonated at least one device releasing tear gas, pepper spray, or smoke and that he was clothed in body armor. He had at least four guns including a shotgun, rifle, and multiple handguns. Some witnesses say he reloaded during the attack, others claim he did not.

How much traction it gains remains to be seen, but you can expect some attempt to revive the failed “Assault Weapons Ban” from the nineties. Since Holmes allegedly used an AR-15, aka an “evil black rifle” this will be Exhibit A for creating a new ban. It does not matter that only cosmetics make these rifles different from common deer rifles, except that deer rifles are more powerful.

Shotguns are too popular to be subject to a complete ban, but it has long been a dream of the gun ban movement to ban semi-automatic shotguns so they may make the attempt there. Regardless of the capacity of the magazines used in the pistols, there will be an attempt to ban “high-capacity” magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

There will likely also be an attempt to expand the locations where guns are banned to include theaters and any other place where large numbers of people congregate despite the fact that the Cinemark theater already bans guns on the premises.

There may also be efforts to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms. Much has already been made of the fact that Holmes was able to buy these four guns over a period of several months, though the length of time would have negated two of the gun grabbers favorite throttles: one-gun-a-month schemes and mandatory waiting periods.

Of course, reality doesn’t come into play when attempting to further the agenda of the gun control movement. It doesn’t matter that none of these measures would have stopped Holmes, they only need the argument that they might stop someone else in the future. And if law abiding citizens lose gun rights in the process, all the better.