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God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

I'm not a gun nut. I swear. I've only fired a gun once in my life. I don't own any guns, I don't want to own any guns. But events seem to be conspiring to keep me talking about guns.

Last week, a nutjob loser asshole figured he'd go out in a blaze of glory (kind of a "glory-hole") and shot up a mall in Omaha, Nebraska, killing eight people before finally getting around to what he should have done first and killing himself. And yesterday, two churches were attacked in Colorado, leaving three innocents dead.

Some cretin approached the Youth With A Mission center (a training academy for missionaries) and asked permission to spend the night. When he was turned away, he pulled a handgun and shot three people -- two fatally -- before fleeing.

12 hours later and 65 miles away from there, a gunman with a rifle approached the New Life Church. He killed one person and wounded three more before he was stopped.

But he wasn't stopped by the police. The cops showed up at the Mission to clean up the mess, and at New Life Church to take away the scumbag's corpse.

He was stopped by an armed security guard, who shot and killed him before he could kill more.

I don't know for certain, but I'm fairly comfortable that the New Life Church was not a "gun-free zone." The fact that they had at least one security guard with a gun on the premises is fairly conclusive proof to me.

Law professor, Instapundit, and puppy-blender Glenn Reynolds has come to the same conclusion I have -- that places like malls and schools have absolutely no moral right to declare themselves "gun-free zones." They are making promises that they simply can not keep -- that you don't need to protect yourself on premises, because they will take care of it. But he's taking it a bit further -- he thinks such places might be legally liable for those unkept promises.

I'm recalling what I said after the Virginia Tech shooting, and finding it's more true now than ever:

So, keep that in mind when you think about the people, the groups, the institutions that have pledged to protect you, to keep you safe. They are well-meaning, they are effective, they are to be honored -- but in the end, they are fallible. They are imperfect. In the end, the last line of defense you have is yourself. You may not be able to choose whether you live or die, but at least you'll know you did all you could.

At the New Life Church, they cared enough about their congregants that they did not declare themselves a "gun-free zone." They recognized that there are evil people, crazy people, and evil crazy people in this world, and their status as a church was no shield. Nor was a sign declaring that no guns were permitted in the church. And they cared enough to protect their flock that they hired armed guards -- and as Michelle Malkin notes, the armed guard who killed the gunman before he could kill more was a woman.

Some of the reports I've heard say the gunman was "taken down by police." I dunno if this is part of the standard narrative that downplays incidents when non-police stop criminals or if the security officer is also a cop, but I think it's fairly clear in this case that the guard was not there as a police officer at the time.

There is some speculation that the shooter was the same in both cases, but that has yet to be confirmed. It seems a bit of a coincidence, but stranger things have happened.

Both the New Life Church and the Omaha mall made a tacit promise to its guests: come here, and we will keep you safe. In Omaha, the protection was a bunch of signs saying no guns were allowed on the premises. In Colorado Springs, the protection was armed security guards.

In Omaha, the attacker killed eight people and wounded five before blowing his pathetic excuse for brains out. In Colorado City, the gunman killed one and wounded three before he was killed by a security guard.

I don't like relying on anecdotal evidence, but it seems fairly clear here: signs don't stop guns. Laws don't stop guns. (The mall shooter was a convicted criminal, and was not legally permitted to own or possess guns.) Rules don't stop guns.

Alan Dershowitz has a saying: you fight bad speech with more speech. You don't suppress people who say horrible things, you use your own right to counter them.

Likewise, the best antidote to bad people with guns is not fewer guns. It's good people with guns.

And if you disagree, ask yourself where you feel safer: in a "gun-free zone" like a college campus or a mall, or a place where you KNOW there are people with guns -- armed security guards there to protect you -- like the New Life Church?

Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.


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Comments (23)

I'm just a small town boy, ... (Below threshold)
Rance Frayger:

I'm just a small town boy, so maybe someone can explain to me, what is it about the New Life Church that made them feel that they had the need for and armed security guard? Do they have disgruntled ex-parishioners? Valuable artwork in the sanctuary? In a bad neighborhood? Most churches that I'm familiar with don't have any kind of security other than maybe a locked door with the staff isn't around.

As far as "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves", a well place lightning bolt from above would have saved more lives than the armed guard.

Interesting choice of a tit... (Below threshold)
al:

Interesting choice of a title for an Agnostic.

Anyways - being a firm believer that bad stuff happens to good people I believe that the New Life people were just being smart and prepared by having armed security. Kudos to them and especially the security guard who put an end to another scumbags existence.

As for me - I always feel better when there is armed security. Especially when I'm one of them.

I, too, feel better knowing... (Below threshold)

I, too, feel better knowing security is armed with something other than a cell phone. I'm raising my kids to defend themselves. Enough of this politically correct crap of don't hit back. Hit back, fire back, fight back. Don't be a statistic or at least try to take the bastard with you if you end up in the casualty count.

Violence and vandalism in C... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Violence and vandalism in Churches is a much bigger problem than reported for several years now. I'm not surprise to find some have armed security.

(The mall shooter was a ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

(The mall shooter was a convicted criminal, and was not legally permitted to own or possess guns.)

So was this shooter ever on Ritalin or some other mind-scrambling drug du jour overprescribed to our kids? Seems like a lot of these shooters are.

Mose and more of them are m... (Below threshold)
epador:

Mose and more of them are meth freaks Les, I think you got the right class of drugs, just a little off on the type (legal vs illegal).

"Put your trust in God, but... (Below threshold)

"Put your trust in God, but keep your powder dry." -- Oliver Cromwell

A local church (over a thou... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

A local church (over a thousand members) has an armed deputy (off duty) directing traffic and two armed deputies inside the church. They have never been robbed of the donations on Sunday but are smart enough to know that a lot of liberal christian haters do live in the area, so prevention is the cure for evil.
God gave everyone a brain, taught them right from wrong, good from evil, and turned us loose. What you do with the brain is on you.

praise the lord and pass th... (Below threshold)
tj:

praise the lord and pass the ammunition..a chaplin(dont know his name) 12/7/41

I've never been to that par... (Below threshold)

I've never been to that particular churches, but many churches in Colorado and Texas do post signs prohibiting guns on the premises. It's not like they search the parishioners, however. I can picture a church with armed guards declaring itself gun-free.

There was a post earlier ab... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

There was a post earlier about some kids at Penn State mocking the VTech victims - in particular one who basically said, "well, they just waited there to be shot". Now there were two who tried to fight back - an ex-military guy and a Holocaust survivor. But - as far as we know - the rest didn't really resist. Would the story have been different if four or five people joined those two in resisting? No way we'll ever know for sure.

And after every one of these events we hear how "gun free" zones are partly to blame. The assumption being that without those laws people would pack heat when they went to class/the mall/church and be able to stop the murderer. I don't know anyone who would bring a gun to church or the mall even if they could, but surely they're out there somewhere, right?

It's easy to say "I'd have done this or that if it'd been me in that situation," but ultimately it comes down to a citizen or group of citizens using whatever means is at their disposal to subdue/kill the shooter. Yes, a handgun would help even the odds. Armed or not, someone must still be willing to confront the shooter.

So it's senseless to speculate on what may have happened without gun-free zones. There were professors at UT blazing away from their office windows at Charles Whitman with their deer rifles when he was atop the tower, but it ultimately took two severly outgunned people (cops, incidently) willing to climb up there and confront him face to face.

Risking one's life to save the lives of others is the very definition of heroism. More heroism - not more guns - is the only thing that can end these kind of massacres. I reckon anyone who would bring a gun to church would be more inclined to resist since they have a gun handy.

OTOH, shooting someone (or silhouette target) with a handgun from more than about 30 feet away is tough unless you've practiced quite a bit - and even moreso when they're shooting back. Surely you've read about a police shootout where the cops spend 80-100 rounds before killing a suspect.

Anyway, it's a peculiar subject. Thankfully you're more likely to be struck by lightning. I don't like the idea of gun-free zones or mocking victims of a massacre. The police can't be everywhere at once and heroes seem to be in short supply. What do you expect when we've re-defined hero to some public figure coming out of the closet or bravely leading the fight against global warming?

So it's senseless to spe... (Below threshold)
Socratease:

So it's senseless to speculate on what may have happened without gun-free zones.

Well, no, it's not senseless, it's called having a debate on a public issue. It's common sense that someone fighting off an attacker with a gun is more effective than fighting without one, that's why we arm our police officers. It's also common sense that having a bunch of unknown people walking around armed is more dangerous than if they were all unarmed. But since the latter is an unattainable ideal, the question is which risk is predominant in our current society: Does allowing concealed carry by the law-abiding increase the risk more than being helpless in the face of a suicidal attack by someone who couldn't care less about the laws? Though not conclusive, there does exist evidence on the question, and last weekend's events are part of it.

Arvada and Colo Spgs police... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Arvada and Colo Spgs police confirm that Matthew Murray who was killed at the New Life Church by the security guard also was the gunman at Arvada.

Debating the merits and dra... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Debating the merits and drawbacks to gun-free zones is one thing. Speculating about what may have happened if the scenes of past massacres hadn't been gun-free is senseless - because of the inherit assumptions one must make:

1) Because carrying a gun isn't specifically prohibited, someone WILL be carrying a gun.

2) A gun-carrying citizen will be in close enough proximity to act.

3) The gun-carrying person is willing to act.

4) The gun-carrying person is actually capable - in the midst of a panicking mob, and perhaps while under fire - of shooting the perp.

As I stated, I don't know anyone who would pack heat at the mall or church - and I live in Texas, a concealed carry state. It's impossible to know what any person might do in a mass shooting incident, but common sense tells me that if a man is at the mall/church with his family and an incident occurred his #1 thought (unless he's a cop or military) is going to be to shephard his family out of harm's way. Once he's done that is he going to draw his weapon and charge the shooter? Or stay with his family to ensure they're safe and try to shoot the killer if he approaches?

I don't agree with the idea of gun-free zones but using tragedies that happened to occur in a gun-free zone as a rhetorical "what if" to argue against them is silly. There are far too many variables involved to reasonably assume an armed citizen would have prvented/lessend the bloodshed.

I am open to the idea that gun-free zones present an attractive target to the suicidally homicidal. But OTOH, a person who intends to die in a blaze of infamy probably isn't going to be deterred by the slim chance they may be confronted by an armed citizen.

BVO, of course one can deba... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

BVO, of course one can debate how much they would be deterred, but it is untenable to claim that someone who intends a mass shooting to get themselves in the public eye is not going to be deterred by the idea of failure.

Of course discussing hypotheticals involves ... speculation. But you don't get to shut down discussion on that basis.

The "armed security guard" ... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

The "armed security guard" who dropped the perp in this was a volunteer, not a working armed security officer.


In other words, someone with a handgun carry permit saved the day.

I live in East Texas... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

I live in East Texas. I know folks who carry to church.

Reading posts by people who would like all of us (except for them of course), to either be sitting ducks,
or going to a gun fight with a knife,
no a base ball bat uh no, a purse for self protection.
These people probably believe in their heart of hearts this is an efficient method of population control.
It's beyond time for the enablers and the breakers of
our laws to pay their dues to society
Regardless, we are all created with the unalienable right of self defense.
That's whether the anti-self defense left like it or not.
What ever it takes to stop the progress of a crime is alright by me.

Personally, I'm tired of finding equipment stolen from my property, finding furniture I've got stored
on my own property has been lifted.
Hearing about local homes that have been vandalized for their copper wiring, destroying the home in the process
Right up to the thieves stealing the line up to the
transformer.
I'm tired of stepping out of my house being hit with the odor
of meth being cooked, and knowing calling the cops is useless. They will not show.
The years of frustration of watching do gooders
enabling creeps, addicts,human vermin
to getting off with a whine, and a slap on their wrist
needs to come to a bloody screeching halt.
With justice truly being done.

Well, when the killer's int... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Well, when the killer's intention is to shoot as many people as he can before dying how does he define failure?

"The "armed security guard"... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

"The "armed security guard" who dropped the perp in this was a volunteer, not a working armed security officer.

In other words, someone with a handgun carry permit saved the day."

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/14817480/detail.html

... Assam worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon. She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service.

Boyd said Assam was the one who suggested the church beef up its security Sunday following the Arvada shooting, which it did. The pastor credited the security plan and the extra security for preventing further bloodshed.

Boyd said there are 15 to 20 security people at the church. All are volunteers but the only ones armed are those who are licensed to carry weapons.
...

Yes, a citizen with police training and on alert because of a similar incident nearby. Who happened to be working as an armed security person and recommended added security. Thankfully they were prepared.

Jay, your second to last pa... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

Jay, your second to last paragraph reminds me of a story. Once upon a long time ago, my submarine pulled into Bahrain. We had 2 armed security guards topside. I felt very safe.

Funny thing was, I didn't feel safe because of those 2 armed guards. I felt safe because across the pier from our sub was a Boxer Class Amphibious Assault ship full of marines and their gear.

Well, when the kil... (Below threshold)
SPQR:
Well, when the killer's intention is to shoot as many people as he can before dying how does he define failure?

That answers itself, BVO, being stopped from doing so

Which is why your assertion that they can't be deterred is rather obviously wrong.

Gun-free zones are just stu... (Below threshold)
prototype:

Gun-free zones are just stupid. Law abiding citizens will obey the rule and criminals won't. The only way to fight gun violence is with an armed citizenry willing to stand up for their own lives.

Actually, the killer at the... (Below threshold)
RB:

Actually, the killer at the church in Colorado shot and killed himself. The armed guard shot him in the leg, which was the right thing to do IMO.

The very idea of a church or synagogue or mosque having to hire armed guards is, to say the least, strange. I wouldn't feel comfortable worshipping in any facility like that.




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