Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We must not allow our emotions to overtake our reason

I want to say a few things in the wake of the slaying of the school children and the education workers in Connecticut last week.

First: As the father of 2 small boys, not yet of school age, I am deeply troubled.  It saddens my soul to think that something like this could happen. Under any circumstances. To anyone. I think of all the milestones in life that children look forward to and that they will now never have.
I cannot look at images of them. It hits home to me. My heart breaks for the parents and family of those that were taken away. In 5 short mornings we will have Christmas. Some of those presents won’t be opened.

Second: I want to stop here but political posturing compel me to speak. It didn’t have to happen like this, but you know what they say, “Never let a tragedy go to waste.”

Third: The Gun debate. Some blame the guns. Some blame the shooter. Some say both.

Prepare your minds for action…

I will put this as clearly as I know how. As a Criminologist, I can safely say that after looking at data, complied both by independent firms and the FBI, There are some inescapable conclusions you can come to if you are intellectually honest about what you read.

You can also look at data compiled from years ago, when the USA had an “assault weapon” ban in effect. It was allowed to expire in 2004.

First, gun crime has been on the decrease over the last 5 years, overall. The only area where it has increased is in robberies. Robbery is escalated in a down economy, which we are within, so that is understandable. People get desperate and they steal. Historically-consistent fact.

Also… the assault weapon legislation that expired in 2004. It was allowed to expire, because it had not impact on crime. In fact, it actually increased slightly. Check the stats. 

Next… in places around the country where they have strict gun laws, they still have violent crimes and murders with guns. Look at Chicago. Some of the strictest laws on the books. Approx. 40 deaths a month by guns. More than one a day. Now that may be skewed due to population and needs to be taken into account. But the laws are there. And high population metro areas are more violent, per capita, overall. So carrying out the stat and adjusting for population deviation doesn’t make a difference. Washington D.C. have, arguably, the strictest handgun laws around. They still have handgun killings. Strict gun laws don’t have an impact. ONLY LAW ABIDING CITIZENS OBEY THE LAW, by definition. Criminals are only emboldened by these laws. Take the armor from the sheep and it instantly sharpens the teeth of the wolves.

The shooting in the Aurora Colorado theater. Another tragedy. An “assault weapon” was employed by the killer. Sorry, the low-life killer. It might interest you to know that Colorado is a Conceal Carry state. So… why did no one shoot back? Good question. I’d like to ask a few more questions. Why did he choose a theater that was NOT the closest to his apartment? Why did he not choose a theater that was larger? If your intent is to shoot a lot of people, why do you not go to the highest concentration, based on mean theater size?

The answer is simple. The Cinemark theater he shot up, was the theater that did not, based on corporate policy, allow its movie goers to carry sidearms. It was posted. And the low-life knew it. He knew no one would shoot back, more than likely. Any security measures in place, outside of the door he came through, was nullified because he entered though a fire/emergency exit.
He knew he wouldn’t be challenged. It was a gun-free zone. If he had a gun in there… he was all-powerful.

I would like to illustrate my position on this with 2 scenarios. 

Let’s say our theater shooter low-life has 2 – 30 rd magazines in his AR-15… That is 60 rds. How many people can he kill. Let’s take out misses and lucky shots where he might get 2 with 1 shot. How many? 60.  Right. 

You are in the middle of the theater (the same theater he attacked… in fact, you are in the theater he attacked the night he attacks). You are sitting in your favorite spot for optimal sound and picture—right in the middle. The theater is packed and everyone is anxiously waiting for the Dark Knight Rises to begin. The lights begin to go down slowly and the emergency exit busts open and a low-life with an AR-15 walks in and points the barrel at the crowd.


Remember you are in a theater that does not allow moviegoers to carry their legal-to-carry guns. He has the only gun and the only thing between you and the exit is about 250 movie goers that want exactly what you want at the exact same time. Sand only flows through an hourglass so fast…

NOW… in another theater across town the EXACT same thing is happening at the exact same time. Double theater shootings. Only this time, You are in a theater that allows people to carry weapons according to Colorado Law. And let’s say that 10% of moviegoers are carrying. And just for the sake of the example… they are all carrying Glock 26’s … and let’s say that they have 5 rounds in their magazines.

Let’s say that there is 250 people in the theater you are in. So, 25 people have a Glock. 25 x 5 rounds is 125 9mm rds against his 60. Granted his bullets are more high power, but a majority of violent crimes are committed with a .22 caliber. Bet you didn’t know that… hey they are cheap and readily available. The economy… remember…?

Guy busts the door open points the barrel at the crowd….
Which theater do you want to be in?  …. Take your time, it’s a tough question…

So this brings me to my last scenario…
This one is going to be a little harder to imagine due to recent events… but I have a different reason for using this setting.  Stay with me…

You are a kindergarten teacher. Class has just started and you hear gun shots. Loud. They are coming from the hallway and the door, your exit, leads into the hallway. You are trapped. You gather the kids into the corner of the room and open up the door to the closet, thinking to get as many kids in there as possible. You open the door to the closet and you see 2 things. 

One: a petition to ban assault rifles that is waiting on your signature...
Two: an assault rifle.

Which one do you pick up?
I know… easy choices right? 

But as I said, I have another reason for this example.
When you pick up the assault rifle, you now hold the exact same rifle as the attacker coming to your door. To the eye, you are now equal with the attacker. You are a person holding an assault rifle.

The only difference is your INTENT. The gun isn’t the tipping point. If the gun was inherently evil, you would now be evil through your alignment with it. But you are not.

People are running from the attacker.
People. Are. Running. Toward. You. 

When the attacker opens the door… You will use the assault rifle to defend the helpless. You are compelled to do something that you would never do if not forced to by evil people. 

Its either this or ask the attacker if he wants to sign the petition.

And don’t tell me … it’s just an assault rifle thing… not an all guns thing. 

Preposterous. I’m going to say something and don’t take this the wrong way… I’m going to use myself as an example but it is only an example. I had a 30 rd clip for my Glock 26. It was funny looking when it was in the sidearm, but it functioned properly. If I was to bust in the theater with that clip… I can do just as much damage, just not as fast… but it doesn’t take that long to go through 30 rds. 250 people running for 2 exits is going to allow me plenty of time to shoot and possibly pop in another clip.

Blaming the guns for killings is like blaming the planes for the WTC attacks.

This is a matter of intent. Evil intends to destroy. The principal in CT was unarmed and rushed a coward with an assault rifle. Her intent was to stop evil. If she’d had a glock 26, we might not be solemnly thinking of her has a hero… we might be smiling at the thought of her heroics. We might be DVRing her interviews. Tell me a woman with the will to take on an armed aggressor with her bare hands would have let him anywhere near those kids if she had a gun… 

But nonetheless… she’s a model of heroism. As are all that were there that day… She should have been TIME’s person of the year…

I have heard all the talk from both sides. What some fail to realize is that both sides, at least most of the sides, are speaking for life. It is just how they see best to preserve it. One is through legislation. One is through a well-armed public.

I am not speaking for a political party or ideology. I am speaking from LOGIC. Logic based on data that is available and to a large degree, undeniable. *there’s always that ‘how you interpret’ it thing*
There is plenty of historical data on both courses. And neither is going to stop all violence. Evil will always find expression. The only question is: how do we shut up that expression before it says too much? 

I guess you could always stick a barrel in its mouth…