June 03, 2005


Another entry, again cross-posted.

The self-defense chronicles.

Don't mess with Grandma.
Heh.  "Judith Kuntz, 64, hunkered down in her darkened bedroom late Sunday evening, arming herself with a revolver.  A burglar had just broken into her Indialantic home and, fearing for her life, she said she let her instincts take over. When the burglar, who had a flashlight, entered the room, Kuntz fired one round from her .38-caliber handgun.  Hit squarely in the chest, the unidentified intruder ran outside, where he collapsed and died."

Or Grandpa.
Double heh.  "A local homeowner shot and killed an intruder who entered his home overnight, Local 4 reported.  The 70-year-old Detroit resident fired four shots at a man who apparently broke into the home on the 3200 block of Fullerton."

Or Grandson, for that matter
. Triple heh.  "A West Price Hill man told police three masked men with handguns were trying to rob him early this morning when he pulled his own gun and shot one of the would-be robbers."  But wait, there's more!  "Charles E. Pryor, 24, told police he was getting out of his car . . . when three men each about 20 years old jumped from a silver Ford Focus, demanded he 'lay it down' and shot him several times in the chest and leg."

Self-defense works in Ohio, too.
"Investigators said the victim was walking down the street when, he said, someone came up behind him and pushed him. He said when he turned around, there were two men standing there who demanded his money with a gun.  The victim told police that he pulled out his .40-caliber handgun and fired off close to 10 rounds, striking one of the men. Officers said the men ran off, but were later found at Good Samaritan Hospital . . . [A]ll three men face charges of armed robbery. Investigators do not plan to charge the victim for shooting the gun, because police believe the man was acting in self-defense. They said the victim also had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

As Glenn Reynolds would say, "a pack, not a herd."

But in the absence of an effective means of defense, packs become herds. 

It was a life and death struggle Tuesday for three Wilmette (Ill.) men who came to the rescue of a teenaged girl who was under a savage attack by a former boyfriend. The attacker, a burly ex-wrestler, allegedly ran the girl over with his pick up truck before punching and kicking her nearly lifeless.

Three neighbors witnessed the attack and, upon attempting to intervene, found that they were no match for the athletic 20-year old. According to published reports, one would-be rescuer, a 69 year old man, was severely beaten while another of the men was reportedly beaten and choked by the attacker before police could step in and save him from further harm.(Link.)

Regular readers may recall that Wilmette is one of the Illinois municipalities that bans possession of handguns.  Would one of the rescuers have had a handgun, but for the law?  Who knows?  But if one of them had, things might have gone much better.  (This story ties in nicely with my response to the snide anti-gunner who left a comment here some months ago.  She essentially accused me of being a paranoid pussy for thinking I might need a gun to defend myself or my loved ones, despite my,uh, larger than average size.  Wrong, lady; I just have a realistic view of my abilities.)

More feel-good foolishness.  Although I'm a big believer in the marketplace of ideas, it has its limits.  Some bad ideas never die. 

Five years ago, when Baltimore last offered a gun buyback program, the city's newly elected mayor dismissed the initiative as a gimmick that mostly took 'garbage guns' off the street.  'I don't think gun buybacks are very effective at all,' Mayor Martin O'Malley said in April 2000. But starting today, Baltimore police officials will again offer to buy guns from city residents, spending $100,000 on a buyback program that has long been criticized both locally and nationally . . .Offering anonymity to everyone, the police will examine all guns turned in. Those that are stolen will be returned to their owners, and those used in crimes will help investigations, said Deputy Police Commissioner Marcus Brown. Otherwise, guns will be melted down.  (Link.) 

Howzzat?  If the people who turn the guns in are anonymous, how can the guns help investigations?  So the police identify a firearm that was used in a murder in 1995 among the guns that are bought back. (Unlikely, but let's say it happens.)  Since the person who turned it in is anonymous, how will the police follow their lead to a criminal? Perhaps they can take fingerprints from the gun, but wouldn't that belie their claims of anonymity?  This foolishness isn't unique to Baltimore, either.  Here's a story about a buyback in Florida.

No means no.  So sayeth the Florida Court of Appeals, rejecting a claim by the widow of a murdered schoolteacher that her husband's death was the fault of the gun distributor.  The facts, as recounted by the Court of Appeal:

Valor is a wholesale distributor of outdoor sporting goods, which does not manufacture guns nor does it add anything to or subtract anything from the finished retail product. Valor only sells guns to federally licensed firearms dealers. Likewise, the Raven MP-25 that Brazill used was legally sold to the Hypoluxo Pawn Shop, which in turn legally sold it to Herbert Jones, whose widow gave it to Brazill’s grandfather. Nevertheless, Grunow asserts that Valor knew or should have known that at the time it sold the Raven that children obtain access to guns and that it was foreseeable that children would commit violent crimes with the guns that Valor sold.

And the money quote:  "we affirm because the trial court’s order reached the correct result for the wrong reason. See Levine, 837 So. 2d at 365. That is to say, Florida does not recognize a cause of action for negligent distribution of a non-defective firearm, i.e., there can be no liability on behalf of Valor in this instance."  (Link [.pdf].)

"D.C. gun ban is D.C.'s business."  That's the title of an editorial from the Virginian-Pilot, a Hampton Roads (VA) newspaper.  The argument's predictable:

  Take Virginia Sen. George Allen, for example. When he was governor, Allen regularly railed against Washington for trying to usurp the state’s prerogatives.  That basic defense of local rights, though, is hard to square with the mischief he’s now making on the D.C. government’s long-standing ban on handguns. Whether that ban is a worthy one or not is immaterial (and, frankly, given the sky-high murder rate in D.C., it’s clear the ban isn’t working); it was and is the choice of Washingtonians, to the loud chagrin of the National Rifle Association.  (Link.) 

Well, sure.  And Jim Crow was the choice of majorities of Southerners.  And laws prohibiting abortion were the choice of voters in many states prior to Roe v. Wade.  And so on, and so forth. I'm a big proponent of federalism, but: (1) D.C. isn't a state, and so it arguably merits special attention from Congress; and (2) even if it were a state there would, subsequent to the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment, be some limits on what constitutional rights rights it could deny its citizens.  Pretty obvious, isn't it?  Nor is it the case that Congress has to wait around for the courts to proclaim the Second Amendment enforceable before taking action; they are coequal branches, after all.  And section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment does say, "The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

Liar, liar.  The State of Pennsylvania plans to distribute 610,000 gun locks to its citizens as part of Project ChildSafe.  OK.  Whatever.  The Brady Campaign thinks gun locks are a good idea: "Gun owners can greatly reduce the likelihood that children will be killed with guns by simply securely locking up guns in the home and storing ammunition separately, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association."  But strangely, there's this from the original article:

 Eric Howard, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the burden should not be on government grants and taxpayers to promote gun safety. "I would prefer everyone to have a gun lock than not," he said. "But the government doesn't provide seat belts. They're in the car. The gun industry should be more active in providing gun locks."

So, uh . . . it's not about the children? 

In all seriousness, I'm not a big fan of government handouts, whether they be of gun locks or much of anything else.  But then I wouldn't make gun locks -- or seat belts -- mandatory, either.  (And I'd note that while the government may not "provide" seat belts, it certainly mandates them, so I don't think we can hold up auto makers as the example of "responsible" businesses to which to compare those evil, irresponsible gun makers.  If you'd like me to name five things the auto companies could do to lessen the death toll on our roads, I can easily do so.  Make my words: Their turn in the trial lawyers' sights is coming.)   

No thanks.  The government of Liberia (such as it is) is "calling on rural dwellers to expose all hidden weapons in their environment."  (Link.)  Considering how that sort of thing has turned out elsewhere in Africa lately, and considering that Liberia was in a state of civil war for fourteen years, ending only two years ago . . . Well, if I were a Liberian "rural dweller," I might not be in a big hurry to turn in my guns. 

The power of precedent.  D.C. Court of Appeals declines to consider Second and Fifth Amendment arguments because of Sandidge precedent. (Link.)  Let this be a lesson to any would-be pro se litigants who may be reading this, as well as the balls-to-the-wall, "better to lose now and know where we stand than to keep farting around" crowd: Lost cases aren't freebies.  They make bad law that, like Sandidge, continues to hang around and stink up the place.  It's important to pick your battles. 

's that all ya got?  A professor at the Wharton Business School has done a study concluding that gun violence costs money and shortens life expectancies in this country.  He seemingly also concludes that there'd be practically no "substitution effect" if guns were removed from society.  (Link.)  His arguments are really shoddy.  This, from a Wharton prof?  Ravenwood makes some pointed observations.

Posted by Matt Rustler at June 3, 2005 07:43 PM
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