April 05, 2007

Government Proscribed Hospitality

I know a few folks who say there are some places, such as hospitals that should be off limits for firearms possession. I'll counter with these two stories about criminals on the loose in Denver:

"ENGLEWOOD – Police are looking for a man they say robbed the Swedish Medical Center pharmacy at gunpoint, getting away with prescription painkillers."

He's still on the loose so being more careful than usual would be a good idea.

"The suspect is described as white, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 6 inches, with a thin build. He weighs 135 to 140 pounds and was wearing an orange Broncos cap with a dark blue coat."

Also on the loose...

"A violent state mental hospital patient, committed after he made up a story about a genie commanding him to stab a fellow prison inmate, escaped on Saturday, officials say.

Tyrone Jones, 44, committed in 1988, was last seen Saturday at 10 a.m. on 17th Street in Pueblo, said Eunice Wolther, spokeswoman for the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo."

It gets better though:

"Wolther said Jones 'walked away' from the hospital, meaning that he had been given off-grounds privileges through good behavior and did not have to jump a fence or break through locked security to escape.

It is Jones' second escape from the facility in two years, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records." (emphasis mine)

Wait - it gets even better:

"Jones has been written up more than 20 times for physically and sexually assaulting patients and staff - including a pregnant guard - threatening to kill patients and selling drugs, according to his state medical records.
Jones made his records available to The Post in 2002 for a story on criminals feigning mental illness to get into the state hospital.
In 2002, Jones told The Post that he made up the genie story so that he could avoid a life sentence for being a habitual criminal and stabbing another inmate at a Cañon City prison."
(emphasis mine)

K, a guy is a violent repeat offender who has talked to the press about lying to get into a hospital so what do the good folks running the institution do? They put him on a good behavior pass, get his word that he won't run & are shocked - shocked I say - that he just walks the hell away.

Getting back to my original point, in an extremely controlled environment such as a prison I can see barring anyone from possessing a weapon. In a place open to the public such as a hospital or a school it makes no sense to prevent someone from carrying, especially an employee. In the second article I linked to it wouldn't have made a difference because the NASA candidates administrators decided to trust the multiple offender & perjurer (& this does absolutely nothing to dissuade my distrust of psychologists btw) but in the first a pistol could have came in real handy.

Let's review the basics: a guy is desiring drugs badly enough to threaten the use of force against unarmed persons. There is nothing to indicate that he was bluffing. Therefore he put 4 people's lives in danger for his own gain. What if he decided to go ahead & take a shot at someone? well since the staff were defenseless odds are he'd have killed at least one if not all of them.

Now if just one of them had a firearm & the training to use it properly & efficiently the robber & potential murderer could have been stopped.

But nope; hospitals in most areas are "gun free zones". So we have a criminal on the loose who knows that institutions of care are easy targets.

If you work in such a place I ain't gonna get mad at you if you carry against the rules (disclaimer: know the risks before you decide to ignore a constitutionally challenged law). But if you don't wish to risk the jail time for exercising a Right then perhaps knife carry is an option for you? true; guns trumped knives a few hundred years back, but with the right mindset & a bit of training a knife in the hand is much better than a gun in the other room. even a small knife can be effective at disabling an assailant, though it's not something you should try without some instruction in the practice.

But no; I cannot think of a pragmatic reason why anyone, especially the staff at such institutions should be prevented from having the most effective means of self defense.

Posted by Publicola at April 5, 2007 01:45 AM | TrackBack