The Knox Report
From the Firearms Coalition
Ending Massacres for Good
By Jeff Knox
(Manassas, VA, April 17, 2007) Thirty two students and faculty members of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University were brutally murdered on April 16. The story attracted massive media attention all over the world. Not the worst school massacre in U.S. history, but the most deadly school shooting (the worst used bombs not guns). In the aftermath, a serious concern is the history says such highly publicized criminal acts generate copycat crimes; the greater the media coverage, the more copycats, and they may take years to act. Every parent of college students in the United States, and every student, needs to be thinking about that fact and devising action plans.
No gun control law, no campus alert system, no increased police presence, buddy-system walking plan, or emergency call-box can stop a killer committed to the idea of immortalizing himself through murder. The only gun law which might have mitigated the carnage at Virginia Tech was a law rejected at the urging of school administrators in the past two sessions of the Virginia Legislature: a law forbidding state colleges and universities to prohibit lawful firearms possession on their campuses.
If concealed weapons permit holders were not prohibited from bringing their guns onto the campus, would one or more of them likely have been in a position to abbreviate this latest tragedy? That’s hard to say, but there can be no argument that the school’s policy of disarmament guaranteed that there would be virtually no chance of any of the victims mounting an armed response.
The previous “worst shooting in U.S. history” was almost stopped by a young woman who happened to be in Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas having lunch with her parents when George Hennard drove his truck through the front window and began methodically executing people.
Suzanna Gratia (now Suzanna Hupp), had been convinced to carry a gun by a prosecutor friend and she had done so without incident for quite some time, but had recently begun to worry about the legal ramifications of being caught with the weapon. Texas did not have any provision for legal concealed carry of firearms at that time and Suzanna was worried about losing her chiropractic license. She had left the gun in her glove box rather than carrying it in her purse.
When the shooting started, Suzie instinctively reached for her purse before realizing that it would do her no good. In the next few minutes, 23 people were murdered, including both of Suzie’s parents, and many more were wounded. Throughout the ordeal, no matter how desperately she wanted it, Suzanna Gratia was unable to psychically transport the .38 S&W Chief’s Special from her locked glove box back into her purse where it could do her and the others in the restaurant some good.
Another friend, Jacquie Miller, had her gun with her in spite of Kentucky law forbidding it. Unfortunately, retrieving her gun took just a second too long. Joseph Wesbecker shot her just as her hand wrapped around the butt of her Charter Arms revolver.
Both of these women suffered greatly and both went on to champion the cause of legal concealed carry laws. Both of their attackers took their own lives after snuffing out the lives of many others. Both of these women knew that they could have dramatically abbreviated these deadly sprees. As Suzanna likes to say, having a gun might not prevent an attack, but it certainly will make one end quicker.
Unfortunately, shooting sprees that are cut short by armed citizens don’t break any death-toll records and therefore don’t receive much media attention. In 1997, after Luke Woodham had stabbed his mother to death and shot and killed his ex-girlfriend as well as wounding several other students in Pearl, Mississippi, Assistant Principal Joel Myrick used a .45 Auto to apprehend Woodham and hold him for police. Woodham still had a lot of ammo and police suspect he was on his way to another school to continue his rampage. Joel Myrick, and the illegal gun he had retrieved from his car, cut those plans short.
As students and parents take a closer look at college security and think about the inevitable copycat attacks that will occur over the next year or two, personal security must be carefully considered. A firearm and training should be a part of that consideration.
Carrying a gun is like wearing a seatbelt. You don’t wear a seatbelt because you expect or hope to get into a car wreck. You wear it because you never know what might happen and wearing it could save your life.
Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit is included. To Receive the Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, send a contribution to The Firearms Coalition, PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108 or visit FirearmsCoalition.org and ShotgunNews.com ©Copyright 2007 Neal Knox Associates