The Knox Report
From the Firearms Coalition
Shooting Back Works
By Jeff Knox
(March 11, 2008) The media and gun control advocates insist that the easy availability of firearms is a problem; that increased firepower equals increased death toll; that the key to stopping armed violence is restricting gun sales and prohibiting lawful firearm possession in certain public places. They’re wrong. They have always been wrong and their misguided tampering comes with a very high price – people’s lives.
In the past year there have been a number of very high profile cases of a lone lunatic walking into a public place and indiscriminately shooting people. Such incidents are aberrations, unpredictable, unstoppable, and relatively unusual. The best indicator that someone might attempt such an atrocity is not how available guns are or how efficiently background checks are conducted, but the level of news coverage generated by the last such tragedy because so many of these cowards are motivated by a desire for their own 15 minutes of fame. Since the media refuses to stop rewarding these murderers, the best that can be hoped for is to mitigate the damage when they strike. In the final analysis, the difference between a crazed bad guy killing several people and a crazed bad guy killing dozens of people is almost always the length of time it takes for good guys with guns to arrive on the scene. Three attacks in the past year offer graphic proof of this fact.
A lunatic armed with two pistols, a .22 and a 9mm, walks into a college class building and begins randomly shooting people as he goes from classroom to classroom. Months later and thousands of miles away, a lunatic armed with a semi-auto AK and a 9mm pistol begins randomly shooting people as he walks into a crowded church building. A few months later and halfway around the world, a lunatic armed with a full-auto AK-47 machinegun and plenty of extra ammunition walks into a college library and begins randomly shooting people.
Three similar scenarios with three strikingly, and unexpectedly different outcomes. None of the attacks could have been reasonably predicted or prevented. All three attacks were planned out well in advance. All three attackers were on suicide missions with the objective of killing as many people as possible before being killed themselves. All three murderers sought a twisted form of fame and glory and were willing to die to achieve it. All three also knew that the more people they killed, the more famous they would be. All three demonstrated basic proficiency with their weapons, but none of the three was known to have had any formal firearms training.
Most would expect that the biggest differences in the shootings would be related to the weapons used and the time it took for police to respond. In fact, police response in all of the attacks was relatively quick, but when the difference between life and death is mere seconds, even just one minute for police to arrive is too long to be of use. Weapon choice also appears to have made little difference since the attacker with the most firepower did not kill the most people. The murderer carrying the full-auto AK killed 8 and wounded another 10 or 11, while the attacker using the semi-auto AK and 9mm pistol managed to kill two and wound several more. The murderer using the 9mm and .22 pistols however killed 30 and wounded 29. (Both of the last two attackers killed two people at other locations prior to the major assaults being discussed here.)
In the most recent incident, a man armed with a full-auto AK attacked students in the crowded library of a religious school in Jerusalem. An adult student at the school, Yitzhak Dadon, who was carrying a pistol, returned fire, striking the attacker, stopping the attack, and ultimately killing the murderer with the assistance of an off-duty military officer who lived nearby.
Late last year, when a disturbed young man launched an assault on a Colorado church, he began shooting people in the parking lot as he approached the main entrance. A member of the church’s security committee, Jeanne Assam, heard the shooting and rushed toward the sound, drawing her own concealed handgun. Upon encountering the murderer, Ms. Assam ordered him to stop then shot him several times, ending the attack.
Unfortunately, at Virginia Tech last April, there was no Jeanne Assam or Yitzhak Dadon – Virginia Tech forbids students and faculty from possessing firearms on campus – leaving the murderer to casually wander from room to room executing people at will until he got tired of it and took his own life.
The weapon chosen can have a major impact on how many people a mass murderer is likely to kill; as proven by the fact that the worst mass murderers in U.S. history chose jet airplanes, fertilizer, gasoline, and dynamite, in that order. Against such attacks a personal firearm is probably not much help, but if the murderer’s weapon of choice is a firearm, one capable person with a gun can make a substantial difference in the final outcome.
Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit is included. Text is available at www.FirearmsCoalition.org. To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108.
©Copyright 2008 Neal Knox Associates