In 1993, Representative Carolyn McCarthy’s son was injured, and her husband murdered as a deranged man on a Long Island commuter train opened fire, killing 6 and injuring 19. This kind of evil is almost unimaginable, and I, like everybody else, constantly hope that the most recent shooting will be the last rampage we see. Though it is safe to say, that is wishful thinking.
The fact is, we live in a dangerous world, filled with sick people with no regard to the preciousness of life. While laws and penalties serve as a deterrent for most of us, there is a small, determined few whose psychopathy drowns out the threat of consequences.
Mrs. McCarthy, in the wake of her tragedy, did what a lot of people do in such times; she tried to make the deaths have some kind of meaning. She channeled her efforts into promoting gun control, and such efforts helped elevate her to Congress, where she has been since 1997. While I certainly extend my much-belated condolences to her, I find McCarthy’s efforts to be misguided and ineffective.
Gun control, while not only being in direct violation of the Second Amendment, does nothing to curb the illegal use of weapons and effectively reduces the ability of the law-abiding population to defend themselves against those who care neither for law nor order.
I believe the message of this story should be that a well-armed, law-abiding population is a better solution to gun violence than gun control. However, McCarthy feels otherwise. She has used her story to compel action in Congress to try and resurrect the assault weapons ban that haunted the 1990′s. While her story motivates her, my story motivates me. You see, I carry a firearm practically everywhere I go. As far as I am concerned, the gun debate is over. Whenever anyone asks why I would need a gun, I tell them a story…
My best friend (we will call him “Alex”) and I have been friends since high school. We enjoy many of the same things including shooting. In college, I got a job at a coffee stand. It was good money and worked around my school schedule, so it was a pretty good job. After awhile, I helped Alex get a job there, too. I typically worked nights in this dimly lit parking lot in a shady part of town. One night, I needed a night off, so Alex did me a favor and covered my shift for me.
As he was working at night, someone tapped on the back door. He unlocked it to see who it was, when a drug-addled scumbag pushed open the door and shoved a 9mm in his face. The robber, dressed with a bandana covering his face, told Alex to open the till and that if he didn’t do what he said, he would kill him. Alex complied, opened the till and put his hands up. The robber began grabbing money and told my friend to turn around. Alex later told me, “I knew that if I turned around, he would’ve put a bullet into the back of my head.” Alex placated the robber, saying, “It’s cool. Just take the money!” The robber, so concerned with his loot, got lazy and had the gun trained slightly off of my friend. He was so distracted, he didn’t notice Alex slowly reaching for the .40 caliber Glock he carried in a concealed holster by his appendix. Once Alex had his fingers on the Glock, he quickly pulled, chambered a round and began firing point-blank into the robber’s chest.
The robber, out of reaction began firing at Alex, but was taken aback by the rounds hitting him. Though the gunman fired numerous rounds at him, miraculously, none hit him. The robber fell out the back of the stand and was down. Alex was approaching the dying robber to make sure the gun was no longer within his grasp, when the not-yet-seen lookout by the backdoor began firing at Alex. The second gunman fired at Alex and he fired back, neither one hitting the other. Undoubtedly terrified, the second gunman ran away. The first gunman died shortly after the gunfight.
So, what’s the point of the story? The lesson I learned is that while during my time working at the coffee stand, several people had asked me, “Why would you need to carry a gun?” No longer was the possibility of danger a possibility; the unimaginable had happened. It happened on my shift, and thankfully, the only other person at the company that carried a gun was the one person covering my shift. Otherwise, this story might have had a very different ending. For me, the debate over concealed carry was over. Why do I need it? That’s why.
Perhaps I could take gun control advocates more seriously if they weren’t so reactionary and superficial in their analyses. In 2007, while trying to capitalize on the death of students at Virginia Tech, McCarthy again pushed for the renewal of the assault weapons ban which would prohibit certain cosmetic features of a gun such as a pistol grip, a barrel shroud (a covering of a gun barrel) and those much-feared “high capacity” magazines. She appeared on MSNBC’s “Tucker” to discuss the bill and when asked why she proposed the ban on barrel shrouds, a component of a gun that has no impact on lethality, she dodged the question. Finally, after being pushed twice more for an answer, she was forced to admit that despite the fact that she proposed banning it, had no idea what it is. She even wagered a guess and called it a “shoulder thing”. Watch the video here.
I am tired of hearing about the dangers of “high-capacity” magazines. It is an arbitrarily defined term. California, for example, bans magazines with a capacity of over ten rounds. Eleven rounds is California’s definition of “high capacity”. In 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2011, McCarthy proposed bills to ban magazines that hold over ten rounds. She is not getting the hint that Americans are not interested in policies that only hinder the law abiding and not the criminals.
Furthermore, those looking to ban “high-capacity” magazines do not consider the practical application of their usage. What if there are more than one intruders in your home? What if my friend had a six-shot revolver? He would have been killed by the second shooter. These dangers exist, they’re not dreamed up by action movies.
These kinds of things happen every day, we just don’t hear about it from the mainstream media. Did you hear about Tim Patterson, who foiled a mugger with a knife by drawing his .45? 77-year-old Donald McElrea who shot a burglar to defend himself and his wife? Curt Crowley who foiled a burglary at his office with a pistol? Dale Swallows who shot an armed robber who had broken into his home? David Whitney who detained two car thieves who tried to run him over with a car? Elizabeth Easterly who shot and killed a would-be robber and kidnapper who took her 1-year-old baby? Thanks to Dustinstockton.com, I know you heard about Samuel Williams, the 71-year-old permit holder who, earlier this month, shot two armed robbers of an internet cafe.
The point is that these things happen every day, and the mainstream media never seems to focus on the usefulness of firearms in law-abiding hands. Gun control advocates exclusively discuss the firearms being misused, but never discuss the role of firearms in preventing or stopping crime. To offset this purposeful omission of balance in the gun control discussion, the NRA publishes these stories each month.
McCarthy and other gun control advocates have been asking the wrong questions. They have been asking, “How can we stop criminals from getting their hands on firearms?”, when they should be asking, “How can we make it easier for good people to get their hands on firearms?” In the wake of 1990′s anti-gun hysteria, we have seen a loosening of gun control laws, and a decrease in violent crime. While Democrats like McCarthy raised their hands to the heavens and cried out that without an assault weapons ban, the blood would run red with the blood of the innocent, in the 8 years since it’s expiration, we have not seen the much-feared rise in crime. In fact, despite reactionary rhetoric, in 2009 total violent crimes were down 43% since 1991. Murder was down 49%, rape was down 32%, robbery was down 51% and aggravated assault was down 39%.
I was just a witness to Alex’s story. Like Carolyn McCarthy, a tragedy solidified my perspective and compels me to steadfastly believe in a cause. This world is dreadfully imperfect, and preparing for the worst is a far better plan than disarming the population and hoping for the best. I leave you with this question: I live in a state relatively unhindered by restrictive gun control measures. How might this story have been different if Alex had lived in Chicago or New York?