I asked in my last post, "What if someone had been armed?". Today, I'll give you some answers.
How about the last time there was a school shooting in VA?
In another state, a different school, the same situation:
How about the last time there was a school shooting in VA?
[Student Orest J.] Jowyk began researching his law school's gun policy following the January incident in which a disgruntled student at Appalachian Law School, Peter Odighizuwa, allegedly shot and killed the school's dean, a professor and a student on campus before being subdued by two armed students, Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges.So two students had the nerve and the ability to do something about the situtation, and they managed to subdue the attacker. But, being law abiding CCW licensees, they complied with their university's no-guns policy, and had to run back to their cars to get their weapons. How much time did that take? How many other lives hung in the balance in the meantime? If the school had trusted them as much as the state of Virginia does, they could've ended the threat a lot quicker.
Gross and Bridges reportedly ran to their cars to fetch their own guns and returned to confront Odighizuwa, who surrendered after allegedly initiating a fistfight.
Jowyk was heartened by the students' intervention. But looking into GMU's gun policy, Jowyk found to his dismay that the school's board of visitors had in 1995 passed a ban on all weapons, concealed or otherwise, except by law enforcement officials.
Anyone who violates the school's gun ban would face administrative repercussions but not criminal charges, according to Jowyk.
In another state, a different school, the same situation:
Vice Principal Joel Myrick held his Colt .45 point blank to the high school boy's head. Last week, he told me what it was like. "I said 'why are you shooting my kids?' He said it was because nobody liked him and everything seemed hopeless," Myrick said. "Then I asked him his name. He said 'you know me, Mr. Myrick. Remember? I gave you a discount on your pizza delivery last week."
The shooter was Luke Woodham. On that day in 1997, Woodham slit his mother's throat then grabbed a .30-30 lever action deer rifle. He packed the pockets of his trench coat with ammo and headed off to Pearl High School, in Pearl, Miss.
The moment Myrick heard shots, he ran to his truck. He unlocked the door, removed his gun from its case, removed a round of bullets from another case, loaded the gun and went looking for the killer. "I've always kept a gun in the truck just in case something like this ever happened," said Myrick, who has since become Principal of Corinth High School, Corinth, Miss.
Woodham knew cops would arrive before too long, so he was all business, no play. No talk of Jesus, just shooting and reloading, shooting and reloading. He shot until he heard sirens, and then ran to his car. His plan, authorities subsequently learned, was to drive to nearby Pearl Junior High School and shoot more kids before police could show up.
But Myrick foiled that plan. He saw the killer fleeing the campus and positioned himself to point a gun at the windshield. Woodham, seeing the gun pointed at his head, crashed the car. Myrick approached the killer and confronted him. "Here was this monster killing kids in my school, and the minute I put a gun to his head he was a kid again," Myrick said.
Myrick is as much of a hero as the law would allow. He was only seconds away from the shootings, yet the law had him far away from his gun. Federal law precludes anyone but a cop from having a weapon in or near a school. The modern spree of school shootings began sometime shortly after this law was enacted. In most places, state and local laws needlessly duplicate the federal law, serving only to accommodate political grandstanding.
In Pearl, federal, state and local laws helped Luke Woodham shoot nine students. The deer rifle had to be reloaded after every shot. To hit nine students, Woodham needed time. The moments it took Myrick to reach his gun are what allowed Woodham to continue shooting and almost escape. Gun laws, and nothing else, gave Woodham that time.
Joel Myrick stopped a 1999 school shooting in Pearl, Mississippi after taking several minutes to leave his office, run all the way to the parking lot, unlock his truck, unlock a gun case, retrieve ammunition, load his gun, run back to the school, and confront the shooter? How many more people would have been slaughtered if not for the brave actions of [Myrick]? How many children were killed while Vice Principal Myrick retrieved his self-defense tools that he wasn't permitted to keep with him?Zero-tolerance laws again prove themselves to be merely zero-thought. Short of having cops on duty in all classrooms, at all entrances, what could possibly protect those kids? Hmm, perhaps we could find a few responsible adults and pay for some firearms training? Oh, and actually allow them to possess tools for self-defense on school grounds? Or does that just make too much sense?
Being able to protect yourself is very good - but to be fair, self-preservation is a strong natural instinct. However, sacrificing your own protection for the sake of protecting others, others you don't even know - that's downright supernatural. That's the story of Mark Wilson:
First we have a story about the Tyler Texas shootings, recounting how Mark Wilson lost his life protecting the unarmed, including the shooters own son, from David Arroyo Sr.John 10:11-13 - "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep."
Wilson gave his life to protect those around him. I can think of no finer thing to say of a man.David Arroyo Sr. killed his wife, shot his son, critically wounded a deputy and blown the glass doors out of the East end of the Smith County Courthouse before Mark Wilson lined up the sights of his 1911.
Mark had heard the boom of gunfire from his loft apartment overlooking the Spring Street side of downtown Tyler. When Mark moved into the apartment, he told friends that he expected a shootout sooner or later on the street below. A glance out his windows would have shown the scene completely: the gunman advancing, the victims sprawled on concrete. Mark grabbed his Colt, bounded down the staircase to the sidewalk, crossed the corner intersection and sprinted to cover behind the first vehicle on the end of the block.
Though Wilson couldn't have known it, the extended cab truck parked head into the loading zone belonged to David Arroyo who was at that moment stepping forward to finish killing his own son on the courthouse steps. Arroyo had followed his wife and child to the courthouse, or waited there until it was time for their child support hearing, then intercepted them on the courthouse steps. Mark lined up the sights on the gunman's bulkyb ack. He shot once, perhaps twice. The range is inside 20 yards. Less than 60 seconds had passed since he heard the first shot.
In the streetside restaurants and shops people were running for backexits. Waiters and cashiers were locking doors and dialing 911. Arroyo was burning through 65 rounds of 7.62X39 ammunition. Over 100 witnesses were listening or watching. Bullets began to tick in the window glass of lawyers' offices, splinter through woodwork of shops, and whine off plaster walls. In the courthouse judges locked themselves in their chambers. Witnesses and juries huddled while deputies and bailiffs scrambled to secure the building and return fire.
Mark Wilson was in street, firing.
The courthouse security camera shows Arroyo turning away from his son bleeding on the steps and running back to his truck. In the truck was more ammunition, a loaded Remington 243, and escape. On camera, three sheriff deputies in the courthouse door began to fire steadily. Mark shoots again to no effect. The gunman is wearing an army flak jacket over body armor. Pistol shots will not penetrate. Mark is wearing a red pullover sweatshirt and jeans.
Wilson and Arroyo exchange shots across the truck bed popping up and down, perhaps three shots each before Mark falls to the red bricks, facedown. Arroyo walks around the end of the truck, steps over him and shoots repeatedly. He starts his truck and backs out, stopping at the corner stop sign and looking both ways before driving north on Spring Street. A Tyler police car sits at the intersection. Michael Mosley, a uniformed security officer assigned to the US Attorneys Office chases the truck on foot, unfired pistol in hand.
Tyler Police will intercept and kill Arroyo with his Mak-90 in his hands two miles up highway 271 North.
Mark Wilson was a shooter and an athlete in many sports. Hee nthusiastically held a Texas CHL. He was the former operator of a state-of-the-art indoor gun range in Tyler. He believed in the Bill of Rights. His family and many friends in Tyler will miss him.
P.O. Box 6564
Dan McKown will be the first to say he's not a hero, but his actions speak otherwise:
Once he turned 21, McKown obtained a license to carry a concealed weapon because he believed - and still does - that firearms offer the best protection from violence.
On a Sunday afternoon in November, McKown was confronted with the type of situation he had spent most of his life preparing for. With his ever-present handgun in his waistband, McKown was walking through the Tacoma Mall just as an angry man began spraying customers with gunfire.
McKown pulled his gun. When he didn't immediately see the gunman, he put his gun back in his waistband. Seconds later he spotted the gunman, but it was too late.
"I'd spent my life carrying a gun to protect people and when the situation came, I failed," McKown says. "All I had to do was keep my gun out, but I didn't. I felt humiliated."
Of the seven people wounded by 20-year-old Dominick Maldonado, McKown was the most seriously injured by far. He was shot five times, with one bullet severing his spine. He was initially told he might never walk again.
The man who aspires to be a stand-up comedian cannot stand. But he tries to put a positive spin on his situation, sprinkling his routine with jokes about the shooting:
"So then I said, 'Young man, I think you need to put down your weapon,' which apparently translates in street lingo to 'Shoot me right now.'"
But there's no mistaking the impact the shooting has had on the 38-year-old's psyche. His decision to put the gun away hurt him as much as the bullets that slammed into his body that Nov. 20 afternoon.
He wrestles with feelings of failure and bouts of depression. He's grappling with the idea that he is now, and may always be, disabled. His faith in a Christian God has remained intact, he said, but his faith in some people has been shaken.
"I feel grateful, but it angers me when people say I will walk again. I'm trying to accept the possibility of not walking. I'm trying to accept that God might want me in this chair," he says.
He was working at Excalibur Cutlery and Gifts store in the Tacoma Mall where he had been employed for seven years. He was walking to a mall bank branch to make a store deposit when he heard the gunshots.
McKown immediately pulled out his 9-mm handgun and looked around. "Where's the shooter?" he called out to the people around him. "Do you see him?"
The gunshots ceased, and in the silence it occurred to McKown that it might not be safe to have a gun out in the mall. He remembers thinking: Is this legal? Is this safe? The cops could mistake me for the shooter.
He tucked the gun back inside his waistband just before Maldonado walked by.
"He brings his gun up, I draw my gun and I sight him and that's when I got shot. I was too late," McKown said.
"I lay there and I was talking to God, apologizing for failing him and kicking myself the whole time," McKown said. "I'd had him in my sights, but when the shooting stopped, I started thinking and I over-thought. I was a half a second too late."
McKown, the last person wounded in Maldonado's shooting spree, was later told by police that his injuries may have stopped Maldonado after all. The gunman fled into a store immediately after shooting McKown.
McKown takes comfort in the fact that "no one else was hurt after me."
"Dan is always one who believed in protecting people and he put his life on the line for other people," McKown's father said. "His actions and the actions of others like him may have prevented additional casualties by confronting the aggression and possibly changing the gunman’s action early in the conflict."
Just recently, there was another shooting in another "gun-free" shopping mall. But thankfully, there was another man with a gun:
An off-duty police officer having an early Valentine's Day dinner with his wife was credited Tuesday with helping stop a rampage in a crowded shopping mall by an 18-year-old gunman who shot five people to death before he was killed by police.John Lott has this to say:
A day after the shooting, investigators struggled to figure out why a trench-coated Sulejmen Talovic opened fire on shoppers with a supremely calm look on his face.
The teenager wanted "to kill a large number of people" and probably would have killed many more if not for the off-duty officer, Police Chief Chris Burbank said.
Ken Hammond, an off-duty officer from Ogden, north of Salt Lake City, jumped up from his seat at a restaurant after hearing gunfire and cornered the gunman, exchanging fire with him until other officers arrived, Burbank said.
"There is no question that his quick actions saved the lives of numerous other people," the police chief said.
I have been arguing this point for years, but here is one reason why police officers should be allowed to carry concealed handguns when they are off-duty. Fortunately, the off-duty officer ignored the "no guns allowed" sign at the Mall. The killer apparently also ignored the sign.Unless there are security guards and metal detectors, there's no such thing as a "gun-free zone". Even then a demented soul could probably still find a way. News flash: criminals don't have a problem breaking laws.
It appears as though off-duty Ogden police Officer Kenneth Hammond, who carried a concealed weapon, stopped the killing spree, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council.
Aposhian noted that it is impossible to know whether a concealed-weapon holder could make a difference in every violent confrontation.
"But we do know what happens when there is no one with a concealed weapon in these situations - people die."
"Those without swords can still die upon them"
Eowyn, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien
So, in light of these stories, I must again ask:
What if there had been a Joel Myrick at Columbine?
What if there had been a Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges at Virginia Tech?
What if it happens to you, my dear reader?
My hope is that I got you thinking. Regardless of whether or not you choose to carry a concealed weapon, at the very least I expect you to be aware of the possibility that someday you may tested. Thinking now about what you would do in certain cases saves you a lot of time later - saved time that may save lives.