While the notion given by gun advocates assures us that there would be less violent crime, especially that related to guns, the incident at the Empire State Building in NY City demonstrates why allowing people to tote firearms in public is a bad idea.
It appears that the main stream media paid little attention to a consequence of the police officers taking down a shooter in front of the Empire State Building last Friday who had just killed a former colleague he had been fighting with after being laid off a year ago. The fact that a rapid reaction by the police also wounded nine bystanders doesn’t seem to have aroused any interests in how people legally armed and firing in defense of themselves and others can seriously injure others who are in close proximity.
(Reuters) – All nine of the bystanders wounded on Friday near the Empire State Building were hit by police gunfire, six by bullet fragments, when officers fatally shot a man who had killed a former coworker, authorities confirmed on Saturday.
The shooting was a rare example of the drawbacks posed by so-called hollow-point bullets. The New York Police Department started using those 14 years ago to reduce the likelihood of hitting bystanders, even though in this case the use of such bullets may have resulted in the opposite effect.
The bullets have become standard issue for many law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, as a replacement for traditional bullets that can pass right through a suspect. SOURCE
With the exception of one report by Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway.com, I have yet to see any comments in those reports about the shooting and how the defensive return fire by others in crowded areas can hurt or even kill innocent bystanders when such a shootout occurs.
This incident also brings to mind something that came up in the aftermath of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. At the time, many gun advocates said that one armed person in the theater would have been able to stop Holmes before he caused as much damage as he did. I’m a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but I’ve got to say that this incident provides some pretty stark proof that those people were, most likely, wrong. Here was an incident out in public where two men who are trained professionally to react to situations like this still managed to misfire enough to cause (minor) injuries to bystanders. Do the people advocating that theory about Aurora think that the situation in the theater than(sic) night would have been any different? At the best, an armed citizen would have ended up in [a] shootout with Holmes, who had far superior weaponry to anything that someone with a Concealed Carry permit would be carrying. Inevitably, people would have been hurt in the crossfire, and possibly killed. In the end, given the protection that Holmes was wearing, it’s unlikely that he would’ve even been injured. - Doug Mataconis
I was even a little disappointed that the Brady Campaign, one of the preeminent organizations that promotes sane gun control legislation, hasn’t pointed this out yet on their website. Why this isn’t more of an issue being brought into the public discourse on measures to curb gun violence is incomprehensible to me.
In one of the most comprehensive rundowns available on mass killings over the last 30 years, a report by Mother Jones has demonstrated that “Just under half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings; … the other 31 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, government buildings, and military bases.” What would have been the body count of wounded and dead if in all of these tragic events normal citizens, armed with some kind of firearm, would have drawn their weapons in an attempt to down a determined shooter who was perhaps less worried about being killed than anyone else there?
Unlike Doug Mataconis, I am not “a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment”, especially as it relates to private ownership of most weapons. But I have resolved myself that the Constitution does allow this right, even though I’m sure the extent it has been carried out by many gun advocates exceeds the expectations of most, if not all, of the founding fathers who included this in the Constitution several years after it was originally ratified.
I have consistently pointed out that we are no longer the agrarian, frontier society who just defeated the British military forces of a suppressive monarchy or in fear of hostile attacks from native American tribes protecting their ancestral lands. This would have been the mindset of the authors of the Bill of Rights when they allowed for the right to keep and bear arms as spelled out in the 2nd amendment. They would have left it up to future civilized American societies to retain this concept or alter it as needed if the social dynamics warranted it.
The notion that private arsenals of assault weapons would reach the level it has today and easily accessible by the criminal element and gangs, would have likely never crossed the minds of those rural farmers of the 18th century. What is likely though is that if some form of time travel were possible today where these intelligent, rationale men could see how we have evolved, surely they would wonder what sort of insanity would have allowed gun ownership to go as far as it has and why common sense approaches in our densely populated society are not part of the rationale to prevent a concealed weapon permit for every Tom, Dick and Mary.