Friday, June 29, 2007
BY ERIKA BERAS AND JENNIFER LEBOVICH
The night started like many for John Lovell, a 71-year-old ex-Marine and helicopter pilot who served two presidents. Late dinner alone at a Plantation Subway shop -- veggie sub, soda, oatmeal cookie.
Wednesday night, though, Lovell's meal was interrupted by an armed robbery. Two gunmen stormed into the sandwich shop at about 11 p.m., robbed the cashier and tried to shove Lovell -- the lone customer -- into the bathroom. Two bullets later, one gunman was dead, another was wounded and Lovell was being hailed as a hero.
''There's no such thing as an ex-Marine, and he typifies this,'' said longtime friend Wesley White.
''What he did last night was unbelievable Samaritan spirit,'' said shop owner Khalid Malik.
Lovell already was a great customer at the Jacaranda Square Subway, Malik said: He comes by almost every night, slides into a back booth and orders the six-inch veggie sub, cookie and soft drink. But now, said Malik, ``I love him a lot more.''
No one could find Lovell on Thursday. But when he shows up again, Malik said, the hero will have free heroes at the shop for life.
The Subway video surveillance cameras, which the owner had installed only a week ago -- ''just to be on the safe side'' -- caught the whole drama.
The robbers got Lovell's money. But Lovell, who neighbors and friends say is in tiptop shape and looks years younger than he really is, pulled out his handgun and shot both in the head.
Donicio Arrindell, 22, of North Lauderdale died. Fredrick Gadson, 21, of Fort Lauderdale, was critically wounded.
The front window was blown out and cash strewn around the shop.
''There were fives and rolls of coins everywhere,'' said Detective Robert Rettig of the Plantation Police Department.
Rettig said Lovell, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, is not expected to be charged. ''He was in fear for his life,'' Rettig said.
Reporters and television crews clustered Thursday outside Lovell's two-story town house in Plantation, hoping for an interview. He didn't show.
Friends said Lovell is amicable and soft-spoken, doesn't drink or smoke, and is a no-nonsense kind of guy.
''There's no BS with him,'' said White, of Yulee. 'You could compare him to Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. But because of his lifestyle, he's like `Clean Harry.' ''
Neighbors and friends said he is unmarried, drives a Corvette and sometimes is away for long periods of time. A neighbor collected his mail Thursday.
At one point during his Marine career, the Kentucky native served as a pilot for presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. After retiring from the Corps, he became a pilot for Delta and Pan Am.
Bryan Sklar, who serves on the Townhouses at Jacaranda board with Lovell, said he is a straight-up guy.
''I've seen pictures of him with John F. Kennedy,'' Sklar said.
After the holdup Wednesday night, the suspects were transported to Broward General Medical Center, where Arrindell was later pronounced dead. Gadson, listed Thursday night in serious condition, faces armed robbery charges. And because someone was killed during the crime, he also will be charged with murder, authorities said.
The two young men were longtime best friends and roommates in North Lauderdale, Arrindell's grandfather, Meanwell Prince, said Thursday.
''My grandson was a good child,'' he said.
The last time he spoke to his grandson was shortly before the robbery. At 10:50 p.m. Prince called his grandson, who told him to leave the door unlocked because he would be home soon.
The next morning, Prince awoke to find police at his door.
Prince was shocked to learn what had happened.
''What could possess them to do this?'' Prince said.
Miami Herald staff writers Jennifer Mooney Piedra and Trenton Daniel contributed to this report.
After reviewing what Pat Brown actually said, I have decided to remove this post. It is my policy to be honest and admit when I am wrong, and I was wrong in this case.
Thank you to Robb Allen for the heads up on this.
For clarification on this, please follow the link provided to me by Robb Allen:
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Jesse Jackson Arrested at Demonstration
Police said the shooting was gang-related but the teen was not the intended target.
Jackson, who says the gun shop's proximity to Chicago provides gang members and criminals easy access to firearms, has used the protests to call for stricter gun laws.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Catholic priest who oversees a South Side congregation, also was arrested and charged with Jackson.
A message seeking comment from the gun shop was not immediately returned Saturday afternoon.
Two teens have been charged as adults with taking part in the May shooting of Blair Holt, an honor student at Julian High School.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
ISRA has found out that Fr. Michael Pfleger is going to march yet again atChuck’s Gun Shop, 14310 S. Indiana, Riverdale, IL on Saturday, June 23rd. This is four weeks after the highly publicized protest at the same location where he called for the "snuffing out" of Chuck's owner, John Riggio. He will probably bring Reverend Jesse Jackson with him.
Many of you have followed the news about Pfleger's threat and wished that you could have been at Chuck's on May 26th to show your solidarity. Some of you took advantage of the short notice to come out to Chuck's last weekend. ISRA 1st Vice President Mike Weisman was there to stand with John Riggio and the counter-protestors at both marches. He's going to be there again, and he's urging all gun owners who can do so, to come to Chuck's this Saturday.
"Chuck's Gun Shop is a part of my own personal history with firearms. I first went there over 25 years ago, when I lived in the city. The staff helped me get my first FOID card." Mike Weisman said, "Chuck's Gun Shop as been part of the community in the south suburbs for decades, it's a vital, family-run business that should stay and serve the community in the decades to come."
"So I'm going back there this Saturday, and I'm calling on my fellow ISRA members and Illinois Gun Owners from all across Chicagoland to join me. I'm also making a special appeal to those who have ties to this part of the metro area. It's important to me personally that we have strong representation there." Weisman concluded.
Background info: The owners of Chuck’s have been long-time defenders of the right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, they have paid dearly for supporting your rights. Chucks was the primary target of Mayor Daley’s $433 million lawsuit against the 2nd Amendment. Although the Daley suit failed, Chuck’s was forced to bear huge legal costs to defend their business - and to defend the 2nd Amendment. Chuck’s has also been harassed ceaselessly by anti-gun church groups and the gun-hating media - including “60 Minutes.” Rev. Jackson and Fr. Pfleger have marched twice on Chuck's Gun Shop in the recent weeks, including May 26, when Fr. Pfleger called for John Riggio to be "snuffed out." The ISRA has an audio copy of his turn at the microphone, which you can download and listen to. (550KB mp3 file)
ISRA is calling upon gun owners to make the return trip to Chuck's Gun Shop to take a stand for the right to keep and bear arms. Please do the following:
1. Plan on gathering at Chuck’s Gun Shop & Range, 14310 South Indiana Avenue, Riverdale, IL, at 12:30 PM on June 23rd for a counter protest against Michael Pfleger and Jesse Jackson. Click here for a mapquest map.
2. While at Chuck’s, express your solidarity with the owners and, if you can, make a purchase. No matter how small, your loyalty to Chuck’s will be greatly appreciated.
3. Prepare to peacefully confront anti-gun protesters with the truth. Don’t be shy about defending what you know is rightfully yours.
4. If possible, take photographs of the anti-gun protesters and send copies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Please post this alert to every Internet blog and bulletin board that you belong to. Encourage all your friends and fellow shooters to join in this counter-protest against the gun grabbers.
Only you can defend your rights from destruction by guys like Fr. Pfleger and Rev. Jackson. The gun grabbers must not attack our rights with impunity. You are the gun owner who will stand up and be counted. Make sure that you are there Saturday, June 23rd at Chuck’s Gun Shop.
This is beyond ridiculous!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Louisiana teenager grabs gun to foil carjacking
17-year-old shoots would-be attacker who threatened his mom, police say
METAIRIE, La. - A 17-year-old boy foiled an attempted carjacking, wrestling a gun from a would-be robber and shooting him after the man grabbed his mother, authorities said.
Carl Chestnut, wounded in the head and torso, will face armed robbery charges once he is released from East Jefferson General Hospital, Col. John Fortunato, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said Monday.
The 53-year-old woman, whose name wasn’t released, and her son were in the drive-through line at an Arby’s Roast Beef Restaurant early Monday when Chestnut, 44, walked up and pointed a gun at her, demanding their money and the car, Fortunato said.
When he leaned inside, trying to yank the mother out of the car, the 17-year-old grabbed the gun, Fortunato said. He said it went off once as they struggled, but did not hit anyone. Once the youth got the gun, he shot Chestnut several times, Fortunato said.
Sylena Rhodes, a corporate officer for Arby’s, said, “He saved his mother’s life. He’s a hero. He’s an absolute hero.”
While acknowledging the gamble succeeded, authorities stressed that it’s safer to cooperate in such a case.
“Give them the money and give them the keys,” Sheriff Harry Lee said. “You make an insurance payment on your car, and nobody gets shot.”
A leading expert on mass violence has taken issue with a presidential task force report delving into the Virginia Tech shootings and school violence in general, saying it fails to address the key issues.
The report, released to the public on June 13, was issued by a panel that included Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and was officially titled "Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy.”
But Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a former West Point instructor, declared: "I think they missed the boat.”
Grossman is the author of several book including the Pulitzer Prize-nominated "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” which is required reading for FBI recruits.
After reading the government report, Grossman told NewsMax exclusively:
"All they are reporting on is largely mental illness, sharing information about threatening individuals, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, getting help to mentally ill people, and improving emergency preparedness and violence prevention.
"A full spectrum plan looks at: Deter, Detect, Delay, and Defeat.”
Grossman elaborated on each of the four points:
"Deter: The killer can be deterred. That is why there are seldom any successful workplace massacres in police stations. We need to start putting pressure on schools that refuse to arm their police.
"Most colleges and universities are small cities. Any city leadership that refused to arm their cops, and then had people murdered, would be put out business at the next election. We entrust our kids in the care of organizations that neglect the most fundamental aspect of public safety: armed cops.
"And of course we have the whole issue of not permitting concealed weapons permits to apply on campus. These are laws that disarm law-abiding citizens, and attract killers who want a body count.”
On "Detect,” Lt. Col Grossman told NewsMax:
"The whole focus of the president's task force report was on detecting mentally ill killers before they strike. But most of the high school killers were not mentally ill. The kids that gave us Jonesboro in the middle school and Columbine in the high school are now showing up in the colleges. And the high schools are getting very good at identifying these wannabe killers. All the methodologies learned in blood in the high schools now must be applied in the college.
"An alternative is to identify (‘detect’) and list in a national database all the colleges that refuse to arm their police, and to recommend that parents not send their kids to these colleges. Instead of trying to detect the killer, just detect the negligent schools.”
As for "Delay,” Grossman says: "This generally means lockdown drills and securable facilities. Lockdown is to violence what fire drills are to fire. Every classroom must be quickly securable. How many teachers and professors and students have to die blocking doors with their bodies before we learn this lesson? "Also, every classroom must have two exits, even if one is out the window. And colleges have to do lockdown drills, just like high schools. The faculty must be briefed on where and how to secure their students.
"Defeat: This brings us back to our cops again. First, armed cops need to be onsite. The Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 in nine minutes. How many more would he have killed if armed police were not onsite?
"Secondly, the police need rifles so they can defeat body armor (the high school killer of seven at Red Lake, Minn., was wearing body armor) and so they can effectively engage snipers. The campus police need SWAT teams trained in explosive breaching so they can quickly and effectively respond to barricaded gunmen scenarios.
"Remember, if a gunman is trapped in a bank or convenience store with hostages, he isn’t there to kill people. But if a gunman takes hostages in a school, he can be there for only one purpose: to kill kids and to carve his name in history in your children's blood.”
The expert concludes: "In these scenarios, seconds equal lives, and just as colleges have fire hoses and fire extinguishers on site, they need to have the tools to respond to violence on site.
"If they are not going to permit their citizens (students and faculty) to carry lifesaving tools (firearms), then they must provide those lifesaving tools, in the hands of trained professionals. This is a moral, legal obligation.”
© NewsMax 2007. All rights reserved.
Monday, June 18, 2007
"Setting the record straight about firearms trace data
By MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN
Monday, April 30, 2007
During the past several weeks, numerous questions and articles have arisen in the media, regarding the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to share firearms trace data among members of the law-enforcement community. With the recent tragic events surrounding the senseless criminal use of firearms; I felt the need to clarify this important issue.
Firearms trace data is critically important information developed by ATF to assist state and local law-enforcement in investigating and solving violent crimes. This data tracks the transfer of a firearm from the manufacturer to the gun's first purchaser, and can assist law enforcement in ultimately pinpointing the individual who used the gun to commit a particular crime.
During the investigation of the recent Virginia Tech incident, ATF provided the Virginia State Police (VSP) with trace information that allowed the VSP to determine where and from whom Seung-Hui Cho purchased the two handguns he used in the shootings. Firearms trace information was also used to solve a theft of 22 firearms from a security service in Atlanta that were subsequently purchased by an undercover police officer on the streets of New York.
ATF considers this information law-enforcement-sensitive because it is often the first investigative lead in a case. We treat it no differently than fingerprint matches and other crime-scene information, since disclosure outside of law enforcement can tip off criminals to the investigation, compromise cases and endanger the lives of undercover officers, witnesses and confidential sources.
Our agency routinely shares trace data with state and local law-enforcement agencies in support of investigations within their respective jurisdictions. Once a requesting agency receives law-enforcement-sensitive trace data from ATF, it becomes the agency's data to disseminate and share with other law-enforcement entities as it deems appropriate.
Let me be clear: neither the congressional language nor ATF rules prohibit the sharing of trace data with law enforcement conducting criminal investigations, or place any restrictions on the sharing of trace data with other jurisdictions once it is in the hands of state or local law enforcement. In fact, multi-jurisdictional trace data is also utilized by ATF and shared with fellow law-enforcement agencies to identify firearm-trafficking trends and leads. Additionally, nothing prohibits ATF from releasing our own reports that analyze trace-data trends that could be used by law enforcement.
ATF has a proud tradition of supporting its law-enforcement partners at every level of government. We will continue to provide them with the information they need to protect our communities from individuals who would use firearms to further illegal activity. Congress has recognized ATF's crucial role in that investigative process and has protected our ability to share that sensitive data with law enforcement. The restriction did nothing more than to codify ATF's longstanding policy of sharing trace data with other law-enforcement agencies for the purpose of conducting a criminal investigation.
Our priority will continue to be to release trace data in a manner consistent with our longstanding policy, and to support the over 17,000 federal, state, local and foreign law-enforcement agencies that avail themselves of this crucial tool.
(Michael J. Sullivan is acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Department of Justice.)"
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Mobilize AGAIN to Protect Your Gun Rights at Chuck's Gun Shop
Late breaking news: We've just received word that Reverend Jesse Jackson & Operation PUSH is going to protest again at Chuck's Gun Shop, 14310 S. Indiana, Riverdale, IL on Saturday, June 16th. This is three weeks after the highly publicized protest at the same location where Jesse's pal, Fr. Michael Pfleger from St. Sabina called for the "snuffing out" of Chuck's owner, John Riggio. It's been predicted that Pfleger will return for a repeat performance.
Many of you have followed the news about Pfleger's threat and wished that you could have been at Chuck's on May 26th to show your solidarity. Tomorrow is your chance. If you're not sure what kind of a threat this is to gun rights, we suggest that you listen to Pfleger's screaming diatribe recorded at Chuck's Gun Shop last time. Here is the link to our copy of the audio. It's a small (550KB) mp3 file.
Background info: The owners of Chuck's have been long-time defenders of the right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, they have paid dearly for supporting your rights. Chucks was the primary target of Mayor Daley's $433 million lawsuit against the 2nd Amendment. Although the Daley suit failed, Chuck's was forced to bear huge legal costs to defend their business - and to defend the 2nd Amendment. Chuck's has also been harassed ceaselessly by anti-gun church groups and the gun-hating media - including "60 Minutes."
ISRA is calling upon gun owners to make a return trip to Chuck's Gun Shop to take a stand for the right to keep and bear arms.
As a show of support for Chuck's, and as a rebuke to Jesse Jackson and his liberal gun-grabbers, we are asking all Illinois gun owners to do the following:
1. Plan on gathering at Chuck's Gun Shop & Range, 14310 South Indiana Avenue, Riverdale, IL, at 1:00 PM on June 16th for a counter protest against Jesse Jackson and Michael Pfleger.
2. While at Chuck's, express your solidarity with the owners and, if you can, make a purchase. No matter how small, your loyalty to Chuck's will be greatly appreciated.
3. Prepare to confront anti-gun protesters with the truth. Don't be shy about defending what you know is rightfully yours.
4. If possible, take photographs of the anti-gun protesters and send copies to email@example.com.
5. Please post this alert to every Internet blog and bulletin board that you belong to. Encourage all your friends and fellow shooters to join in this counter-protest against the gun grabbers.
Only you can defend your rights from destruction by guys like Jesse Jackson. The gun grabbers must not attack our rights with impunity. You are the gun owner who will stand up and be counted. Make sure that you are there tomorrow, June 16th at Chuck's Gun Shop.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
By the way, who's hands are the "wrong hands" they refer to in the letter? Pull back from the computer, raise your arms up in front of the monitor and have a good look.
From the Brady's:
Victory: Bill That Strengthens Brady Backgrounds Checks Passes U.S. House
Dear Mr. Orlov,
That’s right! You read it correctly. With your help, we’ve been asking legislators, “What are YOU going to do about gun violence?”
And we got our first BIG answer yesterday, when, by a voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2640 to strengthen Brady background checks!!
The bill, introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) requires states to automate their lists of convicted criminals and the mentally ill who are prohibited from buying firearms.
It also requires states to report those lists to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that was enacted with passage of the Brady Law.
And now this important bill is moving swiftly to the U.S. Senate and we need your help today to make sure it gets passed.
Please make a generous contribution of $15.00 or more today to help us make this happen.
Surprisingly, the NRA supports the bill. The Virginia Tech shootings were a horrific reminder of the gaps in U.S. gun laws. The gun lobby knew its usual opposition to any and every solution we brought forward would be unacceptable to the American public so it made this concession.
But we know we still have much more to do to keep guns out of the wrong hands and that the gun lobby will oppose us as we move forward with other sensible steps. We will work to push Congress to extend Brady background checks to all gun sales especially those at gun shows.
To do the work ahead, we need your support today to sustain this strong momentum. This is the BEST time for you to make a contribution to help our fight to make Brady background checks stronger ... step-by-step we are making progress.
Show us what YOU’RE going to do to help stop gun violence by making a contribution of $15.00 or more right now.
Thanks for your support! We’ll keep you posted ...
Sarah Brady, Chair
Hmmm, I feel the need to make another contribution to the gun Rights organization of my choice. I suggest you do the same.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
As evidenced by this video, the accuracy that is achievable is incredible. Yuri is using the 3 MOA dot in this clip, at a distance of up to 17 yards (42 feet).
Monday, June 11, 2007
What part of "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." do these idiots not understand? Congressman Rush only has to look to Canada for an example of how well a national gun registry would work. *sigh*
Illinois congressman introduces 'Blair's Bill'
By Sarah Schulte
An Illinois lawmaker is proposing a law he hopes will stop the violence that takes the lives of young people.
The legislation is called "Blair's Bill," named after Julian High School Student Blair Holt. He died after using his body to shield and save the life of a female friend during a shooting on a CTA bus.
It was exactly one month ago when Blair Holt was killed at 103rd Street and Halsted. Sunday, Blair's father Ronald Holt, who is a police officer, stood with Congressman Bobby Rush and other community leaders to talk about the bill.
Contrell Pettis was Blair's friend and was riding the bus with Holt when two teens opened fire one May afternoon, killing Holt and injuring four other students of Julian High School. He stood with the others Sunday but did not want to speak publicly.
"He [Pettis] suffered a gunshot to his funnybone, and he is just now getting sensation about," said Ronald Holt.
After his son's death, Ronald Holt and his family pondered how to save others from gun violence.
"We came together and talked about what can we do lawfully to get the guns off the streets and to keep control of the guns that do make it to the streets so they don't get into the wrong hands," Ronald Holt said.
Congressman Rush, who lost his own son to gun violence, says the proposed licensing program is similar to way get licenses are given to drivers. Guns would be part of national registry.
"Blair's Bill will implement an nationwide program of licensing," Rush said. "Blair's Bill will assist law enforcement in tracking the flow of guns and require those who possess them to be trained in gun safety."
Blair's Bill that would have its critics, notably the gun lobby.
A 15-year-old and a 16-year-old have been indicted on murder and attempted murder charges for the CTA bus shooting. They've been charged as adults.
Thanks to Alphecca for the link.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I have added Red's Trading Post to my blog roll. I am not sure if you are familiar with the particulars, but the ATF has been systematically trying to put them out of business for what amounts to simple clerical errors, some of which were done at the direction of previous agents.
If you have a chance, click on their link on the left and read about what the government is doing now to try and shut down a family owned business on trumped up charges.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
- Don't touch another person's firearm without permission.
- Don't ask if a person is armed.
- Don't ask if the owner has ever been in an armed confrontation.
- Don't ask to "see" a firearm that is being carried by someone.
- If allowed to examine another's firearm--especially a prized or valuable one-- try to keep your fingerprints off the metal and if you do accidentally leave fingerprints let the owner know so that they may be removed to prevent finish damage if so desired.
- Clear a firearm and lock the action open before handing a firearm to another person, and ask the owner of a firearm to do so before they hand it to you, no matter what the owner claims.
- If unfamiliar with the operation of a particular firearm, ask the owner to demonstrate and to "show clear" before you handle it.
- Don't drop an autopistol's slide on an empty chamber, nor "flip" a revolver's cylinder closed.
- Don't drop the hammer to "test" the trigger without the owner's permission.
- If allowed to fire someone else's firearm offer to pay for the ammunition., or return the favor and offer your firearm to be fired.
- If you are allowed to borrow a firearm for an extended period of time, return it on time, and return it cleaned and lubricated--even if it was dirty when you received it.
- Don't criticize another's firearm nor start telling them what it needs to be "better" unless they ask for your opinion.
- After a shooting session, pick up your brass, targets, and clean up your area.
Monday, June 4, 2007
"You are doing God's work," Brady Bill sponsor Charles Schumer remarked to Sarah Brady at one Congressional hearing. And perhaps one could argue that if it took God seven days to make the world, people shouldn't be able to buy a gun in any less time.
But did God really endorse the Brady Bill? One would certainly think so, given the huge number of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish religious organizations that endorsed the Brady Bill, and which endorse virtually every other gun control proposal. God's anti-gun army is prominent not just in Washington, but also in the state legislatures.
This year, for example, as legislatures have debated laws allowing licensed, trained citizens to obtain a permit to carry a handgun for protection, some of the most vocal opponents have been religious groups. Now the state chapter of the National Council of Churches does not show up at legislative hearings armed with criminological data. Instead, persons claiming to testify on behalf of "the religious community" come to express their "moral" opposition to the use of deadly force against criminal attack.
This same world view is at the heart of the federal ban on so-called "assault weapons," which attempts to distinguish good "sporting" firearms from bad "antipersonnel" weapons. It likewise motivates the stated long-term agenda of Sarah Brady's organization Handgun Control, Inc.--to outlaw firearms possession for self-defense. Within the gun control movement, one does not have to dig very far to find the strongly-held and sanctimonious belief that the NRA and its ilk are moral cretins because they believe in answering violence with violence.
But is hostility to the lawful use of force for defense the only morally legitimate position? The moral authorities relied on by most Americans suggest otherwise. The Book of Exodus specifically absolves a homeowner who kills a burglar. (Exodus 22:2, "If the thief is caught while breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguiltiness on his account.")
The Sixth Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" refers to murder only, and does not prohibit the taking of life under any circumstances; notably, the law of Sinai specifically requires capital punishment for a large number of offenses.
A bit earlier in the Bible, Abram, the father of the Hebrew nation, learns that his nephew Lot has been taken captive. Abram (later to be renamed "Abraham" by God) immediately calls out his trained servants, set out on a rescue mission, finds his nephew's captors, attacks, and routs them, thereby rescuing Lot. (Genesis 14). The resort to violence to rescue an innocent captive is presented as the morally appropriate choice.
Most gun prohibitionists who look to the Bible for support do not cite specific interdictions of weapons (there are none) but instead point to the general passages about peace and love, such as "Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5: 38-39 ); "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5: 43); and "Do not repay anyone evil for evil." (Romans 12: 17). None of these exhortations take place in the context of an imminent threat to life. A slap on the cheek is a blow to pride, but not a threat to life.
Reverend Anthony Winfield, author of Self-Defense and the Bible, suggests that these verses command the faithful not to seek revenge for evil acts, and not to bear grudges against persons who have done them wrong. He points to the passage "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone" (Romans 12: 18 ), as showing an awareness that in extreme situations, it might not be possible to live in peace.
Further evidence that the New Testament does not command universal pacifism is found in the missions of John the Baptist and Peter, both of whom preached to soldiers who converted. Neither John nor Peter demanded that the soldiers lay down their arms, or find another job. (Luke 3: 14; Acts 10: 22-48 ). John did tell the soldiers "Don't extort money, and don't accuse people falsely," just as he told tax collectors "Don't collect any more than you are required to." The plain implication is that being a soldier (or a tax collector) is not itself wrong, so long as the inherent power is not used for selfish purposes.
Of course most gun prohibitionists do not see anything wrong with soldiers carrying weapons and killing people if necessary. But if--as the New Testament strongly implies--it is possible to be a good soldier and a good Christian, then it is impossible to claim that the Gospel always forbids the use of violence, no matter what the purpose. The stories of the soldiers support Winfield's thesis that the general "peace and love" passages are not blanket prohibitions on the use of force in all circumstances.
Is an approving attitude towards the bearing of arms confined to professional soldiers? Not at all. At the last supper, Jesus' final instructions to the apostles begin: "When I sent you without purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," the apostles answer. Jesus continues: "But now, if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." He ends by observing "what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment." The apostles then announce, "Lord, behold, here are two swords," and Jesus cuts them off: "That is enough." (Luke 22: 36-38 ).
Even if the passage is read with absolute literalness, Jesus was not setting up a rule that every apostle must carry a sword (or a purse or a bag). For the eleven, two swords were "enough." More importantly, Jesus may not have been issuing an actual command that anybody carry swords, or purses, or bags. The broader, metaphorical point being made by Jesus was that the apostles would, after Jesus was gone, have to take care of their own worldly needs to some degree. The purse (generally used for money), the bag (generally used for clothing and food), and the sword (generally used for protection against the robbers who preyed on travelers, including missionaries, in the open country between towns) are all examples of tools used to take care of such needs. When the apostles took Jesus literally, and started showing him their swords, Jesus, frustrated that they missed the metaphor, ended the discussion. The metaphorical interpretation is supported by scholarly analysis, and seems to best account for the entire conversation.
Even when reduced to metaphor, however, the passage still contradicts the rigid pacifist viewpoint. In the metaphor, the sword, like the purse or the bag, is treated as an ordinary item for any person to carry. If weapons and defensive violence were illegitimate under all circumstances, Jesus would not have instructed the apostles to carry swords, even in metaphor, any more than Jesus would have created metaphors suggesting that people carry Ba'al statues for protection, or that they metaphorically rape, rob, and murder.
A few hours after the final instructions to the apostles, when soldiers arrived to arrest Jesus, and Peter sliced off the ear of one of their leaders, Jesus healed the ear. He then said "No more of this" (Luke 22: 49-51) or "Put your sword away" (John 18: 10) or "Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matthew 26: 52). (The quotation is sometimes rendered as "He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.") Jesus then rebuked the soldiers for effecting the arrests with clubs and swords, for Jesus was "not leading a rebellion."
The most immediate meaning of these passages is that Jesus was preventing interference with God's plan for the arrest and trial. Additionally, Jesus was instructing the apostles not to begin an armed revolt against the local dictatorship or the Roman imperialists. Jesus had already refused the Zealots' urging to lead a war of national liberation.
Do the passages also suggest a general prohibition against drawing swords (or other weapons) for defense? The versions of the story recounted in Luke and John do not, but the version in Matthew could be so read. If Matthew is analyzed along the lines of "He who lives by the sword will die by the sword," the passage is an admonition that a person who centers his life on violence (such as a gang member) will likely perish. On the other hand, a translation of "all who draw the sword will die by the sword" could be read as a general rule against armed violence in any situation.
The best way to understand the Bible, most theologians would concur, is not to look at passages in isolation, but instead to carefully study passages in the context of the rest of the Bible. If the single line in Matthew were to be read to indicate that to draw the sword is always wrong, then it would be difficult to account for the other passages which suggest that drawing a sword as a soldier (or carrying a sword as an apostle) is not illegitimate.
Looking at the passage of Matthew in the context of the rest of the Bible would, therefore, look to the passage as a warning against violence as a way of life, rather than as a flat-out ban on defensive violence in all situations. A 1994 document produced by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace states: "In a world marked by evil and sin, the right of legitimate defense by armed means exists. This right can become a serious duty for those who are responsible for the lives of others, for the common good of the family or of the civil community." The document notes that "the right" to armed defense "is coupled with the duty to do all possible to reduce to a minimum, and indeed eliminate, the causes of violence."
The Catholic Church recognizes people as saints because (among other reasons), the lives of saints are considered to worthy of study and emulation. February 27 is the feast day of Saint Gabriel Possenti. According to The One Year Book of Saints, as a young man in 19th-century Italy, Francesco Possenti was known as the best dresser in town, as a "superb horseman," and as "an excellent marksman." The young man was also a consummate partygoer, who was engaged to two women at the same time. Twice during school he had fallen desperately ill, promised to give his life to God if he recovered, and then forgotten his promise. One day at church, Possenti saw a banner of Mary. He felt that her eyes looked directly at him, and he heard the words "Keep your promise." Possenti immediately joined an order of monks, taking the name Brother Gabriel.
The main incident for which Saint Gabriel Possenti is remembered was this: "One a summer day a little over a hundred years ago, a slim figure in a black cassock [Possenti] stood facing a gang of mercenaries in a small town in Piedmont, Italy. He had just disarmed one of the soldiers who was attacking a young girl, had faced the rest of the band fearlessly, then drove them all out of the village at the point of a gun....[W]hen Garibaldi's mercenaries swept down through Italy ravaging villages, Brother Gabriel showed the kind of man he was by confronting them, astonishing them with his marksmanship, and saving the small village where his monastery was located."
Saint Gabriel Possenti's "astonishing marksmanship" was displayed after he had just disarmed the soldier. The mercenaries' leader told Possenti that it would take more than just one monk with a handgun to make the mercenaries leave town. The saint pointed out to the mercenaries a lizard which was running across the road. Possenti shot the lizard right through the head, at which point the mercenaries decided that discretion was the better part of valor; they obeyed Possenti's orders to extinguish the fires they had started and to return the property they had stolen. They then fled the village, never to be heard from again.
Jewish law comes to the same conclusion as the Vatican Pontifical Council: "If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first," commands the Talmud. Bystanders are likewise required to kill persons who are attempting rape. As Columbia University's George Fletcher explains, while there is a duty to self-defense, the duty to defend others is seen as prior.
The view that forcible resistance to evil attack is itself evil has serious implications: Patrick Henry and the other founding fathers were wrong to urge armed resistance to the British Redcoats; the Jews who led the Warsaw Ghetto revolt against Hitler were immoral; Jeffrey Dahmer's victims would have been wrong to use a weapon to protect themselves; Saint Gabriel Possenti was a paragon of evil; Abraham should not have rescued his kidnapped nephew; and police officers who fire their guns to protect innocent people are sinful.
Consider the situation of a mother in a rough Los Angeles neighborhood, moments after an escaped psychopathic murderer has broken into her house. The woman has good reason to fear that the intruder is about to slaughter her three children. If she does not shoot him with her .38 special, the children will be dead before the police will arrive. Is the woman's moral obligation to murmur "violence engenders violence," and keep her handgun in the drawer while her children die? Or is the mother's moral duty to save her children, and shoot the intruder?
The view that life is a gift from God, and that permitting the wanton destruction of one's own life (or the life of a person under one's care) amounts to hubris is hardly new. As a 1747 sermon in Philadelphia put it: "He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one that hath no authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense, incurs the Guilt of self murder since God hath enjoined him to seek the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature to defend itself."
Whatever their disagreements on other matters, the natural rights philosophers such as Blackstone, Montesquieu, Hobbes, and Locke who provided the intellectual foundation of the American Revolution saw self-defense as "the primary law of nature," from which many other legal principles could be deduced.
As the great Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote: "We shall have lost something vital and beyond price on the day when the state denies us the right to resort to force..."
Leading 19th-century criminal law scholars emphasized a less philosophical, point: that victims protect the entire community when they kill a dangerous criminal rather than leaving him free to prey on others. As Frederick Pollock summarized the views of James Bishop and of Sir James Stephens, "Sudden and strong resistance to unrighteous attack is not merely a thing to be tolerated ...as a necessary evil [but is] a just and perfect" right. A good citizen attacked has "a moral duty" to use all force necessary to apprehend or otherwise incapacitate criminals rather than to submit or retreat.
Janet Powell, speaking for Australia's Anti-Gun Lobby, Incorporated, insists that a person should never use a gun for self-defense, because of duty to the community. But what kind of decent community would prefer that an innocent member of the community be harmed instead of the harm being suffered by a conscious predator?
John Crook, the head of Gun Control Australia, stated that any woman who would defend herself with a firearm is "selfish." But a Psychology Today study of "Good Samaritans" who came to aid of victims of violent crime found that 81% "own guns and some carry them in their cars. They are familiar with violence, feel competent to handle it, and don't believe they will be hurt if they get involved." Are these people selfish, inferior beings?
Having been through the Bible several times, I still can't find the parts where God (or even a minor prophet) endorses a handgun waiting period, one-gun-a-month, or any other item in the litany of the anti-gun lobbies and the religious groups that endorse them. (Nor, of course, is there anything in the Bible implying that there is anything immoral with any of these proposals.)
But the idea that pacifism in the face of violent attack against one's family or oneself is some kind of moral imperative that should be enforced by the state is not only missing, it is contrary to common sense and the Western religious tradition. Making it illegal for citizens to own firearms for defense of home and family may or may not be a good idea from a criminological viewpoint--but it is certainly not God's work.
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Saturday, June 2, 2007
I first considered the Walther PPK in .380 based on it's size, but decided against it. There was also a brief flirtation with a Beretta Tomcat in .32 ACP, but I also decided against that. It was then I had the opportunity to handle a Kahr P9 (9mm) in the store. The grip fit my hand and the extension on the magazine prevented "pinky dangle", which I hate. I have small hands, and have trouble getting my hands around some of the other pistols on the market, mostly those with double stack magazines. The Kahr P9 pointed well and as mentioned earlier, it seemed to fit my hand like a glove. Another advantage was it's light weight. I am a huge fan of steel and wood, but after a while the weight of an all steel gun wears you down. After drooling a bit over the pistol, I handed it back to the guy behind the counter. I liked it a lot, but was turned off by it's high price tag. I'm not a rich man after all. It was then he mentioned there was a cheaper model (about $200 less) with only some minor differences.
I placed my order on the spot.
Here's a comparison from Kahr's website:
"The main differences are that the CW Series have conventional rifling, instead of match grade polygonal rifling; the CW Series have a MIM (metal-injection-molded) slide stop lever, instead of a machined slide stop lever; the CW Series cannot be retrofitted with night sights because the slide does not have a front dovetail cut; the CW Series slide have fewer machining operations; and the CW Series have simple engraving on the slide instead of rollmarking; and the CW Series are shipped with one magazine instead of two."
In other words, it's like the difference between a Ford and a Mercury.
Anyway...time passed. Yesterday morning I went up to my range and set up shop at the pistol range. Kahr recommends a 200 round break-in before they consider the pistol reliable enough to trust your life to. I brought with me a 250 round Remington UMC Megapack in the yellow box and 40 rounds of Corbon +P JHP's. Both rounds used 115gr bullets. That's about $85 worth of ammo. I loaded up my three magazines (I bought two extra mag's for $30 each at SW) for a total of 21 shots and slid a magazine into the gun. I thumbed the slide release and it slid forward with authority.
I took careful aim with both hands and set the tip of the front site cutting the center of the target. Slowly I took out the slack in the DAO trigger (no safety, just like a revolver) and then squeezed it all the way back. BANG! ...surprisingly little recoil...smoke...and a 9mm sized hole about an inch and a half below the center of the target.
For the next three and a half hours or so, I continued to pull the trigger and it continued to go BANG every time. I did have 1 FTF, but it was my fault. The magazines have the top round angled up at about a 30 degree angle. Somehow, I failed to put the last round in the magazine properly and it failed to strip the cartridge. It was definitely not the guns fault.
The Corbon +P JHP fed just fine too, though there was substantial recoil compared to the standard load. Remember, this is a pistol that weighs in at just under 1 pound.
Over the course of the morning, I learned to shoot it better too. I was tipping the front down at the last second when I pulled the trigger. I practiced moving my trigger finger independently instead of squeezing my whole hand, and soon I was hitting pretty close to POA every time. The switch to the +P loads required a little adjustment too, but I soon got the hang of it. Most of my shooting took place at a distance of 14 yards, or 42 feet. I'm sure with more practice, I could extend the range I can reliably shoot this gun. The target on the right is straight 115gr 9mm ball ammo at 42 feet, while the target on the left was shot with Corbon 115gr 9mm JHP ammo at the same distance.
Back at home, I stripped the gun down and cleaned it. After 290 rounds, it was filthy, but surprisingly easy to clean with the stainless steel slide. Once it was clean I lubed it with some tetra grease and gun oil. There, good as new!
Would I recommend this gun to someone wanting a decently priced, reliable, light carry gun? You betcha! It's also pretty darn accurate too. I'm no Bob Munden, but I still managed to get some good shots in with it.
Here's the manufacturers website. Anyone at Kahr, I'm willing to review any of your other offerings, just let me know! *wink*