Friday, May 30, 2008

Armed killer brought down by would be victim.

Earlier this week I was in the region of Winnemucca, Nevada. I went through the city but didn’t stop there. But I did stop nearby and saw a local newspaper with an article about a shooting in a local bar. Three people were killed. I didn’t have time to stop to read the paper, but I did notice the headline. Only now have I had a chance to look a little closer at the incident.

According to KTVN-Reno, from a AP wire story, three men “were fatally shot and two other people were injured”. They believe the incident was another in a “long-standing feud between several local families”.

One man entered the bar and shot two other men to death. No police were present. According to a police statement the killer “stopped and according to witnesses reloaded his high capacity handgun and began shooting again.”

At this point a patron of the bar responded. The Reno resident “produced a concealed handgun and proceeded to fire upon” the killer “who succumbed to his wounds.” In other words the bastard was killed. “The Reno resident was in possession of a valid Concealed Carry Permit issued through the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.”

Witnesses confirmed the incident and the Reno man was released by police, with no charges filed, because his action amounted to justifiable homicide.

To recap: one man pulls a gun and kills two members from a family with whom he is feuding. He reloads his weapons and again begin firing in a crowded bar, with 300 patrons present at the time. A Reno resident who was in the bar at the time pulls his concealed weapon and fires on the gunman killing him and putting an immediate end to the shooting spree before any police had a chance to respond.

So consider the same incident but without the Reno man present to put a stop to the shooting spree. Or consider a scenario where he was disarmed and unable to return fire on the killer. The police statement does not say how long after this it was before they responded to the incident. But even if it were less than a minute the number of additional victims could have been substantial.

Once again we see proof that when an armed killer shoots on a large gathering of people the fact that one of them is also armed, and able to return fire can put the incident to a quick end.

I have highlighted numerous such cases in the past. The gun control crowd argue that such shooting would escalate the number of dead. Oddly they show no case where that happened. In all the cases I have found, where armed victims were able to return fire on the killer in a crowded situation, the results were a termination of the killing spree not an escalation. Arming would-be victims saves lives.

Of course the gun control crowd will add the two victims to the list of those killed. But there is no way to keep track of how many lives were saved. We simply don’t know what would have happened had one victim not resisted. It is possible that the gunman, who was clearly not finished firing on the crowd, might have continued on for sometime and simply have failed to shoot anyone else, possible but unlikely. It is also possible that he could have killed another dozen people before the police arrived. What is likely is that there would have been further victims. How many more is not possible for us to know. And for that reason we can never get an accurate total for the lives saved because some victims offer armed resistance.

What we do know is killers who meet armed resistance have a hard time taking the lives of more innocent victims. We know they are often stopped cold in their tracks, often surrender immediately or are killed by their victim, or become so caught up in defending themselves from attack that they don’t have time to seek further unarmed victims. What we do know is that lives are saved even if we can never know how many.

We have no reason to believe making the bar a "gun free" zone would have stopped the killer. It might have encouraged him. What such legislation might do, however, is prevent any patron from putting an end to the killing as happened in this cae.