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Posted: 5/5/2002 4:53:32 AM EDT
Thanks to the efforts of Virginia Citizen's Defense League and several other pro-freedom organizations, even the local papers are beginning to recognize the Right to self defense. Today started a week-long series of articles in the Richmond Times Dispatch on real-life defense shootings, self-defense law and the overall effect of firearms in civilian hands. I worked with the correspondent who wrote the articles, and I am very excited to see their effect. The overall URL is [url]http://www.richmondtimesdispatch.com/news/bearingarms/index.shtml[/url] I'll post the stories and links below: Black Fox
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 4:56:20 AM EDT
[url]http://www.richmondtimesdispatch.com/news/bearingarms/MGB3CT49U0D.html[/url] [b]Bearing arms Defensive use of guns can prevent crimes, save lives[/b] BY GORDON HICKEY AND MICHAEL MARTZ TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITERS May 05, 2002 When a gunman went berserk in a Southwest Virginia law school and killed three people, he was finally stopped by a fellow student who threatened to shoot him. It was one of thousands of instances across the United States in the past year in which a person used a gun in defense. Some, as in Grundy, make the news. Others, though, are never reported. They do not show up in statistics kept by law enforcement because no crime occurred, and they do not make the newspapers because often the newspapers don't know about them. The illegal use of guns is re- sponsible for much crime and misery in this country. For example, firearms are used in two-thirds of slayings and in a large number of robberies and assaults. But the legal use of guns at times has prevented crimes and saved lives. Surveys of defensive gun use come up with numbers that vary widely. Estimates range from about 65,000 to 3.6 million such uses a year, depending on who is conducting the survey. A 1992 Florida State University telephone survey, which has been rebutted by a number of organizations, found up to 2.5 million defensive gun uses each year. But what is a defensive gun use? Some say that simply revealing that they have a gun in a holster is a defensive gun use. Others count shooting vicious dogs. Others would include, obviously, actually shooting or pointing the gun at someone. The student at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy aimed at the gunman in January and, without firing, made him drop his weapon. The owners of a jewelry store killed two gunmen who had left a trail of robberies from here to the Deep South several years ago. A South Richmond store owner shot and killed a gunman in January who had just robbed and severely beaten him. A Beaverdam store owner stopped a robbery three years ago by drawing his .45-caliber on an armed young man. Two vacationers getting set for a boat trip down the Intracoastal Waterway in 1994 forced robbers off their boat by threatening them with a gun. In almost every case, the legal use of the gun has left the user shaken and angry. Firing a gun at another person, even in self-defense, can be as traumatic as it is heroic. The shooters, almost always, were reluctant to shoot, and when they did, they were angry at being forced to do it. But they were all grateful they were able to defend themselves.
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 4:56:54 AM EDT
The most visible defensive shootings are by police. In the past, a Richmond police officer might not have felt free to admit any traumatic effects from shooting someone in the line of duty. Few would willingly talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist about a shooting. Now, city police don't have a choice, because Dr. Jon H. Moss will be at the scene before they leave. "I help people deal with normal reactions to an abnormal event," said Moss, a private psychologist who works under contract with police, fire and ambulance workers in Richmond, sheriff's deputies in Hanover County and police in Ashland. While some officers walk away from a shooting without emotional aftershocks, most struggle with the consequences of pulling the trigger on another human being, he said. "It's not a day in the park. It has an impact on their lives," Moss said. Some police officers will be angry at the person they shot for putting them in that position. Some will feel frightened. Some will get sick to their stomachs. Some will feel remorse. Some will question whether they have violated a basic tenet of their religious faith by killing someone. "Everything being completely legal, justifiable and defensible, it still eats at you inside," said Hanover Sheriff Stuart V. Cook, who spent 25 years on Richmond's police force before moving to the county 12 years ago. "You never feel good about it." And some just don't get over it. Moss knows of three Richmond police officers who eventually left the force and the profession after shooting someone in the line of duty. "Their lives changed," he said. Capt. Mark K. Segal was 29 when, in a span of a few seconds, his view of life and police work changed. He had been a Richmond police officer for six years but never had used his gun against another person. He was working as a detective on Sept. 13, 1989, when a robber took a motel clerk hostage in South Richmond and forced her to drive him south on Interstate 95. Segal and another officer caught up with them near Willis Road in Chesterfield County and forced them off the road. Instead of running, the robber put his gun to the clerk's head and threatened to kill her. Segal had his gun trained on the man's chest, waiting for him to loosen his grip on the woman. The man turned his weapon on Segal, who fired three times through the windshield. The man tried to pull the woman back to him and Segal fired three more times, hitting him twice. The man, 20-year-old Darryl L. Webb, survived and went to prison. "It's amazing how those few seconds will have an impact for the rest of my life," said Segal, who now is in charge of records and technology for the police force. He received a gold medal of valor for his conduct. His actions were featured on national television. He was a hero. But Segal remembers not being able to sleep for days after the shooting. He remembers having flashbacks and an upset stomach. Watching bullets hit another person, fearing what that person might do in a desperate burst of adrenaline - it is not a normal experience being on the other side of the gun. "It eats you," he said. "It really eats you up." Segal said the experience also matured him as a person and a policeman. "Over the course of 13 years, really a day doesn't go by that in some way I don't think about that incident or the gravity of what we do. "It's not that the fun ended, but the seriousness really sank in."
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 4:57:48 AM EDT
The Firearms Law Center, a gun-control organization based in California, points out that according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30,708 Americans died from firearms-related injuries in 1998. About 64,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for gunshot wounds. In Virginia in 2000, firearms were used in 332 slayings, 1,444 aggravated assaults, 45 rapes and 2,938 robberies. Statistics always seem to bolster both sides of the gun argument. Gun-control advocates do not argue with the individuals who have used guns for defensive purposes. Instead, they attack the larger concerns. "Overall, statistics prove time and again that having a gun in the home is more likely to harm you or someone you love," said Laura Langley, assistant director of communication for the Firearms Law Center. "We wouldn't argue that instances like that don't occur," she said of defensive gun-use cases. But "the negatives definitely outweigh the positives." That position is rebutted by gun-rights supporters. But the negatives are so great for 7-Eleven Inc. that the company does not allow its employees to carry weapons. Spokeswoman Margaret Chabris said many studies show that "there's a better chance you'll be safe if there isn't a weapon in the store." 7-Eleven convenience stores never have more than $50 in the register, and after dark that is reduced to $30. They also are brightly lighted, and the cash register is visible from the street. They also have alarms, video cameras and closed-circuit television. The corporate policy is to "turn over what little money there is." The introduction of a weapon by the store clerk is seen as an escalation of violence. "Law enforcement agencies advise us that one weapon is one too many," Chabris said.
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 5:02:12 AM EDT
[b]Helping to stop a killer Students went after law school gunman[/b] BY REX BOWMAN TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER May 05, 2002 When he hurried to his Chevy Tahoe and pulled his .357-caliber Magnum pistol from beneath the driver's seat, Tracy Bridges had made up his mind: He was prepared to shoot to kill. Inside the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, where Bridges was a student, a gunman had just fired too many shots to count. Three people lay dead on this cold day, Jan. 16, 2002. Three more lay bleeding from gunshot wounds. The gunman still stalked the first-floor halls. Bridges and other students rushed from their second-story classroom and scrambled out the back of the tiny law school's main building. From there, they scattered. But unlike most of the others, Bridges wasn't trying to flee from the killer. Bridges hoped to stop him. He grabbed his gun from his truck. "I was prepared," Bridges said, "in case he wanted to continue what he started." One armed man was about to meet another. It was a moment that years of weapons training had prepared him for, Bridges said recently. A native of Marshall, a small town in Buncombe County, N.C., Bridges was 10 when his grandfather showed him how to handle a gun. As he did with all his grandchildren, his grandfather taught him how to shoot, and he taught him how to use a weapon safely. "I'm not a gun nut or a militia-type person," Bridges said. "Do I believe everybody should carry a concealed weapon and be armed to the teeth? No, I don't believe that at all. I think there should be background checks and training."
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 5:03:14 AM EDT
Bridges, now 26, has amassed a collection of handguns. And he has lived his life around them. At 16, he joined the Buncombe Sheriff's Department, working in the communications department. He eventually became a deputy, a title he still holds while attending the Appalachian School of Law. After endless hours on the firing range, he takes pride in being a good shot. So when he raced along the side of the law school with the 3-inch barrel of his gun protruding from his fist, he was ready to pull the trigger. When he rounded the corner to the front of the building, fellow student Peter Odighizuwa stepped out the door. Odighizuwa, who later would be charged with three counts of capital murder, held in his hand a semiautomatic pistol. Student Ted Besen, a police officer from Wilmington, N.C., had also rushed to the building front. So had student Michael Gross, another police officer from North Carolina. Gross gripped his 9 mm Beretta. The next seconds were a blur. Bridges pointed his pistol directly at Odighizuwa and yelled for him to drop his gun. Gross and Besen screamed the same thing. Odighizuwa stared at them and at Bridges' gun aimed at him. Still yelling, Bridges watched every movement of Odighizuwa's body, every flick of his wrist, to see whether Odighizuwa would raise his gun. Bridges kept his finger pressed against his trigger, ready to squeeze. After an agony of long seconds, Odighizuwa dropped his gun. The .380-caliber Jennings clattered on the sidewalk. Seconds later, Bridges, Gross and Besen tackled Odighizuwa. Another student, Todd Ross, also jumped on. Later, police determined that Odighizuwa's gun contained no bullets. Police said he had fired up to 16 shots. But Bridges had no way of knowing the gun's magazine was empty. He had been prepared to shoot. Bridges, who has not given the showdown much thought, said he has heard rumblings that a few students are unhappy that he and Gross keep handguns in their vehicles. He said he understands their personal views but disagrees with them. To him, weapons have their place. To him, his use of a handgun had helped subdue a killer who might otherwise have found a way to reload. "I wouldn't do anything different," Bridges said. "I only wish we could have stopped him a littler sooner."
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 5:04:27 AM EDT
[b]Defense principle explained When is it legal to shoot someone in self-defense?[/b] John Douglass, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said the basic principle of self-defense developed through common law. In some states, the law was placed into statutes, and in others, it has been developed through court cases. "You can defend yourself when you have an actual and reasonable belief it is necessary to use force to defend yourself," Douglass said. A person can use deadly force when it is necessary to protect against an actual threat of death or serious bodily injury. It is not enough to simply believe it is legal to shoot someone. "If that's true, everyone is a law unto himself," he said. Douglass also said there is some validity to the old notion that if you shoot a burglar, you should wait until he is inside your house. He said it is generally legal to shoot to protect against imminent harm to people, but not necessarily to property. If a person is outside, it is harder to prove imminent danger to a person. Virginia has one of the most permissive concealed weapons laws in the country. Under state law, it is legal for anyone 21 or older, who isn't a felon or mentally ill, to have a concealed weapon permit. For the text of the law, go to [url]http://leg1.state.va. us/cgi-bin/legp504. exe?000+cod+18.2-308.[/url]
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 5:16:05 AM EDT
[b]Black Fox's personal observations[/b] I stressed several things in talking to Gordon about the article. A firearm has saved my life at least twice, and I will be in an article later this week. Here are the points I intentionally repeated over and over: * A firearm is an emergency tool - like a fire extinguisher or jack/spare tire. One does not get a "high" out of using it. One does not look forward to using it. I do check the pressure in my spare tire and fire extinguisher and feel better knowing they're there. I think people who have these emergency tools are the responsible ones, and it's a shame society doesn't appreciate that. * Nobody wins a gun battle. You may live, but you both lost. The anguish that you, your family and friends are put through is significant. Nobody wins in a car accident either. Citizens do not go looking for a reason to use their emergency device, and almost always do everything they can to avoid it. It is not glorious - it is horrible. * We all know statistics are as good as the motivation of the person/group gathering them, but this is particularly evil with self-defense statistics. Almost nobody who has been involved in a self-defense situation can talk about it. Displaying a firearm is brandishing. Even acquitted individuals who shot another person have civil suits hanging over their heads (see O.J. with questions). Others just aren't comfortable. The numbers are a game of guessing whether 50% or 95% of people never speak up and are recorded. Although the self-defense situation I spoke of is relatively trivial (dog attack), I warned the author this was what he would get responses about. Most people can't ever talk about real uses of firearms for self-defense. * Training and proper mindset are the most important issues. Carrying a firearm doesn't do a thing to save you - you are the one in control of a situation. If you are not prepared to handle it, your firearm will not save you. I have trained my wife how to use our fire extinguishers and jack in the car. We carry tools and emergency bags in our cars. Training and confidence are more vital to any crisis than the tools you use. * I repeated this phrase over and over: "I do not regret what I did to save my own life. I regret that the other person put me in that situation. I hope it never happens again, but I wouldn't change my reaction." Let me know if you have any other ideas or suggestions. The articles will continue all week, and I still have the ability to add to them. I imagine the editorial page will heat up nicely, as well! Black Fox
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 5:24:57 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 5:45:38 AM EDT
Thanks VA-gunnut! Yes, the authors were very concerned about presenting an unbiased opinion. They told me they had to state how guns kill a lot of people illegally (I suggested they make it "illegal guns kill a lot of people" :). They had to put some stats from the anti-side to give some balance. Keep in mind, this is a very liberal paper (for Virginia), and I can't believe they are doing this in the first place. I mean, the title of the article is "Defensive use of guns can prevent crimes, save lives." Sounds like VCDL's slogan?!? They did make the comment about amassing firearms. No - I did not show them my collection or mention ANY of it (bad idea on Bridge's part, in my opinion) - I can just imagine their response if I told them I had registered machine-guns, a 50-caliber semiauto, etc. They never miss a chance to put something like this in there either: "I'm not a gun nut or a militia-type person" Geez, of course, because those people are evil!! Overall, I am very impressed with their slant, though. I've never seen a liberal paper do such a pro-gun article before. They seemed to be hiding the fact they were pro-gun. I'm trying to talk Gordon (the journalist) into taking an NRA safety course this summer. I hope he does it. Actually, daughter #2 is due this week - Wednesday appears to be the big day. Good of you to remember! I'm excited about it (again). I'll be sure to update you guys. Black Fox
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 5:53:34 AM EDT
By the way, PLEASE e-mail the authors and let them know you appreciate their article. Be sure you mention that you support self defense and own firearms (if you do): Contact Gordon Hickey at (804) 649-6449 or ghickey@timesdispatch.com Contact Michael Martz at (804) 649-6964 or mmartz@timesdispatch.com
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 6:06:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 6:46:45 AM EDT
Thanks Blackfox, I'll be sure to spread the paper around at work to a few of my "liberal" friends. Good work on the article. My wife writes for a local paper and I often see the way a writer can influence the way a story is told. Media bias can be an unbelievable force.
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 2:15:07 PM EDT
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