A Memorial To Remember

This coming Saturday, Minnesota’s self-appointed gun-grabber elite are going to try to squeedge some more juice out of waving the bloody shirt of Newtown:  

To Remember: A commemoration of the Sandy Hook school victims, and all victims of gun violence — 9:30 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis. To RSVP, click here. Space is limited. This event is co-sponsored by Moms Demand Action, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Organizing for Action.

They’ll then attempt to hold a meeting to promote more laws that would have had no effect on Newtown, or any other real-world gun violence. 

But there’s another anniversary this coming week; tomorrow, in fact.  And it deserves a memorial – because unlike every single thing proposed by “Protect” MN, Moms Want Action and the Felon Mayors, it actually saved lives. 

At around 3:25PM on December 11, 2012, Jacob Tyler Roberts walked into the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland Oregon.  He was wearing a ski mask, and carrying a stolen AR-15-pattern rifle with five magazines, a total of 150 rounds.  He donned the ski mask and carried the rifle openly; witnesses apparently thought it was a paintball outfit, and that the rifle was a toy.  One woman reportedly told Roberts to take off the mask – it looked “Creepy”.  Roberts didn’t respond. 

He walked to atrium in the middle of the mall, and started shooting.  He fired off his first magazine, killing two – Cindy Yuille, a 54 year old hospice nurse, and Steven Forsythe, a youth sports coach – and hitting15 year old Kristina Shevchenko in the chest (Shevchenko managed to walk out of the mall, and survived the incident). 

Then, as Roberts turned a corner and reloaded, he ran into Nick Meli, a citizen with a .40 caliber Glock 22 and an Oregon carry permit.  Meli drew – but didn’t shoot.  According to some stories, Meli froze; in others, he saw that there were civilians in the background that would be in danger if he missed.  Either is a fairly normal response under such conditions. 

But Roberts ran away.  He ducked into a JC Penney and ran into a storage corridor, where he pointed his rifle at Penneys employee Rok Sang Kim – but turned, ran down a stairwell, and shot himself. 

Drawn by reports of a mass shooting, dozens of ambulances turned out – but only Shevchenko was treated for any injuries.

The Lesson:  After the Columbine shooting – where a SWAT team waited outside the school for four hours before moving to engage the shooters – law enforcement went on a crash course of learning how to deal with mass shooters.  The lesson learned?  Don’t wait.  Get in, get at the shooter. 

It wasn’t about testosterone; examination of mass shooters showed that most of them are deeply narcissistic and intensely delusional.  In almost every case, the shootings were planned to a fine sheen, like a military operation, if the military were run by delusional people.

And that while the plans were intricate, the shooters’ mental state meant that any serious hiccup to the plan would send them off the rails.  And by “serious hiccup”, they meant “someone putting up meaningful resistance”. 

And so cops changed their tactics; rather than wait for SWAT, cops are now trained to get in, find the shooter, and put some lead on the target.   Because nothing disrupts a lunatic’s plan like having lead sailing past your head (to say nothing of through one’s chest). 

But here’s the little secret; it doesn’t have to be a cop doing the resisting.  History is full of examples of individual citizens putting up armed resistance to mass shooters, and ending the shootings:

  • The Pearl, Mississippi school shooting, where a teacher grabbed a gun and stopped the two shooters.
  • The Appalachian Law School shooting, where a would-be mass-murderer was stopped by a couple of armed students.
  • A robbery that was devolving into a mass-shooting in Virginia was stopped by a CCW permittee.
  • This episode in Texas recently
  • An episode in Richmond, VA in the nineties where a shooter who intended to copycat the Luby’s Cafeteria massacre (in Killeen, TX) was stopped after killing one person, by another citizen with a legal handgun.
  • The New Life Church shooting spree in Colorado Springs in 2007, ended by Jeanne Assam.
  • This episode in Texas, where an armed man killed a mass shooter (and died, himself); it’s generally agreed he saved several lives in the process.
  • Columbine itself was part of the lesson; it’s generally agreed that an armed sheriff’s deputy derailed the greater part of Harris and Klebold’s plans, firing off a couple of shots and deflecting the two shooters back to the library, fouling up their plans to set off bombs throughout the building and perhaps kill many, many more people. 

And of course the the Clackamas Mall shooting. 

Second-Guesses: There are those in the gun-grab movement who try to minimize, discount and ridicule the effect that an armed citizen can have in a mass shooting.  Some scoff that Roberts, and the shooter in the Colorado Springs episode, had jammed guns – as if clearing a jam is anything unusual (especially in an AR15) much less time-consuming to fix. 

But in both shootings, the jam was accompanied by a citizen facing the shooter down (and in Colorado Springs, seriously wounding him). 

The underlying point – mass shooters tend to abandon their plans when they’re faced with active, armed, potentially lethal resistance – stands.  Passive resistance – “lockdowns”, kevlar whiteboards – are better than nothing, provided the mass shooter allows them to be better than nothing. 

Consequences, Intended And Otherwise:  The Gun Control “Gun Safety” movement yaps a lot about “preventing gun violence” – while pushing policies that have never prevented and shall never prevent a single crime. 

And yet a year ago tomorrow, Nick Meli likely saved more lived that all of Michael Bloomberg, the Joyce Foundation, and Rep. Heather Martens’ efforts likely ever will, ever, for all eternity. 

And so for that, we should pay homage at 3:25PM tomorrow.