When Seconds Count Cops Are … Hours Away   12 comments

Alaska doesn’t get a lot of mass shootings. As probably the most armed state in the union, you’d think our easy access to guns would turn us all into homicidal maniacs with a desire to shoot up gun-free zones, but it doesn’t happen. Go figure!

We’ve had a couple of mass shootings. Two were back in the 1980s. Louis Hastings, a rabid environmentalist who was angry at miners in Alaska, shot up McCarthy in 1983. Michael Silka, a serial killer, shot up Manley Hot Springs in 1984. Both men were mentally ill. Both communities had plenty of guns already in the community and probably still have lots of guns (I know for sure that Manley does). In both instances, the town folk had to wait hours for the Alaska State Troopers to show up. In Manley, Silka had already fled upriver before the townsfolk even knew he’d killed six (including a 2-year-old boy and a pregnant woman), but in McCarthy people hunkered down in their homes with their guns and prayed they’d be able to get him before he got them. In both cases, the killers used hunting rifles with limited capacity. In Manley, the troopers went after Silva with M16s with 20-round clips and he still managed to kill one of them with a 30-06. That’s right. The standard hunting rifle of North America was far more effective at killing than the military-grade automatic weapon.

Here in the very armed state of Alaska, mass shootings are extremely rare. Why? Shouldn’t the guns be whispering in our deranged ears that we should shoot our nice neighbor Alice and her cute little dog Toto? How can we resist?

Because guns don’t talk to you unless you’re insane and owning guns — even owning a lot of guns — does not make you crazy! Guns do not shoot people. By themselves guns are incapable of shooting anyone.  It’s not the guns that massacre people in gun-free zones. It’s the people using the guns who do the killing.

I pray I am never in a situation where I need a gun to protect myself, but it happens and when it happens, I don’t want to be huddled on the floor of a movie theater praying a bad guy shoots the guy next to me and doesn’t shoot me instead.The cops have no obligation to protect us. Their job is to clean up the mess afterward and assist in the prosecution of the murderer. The more victims the better actually. There is nobody who is going to protect us except us.

In the 30 years since I took ownership of my mother’s 357, I have never wanted to shoot anyone, but I’ve known people who have. You can identify those people pretty easily. If you google the men I’ve profiled, you will find that they were mentally ill and most of the people around them knew it. Why didn’t someone do something? The system is broken. Fix the mental health system, and mass shooting will all but disappear. And, then we can concentrate on criminals … but that’s a different story.

12 responses to “When Seconds Count Cops Are … Hours Away

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  1. I submit that those who don’t want to shoot anyone else are never prepared to shoot anyone else. We already have 300 million guns in the U.S. and yet whenever a mass murderer appears no one ever shoots back and the police never get there in time. How many more guns need to be available in order to properly defend ourselves against the mass murderer? I say that it won’t make any difference because the mass murder will always be able to pick his spot where he knows the innocents will be…because that’s what mass murders do.

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    • Actually, you’re wrong. People have shot back. There was a school in Missouri (maybe Mississippi), where the vice-principal went out to his car and got a gun and put the kid down.

      In Clackamas (Oregon) mall a day before the Newtown shooting, a concealed carry permit holder drew on a shooter, who then killed himself rather than be taken alive.

      In a Colorado church about three years ago, a parishioner shoot at a guy who had already killed two in the parking lot; he also killed himself.

      The concealed carry holder will never be able to stop the first shot, but these incidents show that it’s possible to stop the killing after one or two.

      Had the principal at Sandy Hook confronted Lanza with something besides her education degree, it’s possible nobody would have died but his mother and himself.

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    • I also would add — you never see mass shootings in places where there are large crowds of suspected armed folks. It never happens at an NRA meeting or a gun show. I’d be absolutely amazed if someone opened up in the theater here in Alaska because it’s estimated that in any crowd here there will be a sizable percentage of folks carrying concealed. If would-be mass murderers had a reasonable expectation that teachers were armed in schools, they’d probably hesitate before going there and, if they didn’t, they’d not get more than a shot or two off.

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      • Perhaps mass murders will have to start buying machine guns…Is that legal?

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      • It’s not actually legal to buy a machine gun. Semi-autos fire only one bullet at a time. They’re not substantially faster than a wheel gun, they’re just a lot quicker to reload. And, it’s almost impossible to convert a semi-auto to a full-auto. I know gun guys who have tried. They ended up with a non-working weapon. Of course, the biggest mass murder in the United States used a gasoline bomb — that was in the 1940s, I believe. So killing doesn’t require a gun. There’s a guy kicking around in Alaska prisons who killed three of his roommates with a hammer. Killing doesn’t require a gun.

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  2. I have always felt so-called gun free zones are just letting the crazies know they will not be shot back at and might as well hang a sign on everyone inside with a target on it. Even the guy using a knife here in Fairbanks at the community health center knew he was safe from retaliation. That’s not really all that crazy. Just one armed person could have saved the lady stabbed to death in front of all her co-workers hiding behind their gun free zone signs.

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    • Ironic you would mention that incident. I worked there in administration for 15 years and knew both Genine (the victim) and Brian (the murderer). Several of her coworkers had guns … just not at work. A friend of mine who is a neighbor of the house where it happened saw Brian (we assume it was Brian) pacing back and forth on the street that night. He thought to himself he should go warn someone. My friend was just back from Iraq and it was, he thought, setting off war zone warnings. He would have to go past Brian to get to the residential unit and he wasn’t willing to do that unless he was armed, but he knew it was a gun-free zone, so he called me to see if I had the number so he could call the unit. I wasn’t home. He hesitated. Maybe it was just a touch of PTSD. Then the cops showed up. Just one armed person ….

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  3. Reblogged this on aurorawatcherak and commented:

    Yes, I am reblogging one of my own posts because I’m getting traffic on it lately and because, frankly, it’s timely.

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  4. We definitely don’t want a 1984 society, so you must be responsible for your own safety. Cops just collect the evidence and write the reports. We can chase the bad guys and put them away, but that only happens after they have done bad things. Arm yourself, not just with a gun, but with good training and a proper mindset. If you can cap the perp, it’s about the same amount of paperwork for the po po, and less tax dollars wasted on incarceration and a trial.

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    • Yes, but in most jurisdictions, the armed citizen who has to defend him/herself will spend months in court and probably need to pay a lawyer their life savings to prove that they were within their rights to do what they did.

      My husband sat an Alaskan jury 21 years ago this month on a self-defense shooting case. Poor man was charged with 1st degree murder for protecting himself and his wife against a neighbor in a public parking lot. The jury hung and the citizen walked, but it ruined him financially. Just last year, the Alaska Legislature finally got around to changing the law to acknowledge that he and the rest of us have a right to protect ourselves from the bad guys. Until that is taken care of all across the nation, this is not the America of the Founders.

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