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Posts Tagged ‘shooting’

Pueblo school takes kids shooting, making them and society safer

Posted by Richard on March 22, 2014

In a rational world, this story by Katie Pavlich wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is:

School officials in Pueblo County, Colorado are bucking the anti-gun trend and recently approved a field trip for middle school students to a local shooting range where they learned about gun safety and how to properly handle a firearm. The gun safety and marksman group Project Appleseed, an activity of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association, was brought in to instruct students, all of whom fired at the range with live ammunition. The trip was scheduled shortly after students learned about The Revolutionary War in their classrooms.

“We’ve never been allowed to bring actual real firearms into a school. Until this week. This is a very big deal. We had them touching fire arms, holding them and learning about how to handle them safely,” Appleseed Instructor Elizabeth Blackwood told KRDO.

Here is the money quote from student Jonah Statezny, who went on the trip: “I think everyone should learn how to use a gun but learn how to use it properly, and the precautions you’re supposed to take and how serious a gun really is.”

Jonah is pretty wise for a middle school student.

I certainly hope this sort of field trip will become more common in the future, because it will make both our youth and our society in general safer. A study published in 1995 by the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF) tracked 4000 kids in urban Denver, Pittsburgh, and Rochester, NY, over seven years. Vin Suprynowicz summarized the key findings related to whether and how the kids were introduced to firearms:

— Children who get guns from their parents don’t commit gun crimes (0 percent) while children who get guns illegally are quite likely to do so (21 percent).

— Children who get guns from parents are less likely to commit any kind of street crime (14 percent) than children who have no gun in the house (24 percent) — and are dramatically less likely to do so than children who acquire an illegal gun (74 percent.)

— Children who get guns from parents are less likely to use banned drugs (13 percent) than children who get illegal guns (41 percent.)

— Most strikingly, the study found: “Boys who own legal firearms have much lower rates of delinquency and drug use (than boys who own illegal guns) and are even slightly less delinquent than non-owners of guns.”

This wouldn’t have surprised anyone before the rise of the modern welfare state. It used to be common knowledge that the best way to get kids to act “responsibly” was precisely to give them some “responsibility.” Why would we assume a child taught by his parents to use a gun responsibly wouldn’t also be more responsible in his other behaviors?

“Want to dramatically reduce the chance that your child will commit a gun-related crime or — heaven forbid — go on a shooting spree?” asked the national Libertarian Party in a May 21 news release detailing these study results. “Buy your youngster a gun.”

“Politicians are apparently more interested in demonizing guns than they are in facts,” commented LP national director Steve Dasbach, himself an Indiana government schoolteacher. But “The evidence is in: The simplest way to reduce firearm-related violence among children is to buy them a gun and teach them how to use it responsibly.”

As Katie Pavlich said, “This is the definition of a well rounded, quality education. Bravo Pueblo County.”

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Assault pistol lust

Posted by Richard on August 20, 2008

Jed at FreedomSight has a picture of 45superman's new "dreaded .50 caliber 'assault pistol,'" and a link to the latter's post about it. I'm not sure how this happened, but Jed's picture is better than the ones at Armed and Safe, so start there. But follow the link for more pix and the whole story.

Needless to say, I'd like to have one. But the pix leave me a bit puzzled. With a straight mag in place, I guess you've got options for placement of your support hand. But the drum mag looks like it would only work for lefties. Or am I confused? Maybe I just need a chance to handle the thing and try it out. 🙂

It shouldn't matter that much to me, really. As a right-handed left-eyed freak, I've never really resolved to my satisfaction the issue of how I should shoot — right-handed or left-handed? I tend to go with the former for handguns and the latter for long guns. But I'm open to experimentation.

I blame the cross-dominance for my mediocre skill level. Although lack of range time could enter into it…

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Jeanne Assam honored

Posted by Richard on December 14, 2007

Jeanne Assam, the armed New Life Church parishioner who saved scores of lives by shooting Matthew Murray, has been honored by the Second Amendment Foundation. Here’s the press release:

BELLEVUE, WA – For her remarkable display of heroism and courage under fire, the Second Amendment Foundation announced today that it will recognize Jeanne Assam, who confronted a gunman on Dec. 9 at the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, with the Eleanor Roosevelt Award.

The Roosevelt award was created by SAF founder Alan Gottlieb, co-author of America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age. The award honors exceptional women who use firearms in self-defense and the defense of others. The award is named in memory of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who frequently carried a revolver for personal protection, even while she lived in the White House, and during the times that she campaigned in the South for civil rights.

“Jeanne Assam, an armed private citizen who volunteered to provide security at the New Life Church, was suddenly faced with a deadly emergency and without hesitation, disregarding her own safety, she rose to that challenge,” Gottlieb said. “By confronting a killer, Assam undoubtedly saved many lives.

“The news media, perhaps to try diminishing Ms. Assam’s bravery and the significance of her intervention, have revealed her dismissal as a Minneapolis police officer several years ago,” he added. “We concur with church Senior Pastor Brady Boyd, who observed that all of us have past experiences we may regret, and that she should not be ‘convicted or crucified for being a heroine.’ Today, the entire nation should be proud of Jeanne Assam, and grateful that her life’s path led from Minneapolis to Colorado Springs.

“Jeanne Assam did an incredibly brave thing under circumstances that could easily be described as above and beyond the call,” Gottlieb stated. “Every day in this country, armed private citizens defend themselves or others, frequently preventing or stopping crimes. Their actions go largely unrecognized and more frequently ignored by the press and public officials who would rather suppress the notion that Americans can fight back.

“We created the Eleanor Roosevelt Award to recognize the efforts of armed women who practice personal safety,” Gottlieb concluded. “In Jeanne Assam’s case, we are honoring a truly remarkable woman who placed herself in harm’s way for the safety of others. We are humbled by her good and noble deed.”

UPDATE: Check out the excellent editorial about Jeanne Assam and the right to carry at Investor’s Business Daily.

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A tale of three shootings

Posted by Richard on December 10, 2007

Let's compare and contrast three recent mass murders. The Westroads mall in Omaha, where Robert Hawkings shot 13 people, killing 8, was a "gun-free zone." That didn't deter the gunman, but it apparently deterred the honest, peaceful shoppers. Hawkings chose when to end the killing — he shot himself.

The Youth With a Mission Center in Arvada, CO, was not a "gun-free zone." One man there said he exchanged fire with the shooter, Matthew Murray, and believes he wounded him (I saw him on Fox31 News, but can't find the video clip or his name at their website). That private citizen ended the killing, and Murray fled.

The New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Murray's next target, was also not a "gun-free zone." Several parishioners who have concealed carry permits provide security for the mega-church. One of them, former policewoman Jeanne Assam, heard the shots when Murray was still in the parking lot. As others fled away from the sound, she moved toward it. Assam shot Murray shortly after he entered the building, ending the killing before many more died:

Jeanne Assam was working security at New Life on Sunday when 24-year-old Matthew Murray began shooting in the parking lot. Three people, including Murray, died during the attack at the 10,000-plus member New Life Church.

"I saw him coming through the doors and I took cover. And I waited for him to get closer and came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down," she said.

Assam repeatedly gave credit to God during her news conference on Monday, saying God was with her.

"I was given the assignment to end this before it got too much worse," she said. "I said, 'Holy Spirit, please be with me.' I did not run away and I didn't think to run away. My hands weren't even shaking."

She appeared along side New Life Church Pastor Brady Boyd at the news conference on Monday.

"If we had not had an armed person on our campus, 50 to 100 people could have lost their lives yesterday," said Boyd.

Boyd isn't exaggerating. There were thousands at the church, and police report that Murray may have had a thousand rounds in his backpack. 

Carrying a gun shouldn't be undertaken lightly. Confronting a killer even less so. Both call for a certain level of skill and, more importantly, the proper mindset. The gentleman who stopped Murray in Arvada said he'd served in the military, but (forgive me, sir, if I'm jumping to an unfounded conclusion) I suspect that was some time in the past and he hasn't had much recent firearms practice. He had the courage, but lacked the skill to stop the killer.

Jeanne Assam and the other church security volunteers apparently trained regularly. Assam possessed both the mindset and the physical skill, and many people are alive today because of that.

This incident has given me pause, because I don't get to the range nearly enough. If you own — and especially if you carry — a gun, and if you don't practice much either, please join me in committing to do better in the coming year.

If you choose not to own or carry a gun, I won't try to change your mind. You know yourself, and maybe that's the best choice for you. But try to remember this: if, some unfortunate day, you're in a public place when a homicidal maniac starts shooting people at random, a "gun-free zone" sign won't help you. Your life may depend on there being a Jeanne Assam nearby.

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The no-shooty cartridge

Posted by Richard on August 24, 2007

The Dissident Frogman was amused by the remarkable ignorance of firearms recently exhibited by the editors and war correspondents of Agence France Presse. As a public service, he created a short educational video that explains the basics of bullets, cartridges, and "boomsticks" in simple terms that even journalists can understand. "Since you will fake the news from Iraq anyway," he tells AFP, it won't kill you to make the hoax a bit more credible."

Priceless. You've got to watch this video. Just make sure you're not drinking anything you don't want all over your monitor and keyboard. And be sure to stick around through the credits — there are bloopers/out-takes at the end.

Check out the comments, too. The exchange between lefty and the frogman is too good to miss.

(HT: Rottweiler)

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Another jihadi?

Posted by Richard on February 14, 2007

A Google News search for trolley square mall gunman just returned 1,258 results. A search for trolley square mall gunman muslim returned 3. I suppose it’s prudent at this stage of the investigation to say, as most reports do, that no one knows the shooter’s motive yet. Or to say, as Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank did, that his motive was "to kill a large number of people."

According to news reports, however, Sulejman Talovic, the 18-year-old shooter, was a Bosnian who came to the United States with his family in 1998 as refugees from Croatia. Given his name and background, I’d wager a fairly large sum on Sulejman being a Muslim. That doesn’t necessarily mean he was a jihadi with a religio-political motive. But I’d sure be looking into the mosque he attended and the other young Muslims he hung out with.

Most of Sulejman’s victims were people in a card shop buying Valentine’s Day cards, and that holiday apparently is deeply offensive to certain Muslims.

Sulejman wouldn’t be the first jihadi in the U.S. to start shooting people in a public place. And as Dr. Rusty Shackleford noted (emphasis added):

We should also remember that the Islamist message boards have been encouraging potential jihadis to keep it simple. Also, it’s important to think about the role of the internet in creating "virtual cells" of mujahideen. That is, jihadis who may never physically meet or formally join an terror organization, but who encourage one another to do acts of violence.

As I’ve mentioned here many times before, the present structure of the Salafi jihadi movement is such that any one can now claim to be al Qaeda. Although the formal organizations of al Qaeda 1.0 (bin Laden, Zawahiri) and 2.0 (Zarqawi/al Masri in Iraq/ — GSPC/al Qaeda in Algeria) remain a threat, this "al Qaeda 3.0" is more of a movement than it is of an organization. And thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of young Muslim men in the West sympathize with that movement.

One of Dr. Rusty’s commenters noted an odd coincidence of names:

One of the murderer’s relatives mentioned in some news reports is an aunt named Ajka Omerovic.A Bosnian with the name of Omerovic made the news a couple of years ago. From the Associated Press:

Anthrax hoaxer gets 10-month sentence

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Monday, July 29, 2002 11:51PM EDT

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) – A man who mailed letters threatening to use anthrax against government agencies was sentenced Monday to 10 months in prison.

Amir Omerovic, 28, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bosnia, had faced up to five years in prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in February.

After serving his term, Omerovic will be confined to his home for six months and placed on supervision that will include mental health treatment, Judge Alan Nevas ordered.

Federal prosecutors said Omerovic mailed letters in October to Gov. John Rowland, the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and other public agencies in Connecticut. The letters referred to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“This is only the beginning,” the letters said. “Americans will die. Death to America and Israel.”

I’m keeping an open mind at this point. Considering how the media have shied away from reporting the religio-political motives behind other jihadi killings in the U.S., I suspect we can’t count on getting the straight scoop on this young man’s motive. On the other hand, I don’t want to be paranoid about this — he could have been just another badly disturbed teen on Ritalin or something, with no ties to radical Islam at all.

But if I ever encounter someone named Omerovic, I’m going to be very, very careful.

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Carnival of Cordite #64

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #64 is up at Spank That Donkey, and once again, Chris put a lot of work into it and did a terrific job. Well, except for one embarrassing little mix-up. Say Uncle posted something about Hilleary being pro-gun, and Chris did a cyber spit-take: "Hillary pro-gun?"

Umm, that’s Van Hilleary, Chris — a Senate candidate in Tennessee. Go ahead and correct yourself, OK? 😉

So drop on by, have a chuckle at Chris’ expense, and peruse the plethora of posts. If you visit using IE (hey, it’s not that bad), you can listen to the audio clips and, if you’re fast enough, maybe win a T-shirt. It’s a pretty damn easy song contest, unless you’re an ignorant 20-something kid brought up on hip-hop. 🙂

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Carnival time!

Posted by Richard on June 20, 2006

Wow, there sure are a ton of interesting-sounding posts in Carnival of Liberty #50! And Dave at TuCents did a great job of organizing and presenting them, too.

You say you want more? You want gun stuff? Well, head on over to Carnival of Cordite #62, hosted by Spank That Donkey this week. If you browse over there using Internet Explorer, you can take part in a "name the songs" contest and maybe win a T-shirt. Whatever browser you use, you’ll find some great reading.

I just wish I had the afternoon free! 🙂

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Rapid fire

Posted by Richard on April 17, 2006

I went to the Ft. Morgan Machine Gun Shoot this past Saturday and spent more than I should have "throwing money downrange quickly." Despite rather unpleasant weather (mostly overcast, off and on drizzle, and way too much wind), I had a great time. I was accompanied by fellow bloggers Jed Baer and Nick Horianopoulos. Both know much more about military weapons than I do, so I learned a lot (and retained a little) by listening to them as best I could with ear protection on.

This was the first time I’d ever fired fully automatic weapons, and let me tell you — it is big-time fun. Nothing puts a grin on your face as quickly as firing a tripod-mounted, belt-fed machine gun at an automobile carcass. It’s not a cheap thrill, unfortunately — $40 for 100 rounds of 7.62mm x 54R, which is maybe 3 or 4 3- to 5-second bursts.

I also tried several hand-held automatic weapons, including an M16, a Thompson submachine gun, and a Glock 18 9mm machine pistol. The latter was actually the most difficult for me to control. Because it’s such a small and light weapon, I had trouble preventing the muzzle from climbing (here’s a slo-mo video of someone doing a much better job than I did). The new 18C with compensator would help, as would a few hundred rounds of practice.

Of course, I had to put some rounds through one of those evil .50 BMG caliber "sniper rifles" that’s become the latest target of the gun banners. The shell is as long as your hand. The AR50 I fired is a single-shot bolt-action rifle about 5 feet long and 35 pounds. At under 3 grand (not including scope), it’s one of the more "affordable" .50 caliber rifles. The guy charged me $2 a round, which was way cheaper than others ($3 to $5). Very accurate. Very loud. The recoil wasn’t as bad as I expected. I shot it from a bench, and the whole rifle moved back several inches when fired, but it was a firm push rather than a sharp smack. I guess that’s the advantage of such a massive weapon.

I also put 10 rounds through a semi-auto version of a .50 BMG tripod-mounted machine gun. This is, of course, the weapon for which the round was created — "BMG" stands for "Browning Machine Gun."

I didn’t fire the most amazing weapon there — too rich for my blood. But if you could afford it, you could fire a minigun — an electrically-powered, modern version of the Gatling gun that fires up to 6000 rounds per minute. If you have a broadband connection, take a look at this video of  a helicopter-mounted minigun in action. The charge for shooting this bad boy ranged from $75 for 100 rounds (about 1.5 seconds) to $550 for 1000 (15 seconds).

Whenever the minigun was about to be fired, they notified the PA guy so he could announce it to the crowd, and people gathered around to watch. Most of the purchases were 100 or 200 rounds, but one guy sprang for a thousand, and I managed to have a pretty good view. That 15 seconds seemed like an eternity. With other automatic weapons — even the Glock, which at 1300 rpm has a higher rate of fire than most — you can hear the individual shots: rat-tat-tat-tat-tat… fast, but each one is distinguishable. With the minigun, the sound is just a continuous roar. And a sheet of flame extends 3 feet from the barrels. Awesome.

There was some other fun-to-watch stuff, too — I saw a couple of 40mm howitzers and a bowling ball mortar being fired. The latter was a home-made black powder device, and it was a hoot.

We didn’t stay for the highlight of the day — they call it the "Mad Minute," when everyone cuts loose with all their weapons for 60 seconds. They’d originally announced that it would happen shortly before the 6 PM dinner break, and we’d planned to stay for it and leave right after. But then they changed the schedule, and moved it to after 7PM. We suspected it might be even later — the sky had cleared, so we figured they might wait until closer to dusk. At 6, we all agreed we were ready to call it a day and make the 50-mile trek back to Denver.

Needless to say, I want to do that again! The next opportunity is only four weeks away, but unfortunately, it’s 185 miles from Denver — a bit much for a day trip, and I’m not sure I want to camp out. I suppose I can wait until September in Ft. Morgan — if I start saving now, maybe I can try the minigun then. 🙂

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