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Unarmed and helpless

Posted by Richard on December 2, 2008

As news of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, unfolded, it seemed unbelievable that just 10-15 attackers could cause that much death and destruction. An excellent detailed account of the attacks in Monday's Wall Street Journal helped shed some light.

For some time, John Lott and others have been pointing out that gun-free zones are the preferred hunting grounds of those bent on wholesale killing because they're full of unarmed and helpless victims. "Multiple-victim public shootings keep on occurring in places where guns are banned."

It's clear from the WSJ account that Mumbai (and apparently the whole of India) is a virtually gun-free zone, and this permitted the ten terrorists to roam across the city, slaying people with impunity. In fact, they didn't even have to fear the police! Two of them moved through Mumbai's railroad station, tossing grenades and mowing down travelers with gunfire. Several dozen police officers were on duty at the station, but that made no difference (emphasis added):

B.S. Sidhu, head of the Railway Protection Force for the Mumbai region, says that while some officers tried to fight back, there was little his force could do. Most police officers at the station — as they are throughout India — were unarmed or carried only bamboo sticks known as lathis. More than 40 people, including three police officers, were killed in just a few minutes, authorities said. The wounded survivors screamed for help amid acrid smoke, piles of slumped, bloodied bodies and spilling suitcases.

The same problem allowed the terrorists to march into the Oberoi and Trident hotels and kill with impunity: 

At about 9:45 p.m., two gunmen, slender and in their mid-20s, ran up the circular driveway at the entrance to the Trident. They shot the security guard and two bellhops. The hotel had metal detectors, but none of its security personnel carried weapons because of the difficulties in obtaining gun permits from the Indian government, according to the hotel company's chairman, P.R.S. Oberoi. The gunmen raced through the marble-floored lobby, past the grand piano into the adjoining Verandah restaurant, firing at the guests and shattering the windows.

Later, two of the terrorists ran out of luck at a police roadblock, and the lathis finally served a useful purpose — enabling one of them to be captured alive for later interrogation: 

The three policemen armed with guns drew them. The nine others waved their bamboo sticks. Revving the engine, the car tried to U-turn but got stuck on the median. The man in the passenger seat rolled out and started shooting, killing one officer and wounding another. The surviving baton-wielding officers jumped on him, knocking him unconscious. Policemen with guns shot the driver dead.

In America, the anti-gun crowd is always saying we shouldn't try to defend ourselves, we should dial 911 and let the police protect us. Given that the average response time is 15 minutes, that's not such a good option. But at least if they get there in time, the cops are armed!

In Mumbai, most of the cops were unarmed and helpless victims, just like the civilians they were pretending to protect. In fact, properly trained and equipped forces weren't on hand until they were flown into Mumbai the next morning:

At 6.30 a.m. Thursday, commandos from India's National Security Guard finally arrived — after they first waited for hours while authorities located a plane to pick them up at New Delhi, then waited for transportation from Mumbai's airport to the hotels under attack. The NSG commandos had proper equipment and training. They surrounded both the Taj and the Oberoi complex and a prolonged siege began.

Read the whole thing. It's gripping.

And remember, gun-free zones are helpless-victim zones.

UPDATE: See also this Fox Forum post by John Lott.

UPDATE2 (12/4): Big thanks to Strike the Root for the link, and thanks to everyone who followed it!

Welcome also to Freedom News Daily readers!

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2 Responses to “Unarmed and helpless”

  1. Bill said

    Yeah, try taking your gun out during a mall shooting. See how many innocent bystanders you hit while trying to be a hero. Even better try to find a place to hide in a mall while some self appointed vigilante goes around shooting at a suspect. You’d be wishing with your last breath that you’d supported strict gun control.

    And BTW, big guy, everyone with a gun drawn that is not in a police uniform will be shot in the head when the real authoriities come.

    The Mumbai disaster happened because their cops and security forces didn’t have guns from the first either. And their security chiefs went riding around in an unarmored van all three together and got killed in the first hour of the rampage.

    Of course, as India points out the idiocy of Guliani and his chose allies in city security before, during, and after the 911 attacks means we can’t laugh at Mumbai.

    But the complete incompetence of the Mumbai forces and Guiliani security system is nothing like most of our American local government protectors.

    But go ahead and gamble with your and your family’s future of even their lives by embracing guns, guns, guns.

  2. rgcombs said

    Bill, sorry to be rude, but you’re willfully ignorant. Did you bother to read the John Lott article I linked? I’m guessing not.

    You’re clinging to the myth that more guns in the hands of honest, peaceful people will lead to carnage and bloodshed. Decades of empirical data, as scores of states have liberalized their concealed carry laws, prove you’re wrong.

    Several mass shootings at schools, colleges, and churches have been successfully stopped by armed civilians — long before law enforcement personnel arrived on the scene.

    It’s Christmas Eve, and I don’t feel like doing your basic research for you (nor do I believe it would change your irrational beliefs). But if you’re sincerely interested, try looking up info on the shootings at the Colorado Springs church, Appalachian State College, and the Pearl, Mississippi, school for starters.

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