Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Armed Citizen Saves The Day

I'm sure many of you have heard about the shooting at The New Life Church in Colorado Springs. I wanted to make sure that readers of this blog know that the woman responsible for taking the shooter down was an armed citizen and very likely saved several more innocent lives. As the pastor of the church said in the press conference:
Obviously yesterday if we had not had an armed person on our campus, fifty to a hundred people could have lost their lives.

Jeanne Assam was a parishioner that had a carry license and helped provide security for the church on a volunteer basis. Here's part of the video from the press conference where the pastor describes the volunteer security force and Assam gives a description of what happened:

This is the kind of safety that carry laws provide to citizens. Paul Helmke and the Brady Campaign can put up all the silly "Gun Free Zone" signs they want, and enact all kinds of gun regulations, but at the end of the day those feeble measures will not deter criminals from engaging in criminal behavior. Most gun control laws simply limit law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves and others.

By the way, what does Paul Helmke's blog at the Brady Campaign website have to say about the incident in Colorado Springs? Bupkis of course. You see they don't want you to know that an armed citizenry can protect themselves and stop murderous criminals before they have a chance to complete their devastation. No, they would rather have you fall in line like sheep on the way to the slaughter. But don't worry, just find your Happy Place and convince yourself that the "Gun Free Zone" really will protect you...


Anonymous said...


I agree with the sentiment you have posted here today.

While the situation was tragic, and Ms. Assam truly deserving heroine honors, I do have some serious reservations as to why any church, temple, or mosque would feel the required necessity of a an armed protective service and believe the idea acceptable.

Obviously, in this case, the forethought proved to save lives and staved off a more devastating situation.

Parson said...

She did hit him a few times but they ruled the death a suicide.


"The death of Matthew Murray has been ruled a suicide," the El Paso County Coroner's Office said in a statement. "It should be noted that he was struck multiple times by the security officer which put him down. He then fired a single round killing himself."

She did the right thing, no telling how many more people he could have killed if she wouldn't have been there.

MichaelK said...

There will never be anything on that blog that doesn't 100% support their party line.

Isn't it kind of gutless of Helmke/Brady to have a blog but not allow comments of any sort?

Jeff Pruitt said...

They were allowing comments until recently when they decided they simply couldn't take the heat and defend their position...

Phil Marx said...


You fail to understand the logic of the gun control advocates. If this private, law abiding citizen (and millions more like her) was not recklessly running around carrying a gun, then the criminals themselves would not need guns. The criminals only need guns because too many people refuse to allow themselves and others to be victimized.

By the way, I don't think this was a security guard hired by the church. I think she was simply attending services there.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

The opposite is true also - the shooter was armed. So you have two armed individuals which proves what? One kills a few people before the other one kills him.

And, who on earth needs a semi-automatic or an assault weapon?

I would like someone to explain what gives anyone the right to carry a weapon that has no other purpose than to take out as many targets as possible.

Gun rights supporters can argue all they want that there is a second amendment right to carry arms, but when the second amendment was passed, the type of weapon available in those days had no resemblance to today's killing machines.

I still think gun control is necessary, and the assault weapons ban should have been extended.

MichaelK said...

"Assault weapon" is a meaningless label.

Gun control is an ultimately doomed premise. The more technology like 3D printing advances towards desktop manufacturing, the less you'll even need centralized manufacturers. It's only going to become more and more impossible at time passes, not easier.

If you think it's nearly impossible to keep guns out of the hands of people you don't like now, wait until you're trying to suppress a billion screaming Linux boxen.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...


Just curious - why do you think "assault weapon" is a meaningless label? Isn't an AK-47 an assault weapon (rifle)?

And I don't like guns in general - it has nothing to do with keeping guns out of the hands of "people you don't like now."

You state that gun control is a "doomed premise." Does this mean that the option is to just not worry about it and accept an entire society armed to the teeth with whatever they can purchase?

MichaelK said...

A full-military automatic fire capable AK-47 is an assault rifle. Here:

"Legislators and political lobbyists have adopted the term to refer to specific semi-automatic firearms and other firearms listed by specific characteristics for statutory purposes. The legislative usage follows usage by political groups seeking to limit the individual's right to keep and bear arms, who have sought to extend the meaning to include a semi-automatic firearm that is similar in name or appearance to a fully automatic firearm or military weapon. Note that this term is not synonymous with assault rifle, which has an established technical definition. Advocates for the right to keep and bear arms, commonly referred to as gun rights supporters, generally consider these uses of the phrase assault weapon to be pejorative and politically-motivated when used to describe civilian firearms. This term is seldom used outside of the United States in this context."

"Assault weapon" used in reference to gun control is really just a term whose definition changes depending on statute and point of view.

You're free to not like guns, and not possess them all you like. If you don't like society that is armed, well, I fail to see how you're going to change that. Because if your other option is continued failed attempts at gun-free zones, well, we see how those work out.

"Target Rich Environment" is a better term for such zones, I still think.

And as I pointed out, "purchase" is becoming less and less of a restriction.

You can wait for the cops to arrive and clean up if you'd like, but there are those of us that choose to retain the option of defending ourselves effectively.

Jeff Pruitt said...

"Assault weapon", as defined in the ban, was a semi-automatic weapon that had too many specific characteristics such as a bayonet lug, pistol grip, flash suppressor, barrel shroud, 10+ round detachable magazine, etc.

Banning weapons based upon those characteristics is just silly. The truth is the Brady campaign would like to ban ALL semi-automatic weapons. However, it's important to remember that the Assault Weapons Ban only banned the manufacturing of NEW weapons and didn't do ANYTHING to restrict ownership of previous models of which there are millions.

The 2nd amendment was put in place so that the citizens of this country could defend themselves against ALL enemies foreign and DOMESTIC. Whatever the military issues to standard infantry soldiers, I should be able to buy as well.

Allowing standard military and police to own rifles significantly more advanced than the citizenry is tantamount to inviting tyranny...

Jeff Pruitt said...

People that are not enthusiasts really don't understand how silly some of the gun laws are. Once people see some of these laws put into practice they almost always realize they are ineffective and unnecessary...

Vic DeMize said...

I worked for an armored service for a while and part of the job was after-hours response to ATM alarms. The various financial institutes use contracted services for this because
a) the majority of alarms have to do with mechanical failures and the police charge for responding to "false alarms" and,
b) providing access (keys, alarm codes, etc.) to every ATM to every law enforcement officer, well, it just couldn't be done.

Anyway, when one of those alarms goes off at two in the morning you can't be certain it's one of those "false alarms" and if I, a private citizen, were to respond to that alarm unarmed I would not only be violating company policy, I would be putting my damned-fool butt in harm's way unnecessarily.

As for assault weapons, my partner used to carry a fully-automatic MAC-10 with wire stock and flash suppressor. He paid $500 dollars just for the right (read:license) to own it. It was very intimidating, but since he never had to fire it, we have no way of knowing how many times it may have saved our lives simply by being a physical presence.

I, too, am in favor of laws and restrictions but I lean more toward concern over WHO carries than WHAT they carry.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...


Your statement:

"People that are not enthusiasts really don't understand how silly some of the gun laws are."

And how does being an enthusiast somehow make the issue more understandable?

We are still talking about the Second Amendment which only applies against the federal government - not the states. Everyone throws around the Second Amendment, but it has never been applied against the states.

I still think the Supreme Court will weasel around the issue because of the unique status of Washington, D.C.

And, I will again ask the question that I have posed several times now that no one seems to be able to answer - if the Founding Fathers wanted to provide the right of self-protection to individuals, then why not just leave off the first part of the Amendment - the part that says "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,..." and have the amendment read "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Could have been done very easily and yet they chose not to do it.

The Indiana Constition's Article I, (Bill of Rights), Section 32 reads:

§ 32. Right to bear arms.

"The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State."

That is pretty simple yet the writers of the Second Amendment chose not to word the amendment that way.

MichaelK said...

For one thing, enthusiasts seem to have an actual understanding of the actual workings of firearms.

So the framers of the constitution decided to preface the amendment with their primary reason for protecting an individual's right. Not Necessarily the ONLY reason, but the one they chose to highlight. So?

From here:

"But what about that opening clause of the Second Amendment, the problematic and notorious "militia" part of the provision? How can that be reconciled with the "right of the people to keep and bear arms"? Well, the court says it's not as confusing as some people would have us believe; in fact, the amendment's construction isn't all that unusual.

"It was quite common for prefatory language to state a principle of good government that was narrower than the operative language used to achieve it. Volokh, supra, at 801-07. We think the Second Amendment was similarly structured. The prefatory language announcing the desirability of a well regulated militia—even bearing in mind the breadth of the concept of a militia—is narrower than the guarantee of an individual right to keep and bear arms. The Amendment does not protect "the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms," but rather "the right of the people."

"So the court winds up its Second Amendment analysis thusly:

"To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad)."

If you'd like, I'm sure there are some people from Burma around you can ask about banning personal ownership of firearms. Ask how well that only letting police and military possess firearms thing is working out.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...


Please provide the citation for the case to which you are referring. Was it a United States Supreme Court decision or a lower court decision? When you link to the site using the "here" that you provided, this window is too small to see anything but a small square.

If it is the recent D.C. case, I have those materials, so you don't have to worry about it. I have already read the D.C. case and posted articles on it.

And, as to Burma, aren't there European countries where gun control has been imposed? I don't see any overthrows in England, etc.

And, by the way, I am not talking about banning all guns. My initial reference was to assault weapons - unless, that is, you want to get into semantics and call all guns assault weapons since they involve a "violent" attack on people.

Again, why didn't the Founding Fathers just leave the clause off like Indiana did?

MichaelK said...


Works fine in Firefox...

That blogger is referring to the appellate decision.

No, you don't see any overthrows in England... I don't see the relation. It's Burma I'm talking about, that actually could use something of an overthrow. Aren't you just saying that in those other European countries, people would get mowed down as well?

The problem with your reference to "assault weapons" is I don't have a common reference point with what you mean. As far as I'm concerned, it's a military term and those weapons are already regulated.

As for the clause; FINE, they were a bit wordy for our standards of writing, would you like to mark them down 5 points and give them an A-?

Try this paragraph again:

"It was quite common for prefatory language to state a principle of good government that was narrower than the operative language used to achieve it. Volokh, supra, at 801-07. We think the Second Amendment was similarly structured. The prefatory language announcing the desirability of a well regulated militia—even bearing in mind the breadth of the concept of a militia—is narrower than the guarantee of an individual right to keep and bear arms. The Amendment does not protect "the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms," but rather "the right of the people."

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Your link works with the "here." I wasn't saying that it didn't work only that it pulls it up in this smaller comment window which is too small to see the entire page. I have Firefox.

When justices write an opinion, they analyze from a perspective of how they see the final decision, assuming they can muster support for their opinion. You will often see two sides in opinions - a majority and a dissent - so even justices don't always agree on interpretation of the law.

The paragraphs you cite simply give their analysis of the issue in that particular case at that particular time.

Other courts have found that the right is a collective right, not an individual right, and analyzed the issue differently.

We can always find court decisions on both sides of almost issue. The one that will count, though, will be the Supreme Court's decision in 2008.

You dismiss the wording of the Founding Fathers as being a bit "wordy", yet it is the intent of the writers that is important. The intent becomes a focal point of analysis, particularly in divisive issues such as are found in some of the first ten amendments. Your own paragraphs illustrate how the justices attempt to analyze intent.

The clause is there for a reason, and it has nothing to do with being wordy. That is simply your way of dismissing a clause with which you do not agree.

On the European nations that have gun control, what I am saying is that, apparently, it works for those societies.

Many European countries have heavy regulations on civilian firearm possession, limiting their use almost exclusively to gun clubs and hunting.They are not dictatorships, and they are not ruled by a military.

You are really intermixing two issues. One issue is the ability to protect oneself (or others) against criminals and the other is protecting against a military takeover.

Is anyone honestly afraid of our government being overthrown by the military?

Andrew Kaduk said...

Is anyone honestly afraid of our government being overthrown by the military?

I really don't think that's the point, Char. The Government IS the military. What option would an unarmed citizenry have to defend itself against its own government? Nothing. Submission. I don't see how that blurs any lines between issues, since that is, after all, how this country came to be in existence.

By the way, if you right-click on Michael's link, then click "open in new window," I think you'll find the results you are looking for with respect to the readability of that article.

MichaelK said...

Hey, I left-click the link and it works fine.

I'm not relying on that decision - I'm just using it to point out that I agree with the interpretation.

Look at it this way: why would that amendment be the only one that doesn't guarantee a right to the people and not a collective? It makes no sense.

The clause there for a reason, yes. It's specifying one reason that individuals should have a right to bear arms. It does not say that is the ONLY reason, and it certainly doesn't even say whose militia or even how many!

If I am intermixing protecting ourselves from criminals and protecting against military takeover, it would be because they should be. And Andrew is right, military takeover isn't the point.

A much better example would be the Blackwater "private security contractors" during the Katrina disaster.

As for Europe: We're not Europe.

MichaelK said...


I never daid I didn't AGREE with the clause. I said it was not necessary. These are not the same things.

What I don't agree with is your broken interpretation of the clause.

Robert Enders said...

"We are still talking about the Second Amendment which only applies against the federal government - not the states."

Do the other amendments apply to the states? Can Indiana pass a law against denouncing government officials?

Also, Switzerland has a lot of guns, and a great deal less crime than Washington DC.

Jeff Pruitt said...


"And how does being an enthusiast somehow make the issue more understandable?"

Because I deal with these silly laws all the time - much of which you only come across if you want to buy/sell/transport firearms. There are many, many more laws than the overarching one we are debating here and that's what I'm referring to.

For example, Glock imports their pistols into this country with adjustable sights because having fixed sights would give them too many traits that are on the list and they would not be allowed through customs. So a local agent then removes the adjustable sights, replaces them with the fixed sights before selling the firearm. They then ship all the adjustable sights back to Austria so the whole process can be repeated. These are the things I'm talking about - and there are MANY more. What exactly is the point of this regulation? Ultimately the pistols get sold with fixed sights anyway and why shouldn't they? It just doesn't make sense.

Also, the word "militia" was synonymous with the word "people" in that time period (more like white men over the age of 18). A simple glance through the Federalist Papers would show that. It certainly didn't mean national guard or standing army.

"Is anyone honestly afraid of our government being overthrown by the military?"

So said every single country before they were overthrown by despots. Almost every dictator in the world has disarmed the citizenry in order to maintain power. I think it would be incredibly dangerous and myopic to project today's time period into the future. Who's to say what this country will look like 100, 200, 1000 years down the road. Those future citizens might rue the day you took their inalienable rights away.

And that really is the point here. The Bill of Rights is not an enumeration of Rights granted by the State. In fact that's why the Federalists were against the Bill of Rights because they feared they would be seen as an exhaustive list of rights granted by the state to the people. Instead the Constitution is a document where the people grant the government their rights. The bill of rights was eventually agreed upon but they are inalienable rights and are not initiated by the government...

Wow, this should've been its own post. Sorry about that...

Charlotte A. Weybright said...


In reference to your 12/13 post at 6:56 a.m., you state that you don't see the relation between Burma and England. You feel that you can use Burma as an example of a place that needs guns in the hands of ctizens; I am using England as an example of a country that has strict gun laws and gets along well.

They are examples - I am not sure they have to relate to each other.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...


I am saying that the issue of gun ownership involves two distinct areas. I would say most citizens who want to own guns do not think that they will be using them against our government.

The argument I always here is that guns are needed to protect against the criminal element. I rarely - if ever - hear anyone say, "I need a weapon in case the military takes over."

My choice of the word intermixing was perhaps not the correct choice in reference to michaelk's comments. I am saying that the two reasons for gun ownership are distinct and that michaelk is blurring the lines by pulling in the argument of a military takeover.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...


The "collective right" in the Second Amendment makes perfect sense. The colonists already had individual gun ownership rights through their role as citizens of their respective states (or colonies).

What many were afraid of was the new federal government and its power. Thus, the Bill of Rights was passed to restrain the federal government by identifying certain rights that were not to be tampered with. Many colonists did not consider that their states would deprive them of important rights.

The states weren't subject to many of the clauses in the Bill of Rights until the Supreme Court began applying them through the 14th amendment. So far, the Second Amendment has not been applied back against the states.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Also, you see my interpretation as broken, and I see yours as broken. Those who support gun control read the Second Amendment in its entirety, and those who opposes gun control drop off the first part a la Charleton Heston and continue to read the second part without reference to the first clause.

And, by the way, you state "As for Europe: We're not Europe." And I say as to Burma, we're not Burma. Again, these are examples.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...


The Bill of Rights originally was passed to apply against the federal government, not the states. The First Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law."

With the passage of the 14th amendment in 1868, the Supreme Court was given a vehicle by which to make the states comply with many of the clauses contained in the Bill of Rights.

The 14th amendment is aimed at the states and explicitly says "no state" shall deprive persons of certain rights without due process of law or deny equal protection of the law.

The doctrine was called the "doctrine of selective incorporation" and was used by the Supreme Court to review specific clauses of the first ten amendments as the cases were brought before it.

Little by little, the Supreme Court has found that almost all of the clauses of the first ten amendments should apply against the states. However, the Court has never found that the Second Amendment applies to the states. The states and its subdivisions can makes laws that restrict or even ban guns.

As to passing a law denouncing government officials, Indiana can pass the law, but more than likely it will be considered unconstitutional because it impinges on free speech.

MichaelK said...

"Also, you see my interpretation as broken, and I see yours as broken. Those who support gun control read the Second Amendment in its entirety, and those who opposes gun control drop off the first part a la Charleton Heston and continue to read the second part without reference to the first clause."

It would appear that you're obviously not reading or understanding a word I type, as I clearly pointed out the reference to the first clause.

No, we're not Burma. Yet. You've conveniently ignored my Blackwater in Katrina example (amongst other things.)

And you continue to speak of "blurring the lines" as if it were a bad thing, or somehow not allowed. But then I also already addressed that.

Also, I wouldn't be entirely certain the UK is doing as well as you might think. http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/3/21/205139.shtml

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

You know, we could go on and on like this and get no where. I don't think you are understanding my points and you don't think I am understanding your points.

I am not ignoring anything you have said. I saw your reference to Blackwater, and I need to research it because I am not real familiar with it. I didn't want to reply until I understood the point you were making.

Andrew Kaduk said...


Believe it or not, I actually understand your argument and it is within an arms reach of being a rational one. Simply put, the conspiracy theorists of the world are the only ones who will actually argue the finer points of marshal law in within the confines of a 2nd amendment debate. However loony they may sound, there is some foundation for their underlying point as well: When the government becomes vastly more powerful than the people it serves, there is always a chance for an abuse of that power. We like to think that society has evolved beyond the point of such a scenario, but historically speaking, governments have, in fact, turned against their own citizens. If we as citizens were unarmed, what chance would we have to put down such an uprising? I'd rather have the numbers in the favor of the people, personally.

Andrew Kaduk said...

BTW, Jeff...

Your 6:08 comment is stellar.

Spot-on, my man.