Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Comforting Myths of Gun Control

Comforting Myths of Gun Control

"Give the robber what he wants, and he probably won't hurt you." While this is probably statistically true--and that's the reason that 7-11 has a policy that prohibits employees from being armed on duty--it is often enough not true that being armed is a darn good idea.

This news story from May 8, 2009 WSB radio in Atlanta is valuable for a number of reasons:
(WSB Radio) -- A 17 year old Atlanta teen has been arrested and charged with the January 7, 2009 murder of John Henderson, a bartender at the Standard Restaurant and Spirits in Grant Park.

Atlanta Police say Johnathan Redding was already in police custody Thursday night when he was charged with Henderson's Killing.

Detective Keith Meadows told reporters that it was Redding's Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun that led to his being charged with 22 crimes including felony murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery.

Two days after Henderson's murder on January 9th, police say Redding and three other teens were involved in a home invasion. Police say during that break-in, the homeowner, armed with an semi-automatic rifle fired at Redding striking him in the shoulder.

Police say Redding dropped his weapon as he fled the home. Because police were conducting ballistic tests on weapons in crimes committed after Henderson was killed, they were able to connect Redding to the murder at the Standard and also to an armed robbery in the parking lot of the Standard two and a half weeks before.

Police Chief Richard Pennington told reporters in an afternoon news briefing that Redding sough medical attention for his shoulder injury and was hospitalized for some time. During the three months after Henderson's murder, detectives went about the work of building a case against Redding.

Since Redding's discharge from Grady, he's been in the Atlanta City Jail on charges stemming from the alleged home invasion on January 9th. Police charged Redding in the home invasion on April 10th and charged him with the Standard shooting Thursday night.

Pennington says Redding is not cooperating with authorities. He's believed to be a member of a gang known as "30 Deep."

Police are looking for three additional suspects all about 17 years old in connection with John Henderson's death.

Henderson was shot during a robbery at the Grant Park area bar where he worked, Standard Food & Spirits. He was shot multiple times despite complying with robbers' demands, according to investigators.

The killing took place as Henderson and another bartender were getting ready to close the bar, on Memorial Drive, when four to five armed men broke through the bar's glass door. [emphasis added]
The lessons:

1. Comply with robbers' demands--get shot multiple times.

2. All of those being held in these two tremendously serious crimes are under 18. I've never been terribly enthused about trying minors as adults, but there seems to be a pattern here that is quite dangerous.

3. I've pointed out in the past that gun registration isn't a terribly useful method of crime solution, because criminals seldom leave guns at the scene of a crime, and they don't register their guns. Here's one of the rare cases where a criminal left a gun at the scene of a crime--without being hauled away on a gurney. But guess what? None of the suspects could legally purchase a handgun from a dealer, because they are four years too young. I rather doubt that they registered these illegally purchased handguns. The absolute best possible outcome of mandatory gun registration might have been to find the last person who legally possessed this gun. The chances that this was whoever sold the guns to these suspects is, shall we say, tiny. Most likely, registration would only tell you whose gun was stolen in a burglary.

4. We don't know if the "semi-automatic rifle" used by the homeowner was one of those dreaded "assault weapons" or not, but here's exactly the sort of case where a high capacity rifle is really useful: multiple armed criminals forcing entry into your home.

5. We try to log every news story that we find of civilian gun self-defense in the U.S. at the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog--but it appears that this foiled home invasion either didn't get news coverage, or we didn't see it--and this sounds like exactly the sort of "if it bleeds, it leads" news story that you would expect to get media attention. This shows that our best efforts are still missing civilian gun defense incidents of some importance.

6. In spite of not having the useless gun registration information that gun control advocates insist are necessary to solve crimes--Atlanta police are clearly doing a fine job of correlating information about very different crimes, and using it to find bad guys.

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