Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Six Minutes: Omaha, Too Late Again--UPDATE

The main thing that struck me, going through the reports about this 18 year old kid who sniper-style murdered at least nine people in an Omaha mall today was this: it took police six whole, long minutes to get to the mall.

It was six minutes too late.

Just like Virginia Tech. Just like Columbine. Just like every single other act of random violence, there is no chance in hell to stop the mayhem with a policeman in a car six minutes down the road. The people in the colleges, schools, malls, hospitals, churches, everywhere are sitting ducks. And it is ridiculous.

The police have procedures so they don't walk into death traps. Every time I see a picture of a cop ducking behind a car in the parking lot when the violence is happening inside an enclosed structure, I want to scream.

It's not the cops fault. They come when they're called. They follow the rules. And the rules are there for a reason. But rules and procedures don't save people from a marauding psychopath intent on killing everyone. Only someone armed themselves can stop this kind of thing.

People need to be empowered. The criminals already are empowered and have the benefit of planning and offense. The defenders should at least be able to defend themselves.

We can talk prevention. It's another sad-looking kid with a troubled past. Aren't they all? And yet, the vast majority of troubled kids don't end up mowing down everyone in some warped sense of self-justified vengeance. They suck it up and grow into dysfunctional adults like everyone else.

So, prevention and bullying and psychotropic drugs and the psychology of sociopaths and the moral decay and everything else will be trotted out.....again. And the answers will be the same: there are always crazies. In every era of the world, from Cain and Abel on there have been angry, murderous crazies. We can pretend to live in a la-la world where "society could do more", whatever the hell that means, or we can make some serious reforms so that a guy like that gets off one shot, maybe two. And then someone else takes care of the problem, for the sake of innocent lives.

Six minutes is too long to make a difference. The damage was done. The rampage over. And once again, people, Christmas shoppers, the innocent are dead. Robert Hawkins may not have been able to be prevented, but he most definitely could have been stopped.


Glenn Reynolds has a good idea: sue the places that disarm the innocent and yet won't provide protection. Sue the colleges, malls, sue everyone! Sue the government that makes such regulations that violate a person's civil rights--the most basic, to live. Glenn says:

But it's worth noting -- since apparently most of the media reports haven't -- that this was another mass shooting in a "gun-free" zone. It seems to me that we've reached the point at which a facility that bans firearms, making its patrons unable to defend themselves, should be subject to lawsuit for its failure to protect them. The pattern of mass shootings in "gun free" zones is well-established at this point, and I don't see why places that take the affirmative step of forcing their law-abiding patrons to go unarmed should get off scot-free. There's even an academic literature on mass shootings and concealed-gun carriage.

Perhaps we need legislation. If it saves just one life, it's worth it.
Amen, brother Glenn.


TM said...

Errrrrrr……maybe have a bit more control over these ldevices called guns. You never here of killing rampages in the course of minutes with lets sat an axe?

Anonymous said...

Sure, TM, the cops sure could have stopped Lizzie Borden.

Dr. Melissa, I agree with your views and I hate to nitpick, but he killed 8 and wounded 5. And he was 19, not 18.

- Vinnie from Omaha

omaha said...

So, let's say that there were a bunch of armed citizens at the mall yesterday. How many of them are right there on the third floor of Von Maur? How many are over in Younkers or JCPenney? How quickly could they get the news about the shooting, run from JCPenney to Von Maur, figure out where the shooting is, climb up to third, find the shooter.... More than six minutes? Too late, it's all over with.

I don't really object to people carrying weapons but the fact is that it doesn't stop the shootings like this one. Only lucky happenstance would have stopped it. The only people carrying weapons to the mall are the bad guys--and they probably don't shop much in Von Maur. A different kind of store and I wonder if any of those gang bangers would take out the bad guy. (With the rate of driveby woundings and accidental shootings, I don't think the gangbangers work on the finer techniques of aiming.)

schues said...

It always strikes me as ridiculous that whenever something like this happens, the gun-control fanatics always come out of the woodwork. How hard is it to understand that gun-control only affects law-abiding citizens? Those who want to use guns to kill people will find a way to get them, no matter what the law says. Meanwhile, those who follow the law are then left unable to protect themselves from these crazies. Grow a brain, people. Gun control is not the answer.

As for the criticism of police, it probably wouldn't have mattered if they got there in 2 minutes. A guy with an assault rifle could kill dozens of people in a matter of seconds.

Although I believe gun-control and quick police response would not prevent things like this from happening, I unfortunately have to admit that I don't know what would. At best, if citizens were allowed to carry guns everywhere, perhaps someone could've shot him down before he killed so many people, although I understand that the people with the guns may not necessarily be in the right place at the right time to stop the shooter.

I am forced to just write this off as another tragedy by a troubled young man.

Melissa Clouthier said...


I'm only going by the article I link to in the post which has his age of 18 and that he killed 9.

As for gun-control, maybe an armed shopper couldn't have stopped Hawkins. We'll never know, will we?

It just seems to me that the rationale for keeping guns out of public places makes little sense. We've had instance after instance where there were two types: victims and aggressors. I'd just like to breach that gap and even the odds a bit.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Morning drive-time in LA mentioned the guy's suicide note:


Anyone else heard that?

Or is it all Party Line Gun Control coverage?

Anonymous said...

Its a very depressing incident. Any one who can't become successful through legal means, kills some innocent peoples to become famous overnight.
The incidents of these kind effects the business also. Being in this business for nearly 5years, I can feel the pain of Restaurant Owners.
If I am paying some monthly installments of my Business Loan, from where the hell will I manage if any such incident happens around my restaurant. People will avoid restaurants & malls. revenues will go down. The worst situation will be for the people with bad credit & somehow managing their small businesses through some sort of funding or loans. Life will become hell for these owners.

May God Bless & Save America

Mia Sheron

omaha said...

headless unicorn--

You might be right that the gun control fanatics who run the media made up the part about "I'm going to be famous"...or it could be that the media is reporting exactly what the note said. Everything is not a conspiracy. If it is wrong for the media to use this terrible story for its own purposes, it is just as wrong for you to do that.

Anonymous said...

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