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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Archive for the ‘Firearm Owner’s Civil Rights’ Category

Massad Ayoob

Rx: GUNS

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

With a new, Obama-appointed Surgeon General with a long history of anti-gun advocacy, we now see a resurgence of the Prohibitionists’ efforts to have firearms ownership be excoriated as a health and safety risk to Americans.

Sigh…

When I opened my first shooting school to teach armed citizens the use of deadly force in 1981, I very quickly noticed something my predecessors in the private firearms academy business, Jeff Cooper and Ray Chapman and John Farnam, had already seen:  in more classes than not, health care professionals were the single most highly represented occupational category among the students.  That trend has continued to this day.

It seems counterintuitive to those who don’t understand the real-world dynamics of not only guns, but self-defense.  All that’s required to understand it is common sense. Doctors and nurses and paramedics and rehabilitation therapists aren’t like ordinary citizens, who see violence mentioned in their morning paper or on TV, mutter “Tsk, tsk,” and turn the page or the channel. These medical professionals see the results of violent criminal assault upon the innocent, and some of them see it daily!

Because they deal with life and death (or life-threatening illness and trauma) on such a regular basis, doctors and other health-care providers become realists and pragmatists.  And when you analyze survival of violent crime realistically and pragmatically, seeing its victims so often, it is logical to very soon come to a realistic and pragmatic conclusion: Not me! Not mine!

I hate it when newspapers get hold of concealed carry permit lists and publish them, but one good thing has come from that: every single time it happens, you see a disproportionate number of the gun carriers are medical people (and lawyers, and judges). The people who deal with reality day in, and day out.  There is something to be learned from that.

A great resource is Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, at http://www.drgo.us/.  Read the recent article by Dr. John Edeen, a Texas MD who compares two homicides which occurred in medical environments, both perpetrators having opened fire with the intent of murdering medical professionals.  One was ended by a doc who had his own gun…the other was not. Dr. Edeen’s article speaks for itself.  I know Dr. Edeen, and have spoken on a panel with him speaking against the fallacious “gun-free zone” concept, along with gunfight researcher Chris Bird, at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in 2014, available here.

The founder and head of DRGO is my old friend Dr. Tim Wheeler.  He, like the large membership for whom he speaks, is a voice of reality.

Dr. Edeen’s voice of reason is found most recently here.

I’m not a doctor. But I’ve heard the beginning of the Hyppocratic Oath translated variously as “First, do no harm,” and also as “First, do no further harm.”

It seems to me that “First, do not ALLOW any further harm to be done to your patients or your fellow caregivers” might be an appropriate modern translation.

Comments are, as always, welcome.

Massad Ayoob

WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS…

Monday, January 12th, 2015

The recent atrocity in Paris reminds us all of the continuing danger from homicidal fanatics.  The cowardly murderers ran rampant, unopposed; according to some reports, one or both of the police officers killed in the massacre were unarmed and helpless to fight back.

President Obama is taking a lot of heat for not flying to Paris to join a reported 40 other heads of state in a show of solidarity.  This is one thing I won’t criticize the man for. If I were head of Secret Service I would have stood in the Oval Office and screamed at him, “It’s nucking futs! Can you imagine a more irresistible target for Islamic terrorists than forty-one of you, including the head of the Great Satan itself?!?”  I’m frankly amazed that there wasn’t an attack on the gathering, though I’m glad there wasn’t…and if the free world’s security services are smart, they won’t tell us if there was such a conspiracy and they were able to successfully abort it behind the scenes.

Could it have helped if someone in the Charlie Hedbo offices had been able to shoot back? No guarantees, but it damn sure wouldn’t have hurt!  My take on the matter is mentioned here among others’  http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/terrorist-attack-in-paris-newsroom-may-be-wake-up-call-for-u.s.-journalists-to-be-armed/article/2558337 .

I was able to discuss the concept earlier in more depth here, in this very Backwoods Home blog http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2014/11/16/in-the-news/ , and here in Backwoods Home Magazine http://backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob150.html .

The prohibitionists and anti-self-defense groups will scoff at the idea that one or more people with handguns among the crop of victims might have thwarted two men who wielded AK47s. They don’t want to hear about Charl van Wyk, who stopped twice that many in a South African attack, armed only with his five-shot snub-nose .38 revolver. You can read about his case and more – and about dozens of helpless victims murdered when there wasn’t “a good guy (or gal) with a gun” to stand up for them – in the current issue of American Handgunner magazine:   http://americanhandgunner.com/the-false-hope-of-gun-free-zones/ .

The authorities expect more such attacks throughout the free world and, yes, here.  My advice is load, holster, and be ready.

It’s not about the odds…it’s about the stakes.

That’s enough about what I think. I want to hear what YOU think about this.

Massad Ayoob

GRAND JURIES

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

The grand jury concept has been much in the news of late.  People with axes to grind (including multiple talking heads on CNN) decry the fact that grand juries in Missouri and New  York exonerated the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson and the one who grabbed Eric Garner and pulled him to the sidewalk in NYC.  Benjamin Crump, the plaintiffs’ attorney for the families in the Brown case, the Garner case, and the Trayvon Martin death before that, has called for a prosecutor to indict without sending the case to the grand jury in yet another racially –charged case.

I know many defense lawyers – and many citizens from the far left to the far right – who hate the grand jury system and believe it should be abolished.  Having worked within the American criminal justice system in one way or another for more than four decades – as arresting officer, as police department prosecutor, as expert witness for both sides – I have to profoundly disagree.

When people hear the word “jury,” they think of the regular, “petit” jury: normally six to twelve people with some alternates as “spares” who determine guilt or innocence in a full-blown criminal trial, or apportion responsibility between plaintiff and defendant in the trial of a civil lawsuit. The grand jury is exclusive to the criminal side of the justice house, and is called by the prosecutor to determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, or at least, enough question thereof that the matter should be sorted out in a full-blown trial.  The grand jury will return either a “true bill,” which means that the person in question is now a defendant, stands indicted, and is fully inserted into the gullet of the criminal justice machine, or “no true bill,” which essentially exonerates the potential defendant, though that’s not exactly 100% because the prosecutor can usually re-file the case.

The grand jury is the province of the prosecutor. Often, a defense lawyer for the “person of interest” won’t even be allowed in the room, and if he is, he won’t be allowed to advocate for his client. This is what led to the famous saying that “a prosecutor can convince a jury to indict a ham sandwich.” The members of the grand jury hear what the prosecutor allows them to hear.  This is what ticks off absolutists on both far left and far right.

And of course, if you are the one who wants to lead the lynch mob that hangs the defendant, you’ll be ROYALLY pissed off if the prosecutor actually allows exculpatory evidence which convinces his or her fellow citizens to return “no true bill.”  This is apparently why Benjamin Crump does not want people he hopes to pillory to go in front of grand juries, and it is why CNN’s Sunny Hostin, a former prosecutor herself, was outraged that exculpatory evidence was presented to the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri.

Having been on both sides of this two-way street, I support the grand jury concept, and I applaud prosecutors who perform their duty as ministers of justice to allow exculpatory evidence (indicative of innocence) to go before the grand jurors as well as inculpatory evidence (indicative of guilt).  Their job is as much to exonerate the innocent as it is to prosecute the guilty.

Some say, “But if the prosecutor is the sole arbiter of the evidence, he can get anyone he wants indicted!”  To which I say, “SO WHAT?”

Please understand: IN MOST JURISDICTIONS, THE PROSECUTOR CAN INDICT ON HIS OR HER OWN WITHOUT A GRAND JURY ANYWAY, under what is generally called an “offer of information.”

In the cases currently under media scrutiny, the grand juries heard both sides of the story, while the public and the talking heads only heard one side’s narrative.  Before anyone joins in the howl of the lynch mob, they should ask themselves one question:  “If I was the one accused, would I want my side of the story and the evidence supporting me to be heard, before I was sent to trial in a case that would likely cost me six figures worth of dollars and incalculable suffering for myself and my family, before the decision was made to put me through that ordeal?”

The grand juries in the Brown death in Ferguson and the Garner death in New York did hear both sides.   Having heard that, they each issued no true bill.

I for one respect that, and the prosecutorial authorities who allowed those grand juries to hear both sides.

Massad Ayoob

A CONFLUENCE OF HISTORICAL ANNIVERSARIES

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

I’m writing this on November 9, the anniversary of kristallnacht, and there’s no better way to remember what that means than reading my friend (and yours, if you support gun owners’ civil rights) David Codrea, here: http://www.examiner.com/article/jewish-gun-group-remembers-kristallnacht-on-76th-anniversary.  In it he links to a very important essay by another friend, a man I’m proud to have had as a guest lecturer at one of my classes, Rabbi Ron Mermelstein: http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/kristal.htm. First published in 1998 by Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership, it is as timely now as it was then.  Perhaps more so, since in the interim we’ve had more gun prohibitionists claiming, with revisionist history worthy of Holocaust deniers, that the Nazis didn’t disarm the Jews and the Jews never could have fought to save themselves from genocide.

Monday will mark the Marine Corps Birthday; the USMC was founded in 1775. This coming Tuesday will be Veterans Day.  I don’t need to remind anyone here how much sacrifice those days of memorialization represent, sacrifice rendered in the name of the freedoms we now enjoy and hope to keep and even expand upon.

Over the centuries and much in the memory of living Americans, the butcher’s bill has been high.  May those good people not have been killed and maimed in vain.

Massad Ayoob

LISTEN TO GRPC 2014

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

In recent blog entries here, I touched on the two days of the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago last month.

It’s official: you can now listen to the entire presentation yourself, with audio links here courtesy of the Second Amendment Foundation: http://www.saf.org/?page_id=4402 .

There’s LOTS of good stuff here.  I was proud to have had a small part of it, on the Gun-Free Zones panel.  As usual at GRPCs, I gained far more knowledge than I dispensed.

Next year’s GRPC will be in Phoenix, Arizona the last full weekend of September 2015. Being someplace where you can carry while attending makes it … better.

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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