Again, no one needs a gun in a National Park, right?

Remember those fugitives from Arizona, that were hiding in Yellowstone National Park a couple of weeks ago? The last two have been caught… in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

Now, this was a National Forest, not a National Park, so the restrictions on firearms have always been less strict, but what are the practical differences between this National Forest and Yellowstone National Park? What justification is there for restricting firearms in one but not the other? They’re both large forested areas with vast, infrequently patrolled areas, that are open to the public. They both have camping areas. They both have wild animals.

And they both occasionally have criminals.

What’s the difference? The difference is just one word in the name. Nothing that justifies the different treatment of firearms.

Welch, who is McCluskey’s fiancee and cousin, reached for a weapon but dropped it when she realized she was outgunned by a swarming SWAT team, said David Gonzales, U.S. marshal for Arizona.

Officers apprehended McCluskey without incident after finding him lying in a sleeping bag outside a tent. He told authorities he had a gun in his tent and would have shot them if he had been able to reach for it.

[...]

McCluskey told officers he wishes he would have shot the forest ranger when he had the opportunity, authorities said.

Criminals like these don’t care if it’s a Park or a Forest, they’ll kill you either way, and care just as little. Carry your guns.

END OF LINE

Caldwell Fields Killings – Update 2009-11-18

Police seek van seen near time of Caldwell Fields killings.

Investigators are looking for the driver of a silver or gray minivan that was seen parked in the Caldwell Fields lot where two Virginia Tech students were killed in August, they said Tuesday.

According to the article, it is not being considered a suspect vehicle. The van was apparently seen parked there August 26. The killings took place sometime during the evening/night of August 26 & 27.

Anyone who stumbles across this blog and has any information, please come forward.

Reward increased in killing of two VT students

Reward in killings increases to $50,000.

Hoping to aid the investigation into the killings of two Virginia Tech students last month, a Lynchburg cardiologist has raised $40,000 in reward money since Labor Day. Adding the $10,000 put up by Virginia Tech, the total reward now stands at $50,000.
[...]
Hoyt said anyone interested in contributing to the reward can make checks payable to the CPD Citizen Support Group, c/o Virginia State Police, 3775 W. Main St., Salem, VA 24153.

I’m starting to worry that this one may remain unsolved.

UPDATE; Still no suspects in recent double-murder.

Update 9-11-09: Task force set up to investigate Montgomery County double homicide.

A multi-agency task force has been formed to investigate the double homicide of two Virginia Tech students.
[...]
The task force is made up of officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; the Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Virginia Tech police departments; the Virginia State Police; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the United States Marshall’s Office; and the United States Forest Service.

What a list! It seems like everybody who can be involved is involved. I can see the US Marshals, and the Forest Service – it happened in a National Forest, so it’s federal land and under the Marshals’ jurisdiction, and the Forest Service is expected – and the FBI, while unexpected, is not surprising, but the ATF? How did they get involved?

Virginia Tech offers $10,000 reward in killings.


Virginia Tech is offering a $10,000 reward for information that helps solve the killings of Tech students Heidi Childs and David Meltzer last week in the Jefferson National Forest.
[...]
Police are following leads and tips, but believe the killings may have been random because investigators have been unable to find a motive.

No leads, no idea if the killer is still around, or if or when he’ll decide to kill again.

Be careful, and remember the first step in self-defense is being aware of your surroundings.

On Self Defense

Rich at Shots Across the Bow has a good post up about one of the fundamentals of self-defense – avoiding the need to defend yourself. You should read the whole thing, but here are some

Today, my son texted me and asked me how much it cost to get a Handgun Carry Permit. I gave him the ball park figures for the class and the application. He thanked me and told me that his roommate had been robbed at gunpoint the night before.,

Yeah, I called him immediately.

That should prompt a call from any parent.

“Your roommate was robbed by two men with guns right at your front door, on a well lit street, and they got away clean. You live in a bad neighborhood.”

This is really the only point I disagree with. While crime happens more frequently in “bad neighborhoods” (which is usually why they’re considered bad neighborhoods), it’s certainly not limited to bad neighborhoods. This could have happened in the most upscale, hoity-toity part of Beverly Hills or the most run down part of Detroit. This one incident, by itself, doesn’t make it a bad neighborhood. Crime knows no boundaries.

“The first step in self defense is being aware of your surroundings.” [emphasis mine]

That is the money quote, right there. I’ll repeat it – The first step in self defense is being aware of your surroundings. The three steps of self-defense are avoid, evade, fight. You cannot avoid danger if you are not aware of your surroundings before you enter the area of danger. If you take nothing else from his post, take that truth with you.

His final paragraph sums things up nicely.

Anyway, I believe I got the point across to my son that carrying a gun is only one small part of self defense. The first piece is maintaining an awareness of your surroundings, and the people in them. The second is forethought. Have a plan. Know what you’re going to do when things go south. The third piece is to have multiple layers of defense, but that’s a post for another day.

The idea of awareness as the first part of self-defense is especially important in my town today. It seems there are still no leads in last weeks double homocide in Jefferson National Forest. There is no indication that there is a suspect, and no way to know if the killer is still around or if he’s fled the area, if he lives here or was just passing through, if he targeted the victims or if they were randomly chosen, or if it was a one time event or if he’ll do it again.

Maintain awareness, please.

(h/t to SayUncle)

Hokies – Be cautious, be aware, be careful!

Update: Police continue investigation into Virginia Tech students’ deaths. Still no suspects. Everybody be careful out there.

A double homocide of two Virginia Tech students Thursday morning.

The bodies were discovered about 8 a.m. by a man walking his dog. Metzler’s body was inside a car; Childs’ was outside, [Sheriff Tommy] Whitt said.
He did not say how many times or where on their bodies they appeared to have been shot. No weapons were found, he said.
[...]
Caldwell Fields is a popular weekend hangout spot for Tech students, authorities said. “We are going to step up our patrols in that area even though we think it was a random act of brutal violence,” Whitt said.

There are apparently no suspects at this time. Whoever did this is still wandering around free, and there’s no telling if he’s still in the area or not, or if he’ll do it again.

Maintaining condition yellow is highly recommended until this killer is found. So is carrying, if you can.

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