QOTD – 2014-03-05

At SayUncle, from commenter Sigivald, talking about PSH from Illinois real estate agents.

I still just can’t wrap my head around what they expect the sign to do; if the prospective purchaser is not-law-abiding they’ll just ignore the sign and have their gun.

If they are, then they were hardly a threat in the first place.

I can’t really add to that. It’s just such an obvious thing that I can’t wrap my head around the supposed problem either. It must have something to do with Magical Thinking™.

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Some followup on the NRV Mall / New River Community College Shootings

 

A couple of weeks ago, just as the gun-control debate in the Senate was heating up, a nameless attention-whore decided to take a shotgun and shoot up the local community college satellite campus. This is MY community college, the one that I am currently taking classes at. Thankfully, he didn’t manage to kill anybody, and only managed to wound two people (which is probably the only reason the anti-Rights blood-dancers didn’t jump all over it).

I call him an attention-whore because he actually posted his intent on 4chan before he started, and posted the address for the local emergency services internet radio scanner, telling people to listen to the chaos he was about to inflict. As a result, the maintainer of that scanner has discontinued it (I assume that’s the reason, based on the note at the link, which says “Due to recent events that have taken place in my community, I have decided to discontinue this feed.”). This is highly irritating to me, since I frequently used it while at work to see if there was a major emergency nearby – usually when I would hear multiple police/fire/EMS sirens. That scanner feed is how I learned about that particular incident, and how I learned about the murder of Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek Crouse, which occurred only a couple of blocks from my office.

Speaking of learning about these incidents, I also learned (or verified, really, since I already knew) that you cannot rely on those fancy text/email alert systems that most colleges have put in to warn people about emergencies. It wasn’t until about 20 minutes after the shootings that I got the first text message from the college, and that only said that the college was “closing immediately at both locations”. The first message alerting students that “administrators have unconfirmed reports of a shooting” at the mall campus didn’t go out until 40 minutes after the shootings.

In other words, by the time I got the emergency messages, the emergency was long over. I don’t know whether the delay was in getting the message to the administration, the administration waiting to send it, or simply the cellular networks getting overloaded by the sudden batch sending of about 5,000 text messages, but it was essentially useless as an actual emergency alert system. Like always, you are on your own when it comes to your own safety.

And, of course, the school’s policy is to disarm students and staff under penalty of expulsion/firing, and make their campuses into  Gun Free Victim Disarmament Zones. It worked just as well in this case as it always does.

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Breaking: Shooting at New River Valley Community College

Update – 1609 hrs: The Christiansburg Police chief spoke at a press conference this afternoon, and stated that there were two people injured – one flown and one taken to the local hospital – and a suspect in custody. It is believed that there is no more danger. No further information is being released at this time.

Ignore the stupid reporters calling him a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy. That’s definitely a CPD uniform, and you can see the eagles on his collar even with the poor quality streaming video. The press, as usual, is ignorant.

—–

News reports here, here, and here.

That third link is to the Roanoke Times, which seems to be having issues at the moment, probably due to high traffic.

This is in Christiansburg, VA, right next to Blacksburg and Virginia Tech.

Initial reports are that the shooter is in custody, and that one person was flown out. The media has no reports of other injuries at this time. The police have a press briefing scheduled for 1500hrs EDT.

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Legislative Update: Virginia Gun Bills #2

Some more gun bills have been filed in Virginia. In addition to the ones I listed previously, they are:

  • HB 1506 – Reduces from 15 years to 10 years the minimum number of years that certain officers must serve in order to qualify to purchase their service handguns. [I don't see anything objectionable here.]
  • HB 1557 – Requires every school board in the Commonwealth to designate at least one qualified person for every school in the district who, upon application with the school board, may carry a concealed handgun on school property. Establishes required training for such persons. [This is a good thing, specifically requiring school boards to allow at least one person in every school to be armed. The list of people they can designate includes teachers, administrators, and volunteers with CHPs, so bad guys don't have to just "look for the cop". This allows greater protection for our children.]
  • HB 1582 – Permits any armed security officers, licensed by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, to carry firearms onto school property if such officer is hired by the school to provide protection to students and employees. The bill also prohibits the Board of Social Services from adopting any regulations that would prevent a child day center from hiring an armed security officer. [Like HB 1557, this allows greater protection for our children, though it is limited to hired security.]
  • HB 1604 – Prevents the applicable regulatory body from prohibiting locksmiths and employees of any electronic security business from carrying firearms if they have a valid CHP. [I'm all for limiting the state's power to prevent people from carrying.]
  • HB 1660 – Prohibits prisoners in state, local, or community correctional facilities from possessing or transporting weapons. A violation of this prohibition constitutes a Class 6 felony and may carry a minimum sentence if the violator was previously convicted of a felony. The bill also excludes such prisoners from the process whereby individuals may petition the circuit court for a permit to carry a firearm, stun weapon or explosives. [I assumed prisoners were already prohibited from having weapons in prison, but maybe its isn't actually a crime currently. I can't say I have any objections, unless it would be a redundant law.]
  • HB 1662 – Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits firearms, ammunition, or components, or a combination thereof, in libraries owned or operated by the locality. [Pure anti-Rights cultist BS. I don't know why they have this obsession with guns in libraries, but it's just as stupid as any other victim-disarmament gun-free zone.]
  • HB 1679 – Adds another group of LEO’s to the list of people who can carry concealed without a CHP. [Yet another privileged class designated as better than the peasantry.]
  • HB 1693 – Repeals the section of current law that allows someone to possess a firearm on school property as long as it’s unloaded and in a closed container. [This is a step backwards. I don't believe there has been one single case where someone took advantage of that exception to facilitate breaking the law. More anti-Rights cult BS, trying to take advantage of a horrible tragedy.]
  • HB 1833 – Reorganizes the existing concealed carry law into separate, discrete sections. [This is purely a clarifying measure. I don't see any actual changes to the law, it just splits it up into separate and smaller code sections to make it easier to parse.]
  • HB 1866 – Removes certain weapons from the definition of weapons that require mandatory expulsion from school for up to one year. [If I'm reading it right, it removes knives, stun guns, etc., and limits the mandatory one year expulsion to firearms.]
  • HB 2025Requires a background check for any firearm purchase and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for sellers to obtain such a check from licensed firearm dealers. [The anti-Rights cult's coveted "gun show loophole" bill. This bill MUST be opposed and killed.]
  • SB 965Another “lost or stolen” bill. [This one is far worse than the one I listed last time. That one required reporting within 48 hours and imposed a monetary "civil penalty". This one only allows 24 hours to report it, and makes failure to do so a CRIME. This bill also MUST be opposed and killed.]
  • SB 1012 – Prohibits the possession of a firearm in Capitol Square, including the Capitol and other buildings predominantly used to conduct the business of the General Assembly. [Of course, they exempt themselves from this law. Another one to oppose.]

I’ve put the bills that are more relevant to the average citizen in bold type, and critical bills are in red. Contact your Virginia state representatives!

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Why would you need a gun on the VCU campus?

Colleges and universities are sacred places of learning, and are naturally safe, right?

Not so much.

Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao today branded as “absolutely unacceptable” six robbery-related crimes on or near campus last night and said he was pressing for a meeting later today with Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

Six “robbery-related” crimes in one night. To be more specific, it was actually six robberies or attempted robberies in one hour.

The first robbery was reported at 7:37 p.m. at 913 W. Franklin St. A second robbery was reported about an hour later at Laurel and Cary streets.

In addition, three attempted robberies were reported – one at 8 p.m. at Grace and Foushee streets; the second at 8:30 p.m. at Laurel and Cary streets, and the third also at about 8:30 at Cary and Belvidere streets, VCU police said.

During the same time frame, a report of a man brandishing a firearm was reported at 8 p.m. at First and Grace streets.

Police said the victims were approached by an armed black male who demanded money.

Two successful robberies, three attempted robberies, and one “brandishing” that sounds a lot like an attempted robbery (but that could be bad editing on the paper’s part). From what I can tell on Google Maps, 4 of those took place on the actual campus, and the other two were within 6 blocks of campus. They took place late enough that most classes were done with, but early enough that many students might be pulling late nights studying or working in computer labs on campus, or having a late dinner.

Yet VCU continues to ban the legal carry of concealed handguns on campus – a ban that is enshrined in the state administrative code, unlike most other universities in Virginia. We see frequently how such bans are total failures at preventing crime.

We need to allow those students who would otherwise legally carry a concealed firearm to do so even when they cross the invisible line that separates “campus” from the rest of the city. The same students who can lawfully carry anywhere else – to the grocery store, to local restaurants, or just walking down the street – and do so daily with no problems.

We need to end the ban on campus carry!

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(h/t Virginia Shooting Sports Association)

Who needs a gun on a college campus? – Mob assault edition

This morning, on the VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) campus, 2 people were assaulted and robbed by a group of about 15 “young people”, in two separate attacks.

Police are searching today for a group of about 15 young people believed to have punched one passerby and robbed and beaten another in rapid succession on Virginia Commonwealth University’s main downtown Richmond campus.

[...]

VCU and Richmond police described the assailants as a group of 15 black males between the ages of 17 and 22.

[...]

The first victim, who is not a VCU student, reported being punched without provocation by a member of the group while getting out of a vehicle at Shafer and West Grace streets.

Moments later, the group encountered the second victim, a VCU student, at Shafer and West Franklin streets. The student told police one member of the group made a comment about his boots before he was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground.

Once on the ground, the student was allegedly was told by one of the assailants, “Give me everything you’ve got.” The student was punched again, this time in the neck, and a pack of cigarettes was stolen from his pants pocket, police said.

VCU is, of course, one of those universities that is a Victim Disarmament Gun Free Zone – in this case, a prohibition that has the force of law (PDF warning) because it is enshrined in the state’s administrative code. Yet this isn’t the first time that VCU has had people victimized on campus.

These people felt it was acceptable to attack and injure people for what appears to be nothing more than their own entertainment. The pack of cigarettes seems to have been just a bonus.

Victim disarmament Gun-free zones only disarm the law-abiding – the ones you don’t need to worry about. We need to end them, now.

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[Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, retrieved 8/24/12]

(H/T SayUncle)

Who needs a gun on campus? – Attempted Abduction

Update – 2012-06-29 @ 2200: The Roanoke Times is reporting that police have made an arrest. It appears that there was only one person involved, not two as originally reported. The man police arrested was employed by a contractor doing construction on campus.

From the Virginia Tech Police:

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 29, 2012 – The following information was reported to the Virginia Tech Police Department early this morning by the victim of an attempted abduction.

Early this morning (Friday, June 29, 2012), at approximately 2:15 a.m., a female was walking from College Avenue, across Henderson Lawn, toward Alumni Mall. She was approached by two males who grabbed her and attempted to drag her toward a pickup truck on Alumni Mall. She was able to escape from them and ran away from the scene toward College Avenue.

She is lucky that she could get away. What were their intentions? I certainly don’t doubt the possibility that it was just two VT students playing what they thought was a practical joke, but it’s far more likely that they had nefarious intent. Robbery? Rape? Murder? Only they know for sure.

Even worse, Virginia Tech has done everything they can to keep students, faculty, and visitors disarmed. They would prefer that a woman be dragged off by two men for who knows what purposes than be able to shoot them to protect herself. They fail to see that this policy failed to protect the victims on April 16, 2007. They fail to see that this policy failed to protect Xin Yang in 2009. They fail to see that this policy failed to protect Officer Deriek Crouse.

They fail to see – or simply don’t care – that gun bans only protect criminals. It’s a very lucky thing that the police are only investigating an attempted kidnapping, and not a missing person report, rape, or murder.

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[Source: Virginia Tech website, retrieved 6/29/12]

An April 16 victim’s mother speaks out… in support of guns on campus.

Holly Adams, mother of Leslie Adams, one of the 32 victims of the Virginia Tech massacre, speaks out against the likes of Colin Goddard and other anti-Rights activists. I received this on Monday – the fifth anniversary of the shootings – by email from VCDL, and I will reproduce her entire statement here.

On April 16, 2007, my child, Leslie Sherman, was killed by Seung-Hui Cho during the Virginia Tech massacre.  Today is the fifth anniversary of her death.  Always in my memories, every day I wish that this tragedy was a nightmare and I could wake up to hold my daughter even if it is just one more time.  That opportunity might have been possible if someone been able to defend and protect my daughter in her classroom before Cho took 30 precious lives.

There is an unfortunate drive for more gun control and the continuation of preventing guns on campus by parents whose children lived or survived during that fatal day.  Several family members of those victims have actively voiced their support for increased gun control measures.  As result, it has been assumed that they speak for all families of the Virginia Tech victims.  I am writing this to make it clear that this is not the case.  They do not represent me and my views.

Speaking for myself, I would give anything if someone on campus; a professor, one of the trained military or guardsman taking classes or another student could have saved my daughter by shooting Cho before he killed our loved ones.  Because professors, staff and students are precluded from protecting themselves on campus, Cho, a student at Virginia Tech himself, was able to simply walk on campus and go on a killing rampage with no worry that anyone would stop him.

I ask a simple question:  Would the other parents of victims be forever thankful if a professor or student was allowed to carry a firearm and could have stopped Seung-Hui Cho before their loved one was injured or killed?  I would be. I also suspect that the tragedy may not have occurred at all if Cho knew that either faculty members or students were permitted to carry their own weapons on campus.  Cho took his own life before campus police were able to reach him and put a stop to his killing spree.

A sad testament to this anniversary date is the number of similar killings in schools and public places that have taken place afterwards as if nothing has changed to help prevent such needless and heartbreaking events.  That is why I fully support the VCDL in their outstanding efforts to help prevent this type of tragedy and loss from occurring in the future.

Holly Adams

Given who is making the statement, and in order to keep it a faithful reproduction, I will make an exception to my normal policy of redacting the killer’s name.

This statement stands on its own. It is, in it’s entirety, today’s quote of the day. I can add nothing, except to note that you won’t see the mainstream media printing this, or even acknowledging its existence.

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(h/t to SayUncle and Robb Allen for reminding me about this.

The Magical Thinking of the Anti-Rights Cult

We often talk about how the anti-Rights cultists* – and specifically the ones who oppose the Right to Keep and Bear Arms – continually push the idea that banning firearms in a location (parks, schools, libraries, post offices, banks, etc.) will prevent criminals from shooting people in those places. Those of us with a grasp of logic, human behaviour, and science like to call this viewpoint “magical thinking.” It is the irrational idea that passing a law – in other words, putting words on paper -  will control the behaviour of those who are already willing to violate other laws against murder, rape, assault, or robbery.

We see a particularly egregious** example of this in this article about the recent murder of a National Park Ranger in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.

The shooting renewed debate about a federal law that made it legal for people to take loaded weapons into Mount Rainier. The 2010 law made possession of firearms in national parks subject to state gun laws.

Bill Wade, the outgoing chair of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, said Congress should be regretting its decision to allow loaded weapons in national parks.

He called Sunday’s fatal shooting a tragedy that could have been prevented. He hopes Congress will reconsider the law that took effect in early 2010, but doubts that will happen in today’s political climate. [emphasis mine - Jake]

He believes (or claims to) that somehow a law against possessing a gun in national parks would have stopped someone on the run from the police after shooting multiple people from bringing his gun into the park, so that it would have been impossible for him to shoot the ranger. And he expects other people to believe this irrational assertion, too.

Shooting people (outside of certain specific circumstances such as self-defense) is illegal. Fleeing from the police is illegal. There is some (currently unconfirmed) speculation that it may have been illegal for him to possess a firearm at all. None of these laws prevented him from doing any of those things, some more than once. How would one more law have stopped him?

Laws prohibiting the possession of guns (or alcohol, or drugs, or anything else) only stop the law abiding. They do nothing to stop those who ignore the law, they only provide a basis for punishment after the fact. A law against carrying guns in national parks would have done nothing to prevent this murder, and anyone who claims otherwise is simply denying reality.

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* Yes, it is a cult.

** Made even more egregious by the timing – just one day after her death, which is in itself an example of the common anti-Rights cultists’ practice of “blood-dancing” – and by the AP’s bias-induced failure to provide an opposing viewpoint.

[Source: AP article on FoxNews.com, retrieved 1/3/12]

(h/t Sean Sorrentino)

Short Update – Today’s Shooting at Virginia Tech

I’m now free from my other activities – those who have been following my blog and my comments elsewhere can probably guess what I was doing – and can give a short follow-up.

Here’s a quick summary of what happened, from my perspective and based on what I was able to determine with information from publicly available sources.

At around 1230 today, a Virginia Tech police car came past my office running emergently, and clearly responding to something, not simply pulling someone over. A second officer did the same thing a few seconds later. I didn’t think anything in particular, because it’s not unheard of, but it caught my interest, so I opened up the local internet scanner to see what was up. There’s about a 10-15 second delay from the radio transmission to it being streamed onto the net, so I was in time to hear the location and the words “officer down.” There was traffic about a “suspect vehicle”, so while the thought of a shooting did enter my head I was also considering the possibility of a traffic accident involving an officer. I still don’t know if it was an officer who had arrived on scene, or a dispatcher relaying information from the caller, but what I heard shortly afterward chilled my blood.

The downed officer had stopped someone and was writing a ticket when another person just walked up and shot him. The shooter then took off running, and his location at the time was unknown.

Even worse was the initial description of the suspect: A white male in a maroon hoodie and grey sweatpants with a backpack.

Virginia Tech’s colours are maroon and orange, and grey sweatpants are very common. It was like issuing a BOL for a white male in a red and white striped shirt with a red and white bobble hat and black glasses at a Where’s Waldo convention.

Shortly afterwards, there was a second description of the suspect given that did not match the original, including a report that he had a rifle. This caused speculation about the possibility a second suspect. As I noted in my original post, very early on there were reports of the second person down at the parking lot known as “the cage”. That single radio report that I heard indicated that the person down matched the original description, and had a handgun but no rifle. What followed over the next two hours or so was confusing to follow, but at at least one point included reports of shots fired in various locations that were too far apart for them to all be real if there was only one person involved. Each of these reports was checked and the locations secured. None of them were accurate. There was early speculation that he had gotten into a vehicle and fled, and a description and license plate number were given. I don’t know specifically what happened with that except that it was fairly quickly determined that he was in fact on foot, but I suspect it may have been the description of the vehicle the murdered officer had originally stopped. Things eventually settled into what sounded like a practiced and orderly search of campus and the buildings.

At my office, I immediately locked the doors and notified my coworkers once I realized what was going on. I also adjusted my sidearm from it’s usual “deep concealment” to an easier to access but still concealed position. We settled in to monitoring the situation through the internet scanner, twitter, facebook, and the local news websites. All reports put the shooter moving away from my office, but some of the shots fired reports were uncomfortably close. At about 1430, the boss (who was out of the office at the time) made the decision to send everyone home. As I was the only one at the office carrying at the time, I made sure I was the last one out and stayed in the parking lot watching until everyone else was in their cars and in motion before getting into my car to leave.

—–

From this point on, I was involved in activities that exposed me to some privileged information. At this point, I need to be able to look over the news reports to sort out what has been publicly released and what I learned through those activities that hasn’t been released, so I can’t really say much more. I will note that it was approximately 5-10 minutes, maybe as much as 15, from the time I became aware of the shooting to the time the campus alert sirens went off and the information appeared on the website. If you consider that the first officers needed to get there, find out that it’s a real report, find out from witnesses what happened and that the shooter was not there and still on the loose, relay that to dispatch, and for the dispatchers to do what they need to do to initiate the alert system, that 5-15 minutes is actually pretty reasonable (especially on the lower end).

I hate the “mainstream media”, with a passion. Especially once they reach the point of “we’ve told you everything that anyone knows for certain, now we’re just talking to fill airtime.” Wild speculation, blatantly stupid statements, misleading statements, blatantly wrong statements, idle chatter for hours on end, and repeating themselves for hours on end, just so they can avoid not talking about the killing for more than five seconds. They did the same thing on April 16, four years ago, and it infuriated me then, too.

It will take me a little while to get the rest of what I can and can’t say sorted out. To make things more complicated, I have a family funeral to go to tomorrow (not related, not unexpected, and a situation where it was probably a blessing for the deceased, but still a funeral for a loved one), and internet access at my parents’ house is spotty, so I’ll be mostly away from the ‘net until late Saturday.

It’s also going to take me a bit to get my head sorted out. I was here for April 16, and for the Morva manhunt. So… it’s just going to take a bit.

Stay safe, stay alert, and keep Virginia Tech in your thoughts and prayers.

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