Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Tower Tragedy
...No one knew what time it was anymore. It was simply gunfire, screams, and the heat of midday. “What the hell to do?” Martinez remembers thinking. “I figured the source was up in the tower–I’d better get up there.”

Meanwhile, Houston McCoy ferried another student to get guns and ammunition. After the first fifteen minutes, the sniper was pinned down by students and other civilians who’d spontaneously flocked to the university area with deer rifles. McCoy then found a university employee who knew the tunnels of the campus, and he plodded through them, with his shotgun off safety, to the tower. The sniper had been killing for more than an hour now.

Reality slammed into Martinez as he rode the elevator up to the twenty-seventh floor of the tower, one floor below the deck where the shooting was coming from. As the numbers rose during the climb, he said the Act of Contrition. He figured there would be a police assault unit of some kind on top and he would join it. Instead, he found Officer Jerry Day, bookstore manager Allen Crum, and bodies mangled by whoever had taken over the tower. “I didn’t know it was just us chickens,” he says. Day was busy attending to a man whose family–tourists taking in the vista that day–had been shot to pieces and who now moaned and bled on the stairwell going up to the top. At the same time, Houston boarded the elevator and rode up with his shotgun ready at his shoulder. When the door opened, he was facing the gun of Jerry Day, and both men slowly lowered their weapons. Meanwhile, Ramiro had gone up with Crum to the office just off the tower platform. Crum had been deputized by Martinez and given a rifle. Houston got to the top just as Ramiro banged open the blocked door to the deck and slipped out. A gangway laced around the tower, just under the clock. Houston told Crum to cover one direction with a rifle and slipped out behind Martinez....

‘If We Had the Ammunition, We Could’ve Cleared that Building,’ Son at Navy Yard Told Dad
...Today, we celebrated Constitution Day, and Dan Joseph took to the streets to ask people how they felt about our founding document. He also asked people if there was anything they would change. In the wake of the horrific shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, one individual made an interesting point about yesterday's mass shooting at the Navy Yard in the nation's capital:

"I know a lot of people are concerned about guns these days, but you know if everybody had arms, then there wouldn't be these problems.

"My son was at Marine Barracks -- at the Navy Yard yesterday - and they had weapons with them, but they didn't have ammunition. And they said, 'We were trained, and if we had the ammunition, we could've cleared that building.' Only three people had been shot at that time, and they could've stopped the rest of it."

The Navy Yard shooting brings up the legitimate issue of carrying - and using - firearms on military installations.

Back in 1993, the Clinton administration virtually declared military establishments "gun-free zones." As a result, the policy banned "military personnel from carrying their own personal firearms and mandates that 'a credible and specific threat against [Department of the Army] personnel [exist] in that region" before military personnel 'may be authorized to carry firearms for personal protection." Indeed, most military bases have relatively few military police as they are in heavy demand to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan," according to economist John Lott....