January 12, 2013

M.D. HARMON: Would you rather be shooting at an intruder or shot by one?

M.D. Harmon

A Georgia mother of twins told her children not to answer a knock at the door last Friday because she thought it was a solicitor.

When the man wouldn't stop ringing her doorbell, however, she grew frightened enough to call her husband at work.

He told her to take the kids and hide while he called 911. She took refuge behind the door of a crawlspace under the eaves.

The man, later identified by police as Paul Slater, who has a long record of burglaries and other arrests, broke down the front door using a crowbar and rampaged through the house until he opened the crawlspace door.

The mother emptied the .38 caliber revolver she had picked up, hitting him five times out of the six shots she fired.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described what happened next: "'The guy's face down, crying,' the sheriff said. The woman told him to stay down or she'd shoot again. Slater, unaware that she had emptied her chambers, obliged as the mother and her children ran to a neighbor's house."

The paper added, "The injured burglar eventually made it out of the home and into his car, driving away before deputies arrived on the scene."

Officers found him nearby after his car left the road. He is expected to survive.

On the same day this happened, the Journal-Constitution printed another story:

"A (Georgia) woman was shot late Thursday night by intruders who broke into her home. .... The victim, who was home alone, heard the intruders breaking in, called 911 and hid somewhere in the house, but the burglars found her and shot her, police said."

The woman was reported in stable condition, and was fortunate to have survived -- as was the first woman.

But note: Both women hid themselves, and both were discovered by the intruders before police arrived.

One woman, however, had a gun and the other didn't. The woman with the gun was unharmed, and so were her children. The woman without a gun was shot.

Did the first woman really need a gun? Well, it seems obvious Slater wasn't just after TV sets or jewelry. He pursued the woman and her family right into a crawl space, clearly looking for them.

And he's the one truly lucky to be alive -- which is as it should be.

Now the Georgia mother's Second Amendment civil liberties (and everyone else's) are threatened by a "special commission" formed by President Barack Obama to recommend new gun laws after the horrific killing of 26 defenseless adults and children in a gun-free zone at a Connecticut school.

Reports say it plans the resurrection of former bans on "assault rifles" (which are used in fewer murders annually than knives or clubs) and "high-capacity magazines."

(The woman in Georgia had six shots and didn't mortally wound her home's intruder. Might she now wish she had more rounds with which to defend her kids? And what if there had been more than one intruder?)

Nothing the panel is said to be considering would have stopped the Connecticut killer, who could have used many other types of weapons in the incredible 20 minutes it took police to arrive at the unprotected school.

The administration also is considering bypassing Congress with new regulations, to be enforced by the Justice Department, which itself caused the deaths of hundreds of people by giving thousands of untraceable guns to Mexican drug cartels via Operation Fast and Furious.

A Jan. 9 Rasmussen poll showed 56 percent of Americans want tougher penalties for crimes committed with firearms (a good idea).

But, The Washington Examiner reported, "74 percent believe the Constitution guarantees the right of gun ownership. Also, 75 percent believe it is 'morally acceptable' to have a gun in the home." And less than half, 44 percent, believe gun laws should be a federal responsibility.

While many Republicans likely will resist the panel's ideas, some red-state Democrats are also unhappy.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., told ABC, "I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration ... that's way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about. And it's not going to pass."

Though gun-control zealots said afterward Heitkamp had backed off that statement, her office said her views "have not changed or shifted." And Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., originally quoted as approving some restrictions, now says, "I'm not supporting a ban on anything."

The National Rifle Association was pilloried for suggesting schools have armed guards, but when President Bill Clinton sought $60 million for that purpose in the 1990s, liberals were silent.

Meanwhile, many politicians and celebrities who support more restrictions on private firearms have well-armed guards. If they need semi-autos for protection, why can't ordinary, law-abiding Americans have them, too?

 

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at: mdharmoncol@yahoo.com

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