Dressed in black hooded jackets and black masks, two men entered a Columbus, GA, area home around 2 a.m. through a lower-level door. Upon hearing noises, the 47-year-old resident (who has been burglarized twice before) went to investigate. When he saw the burglars, the resident called out and the intruders reacted by charging toward him. The resident pulled a .357 Mag. pistol and fired at the men, possibly injuring one before they fled the home via a sliding-glass door. When police arrived, they were able to follow a trail of blood off the property, but the trail was lost in some nearby woods. No arrests were made. (The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, GA, 09/10/09)
"I didn't know who they were, and they kept asking, 'Where's the money?'" Bradley Fugate recalls of a frightening home invasion incident. Police say the armed suspects burst into the home shortly after Fugate opened the front and back doors to let some cool air inside. One of the men pushed Fugate's niece onto a bed and began rummaging through a safe. "That was enough for me and it allowed me to get my gun from where I keep it .... I raised up and fired, Fugate said. The shot missed and the struggle led to the kitchen. "He turned around and raised his gun up at me. That's when I shot him, Fugate explained. The suspect was killed. His accomplice fled, later committing suicide during a standoff with police. "I ain't no hero, and I'm broken up about it, Fugate said. "I did what I had to do. (Dayton Daily News, Dayton, OH, 09/02/09)
Rocking her baby to sleep one night, a Traverse City, Mich., woman heard her kitchen door open and saw a strange man enter her home. "She's just sitting there in the dead of night ... and this guy comes in and scares the crap out of her, Traverse City Police Capt. Steve Morgan said. The woman ran into her bedroom and alerted her husband who retrieved a handgun and confronted the suspect, Aaron TwoCrow of Suttons Bay, Mich. On seeing the gun, TwoCrow ran from the house and was later arrested. Police say he appeared to be intoxicated, but gave no indication as to why he had entered the home. He was charged with misdemeanor illegal entry. (Traverse City Record Eagle, Traverse City, MI, 09/22/09)
Police say a club-wielding intruder entered a home's unlocked front door while the residents were inside. He snuck down a hallway, entered a bedroom and began stealing a coin collection. The homeowner heard the ruckus and accosted the intruder, who merely shouted threats and continued taking the coins. The homeowner left the room and returned with a handgun, firing a shot at the intruder. The suspect fled the property, scattering coins as he ran. He was being sought by police. (The Island Packet, Hilton Head, SC, 09/23/09)
When a grocery store manager saw a woman walking away with a stolen bag of meat products, she yelled for the woman to stop. According to police, the brazen shoplifter got into her car. As the manager was writing down the license plate, the shoplifter sped toward her, striking the manager and causing her to fall onto the hood. She held on for dear life as the car sped toward an exit. A bystander saw what was occurring, so he blocked the exit with his vehicle and demanded the shoplifter get out of her car. With the manager still holding on to the hood, the shoplifter tried to maneuver around the vehicle. The bystander, a concealed-carry permit holder, drew his 9mm pistol and yelled at the shoplifter to stop. She again refused. Fearing for the manager's life, he fired a shot through the driver's side window, striking the suspect as she sped off. The car travelled about 200 feet before the wounded driver slowed down. The manager got off the hood unharmed. Police arrested the shoplifter at the hospital. (Kansas City Star, Kansas City, MO, 09/03/09)
Early one morning, a pregnant woman had no idea she would be targeted by a young adult in the midst of a burglary spree. Police say the suspect had already burglarized several cars and homes when he entered the woman's residence in the early morning hours. She awoke and confronted him with a shotgun, prompting him to draw a handgun. Rather than firing a shot, the pregnant woman explained to the intruder that her gun was larger. He put his gun away and waited for police. (Press-Register, Mobile, AL, 09/11/09)
A Savage Fury
Through cable news networks and scores of website postings, millions of Americans have seen the horrifying beating death of a 16-year-old Chicago honor student-bludgeoned by a thug swinging a five-foot length of heavy lumber. The cell phone video taken by a bystander in the midst of chaotic gang violence shows the boy slumping to the pavement unconscious then trying to get to his feet only to be hit, stomped and kicked by more gangbangers. And there is laughter. A girl's desperate voice says, "Darrion, get up. He never regained consciousness.
Four juveniles were later arrested, charged as adults with the first-degree murder of Darrion Albert-reportedly a good youngster in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was on his way from school to a bus stop. More arrests are forthcoming.
After the initial expressions of shock by politicians and the media, the story faded. But imagine if a gang member using a stolen handgun had committed this senseless murder. Headlines would have blared, "Chicago youth killed by assault handgun. It would have dominated the media for weeks and may have become a permanent icon in the gun-ban archive to bolster demands that America's law-abiding gun owners pay the price with their individual liberty for a singular act of savagery in President Obama's handgun-banning hometown.
Since no firearm was involved, the vultures at the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center and their big media enablers saw no political advantage in saying anything. There was no reason to trot out their gun-ban boilerplate. After all, this was not a "gun crime.
New York billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun propaganda machine had nothing to say. This violent death did not serve his ends of bringing New York City's civil disarmament to the rest of America. The horrifying death of Darrion Albert did not produce a single headline declaring that this young, high school junior was killed by a board.
No federal agency frantically traced the origin of the heavy piece of lumber used to strike the fatal blow that snuffed out a promising life. There were no demands to create a massive federal lumber database to determine who originally sold the board or where it was manufactured. This was not labeled a "Saturday-Night-Special board, or an "assault board.
Trial lawyers didn't file suits against loggers, sawmills or lumber yards claiming the murder was their fault for not controlling the "foreseeable" criminal use of their forest products. No one called for a ban on construction-grade lumber. No one demanded that those Americans who do not use lumber in senseless acts of violence give up their use of wood.
None of that has anything to do with the after-school mob scene in a Chicago neighborhood. It would be irrelevant. A bizarre mockery ofthe real story-the growth of an outlaw class that places no value on human life.
And so it is with gun control.
In a city that bans handgun ownership and demands annual re-registration of long guns, the statistics about teenage gang-related murders are appalling. Chicago is the murder capital of the nation. Yet whenever guns are used by murderers, there is always that irrational demand for bans on guns that you and I own and use legally. The truth is you can't make criminal commerce, possession and use of guns any more illegal than they are under existing federal law.
In Darrion Albert's case, the gun-ban crowd's usual fog of propaganda did not obscure the true nature of this horrible crime. The media with uncharacteristic clarity reported that Darrion Albert was randomly killed by young men who are responsible for their own savage acts.
Adding more shock to the tragedy, an instant memorial created by friends and mourners at the site of Darrion Albert's assault was set on fire and destroyed by gang members. In the video, many watching the mob scene were on their cell phones, but according to police, not one kid phoned the authorities.
The call to police reporting the initial gang fight came from employees in a nearby community center.
And what about the argument that the police can protect people better than armed, peaceable citizens? In the aftermath of Darrion Albert's murder, the Rev. Jesse Jackson-a strong supporter of Chicago's gun-ban laws-answered that question. He claimed in an interview that Chicago police officers were near the scene, but failed to intercede.
What if one of the adult civilian eyewitnesses who did phone police had been lawfully armed with a handgun? Would the life of Darrion Albert have been spared? As I've said before, an instant responder who can stop violence is better than first responders, who all too often clean up the aftermath of violence.
That brings us to potential salvation for the disarmed good people of Chicago (and of every other locality with similar bans) as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the landmark Constitutional challenge to Chicago's ban on handguns. (For details, read NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox's in-depth analysis of McDonald v. Chicago in this issue.) A court decision restoring a citizen's right to own a handgun and the right to self-defense could spell the difference between life and death in the Windy City.
The Gift of Freedom This Season
The holidays are here again, and on behalf of this association, I'd like to extend my best wishes from the NRA family to yours.
Chances are, you're reading these words right around Thanksgiving. So in the spirit of the season, I'd like to call on you to think about all that we have to be thankful for-and all that the idea of being thankful and diligent and vigilant entails.
In the U.S., hunting season is in full swing. Whether or not you're a hunter, I think we can all be thankful for the bountiful harvest from our farm fields or our forests, the blessings of life, liberty and security. Our health. Our families. Our freedom.
It's entirely fitting and proper that we are mindful of all our blessings at Thanksgiving. But I believe giving thanks is only one part of what being thankful really means.
I believe we also have a duty to try to protect, preserve and perpetuate the blessings with which we've been endowed, for the good of our children and their children.
This is a natural and appropriate time of year to do so. Think about it.
Whether you're winterizing your home, getting new tires and anti-freeze for your vehicles, or sheltering your livestock and planting cover crops for wildlife and soil conservation, so much of what you do at this time of year revolves around being a good steward and protecting what you have for the future.
I believe we should do the same for our freedoms. And one of the best ways we can do so is by giving our freedoms new friends. Let me explain.
By now, you've heard the news that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of McDonald v. Chicago a case that could give the Second Amendment the same protection against state and local government action contained in the First, Fourth and Sixth Amendments to the Bill of Rights.
This is monumental news. Many legal scholars believe the mere fact the Court has decided to review the case bodes well for our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
But even if the Supreme Court were to build a permanent, impenetrable wall of protection around Second Amendment freedom, that freedom couldn't be truly safe without citizens to exercise, cherish and give it new relevance with each generation.
After all, with the ranks of hunters aging and thinning, with gun owners too often belittled by the media and Hollywood elites, and with young people faced with a widening array of activities competing for their time, interest in firearms and the shooting sports could slowly decline-if we let it.
That's where you fit in.
Over the past few months in this space, I've asked you to reach out to anyone you know who doesn't know about hunting, shooting, firearms or the freedom to own them-but who might take an interest in such things if only they had a chance to experience them.
I'm hoping you took my words to heart and made a real effort to give firearm freedom some new friends by introducing your friends to the shooting sports.
If so, it's fairly likely that you have some newcomers at your deer camp, in your duck blind, or visiting your gun club, shooting range or sporting clays courses.
If that's the case, I thank you, I congratulate you and I urge you to take the next step.
You've introduced them to firearm freedom. Now introduce them to the one group that does more than any other public or private institution in America to ensure that freedom is exercised safely, effectively, lawfully and extensively now and in the future: the National Rifle Association of America.
When you're standing around the fire in your deer camp, talking quietly in your duck blind or attending a holiday event this season, make it a point to tell fellow shooters, hunters, gun owners and believers in freedom what the NRA is and what we do.
Tell them why you're a member. Then urge them to join.
Better yet, take that one extra step that can turn a freedom believer into a freedom advocate, and buy that new friend an NRA membership.
Call (877) NRA-2000 (672-2000) now to give the gift of an NRA membership this season. In so doing, you'll be giving the gift of freedom-a gift that comes to us from our Creator, but that depends upon us for sustenance and survival.