November 30, 2008

Kaddish - Sunday, November 30

In memory of Chabad Rabbi Gavriel and his wife Rivka of blessed memory



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Dear Mr. Van der Leun:

I have a concealed weapons permit, and so always---except at school---carry a Smith and Wesson .38. I even carry it to Mass and Confession. I could not bear to be at the scene of a shooting and be as helpless as those kids at Virginia Tech.

I might never know how I would respond to such an event as Mumbai. A man wants to believe that he would act bravely, but he cannot really know.

Posted by: Mike Austin at November 30, 2008 10:50 AM

They and all memory of them will vanish from the face of the earth and our lamp will burn forever.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be...

Posted by: JBean at November 30, 2008 3:09 PM

Re: Mr. D'Souza. He appears not to be the cold-blooded terrorist-pal  the AP would normally champion:

From the Belfast Telegraph:

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back." ...

The militants returned inside the station and headed towards a rear exit towards Chowpatty Beach. Mr D'Souza added: "I told some policemen the gunmen had moved towards the rear of the station but they refused to follow them. What is the point if having policemen with guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera."


Posted by: JBean at November 30, 2008 4:00 PM

Gerard, thank you for this. It is most moving.

Posted by: Maggie45 at November 30, 2008 7:00 PM

I agree that the 2A and especially the states which allow CCW do place that "germ of doubt" into criminal and terrorists' minds, but let's not overplay this point.

As you might guess, I live in of the more "gun-free" states. Specifically, I live in Maricopa county (which basically encompasses the Phoenix metro area), which has a population of 3.7 million. In this county, there are 59317 Concealed Carry Permit holders. Doing the math, this means that 1.5% of the citizens of one of the most gun-free areas of the country have a permit to carry concealed. 98.5% do not.

But I think the true picture is more bleak than that. I have been a fairly active IDPA participant. In the Phoenix area, there are 3 ranges which, to varying degrees, support IDPA shooting. I've been to all three. And, regardless of venue, it is rare to see any more than 30 shooters.

Defensive shooting is a perishable skill. This is why police departments regularly make their officers requalify. It is why SWAT officers train all the time.

I use IDPA to keep whatever shooting skills I have. That said, I realize that IDPA isn't for everyone, and that there are all sorts of other ways to practice. But the sad conclusion I have come to is that most gun owners don't bother to practice, and I suspect that most CCW holders rarely bother to carry. There are probably no more than 500 (including police) in the Phoenix area that I would trust with an accurate, off-the-cuff response to a Mumbai-style terror attack.

But let's assume that someone does launch a Mumbai-style shoot-em-up attack here in the presence of a number of capable CCW holders. Terrorist #1 and #2 start shooting. CCW holder #1 starts shooting back. CCW holder #2 starts shooting too. But does he know that he's dealing with two terrorists or three? Who does CCW holder #3 start shooting at?

It's one thing to puff up your chest and to say that "I'd never let those Mumbai terrorists get away with shooting at me", but quite another to maintain the disipline to make yourself the kind of shooter who could pull this off. And even if you do maintain that discipline, when you're in the worst moment of your life, I'm not sure that perfect clarity of who is a good guy, and who is not, will be possible at all.

So when the photographer complains that the police weren't shooting back, I have to wonder: How many civilians were in the background of the shooter? How would we be criticizing the police had they killed or injured civilians in the process of shooting back at the terrorists? And, in this country, how would we deal with a CCW holder who had done the same while similarly trying to defeat a terrorist?

Posted by:
azlibertarian at November 30, 2008 8:16 PM

Part of the problem is right there in the quote from D'souza:

"They were firing from their hips. Very professional. Very cool," says D'Souza, the newspaper's photo editor.

Professionals don't fire from their hips. Skilled amateurs don't fire from their hips. Thugs who want to impress people brought up on a diet of Hollywood (and Bollywood, presumably) movies fire from their hips.

Posted by: Rob Crawford at December 1, 2008 5:09 AM

I love Ofra Haza.

(Not the main point of your post, but "Kaddish" is on my iPod.)

Posted by: B. Durbin at December 6, 2008 4:56 PM