Missouri Teachers Trained to Defend School with Guns

SydowAaronPrincipalFaiviewSchool2013-04-26.jpg “Aaron Sydow, the principal of Fairview School in West Plains, Mo., monitoring the halls. After the Newtown, Conn., shooting, the Fairview school board authorized paid training for staff members so that they could be armed.” Source of caption: print version of the NYT article quoted and cited below. Source of photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

(p. A10) WEST PLAINS, Mo. — At 8:30 on a cloudy, frigid morning late last month in this folksy Ozark town, the superintendent of an area school strolled through the glass doors of the local newspaper office to deliver a news release.

Hours later, the content of that release produced a front-page headline in The West Plains Daily Quill that caught residents off guard: “At Fairview School Some Employees Now Carry Concealed Weapons.”
That was how most parents of Fairview students learned that the school had trained some of its staff members to carry weapons, and the reaction was loud — and mostly gleeful.
“Sooo very glad to hear this,” a woman whose grandchildren attend Fairview posted on the Facebook page of The Quill, adding, “All schools in America should do this.”

For the full story, see:
JOHN ELIGON. “Rat Kidneys Made in Lab Point to Aid for Humans.” The New York Times (Mon., April 15, 2013): A10.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 14, 2013.)

Chicago Gun Ban Laws Do Not Stop Chicago Gun Deaths

(p. A1) CHICAGO — Not a single gun shop can be found in this city because they are outlawed. Handguns were banned in Chicago for decades, too, until 2010, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that was going too far, leading city leaders to settle for restrictions some describe as the closest they could get legally to a ban without a ban. Despite a continuing legal fight, Illinois remains the only state in the nation with no provision to let private citizens carry guns in public.
And yet Chicago, a city with no civilian gun ranges and bans on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, finds itself laboring to stem a flood of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings already in 2013, including a fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl on Tuesday.
To gun rights advocates, the city provides stark evidence that even some of the toughest restrictions fail to make places safer. “The gun laws in Chicago only restrict the law-abiding citizens and they’ve essentially made the citizens prey,” said Richard A. Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

For the full story, see:
MONICA DAVEY. “Strict Gun Laws in Chicago Can’t Stem Fatal Shots.” The New York Times (Weds., January 30, 2013): A1 & A18.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date January 29, 2013, and has the slightly different title “Strict Gun Laws in Chicago Can’t Stem Fatal Shots.”)

Entrepreneur Defends His Store with Gun

SpinelliAnthonyDefendedStore2011-06-05.jpg

“Anthony Spinelli, outside his store in the Bronx on Thursday, was called brave for shooting a man suspected of trying to rob his shop.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

(p. A23) On Arthur Avenue, a group of men piled out of Pasquale’s Rigoletto restaurant onto the sidewalk to pay their respects to a sudden local hero.

“Anthony, we love you,” they shouted across the street.
They summed up the local sentiment about a man, Anthony Spinelli, celebrated for protecting his livelihood. On Wednesday, Mr. Spinelli pulled one of two licensed guns in the store, and shot one of the three people suspected of trying to rob his Arthur Avenue jewelry store at gunpoint.
The Bronx neighborhood seemed energized by the event, which people here saw as a testament to the toughness of one of the last Italian neighborhoods in New York City.
“You don’t come in and try to take a man’s livelihood,” said Nick Lousido, who called himself a neighborhood regular. “His family’s store has 50 years on this block, they’re going to come in and rob him?”
On Thursday, Mr. Spinelli, 49, had returned to his shop and sized up the broken front windows and the mess inside. He said that a man and woman had entered his store, and the man had held a gun to his head while the woman had gone through jewelry drawers and stuffed jewelry into a bag. He said he had feared for his life, and that he was still shaken.
. . .
Next door to Mr. Spinelli’s shop is M & M Painter Supplies, which has photographs of Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa next to a paint color chart on the wall.
“He’s a very brave man,” said the store owner, Ernie Verino. “He had the gun, and it takes guts to use it.”

For the full story, see:
COREY KILGANNON. “Merchant Shooting to Defend His Store Is Celebrated as Hero of Arthur Avenue.” The New York Times (Fri., February 18, 2011): A23.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the article is dated February 17, 2011 and has the title “After Shooting, Merchant Is Hero of Arthur Avenue.”)

Defending the Right to Bear Arms

(p. 20) State Representative Jack Harper, who introduced a bill allowing professors to carry guns, said an Arizona State University professor, whom he has refused to identify, first raised the issue with him. “When law-abiding, responsible adults are able to defend themselves, crime is deterred,” Mr. Harper said in a statement.

That is the philosophy in Arizona as a whole, where gun laws are among the least restrictive in the country. If law-abiding people can carry guns one step outside the campus to keep criminals at bay, supporters ask, why not allow them to enter a university with their firearms? That is already permitted in Utah, alone so far in allowing guns to be carried on all state campuses.
“I think that every person has the right to bear arms no matter what the circumstances,” said Ashlyn Lucero, a political science student at Arizona State University who has served in the Marine Corps, is the daughter of a sheriff and grew up hunting.
Ms. Lucero carries her Glock pistol whenever possible and would carry it on campus if she could. “If I’m going out to eat somewhere, I usually have a gun with me always,” she said. “It’s just one of those things that you never know what’s going to happen.”
Thor Mikesell, a senior majoring in music who grew up hunting, is also a backer of allowing guns on campus. “There’s no magic line, there’s no magic barrier that makes me more safe on the campus than it is when I’m being a real person in the real world outside of the school,” he said.
. . .
“This is not the 1890s’ O.K. Corral shoot ’em up, bang ’em up,” he said. “These are not vigilante kind of people. Their interest is their personal security and the security of their family.”
The State Senate president, Russell Pearce, who recently said he would not prevent senators from taking guns into the Senate chamber despite rules against it, is an advocate for loosening as many gun restrictions as possible.
. . .
“Guns save lives, and it’s a constitutional right of our citizens,” Mr. Pearce said of the guns-on-campus proposal. Speaking of the Tucson shooting, which took place at a shopping center and not on a university campus, Mr. Pearce, a former sheriff’s deputy, said, “If somebody had been there prepared to take action, they could have saved lives.”

For the full story, see:
MARC LACEY. “Lawmakers Debate Effect of Weapons on Campus.” The New York Times, First Section (Sun., February 27, 2011): 14 & 20.
(Note: ellipses added.)

Mr. Africa Carries a Gun to Keep the Press Free

RadioMogadishuStudio2010-05-19.jpg“Anchors read the latest news from around the world this month in the studio at Radio Mogadishu, which opened in 1951.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

(p. A6) This is a typical day at Radio Mogadishu, the one and only relatively free radio station in south central Somalia where journalists can broadcast what they like — without worrying about being beheaded. The station’s 90-foot antennas, which rise above the rubble of the neighborhood, have literally become a beacon of freedom for reporters, editors, technicians and disc jockeys all across Somalia who have been chased away from their jobs by radical Islamist insurgents.

. . .
Somalia has become one of the most dangerous places in the world to practice journalism, with more than 20 journalists assassinated in the past four years. “We miss them,” Mr. Africa said about his fallen colleagues.
He cracked an embarrassed smile when asked about his name. “It’s because I’m dark, really dark,” he said.
Mr. Africa used to work at one of the city’s other radio stations (the city has more than 10) but decided to move on after fighters with the Shabab dropped by and threatened to kill the reporters if they did not broadcast pro-Shabab news. Mr. Africa called the Shabab meddlers “secret editors” and now he carries a gun.
“I tried to get the other journalists to buy pistols,” Mr. Africa remembered. “But nobody listened to me.”
Another reporter, Musa Osman, said that his real home was only about a mile away.
“But I haven’t seen my kids for months,” he said.
He drew his finger across his throat and laughed a sharp, bitter laugh when asked what would happen if he went home.
The digs here are hardly plush. Most of the journalists sleep on thin foam mattresses in bald concrete rooms. The station itself is a crumbling, bullet-scarred reflection of this entire nation, which has been essentially governmentless for nearly two decades.
. . .
They air the speeches of insurgent leaders, they say, and stories about government soldiers robbing citizens.
“If the government does something bad,” Mr. Africa said. “We report it.”

For the full story, see:
JEFFREY GETTLEMAN. “Mogadishu Journal; A Guiding Voice Amid the Ruins of a Capital City.” The New York Times (Tues., March 30, 2010): A6.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the review is dated March 29, 2010.)

Alert Street Vendor Hero Saves the Day

OrtonLanceStreetVendorHero2010-05-05.jpg“Lance Orton, center, who sells T-shirts, said that as a veteran he was proud of his actions. But he spurned most questions.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

Hernando de Soto has shown that entrepreneurial street-vending is an important path for the very poor to constructively improve their lives. And yet governments around the world, including ours, consistently make it hard for street vendors to ply their trade.
Yet, on balance, street vendors make our lives better, not only through their products and services, but also through their alert eyes that make our city streets safer. Jane Jacobs made the point that the presence of good people observing the streets is a key ingredient of urban safety, one that was too-often removed by well-intentioned, but ill-conceived city-planners’ urban-renewal projects.
The incident recounted below also adds one more case to the well-documented conclusions of Amanda Ripley, who showed us that our safety in avoiding and being rescued from disasters rests in the alertness, preparation, level-headedness and good will of ordinary citizens on the scene.
There may be professionals who are better trained, but outcomes often depend on what is done quickly, and usually only those who are on the scene are able to act quickly.
And although the politically correct will glower at you for mentioning it, there are obvious implications for the issue of gun control.

(p. A19) Even in Times Square, where little seems unusual, the Nissan Pathfinder parked just off Broadway on the south side of 45th Street — engine running, hazard lights flashing, driver nowhere to be found — looked suspicious to the sidewalk vendors who regularly work this area.

And it was the keen eyes of at least two of them — both disabled Vietnam War veterans who say they are accustomed to alerting local police officers to pickpockets and hustlers — that helped point the authorities to the Pathfinder, illegally and unusually parked next to their merchandise of inexpensive handbags and $2.99 “I Love NY” T-shirts.
Shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, the vendors — Lance Orton and Duane Jackson, who both served during the Vietnam War and now rely on special sidewalk vending privileges for disabled veterans — said they told nearby officers about the Pathfinder, which had begun filling with smoke and then emitted sparks and popping sounds.
. . .
But in a city hungry for heroes, the spotlight first turned to the vendors. Mr. Orton, a purveyor of T-shirts, ran from the limelight early Sunday morning as he spurned reporters’ questions while gathering his merchandise on a table near where the Pathfinder was parked.
When asked if he was proud of his actions, Mr. Orton, who said he had been selling on the street for about 20 years, replied: “Of course, man. I’m a veteran. What do you think?”
Mr. Jackson, on the other hand, embraced his newfound celebrity, receiving an endless line of people congratulating him while he sold cheap handbags, watches and pashmina scarves all day Sunday.
. . .
As for Mr. Orton, he rested on Sunday at a relative’s house, leaving others to talk on his behalf. “When he was in Vietnam, he said they had to make decisions and judgments from their gut, from their own feelings,” said Miriam Cintron, the mother of Mr. Orton’s son. “His instinct was telling him something’s not right. I guess he was right.”
She said Mr. Orton would mediate disputes between the police and other vendors, and when something did not look right, he would alert the police. “He always said, ‘Downtown is where they’re going to come to, and I’m going to be right there,’ ” Ms. Cintron said.
When Mr. Orton left Times Square about 7 a.m. on Sunday, he did so to a hero’s reception. As he walked down the street, employees from Junior’s restaurant stood outside applauding him. He briefly entered the restaurant before heading toward 44th Street.
Using a cane and wearing a white fedora, Mr. Orton limped away and hopped a cab home to the Bronx, but not before repeating a terror-watch mantra: “See something, say something.”

For the full story, see:
COREY KILGANNON and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT. “Vendors Who Alerted Police Called Heroes.” The New York Times (Mon., May 3, 2010): A19.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story is dated May 2, 2010 and has the title “Vendors Who Alerted Police Called Heroes.”)

The most relevant Hernando de Soto book is:
Soto, Hernando de. The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World. New York: Basic Books, 1989.

The most relevant Jane Jacobs book is:
Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House, 1961.

The Amanda Ripley book mentioned is:
Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why. New York: Crown Publishers, 2008.

Regular Citizens Perform Vast Majority of Disaster Rescues

UnthinkableBK.jpg

Source of book image: http://www.cleveland.com/arts/index.ssf/2008/06/the_book_the_unthinkable_expla.html

The most important message of this book is a very important message indeed. That message is that overwhelmingly, disaster survival and rescue depends on the actions of regular people, not the actions of professional lifesavers. (Very often, the professionals cannot get there quickly enough, or in sufficient numbers, to get the job done.)
This message, is itself worth the price of the book—if it were sufficiently understood, it would have enormous implications for individual preparedness, and government policy. (Think about the implications, for instance, for whether individual regular people should be allowed to carry guns.)

(p. xiii) These days, we tend to think of disasters as acts of God and government. Regular people only feature into the equation as victims, which is a shame. Because regular people are the most important people at a disaster scene, every time.

In 1992, a series of sewer explosions caused by a gas leak ripped through Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city. The violence came from below, rupturing neighborhoods block by block. Starting at 10:30 A.M., at least nine separate explosions ripped open a jagged trench more than a mile long. About three hundred people died. Some five thousand houses were razed. The Mexican Army was called in. Rescuers from California raced to help. Search-and-rescue dogs were ordered up.
But first, before anyone else, regular people were on the scene saving one another. They did incredible things, these regular people. They lifted rubble off survivors with car jacks. They used garden hoses to force air into voids where people were trapped. In fact, as in most disasters, the vast majority of rescues were done by ordinary folks. After the first two hours, very few people came out of the debris alive. The search and rescue dogs did not arrive until twenty-six hours after the explosion.

Source:
Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why. New York: Crown Publishers, 2008.