This is a discussion on Seattle cop slayings do not invalidate the idea of armed self-defense within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Seattle cop slayings do not invalidate the idea of armed self-defense Most of you will have heard by now about cop killer Maurice Clemmons and ...
Seattle cop slayings do not invalidate the idea of armed self-defense
Most of you will have heard by now about cop killer Maurice Clemmons and the slaying of four Seattle-area police officers this past Sunday as well as his violent end Tuesday following an alleged attempt at killing another police officer. If not, you can read what Dave Workman, Howard Nemerov, and John Longenecker have written.
To recap, Clemmons stormed into a Seattle-area coffee shop and shot and killed four police officers who were working on their paperwork. He was later confronted by officer Benjamin Kelly who approached his stolen car. When Clemmons allegedly refused to comply with Kelly's orders to stop and instead moved towards his gun Kelly shot and killed the suspect.
At least one anti-gun pundit is claiming this incident to claim that armed self-defense is a sham. Said Bill Mann in The Huffington Post:
This weekend's tragic murder of four Seattle-area police officers has blown away one of the NRA and gun nuts' major -- if ancient and tired -- arguments... The four Seattle-cops were armed, and it didn't stop them from being shot.
The "if-only everyone-were-armed" argument was crazy and reckless before this. Now it's been proven beyond a doubt to be absolutely ridiculous.
Mann apparently missed the fact that Clemmons was indeed shot by one of the police officers he attacked. He would have stood a much better chance of getting away with these slayings had not the officers been armed and able to fight back. It is certainly tragic that they were unable to survive the ambush, but Mann's logic is certainly flawed.
Even had Clemmons not been shot during the attack, a wound that very well may have eventually been fatal, claiming that one isolated incident proves self-defense is worthless is like saying if someone wearing a seat belt dies as the result of an automobile accident then we should give up on wearing seat belts at all.
Try telling the rest of the nation's law enforcement officers that they might as well turn in their guns because defensive arms didn't save these four. If the argument holds true for lawfully armed citizens then it holds true across the board.
Massad Ayyob summed it up nicely.
Brave when it came to murdering off-guard people by surprise or raping 12-year-old girls, he lost decisively and totally when he faced a single vigilant armed individual who knew what to do – and did it.
Examples of successful armed self-defense by not only police officers but also armed citizens abound. One isolated incident does not invalidate the millions of successes.
"One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms."
-- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1840
I think the writer criticizing the anti-gun zealot missed something: relatively few self-defense scenarios involve situations where murder is the primary objective.
If someone tries to kill me without any prior warning (I haven't received any specific threats and I don't otherwise feel threatened), they are probably going to succeed. None of us is willing or able to be hyper-vigilant at all times against random attacks out of the blue.
Those who will not govern their own behavior are slaves waiting for a master; one will surely find them.