Good Instincts

This story reminded me of the joke about the highway patrol officer who pulled over a little old lady and while checking her ‘papers’, was surprised to see she had a concealed carry permit.  Amused, he asked her if she actually owned a gun, and was shocked when she told him she owned a .45, a .38 special and a Glock 9mm.  He asked “What are you afraid of?” to which she replied, “Not a damn thing!”

Anyway, onward…

Anyone who wants proof that Mothers with their Young of any species are the most dangerous creatures on the face of the earth and never, ever to be fucked with, need look no further than this story of New Years Eve mayhem and Just Desserts (served up with hot lead, ouch) out of Oklahoma last week.  Talk about levelheadedness: this young woman has it in spades:

A teenage mother shot and killed an intruder after a 911 operator said she was allowed to defend her infant son and herself with force.

Sarah McKinley, 18, killed Justin Martin with a single gunshot wound on New Year’s Eve when he forced his way into her Blanchard, Okla. home and came at her with a long hunting knife, ABC News reports.

To recap:  Young woman loses husband to cancer and immediately starts getting stalked by some loathsome execrable punk — stalker makes his big move and gets what’s coming to him.

Not everyone will share my response to this story (“W00t!”) — and that’s cool.  But the story made me ponder heavily on whether we realize the utter helplessness we’re sometimes reduced to by laws made ostensibly to protect us.

If you doubt it, ask yourself what you’d do in Ms. McKinley’s shitkickers.

Most of us will automatically say “Call the cops”.  Which is groovy, but even if you live next door to a donut shop, not especially efficient in the face of an imminent threat that’s 6 feet away and getting closer by the nanosecond, armed with a deadly weapon, blatantly ill intent, and an accomplice to ensure the playing field is anything but level.  If calling the cops is all you’re prepared to do in that situation, you might as well tell them to bring a body bag — for you.

Frankly, I’d rather be telling them to bring one for the guy who’s ill-advisedly spending his last moments in this Vale of Tears chasing me around my living room with a hunting knife.  But that’s just me.

Thankfully, the terrifying situation Sarah McKinley found herself in isn’t something the vast majority of us are ever likely to experience.  And it’s a damn good thing.

14 Responses to “Good Instincts”


  1. 1 fhg1893 Monday, January 9, 2012 at 5:46 am

    If it was Canada, she’d be facing a laundry list of charges

    Scratch that. If it was Canada, she’d probably have been raped and murdered while talking to a 911 operator.

  2. 2 p joe Monday, January 9, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Canadians needs to start arming themselves immediately.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. 3 Phatbiker Monday, January 9, 2012 at 8:41 am

    The cops charged the dead man’s accomplice with murder, they where both there to steal any left-over pain drugs from her husband. To bad she didn’t nail both of those dirt-bags.

  4. 4 Noni Mausa Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 6:34 am

    “I can paint you the skin of Venus with mud, provided you let me surround it as I will,” said the artist Eugene Delacroix, and this applies to laws also.

    Any expedient can be made to look reasonable if the situation around it is tailored correctly, or happens to fit that expedient precisely. Notice, for instance, the American arguments surrounding the use of torture. The ticking time bomb, the kidnapped child, the terrible plague due to be released at noon — it’s hard to argue against extreme measures, however savage, to prevent the destruction. Similarly, some murderers are so incomprehensibly sick that it’s hard to argue against tailoring laws to prevent their particular sick crimes.

    Laws that are tailored for extremes, or tailored to hypotheticals, can be worse than the problems they address.

    So, in this very rare situation, the mother had the tool she needed to defend herself, and succeeded in using it, and I quietly go “woot” also. Her child is safe, she is safe, the person with the huge knife is dead and his accomplice is arrested. Happy ending.

    But having a gun in the home almost never produces such a happy ending, and often produces other endings, like children finding the guns and hurting themselves, thieves stealing the guns, robbers taking the gun from the homeowner and using it on them, or enraged or mentally unstable family members using the gun on family, strangers, and themselves.

    This is the only story I have heard this year where there was a happy ending that needed a gun to accomplish, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear the other sort of story.

    The proper goal of a good law (or other social structures) is to seek the best outcome, on average, for the most people over the short, medium and long term. Trying for an impossible perfection simply doesn’t work, though our emotions drive us to try.

  5. 5 JJ Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Heh. When I read that she called 911 and said “I have 2 guns in my hand”, I thought: You’d have the swat team kicking in your front door if you ever made a 911 call like that up here. And they’d be there for you, not for the intruders.

    When I told my BF about this story, he related a sad tale of woe that happened to an acquaintance of his. It was a similar thing, ongoing harassment ending with a break in and the intruder was shot. The guy lost his house, his restaurant, everything he owned, plus 3 years as a guest of the federal govt. He later won some kind of appeal, but that didn’t get him back his house or the 3 years. BF said he ran into the guy a few weeks ago, and he’s very bitter.

    No kidding, eh?

  6. 6 JJ Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Eww, there can’t be anything scummier than stealing a dead guy’s morphine. Ewwwwww, scummy in so many ways…

  7. 7 fhg1893 Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    We gun nutz tell each other stories like that all the time. I guess we do it partially to keep motivated and try to effect greater sanity in Canada’s gun laws.

    We’re frequently, almost constantly accused of American-style gun laws, and while there’s some argument for that, we’re a long way from anything even approaching something like Conceal Carry, or Castle doctrine.

    And this story further illustrates Canada’s problem with hoplophobia. I know that Damit Janet blogged about how it’s an illusion recently, but when you have clear-cut cases of self-defense that still result in criminal prosecution, I have to question how anyone can doubt that Canada has a very real and near pathological case of hoplophobia; the name Ian Thompson immediately springs to mind. Four thugs are literally burning down his house with molotov cocktails, and he’s STILL facing charges because he dared to use a gun to defend himself.

    As pathologically terrified of firearms as the general public might be, surely, we can do better than this.

  8. 8 fhg1893 Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    So, in this very rare situation, the mother had the tool she needed to defend herself, and succeeded in using it, and I quietly go “woot” also. Her child is safe, she is safe, the person with the huge knife is dead and his accomplice is arrested. Happy ending.

    It’s not very rare. Thankfully, it’s hardly common place, even among our neighbors to the South. But it’s far from very rare.

    But having a gun in the home almost never produces such a happy ending, and often produces other endings, like children finding the guns and hurting themselves, thieves stealing the guns, robbers taking the gun from the homeowner and using it on them, or enraged or mentally unstable family members using the gun on family, strangers, and themselves.

    Each and every single one of these has no evidence in favor, or is simply false, and demonstrably so.

    This is the only story I have heard this year where there was a happy ending that needed a gun to accomplish, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear the other sort of story.

    Then maybe you need to listen more carefully. For instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-lqkkeO_V8&feature=player_embedded

    Several surveys have been conducted which estimate that firearms are used defensively about 1 million to 2.5 million times per year in the United States. This does count incidents where a firearm remains holstered, or isn’t discharged. It’s not always necessary to discharge a firearm for it to be employed in a defensive manner.

    You could say that firearms use which results in no loss of human life is so common that it’s become non-story. Just because it doesn’t reach your ears doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  9. 9 Noni Mausa Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 11:18 am

    A 1994 US study found that guns were used in defense during a crime incident 64,000 times annually. Of these, violent crimes like this woman’s situation (assault, robbery, and rape) made up about 45,000 cases per year. The numbers are probably less now, as crime stats have fallen since the 90s. Let’s say 30,000 as a reasonable estimate.

    Excluding police, (20% of the total) only looking at civilian self-defense, that leaves about 24,000 of these situations each year. Of all incidents where a gun was used for self-defense, victims shot at the offender 28% of the time. The study doesn’t indicate how often people successfully defended themselves, so I will generously allow that it worked every time.

    Now, guns were used in self-defense only 0.2% of all crime incidents – about one in 500. Yet more than a third of US households have firearms. This seems to indicate that having a gun at home isn’t especially useful, when the actual situation occurs. Still, 24,000 (or perhaps fewer) sounds like an impressive number of self-defense events. But nothing comes free. What do Americans trade for (up to) 24,000 perpetrator preventions a year?

    In the USA roughly 15 people per 100,000, or 30,000 a year, die from firearm injuries. Of these 30,000 Americans, suicides accounted for about 58 percent, or 17,000 to 18,000 deaths, another 11,000 deaths, or 37 percent, were homicides, and the remaining 800 to 900 gun deaths were accidental.

    So in return for up to 24,000 dramatic self-defenses, we get 30,000 dead people, of whom about 20,000 (the suicides and the accidental victims) are innocent persons. How many of the victims of homicide, like Mr. Home Invader, deserved to die? 10%? 20%? let’s be generous again and say half. That means we have sacrificed about 24,000 innocent dead people for the (up to) 24,000 exciting home defenses, carried out by the one in 167 US gun owners* who actually use their gun for that purpose.

    Seems a bit overpriced to me.

    Noni

    * 1/500 used guns, when 1/3 had them. 500/3 = 167

  10. 10 Terrence Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    See, this is why I come here. What a refreshing take on this story.

  11. 11 fhg1893 Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    A 1994 US study found that guns were used in defense during a crime incident 64,000 times annually.

    Which 1994 US study? As far as I can tell, not one single US study from the years 1990-2000 has ever estimated that firearms are used defensively LESS than 100,000 times per year. Even the National Crime Victimization Survey estimated the incidence of Defensive Gun Uses at 108,000 incidents per year, and this is considered an unusually low estimate because the methodology of the NCVS is not intended to accurately estimate the number of defensive gun uses per year. And this flies in the face of up to 13 other surveys which estimated the number of DGU’s at about 1 million or more. And this was the DOJ under the Bill Clinton administration, which had sought to institute the assault weapons ban. It should come as no surprise that this particular study criticized others with higher numbers.

    So that’s one whole biased and very problematic survey. One.

    This compares to 11 different studies which estimated DGUs between 764,036, and 3,609,682. http://www.guncite.com/kleckandgertztable1.html

    I happen to think that the 3 million number is probably an over-estimate, and we have to account for errors in judgement and what are termed “false-positives” because these statistics are self-reported afterall. However, even accounting for an extremely generous error rate of 75%, and assuming a relatively low number of DGU’s at about 1 million per year, that would still 250,000 genuine DGUs per year.

    Nice try though.

  12. 12 JJ Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    It was a very popular post at Prog Bloggers, if by “popular”, you mean “got zero votes” 😆

  13. 13 JJ Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    We’re frequently, almost constantly accused of American-style gun laws

    Yes, that accusation was levelled early & often during the gun registry debate. “We’ll be just like Texas!!!” 🙄 Canada will always be a long way from the US in gun control — we do not have a constitutional right to bear arms, which even for the states, is a bit of an anachronism. (Not that I disagree with it, but it doesn’t mean the same thing today as it did back in the Olden Days.)

    The fear of firearms can sometimes be attributed to lack of experience with them, but the political pandering makes matters worse. I really blame the politicians for making people so paranoid about what’s basically just another tool in the box.

    That poor guy Thompson. You’ve probably seen the surveillance vid from the attack on his place. So they’re burning the place down and he’s not supposed to respond with any kind of force?? WTF? I don’t think so 👿 This is where the Helplessness Factor comes in again — would people be as likely to pitch fireballs at someone’s place if they knew he was allowed to defend himself? Hmm.

  14. 14 fhg1893 Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I really blame the politicians for making people so paranoid about what’s basically just another tool in the box.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around. The politicians have plenty of help from the media and others, like the Coalition for Gun Control.

    It always drives me crazy that people, politicians especially, will argue that firearms are masculine Freudian penis-extensions only desired by the mentally immature, and then rant and rave about violence against women, and it never seems to occur to them one part of the solution to female victimization might be conceal carry weapon, specifically, a gun. A gun is the only device in the world that will make a 120 pound woman equal to a 200 pound bodybuilder.

    In other words, I’m FOR EMPOWERING women to be able to DO SOMETHING about the asshole rapist in the bushes, instead of letting them get raped! I have a wife and two daughters, and if CCW was allowed in Canada, I would want all three to carry – my wife ASAP, and my daughters when they’re ready – that’s still quite a few years away for my girls anyway. Hopefully, they’d never have to draw on someone, but if they did, well, I’d rather they take down some guy than be raped or murdered. I can’t fathom the likes of Wendy Cukier wanting to keep them potentially victimized, and forever. But I’m preaching to the choir, or at least a rather sympathetic ear.

    That poor guy Thompson.

    Yeah, I’ve seen the video. To be honest, in his place, I don’t think I would have fired a warning shot, and many gunnutz have said the same thing. Those bastards are lucky to all still be breathing, and anything less than attempted murder 1 is a gross miscarriage of justice. But, because of the insanity over how Mr. Thompson is being treated, we haven’t heard much about those guys…

    To be honest, Thompson’s case is more a problem with Ontario and the McGuinty hoplophobic Liberals. Since they took power, the attorney general has gone after firearms offenses without mercy and by extension, given up all pretense of sanity and common sense whenever guns are involved. It seems to play well in Toronto – screw the rest of the province, Toronto is the only thing that matters, which is basically the Ontario Liberal Party modus operandi. Sound familiar? It is. It’s the very same strategy same as the Federal Liberal Party. But I digress…

    Anyway, at least Thompson is now “only” facing charges of unsafe storage – the rest of the charges have been dropped. But even that should be seen as the gross violation of justice that it is. Rape, that is, the rape of justice, strikes me as an utterly appropriate description for this situation.

    Ayn Rand was right: “Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”


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