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Thursday, April 14, 2016

NPR Asked "Do Pistols Make You Safer?"

Earlier this week, National Public Radio (NPR) had this report on Morning Addition that asks the question "Do Pistols Make You Safer?"  He starts out admitting being puzzled why so many people (13 million by his estimate) choose to arm themselves when statistics show the nation's crime rate has had dramatic decreases in the last 20 years.  Maybe the reporter should look at this recent Gallup Poll to understand this question.

The reporter mostly avoids making judgements and lets his interviews be the real story.  He spoke with a gun show organizer, A Girl and a Gun Executive Director Robyn Sandoval, and three people who used a firearm, one who likely prevented being a victim of a gun shot, one who used a firearm against individuals who attempted to rob her, and one who made the poor decision to intervene in a property crime that was not life threatening.  Darrell Standberry, had to use his firearm in self-defense and told the reporter how that decision affected his life:
"I was parked at the pump right in front of the gas station. I exited my vehicle and before I could even get to the door of the gas station, the young man was already sitting in the driver's seat of my vehicle," says Standberry, who just earned a degree in green energy technology. He'd left his Yukon XL running with the key in the ignition.

He says he told the young man to get out of his car. The young man told him to step back. That's when Standberry says he saw the carjacker reach toward his pocket.

Standberry unholstered his Sig Sauer .45, reached through the passenger-side window, and fired one shot. He hit the carjacker in the torso. Gravely wounded, the carjacker drove away, crashed into a tree and died. Police found a pistol in his pocket.

"It changed a lot in my life," he says. "Matter of fact, in my English class, I just did a report on it. I named it, 'The incident that changed my life forever.' "

Standberry went to counseling. He became fearful of gas stations. And he carried the burden of killing a 19-year-old.

"You know why? Because my son was 19 at the same time. It really bothered me that I had to take a 19-year-old's life. His life was just beginning. But he was into the wrong things. To this day, I still ask God for forgiveness," he says.
The person who intervened in the property crime ended up getting probation for reckless discharge of a firearm.  I've heard folks like Tom Gresham say numerous times that choosing to carry a firearm is not a decision to be taken lightly, it may be necessary to use it some it someday and with that comes consequences.  A class required for a concealed carry permit in most cases is not real training as this Detroit firearms instructor points out to the reporter:
"One of my concerns about the [Michigan] state requirements for getting a CPL is they don't really include the tactics and the strategy that one will need to win or prevail in an actual gun situation," Cortis says. "A hostile attack by a violent criminal is a fight."
The reporter closes with a very strong endorsement from the Detroit Chief of Police, James Craig, who has urged residents to get a concealed carry permit.  When asked isn't he worried about so many people having guns?
"What concerns me, more than anything else, is guns in the hands of criminals, guns in the hands of terror suspects. That's what keeps me up at night. Not armed citizens," Craig says.
While there are one or two things that our side of the issue could find fault with in the article, overall, it is not bad considering the source.

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