This was just across the river from me:

It looks like this may have stopped a local crime wave of armed robberies in the area. More inf here.

In contrast, when this couple was burglarized, there was nothing they could have done to stop it:

A 28-year-old man is facing burglary charges after police say he stole items from the home of an elderly couple who had recently passed away.

Jason Williams, of Newport, Minn., is accused of stealing jewelry, a box of photo lockets of WWI-era pictures and two watches with the couple’s initials engraved in them on New Year’s Eve. Police say the estimated value of the jewelry is more than $1,000.

Note: He was caught despite the best efforts of the residents to ignore him!

More posts on Gun Ownership here.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Haubrich
    January 6, 2011

    Hunh. The robber was PA Myers? One typo away from complete embarrassment for the Minnesota Atheist community.

  2. #2 Maria
    January 6, 2011

    I feel that this might be a pointless question to ask in response to a bait title, but what exactly do either of those incidents have to do with responsible (or even irresponsible) gun ownership? It’s a bit like asking “Are chainsaws the best way to cut your home firewood?” And as evidence showing the splendid skill of the two man saw during a lumberjack competition, and then talking about (but not showing) a stroll through a Duraflame fire log factory. So, Yes? Sometimes? It depends on what, where and why you’re cutting, plus what other tools/resources you have available?

    I know I’m not going to convince anyone who’s already convinced about the evils of private gun ownership, but maybe someone who isn’t might understand this. I’m a single woman with both training and a sense of responsibility for myself and for others. I feel better knowing that I can have my gun with me when I’m out hiking or in certain areas. I will not apologize for this. Just as I will not apologize for my car keys or my glass of wine because drunk driving bastards kill and maim innocents.

    And out of curiosity and in all seriousness, are you suggesting that real time surveillance of everything and everyone could be the solution to crime? Because yes, it could very well be.

  3. #3 itzac
    January 6, 2011

    I think Greg’s point is that in both cases the robber was apprehended, in one case with the help of the victim, despite neither victim having been armed.

  4. #4 L.Long
    January 6, 2011

    Despite the comments in the previous article I really doubt a gun is that effective. Most people, trained or otherwise, do not have that spark that allows them to shoot to kill.
    And the old ‘I’ll just threaten to shoot’ is silly. If you point a gun and then don’t shoot you are asking to be shot with it.
    One person has a large sign at the entrance….
    ‘My watch dog can reach the property line in 3secs.
    CAN YOU!??!’
    Dogs cannot be argued with and the only 2 options is for the burglar to kill it or run and 3secs is pretty fast.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    January 6, 2011

    I feel that this might be a pointless question to ask in response to a bait title, but what exactly do either of those incidents have to do with responsible (or even irresponsible) gun ownership?

    Obviously this post is not restricted to home gun ownership, but rather, addresses the broader question of guns used in defense of robbery, including in retail outlets. That’s why .. well, it’s why I picked a retail outlet scenario. That should be fairly obvious. Perhaps this is a case, Maria, where you came to the table with highly canalized expectations and when you didn’t see exactly what you expected and then became confused.

    And out of curiosity and in all seriousness, are you suggesting that real time surveillance of everything and everyone could be the solution to crime? Because yes, it could very well be.

    I promise you that if I were suggesting real time surveillance of everything and everyone that I would likely have mentioned something about that in the post. I may be subtle sometimes, I may ask my readers to dig a little for meaning sometimes, but there is no way that your straw man is a hidden message in this post.

    Let me make the point clear to you: The gas station robbery could have been thwarted, and a chain of local robberies stopped, if the store clerk pulled out a 12-gauge and blew the robber’s head off. Or, if that was attempted, the robber could have shot first and blew the store clerk’s head off. Then, perhaps, a hostage situation, a standoff, a cop gets wounded, a customer is killed, and the asshole shoots himself in the head anyway. What happened instead is what you see in the video: The store clerk was not armed, but a security system, diligence on the part of police and others, and good training put to good effect worked to thwart the robbery (for sure) and stop a crime spree (probably).

    And yes, in the second case, the robber was also apprehended.

    Am I being told by you, Maria, that noting anecdotal cases where the good guys got the bad guys without resorting to THIS kind of gun nut insanity is not OK? Maybe that’s true, and maybe I’ll stop noting successful cases of civilized people doing civilized things the civilized way when the gun lobby stops underling the rare and highly unusual cases where someone like you successfully defends herself using a firearm where the threat was real, rather than just hurting yourself or an innocent bystander (or, more likely, nothing ever happening at all other than testosterone being a little excited by the feel of the cold hard steel in your purse, as it were).

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    January 6, 2011

    L.Long: If you ask the local cop, the one who has to clean up the mess or catch the bad guy or whatever, what you should do between arming yourself and getting a dog, they’ll say dog.

    I do have sympathy for people who live in the middle of nowhere, or in places with lackadaisical police protection. But we see such folks insisting un unfettered access to all guns by everyone because of their particular problem. I’m not very sympathetic to thoughtless self pity as a basis for political, social, or health related decisions.

  7. #7 Maria
    January 6, 2011

    Yea, I get that point. These crimes where thwarted and the robbers apprehended without the use of guns. Although I’m sure the cops where pointing their guns while doing the apprehending. Anyways, that’s a cool security system in the article, and frankly more store owners should care about their stores and the people who work in them. That is good proactive security. If a local bar had had that type of security maybe the bar tender wouldn’t have been killed. Though, maybe he would have been.

    But… and this is my point, robberies and crimes have also been thwarted by way of flat tires, dogs, running out of petrol, auto locking security doors, bad luck or sheer incompetence on the part of the robber, and well, yes, also by guns. I don’t get what these examples have to to with the broader concept of gun ownership itself as expressed by the line “More posts on Gun Ownership here.”

  8. #8 Maria
    January 6, 2011

    I wasn’t telling you to do anything and you probably know that. Neither my words or my tone where “telling you” to stop posting examples of people being good and clever people and solving issues without resorting to bloodshed.
    You’re right that civility is lacking in pretty much every sphere and concrete examples of it are lacking in the media. It’s hard to get people exited and outraged by examples of civility. The examples you posted are nice to see. My issue, and yes, my confusion (it is ok for people to be confused and uncertain about others words, and not jump to conclusions) was why you related these two examples so concretely to gun ownership in general. I follow your blog via RSS and I realize now that I have missed many of your other gun related posts.

    I’m not the gun lobby. You have everyday people reading your blog as well. People who share some of your interests. I also do not advocated that everyone has the right to buy guns and beer at the corner store in exchange for a twenty. I mostly disagree with the way guns are sold in the US. A gun is a dangerous object and I know there should be much more stringent testing and requirements for possession of fire arms and much more severe punishment for the negligence use and storage of these devices. And by testing I mean every couple of years the owner needs to undergo competency testing/reviews. We are not all nuts. But thanks for that.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    January 6, 2011

    Maria: Although I’m sure the cops where pointing their guns while doing the apprehending.

    One would hope. This is not Enlgand, after all.

    I don’t get what these examples have to to with the broader concept of gun ownership itself as expressed by the line “More posts on Gun Ownership here.”

    It’s part of a larger conversation in which it is often argued that the default best way for a person, small business, etc. to defend themselves is to be packing.

    A gun is a dangerous object and I know there should be much more stringent testing and requirements for possession of fire arms and much more severe punishment for the negligence use and storage of these devices.

    We are in total agreement then!

    We are not all nuts.

    Depends. Did you spring for the $4,600 Orvis shotgun or the perfectly serviceable Remington?

    Sorry if I responded a bit harshly, but I come to the table with those preconceptions of what everyone else is thinking too. (And, of course, on both ‘sides’, those preconceptions are often right.)

  10. #10 Warren
    January 6, 2011

    Greg, you ever see Raising Arizona?*

    In order to actually thwart an armed robbery, you’d probably have to get the drop on the robber. This would mean that the typical store clerk would be SOL, but a customer might be able to do something, provided the robber is distracted.

    And we know how wise it is to begin discharging firearms near working gas pumps…

    Of course, this doesn’t keep a lot of gun owners from fantasizing. There always seems to be someone out there saying, “If I’d been there, you can bet I’d’ve stopped it”, while stroking his piece in a not at all masturbatory fashion.

    There’s a certain separation from reality here, and I wonder if it isn’t partly due to gun ownership itself – or, more accurately, the way some people see their guns. Firearms allow killing to be abstracted, at least in theory. You don’t need to lay a hand on the other person. No strangling, no suffocating, no drowning, no beating, no stabbing. No direct contact at all.

    To my mind, this can make firearm killings seem remote, almost like a scene in a movie or a video game sequence. The other person is not really real. When I hear gun owners start the fantasy speeches, it always makes me uneasy. A fantasy-prone individual who’s able to abstract himself from the act of killing another human being is not a good person to be in the room with, I think.

    In any case, no, having a gun is not necessarily the best way to thwart an armed robbery, but sadly, there are some times and places where one is one’s own first responder.

    Also, the case of the 28-yo burglar is not one of armed robbery; it’s simply burglary. I think I understand your point, but in that second case, firearms were not involved at all.

    ==

    * I’m thinking of the gawky teenager at the convenience store with the absolutely massive .44 mag. He didn’t actually do anything useful with it, but it was funny as hell.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    January 6, 2011

    Yes, that image comes to my mind quite frequently.

    In the town I grew up in, there was a rising number of liquor store robberies. So, the police put one cop in each store, usually in the back. In the area I lived in Minneapolis before moving to where I am now, the main liquor store usually has two cops. That’s were I invented one of my favorite street-theatre jokes:

    Liquor store clerk: “Would you like that (a six pack and a bottle of wine, for ecample) in a bag, sir?”

    Me: “No thanks. I’m going to drink it in the parking lot.”

    Wink at cop watching on and head out to the parking lot.

    I stopped using that joke after 911, when we sprouted this police state we seem to be living in.

  12. #12 Warren
    January 6, 2011

    Interesting plan. Did the presence of the police lead to a reduction in crime? And if so, was it a deterrent effect (won’t rob the store cause there’s a cop in it), or was it due to arrests (tried to rob the store, got busted)?

    “Police state” – yes, in a lot of ways. You know, it used to be that the gun nuts argued they needed their guns to protect them from the government.* Now it seems like at least some of them agree with the government (must be sexually assaulted at airports to protect us from tur’rists); and yet, their fears of Obama Comin’ and Takin’ Mah Gunz all seem to have come to nought.

    With most sentient beings, awareness and learning are covalent. This suggests something about the sentience of gun nuts.

    I don’t think we need firearms to keep the government from getting out of hand, though if we ever end up in a full-on shameless oligarchy,** well…

    ==

    * What was that about “well-regulated”, again?

    ** More than we currently have, I mean.

  13. #13 Dunc
    January 7, 2011

    And out of curiosity and in all seriousness, are you suggesting that real time surveillance of everything and everyone could be the solution to crime? Because yes, it could very well be.

    The idea presents, shall we say, some interesting logistical challenges…

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2011

    Warren I don’t know if it reduced crime but it stops liquor store robberies. These days in the twin cities, we seem to be having a lot of bank robberies, though.