Stopping the jokers
The day before the shootings at a movie theater in Colorado I took issue with a screenwriter who uses his scripts as a platform for his campaign to disarm the American people of defensive firearms. My title was Aaron Sorkin, You Magnificent Bastard!
This time I’m just writing about vicious and stupid bastards.
The 24-year-old creep who bought a ticket for a first showing of the new Batman movie at a multiplex in Aurora, Colorado a couple of nights ago — and after propping open an exit door re-entered the theater protected by body armor and shot up the place with a high body-count of women and children — was not the Joker.
The Joker is an iconic comic-book character created by Bob Kane, first appearing Spring 1940 in Batman Issue No. 1 and portrayed on screen in TV and movies by actors including Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger.
You can’t blame people who write comic books, or make movies, or wear costumes of characters in their favorite comic books and movies, for what happened in a darkened movie theater.
James Holmes was not only not the Joker but he also was neither Sherlock Holmes nor John Holmes. He wasn’t a brilliant mind or a movie actor with an enormous prick.
He was just a cowardly little prick with delusions of grandeur who bought a ticket to a children’s movie and used what the theater management had declared to be a gun-free zone to shoot and kill unarmed civilians. He had potential but wasted his life. He is nothing special.
Massacres of the unarmed are not infrequent events on this planet, and every time they happen there are jokers with no ability to learn from history who use these killing fields to call for further victim disarmament. What the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas; Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado; the Long Island Railroad; the campuses of the University of Iowa or Virginia Tech; Dunblane, Scotland; and the United States Army Base at Fort Hood, Texas all had in common is that it was illegal for the victims to carry firearms in case some demented joker who didn’t abide by gun laws decided it was their day to die.
I’ve written on guns and criminology. A lot. My first Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times, published January 1, 1992, was titled “A Massacre We Didn’t Hear About.” It was about a mass shooting in a coffee shop that was prevented by a civilian carrying a concealed handgun. I interviewed that gentleman, Thomas Glenn Terry, plus on other occasions other gun-carriers who also stopped shooting attacks.
“Buy a gun. Learn to use it safely and appropriately. Carry it with you at all times. Be prepared to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your neighborhoods.”
-J. Neil Schulman on ABC TV World News Tonight, May 2, 1992, during the Los Angeles Riots
After the Spring 1992 Los Angeles riots I applied for and received a California license to carry a concealed firearm — which I carried in California until 2007 — and as training I took California’s PC-832 course, and passed the California POST exam. My Powers of Arrest and Communications and Tactics instructor, Jim Saharek, was a retired U.S. Secret Service agent; my Firearms instructor, Barry Dineen, was an LAPD officer. I got a perfect 4.0 grade in all three modules, as well as on the final POST exam.
James Holmes apparently wanted to survive his attack so he wore body armor and a gas mask and incapacitated his victims before shooting them by throwing tear gas cannisters into the theater. He was armed with a handgun, a shotgun, and a rifle.
A family member who lives in Colorado, and has a license to carry a concealed handgun, tells me every Cinemark movie theater she’s gone to has the same sign the Cinemark Century 16 Theater displayed to its customers: Firearms Prohibited. This sign informed James Holmes that the management was guaranteeing nobody would be shooting back.
Colorado Cinemark Sign
Photo by Ray Hickman
Nonetheless, Holmes was concerned enough about the possibility of an off-duty police officer deciding to take his kid to the movies that he armored up.
I’ve heard over the last day or so a lot of uninformed chatter about how nobody with a gun could have stopped James Holmes because he was wearing body armor. It’s crap. Body armor is designed to save the wearer’s life but it doesn’t stop the shock and pain of being shot. A handgun round to the center of body mass would have knocked the wind out of James Holmes and the shock might have caused him to faint. In any event, the pain of being shot would have distracted him. Further, defensive handgun courses teach head shots, and a round would have easily penetrated the plastic gas mask, making a kill shot to the head possible.
As demonstrators have learned, wrapping a shirt around your mouth and nose can slow the effects of tear gas, and by shooting at Holmes’ muzzle flash in a darkened theater, Holmes would have been stopped from randomly shooting children, and created some cover for theater patrons to escape.
James Holmes did not have to be killed with a round through his body armor to stop his shooting rampage. He just needed not to be the only one firing a gun.
Yes, some innocent person might have been shot by “friendly fire.” But the outcome would have been a lot fewer shooting victims than the dozen deaths and 58 other shooting victims that happened with no one shooting back.
Once again, the media focuses on the psychology of the shooter rather than the practical question of how to defend against these unpredictable shootings.
Here are the actual facts on Defensive Gun Use that Fox News or CNN won’t tell you in their endless moaning about how tragic and unpreventable this latest shooting gallery was.
According to the National Self Defense Survey conducted by Florida State University criminologists in 1994, the rate of Defensive Gun Uses can be projected nationwide to approximately 2.5 million per year — one Defensive Gun Use every 13 seconds.
Among 15.7% of gun defenders interviewed nationwide during The National Self Defense Survey, the defender believed that someone “almost certainly” would have died had the gun not been used for protection — a life saved by a privately held gun about once every 1.3 minutes. (In another 14.2% cases, the defender believed someone “probably” would have died if the gun hadn’t been used in defense.)
In 83.5% of these successful gun defenses, the attacker either threatened or used force first — disproving the myth that having a gun available for defense wouldn’t make any difference.
In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound or kill the criminal attacker (and the gun defense wouldn’t be called “newsworthy” by newspaper or TV news editors). In 64.2% of these gun-defense cases, the police learned of the defense, which means that the media could also find out and report on them if they chose to.
In 73.4% of these gun-defense incidents, the attacker was a stranger to the intended victim. (Defenses against a family member or intimate were rare — well under 10%.) This disproves the myth that a gun kept for defense will most likely be used against a family member or someone you love.
In over half of these gun defense incidents, the defender was facing two or more attackers — and three or more attackers in over a quarter of these cases. (No means of defense other than a firearm — martial arts, pepper spray, or stun guns — gives a potential victim a decent chance of getting away uninjured when facing multiple attackers.)
In 79.7% of these gun defenses, the defender used a concealable handgun. A quarter of the gun defenses occured in places away from the defender’s home.
Source: “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, Volume 86, Number 1, Fall, 1995
More gun-control could not have stopped James Holmes. The strictest gun control in Dunblane, Scotland — or even mass killings using a knife in Akihabara and Osaka, Japan — have never stopped these kinds of unprovoked massacres.
A public with a critical mass of individuals carrying handguns, ready at all times to shoot back at sudden attackers, has worked to minimize casualties from terrorist attacks in Israel. See The Israeli Answer to Terrorism by Massad Ayoob.
Israel does not have more civilians who can carry defensive firearms than the United States. We have the Second Amendment and Israel doesn’t.
But by disarming its theater patrons Cinemark accepted legal liability for their safety, and the victims disarmed by these enablers need to sue this corporation into bankruptcy for its failure to protect them from James Holmes.
The jokers who keep enabling gun massacres are the advocates of making us work, shop, and see movies in gun-free zones, and these massacres won’t stop until we stop these jokers from disarming us.
My 1994 book Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns made me a celebrity to the Second Amendment movement. Charlton Heston wrote of the book, “”Mr. Schulman’s book is the most cogent explanation of the gun issue I have yet read. He presents the assault on the Second Amendment in frighteningly clear terms. Even the extremists who would ban firearms will learn from his lucid prose.”
Dennis Prager who had opposed private ownership of guns, told his national radio audience, “He has truly helped change my mind on guns and self-defense.”
Liberal Los Angeles talk-show host Michael Jackson said of me on his KABC radio show, “His research is impeccable. Nobody expresses the other side better.”
My writings on firearms have been used by witnesses on both sides of the gun-control debate in congressional hearings before the House Subcommittee on Crime.
I’m webmaster of The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock that calculates and comparies the number of defensive-gun-uses to criminal uses, suicides, and accidents, based on peer-reviewed academic, and law-enforcement, criminological studies.
One chapter from Stopping Power was chosen to be reprinted in the book Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Health and Society, Second Edition, Edited by Eileen K. Daniel, (Dushkin Publishing Group/Brown & Benchmark Publishers, 1996), as rebuttal to “Guns in the Household” by Jerome P. Kassirer, MD, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. Another chapter, “Talk At Temple Beth Shir Shalom,” was reprinted in the book, Guns in America : A Reader , Jan E. Dizard, editor (New York University Press, 1999), and my chapter was praised in the Village Voice’s review as “a tough Jew manifesto.”
Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!