Friday, January 4, 2013

Mass Shooting Averted, and Related Stories

I recently traveled to my home culture of Texas, specifically San Antonio, for a well-anticipated enjoyable time other than to see the presence of Texas University (they love it when you say it that way) when Oregon State committed the football version of suicide.

While there, I found a news story apparently unreported by any element of the MSM and contained generally within the environs of the metropolitan area: a potential mass shooting involving a theatre occurred in the southwest portion of the city, in which an irate 19-year-old male entered a Chinese restaurant where he had worked and began shooting.  His fellow employee and former girlfriend, with whom he had just broken up, reported that he had called her and left a message to the effect that he would go to the restaurant and "shoot somebody".  By the time that she checked the message and called the restaurant to warn them, the gunman had already arrived and begun shooting the defenseless victims.

[Note: a major element of these stories is the massive publicity generated by the media about the shooter, which tends to be a principle motivator for these mental health-deficient murderers – and their copycats – who want to "go out in a blaze of glory".  I will not therefore glorify the shooter by using his name.]

The staff and diners (one of them wounded) naturally fled the restaurant, and the shooter pursued staff members fleeing out the back door.  He focused on one employee in particular, "apparently because he was the easiest target" according to a police spokesman (or perhaps he was the main target, I would have to ask).  The pursuit opened onto a back parking lot where the shooter kept firing rounds in the air, at his target, and into parked cars.  He encountered an SAPD officer responding to the scene upon hearing gunshots.  The officer shined his patrol light at the shooter and the shooter responded by shooting out the windshield of the police car.  This corresponds to the dictum that the police only show up after a crime is committed, and interestingly enough, this is the last we hear of the active police officer on the scene.

The pursuit then entered the Mayan 14 movie theatre with the shooter still firing, striking one victim in the back.  Fortunately, Sergeant Lisa Castellano, an off-duty Bexar County Sheriff's Deputy, was moonlighting as a security guard for the theatre and moved to the sound of the shooting.  She encountered the gunman at a restroom and shot him four times, ending his shooting spree.  She was then assisted by Armando Olguin, a movie patron that night and also an off-duty policeman, who helped cuff the wounded perpetrator.  (Neither the shooter nor his two victims have died as a result of their wounds.)   He has been charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer (presumably the one in the police car who, for all we know from the reports, could still be sitting there) and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

This story brings to mind a similar incident in Aurora – not the one of the theatre shooting that has become so famous, but of a shooting at a church last April wherein a gunman shot and killed a grandmother before another off-duty policeman and congregant shot and killed him.  Another incident at about the same time of the San Antonio shooting occurred at a Birmingham hospital, and had officers responding to a report of a gunman on the fifth floor.  As they exited the elevator, the shooter began firing, wounding one officer and two members of the hospital staff.  Another officer returned fire, killing the gunman. That officer is now under a required investigation due to state law.  In contrast, the Texas deputy has received a Medal of Valor.

Another interesting note is that Officer Olguin, who assisted Sgt Castellano, is not a member of the SAPD but instead is with the San Antonio Independent School District.  Gun control advocates argue against protecting our school children with armed teachers or volunteers (like in Israel, where there have been no incidents of school shootings) because that would involve guns, as if they would go off spontaneously, or add to stray rounds fired during an incident.  No one in the press seems to question that this would mean that their 'better' idea would be to leave the children completely unprotected, as happened at Sandy Hook.  The San Antonio ISD has the right idea of hiring their own police. 
Israeli teachers on duty
One can be forgiven if this particular case and the two others are unknown to the public at large; they don't follow the meme of the MSM and their bent about gun control.  These stories don't even begin to address the large number of times that guns are used to prevent tragedies, particularly the ones where a mere brandishing is sufficient to deter an attacker.

As an added observation, Snopes has an article which verifies the story but with an added fillip of their own opinion.  Snopes is not an organization but is a husband-and-wife team in California who researches the validity of stories that present themselves in the public domain, and have come under criticism for the personal slant that they apply to some of their conclusions.  For example here, the final two paragraphs read: 
Some of the details in the example at the head of this article appear to be inaccurate: . . . it isn't yet clear whether he was deliberately intending to shoot innocent victims at the theater (as the gunman did in the July 2012 Aurora, Colorado, theater shootings) or whether he was firing aimlessly in a fit of rage.
In general, the San Antonio theater shooting received little coverage outside of local news media, primarily because it didn't include any of the factors that typically propel such stories from local to national news: it was not an especially horrific crime (or part of a larger crime), it did not involve any deaths or the wounding of large numbers of people, and it featured no prominent persons: it was a shooting incident in which a single person was injured.  The possibility that an armed off-duty law enforcement official may have prevented additional casualties by shooting the gunman might have made the incident more newsworthy than usual, but that aspect of the story is speculative, and as others have observed, the news media tend to highlight negative events rather than positive ones: "reporters don't report buildings that don't burn." 
Beyond the glaring error that three people were shot (including the gunman, an error that Snopes would normally leap upon were it someone else), their arguments are specious.  It doesn't matter what the intent of the shooter in the theatre was.  The fact of the matter is that he was shooting multiple rounds and shot one person in the back, after wounding another in the restaurant, while attempting to shoot the man he was pursuing.  At that point, it is immaterial what his intent is; what matters is that he must be stopped immediately, and the best way is to shoot him.  Snopes' argument is a difference without a distinction. 

Snopes further argues that the press should be let off the hook because it was a relatively minor incident, then ends up arguing that it didn't happen at all ("reporters don't report buildings that don't burn").  No, it was a potential catastrophe, similar to other mass shooting incidents, that was stopped by the judicial use of responding gunfire – it's not just "speculative".  To use their analogy, there actually was a fire in a building but was put out in time with only a few casualties. 

While it is true that such a story does not rise to the level of horror sufficient to draw the attention of the media or general public lustful for such stories, it does provide a cultural counter-point to the gun control lobby that now demands a return to a gun control standard enacted under Bill Clinton that was an absolute failure.

Update:  As of 1100, 4 January 2013, Fox News has posted a video commentary on the shooting and the recognition of Sgt Castellano.


1 comment:

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