What does this tell us?

Friday, February 26, 2010

What does this tell us?

Currently on the newswires:

"A man shot and killed a 30-year-old special education teacher as she walked into her Tacoma, Washington, school Friday, shortly before students began arriving for school."

Here's what should be the instructive part:

"...officials said the woman had a protection order filed against the suspected gunman."

For all the good that it did Jennifer Paulson!

The killer is said to have been in Ms. Paulson's Master's degree class at University of Wash­ington-Tacoma, and had been stalking her and leaving roses and notes on her car.

To review:


What if it was she who had been armed, and competently trained to protect herself?


1. Eileen Dover said...

Then she could have killed the crazy bastard and live happily ever after.

Yes, there's that, but this would offend those who believe that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker suffered that fatal bullet wound.

2. Paramarine said...

When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

Just so!

3. Hambone said...

Wait... how could she be armed if it was a "gun free zone?" Seems to me it should apply to all. The problem is twofold. First a gun is an implicit threat and completely useless unless so you are willing to use it. The real issue is that protective orders have no teeth. I am not even going to go into the fact that guns near kids is a godawful idea.

Seems to me you're ignoring the obvious: only the law-abiding obey laws. "Gun-free zones" are symbolic, "feel-good" measures adopted by the unrealistic who lack the resolution to actually address a problem in a meaningful way.

If you think that "guns near kids is a godawful idea," you haven't examined the the matter very thoroughly. It's the same mindset that won't allow youngsters to see "A Christmas Story" because "Ralphie" covets a Red Ryder BB gun from Santa.

4. Hambone said...

You wrote "What if it was she who had been armed, and competently trained to protect herself?" and then followed it up with "'Gun-free zones' are symbolic, only the law-abiding obey laws."

Those two sentences taken together mean that anyone who feels threatened has the right to ignore the law.

And ya totally lost me on the "Christmas story" thing. Not only is the notion that that mindset applies here incorrect. but that a BB gun is equivalent to a lethal weapon is also incorrect.

My apologies if I was too oblique.

The right of self-defense is absolute, and relying on "the state" is hopeless... see Warren v. District of Columbia which holds that a "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen."

It is less about "ignoring the law" than recognizing that "The Law" is limited in the extent to which it can protect the individual. Everyone has choices, and the more informed those choices are, the better.

I'm afraid that you are completely mis-reading the movie reference. The mindset that holds that children shouldn't be exposed to a film in which the protagonist's fondest wish is a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, is the same mindset which exclaims, as you did in your prior comment, "guns near kids is a godawful idea." If that is the extent of your thinking on the subject, then you must be comfortable with the death of Jennifer Paulson and others in her situation who rely on "The Law" to keep them safe.

And no, before you conclude that I must be advocating "guns around kids," my brief is that one needs to make informed decisions.

The violent stalker who murdered Paulson, Jed Waits, had an order of protect against him, had already been arrested for violating that order a week earlier, made bail and then murdered her. She obeyed all the laws, and died.

Doubtless, her outraged and grieving family will explore some sort of litigation against the authorities, and the judge who set bail will have a tougher go during the next election cycle, but Ms. Paulson remains dead.

5. Hambone said...

Do you beleive{sic} what you write?

  1. Self defense is not an absolute. If it were we'd all have handguns on every flight.
  2. Most certainly the Law is limited and you are right, if a person is hell bent on murder than there is very little anyoen{sic} can do about it (c.f. the mob, witness protection failures and assassination attempts on pretty much every President since Eisenhower).
  3. Maybe I did mis-read the Xmas story reference but that how it sounds coming across the net. The short is a schoolteacher should not be armed. Guns in schools are a bad idea. If you need protection the school should have professional protection (NYC private schools do).
In fact at my daughter's school we had the exact situation Ms. Paulson suffered. In this instance the boyfriend (unarmed) who was a bit crazed tried to gain entrance. The teacher and the children never knew of the fracas because the boyfriend never got past the 6'3" exc op head of security who quickly let it be known he had no business there... even for a message and the NYPD would be happy to take any message in the form of a statement at the precinct. We never saw him again.

It was the school's obligation to provide a safe work/learning environment and they did so quite adequately.
Why do you think I would express it if I didn't subscribe to it? So I'll ask you... how hard have you thought about what you are writing here?

Self defense is most certainly an absolute, whether you're talking American or International Law. And it has nothing to do with "handguns on every flight." (But it's interesting that you equate "handguns" with "self-defense" when the rest of you comment appears to deny their value for that purpose.)

Your assertion about "NYC private schools" is revealing... what of those who attend public schools? (Not 25 miles from here off-duty Suffolk County Police Officers provide security for a school district. Are their guns in schools still a bad idea?)

And again, your assertion about "the school's obligation to provide a safe work/learning environment" suggests that you didn't even bother to read the U.S. Supreme Court's Warren v. District of Columbia decision I provided you.

It seems that your response to this whole issue is an emotional, rather than rational, one. And I understand that, just as I understand how difficult it is to challenge one's own deep-seated visceral responses to an issue.

We will have to agree to disagree.
– Dean

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