Up to 40 Not Killed in Shooting Rampage
Crazed Lunatic Stopped Cold by Doctor Who Violated Policy
America’s latest murderous rampage is remarkable for what did not happen. A single innocent died a needless death. That’s tragic. But fortunately, there was only one innocent killed. A suicidal madman hellbent on leaving this earth taking a load of innocents with him was thwarted not by a sign, paperwork, or bureaucratic hoops, but by a citizen who had prepared for the worst contingency.
On July 24, Dr. Lee Silverman, a psychiatrist, was meeting with a psychiatric caseworker and a patient she had brought to the psychiatric crisis center at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. The meeting became heated and vocal to the point that a staff member peeked in to see what was going on. What the staff member saw, was the patient pointing a gun at Dr. Silverman. The associate quietly closed the door, to avoid setting off the violent patient, and immediately called 911. But long before police arrived, the criminal opened fire, shooting Theresa Hunt, the caseworker, in the face and then turning the gun on Dr. Silverman. The psychiatrist dropped behind his desk for cover. That’s when the violent encounter took an unexpected turn: Dr. Silverman drew his own, legally carried sidearm and returned fire. Even though Silverman was hit in the side of his head, he managed to hit the murderer with three shots. The attacker stumbled out into the hallway where he was pinned down by another doctor and caseworker.
As the local police chief pointed out, the murderer clearly had intentions to harm more innocent people, and surely would have, had Dr. Silverman not stopped him. The fact that the criminal had 39 more rounds of ammo in his pockets clearly indicates that he was not planning to stop with Ms. Hunt and Dr. Silverman.
With a crowded medical facility of people disarmed by the hospital’s “No Guns Allowed” policy, it is unlikely that he would have met with much resistance. The Washington Post quoted Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan saying, “If the doctor did not have a firearm, (and) the doctor did not utilize the firearm, he’d be dead today, and I believe that other people in that facility would also be dead.”
At this point, indications from the hospital are that they are not planning to fire the hero psychiatrist who violated hospital policy by having an effective means of self-defense available. In Pennsylvania, like in most states, there is no force of law behind “No Guns” signs in a private business. Unlike schools and some government buildings where ignoring a “No Guns” sign can be a felony, someone who knowingly violates a private “Gun-Free Zone” could be charged with nothing more than misdemeanor trespassing. An employee or contractor of a company with a “No Guns” policy could be dismissed or disciplined for their violation though.
In this case, the hospital indicated their appreciation for Dr. Silverman’s heroic actions and said they were looking forward to his recovery and return to work. They also said they were going to review their security policies. The conclusion of that review is more likely to result in more armed guards, and security checkpoints than acceptance of the reality that good, responsible people with legally-carried sidearms are no threat, while evil people bent on murder will figure out ways around security measures. Perhaps the hospital will adopt a policy whereby employees with carry licenses and special permission from management might be allowed to keep their defensive tools handy, but it is unlikely that they will completely abandon the idea of a disarmament policy. For some reason such a rational and practical admission of the limits of signs and rules seems beyond the comprehension of institutional bureaucrats like hospital administrators and corporate boards.
The media coverage of this tragic case has been sadly predictable. Not only has the coverage been thinner than it would have been had the murderer not been stopped so quickly, it has tended to focus on potential negative aspects of a doctor or hospital worker having a gun, rather than the fact that, an armed civilian stopped what could easily have been a massacre. Just as the media dismissed suggestions that an armed civilian might have stopped, or at least mitigated the atrocities in Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown, the anti-gun media are now downplaying an event that proves the theory.
While it is impossible to prove what might have happened – either to the positive or to the negative – the anecdotal evidence is pretty clear:
● Being a prohibited person does not prevent a criminal from obtaining a gun.
● Signs forbidding guns do not prevent criminals from engaging in horrific acts.
● The majority of mass murders occur in areas where firearms are not “allowed.”
● Armed citizens do not pose a threat to the public.
● We know armed citizens can stop massacres because they have stopped massacres.
The arguments against armed citizens boil down to a matter of mistrust of “those other people.” Hoplophobes have a pervasive, irrational fear of guns and feel that just because someone could do something bad, there should be restrictions on everyone. Of course that doesn’t apply for things these people are actually familiar with such as cars or gasoline or
Dr. Lee Silverman is just the latest, prominent example of a responsible person using a gun to stop a criminal – something that happens every day in this country, usually without a shot ever being fired. So the next time you see a “No Guns” sign, remember the dozens of people who are alive today because Dr. Silverman chose to ignore one of those signs.
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