Shooting at Cleveland's Hopkins Airport
By Jim Irvine
Yesterday morning, a man shot a police officer at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Today I talked with fellow officers at the airport and I’m happy to report that the officer underwent surgery this morning and is doing well. He is expected to make a full recovery. That is great news.
The airport is posted “no guns” which of course did nothing to prevent this shooting. Signs (or regulations) that prohibit law abiding citizens from having a firearm to defend life are no more effective at preventing mayhem as laws that say, “no murder.” Criminals do not abide by the “rules of society.” That is why we call them criminals.
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(Click here for coverage of the shooting in the Columbus Dispatch.)
Laws do not prevent crime. We all know and understand that. That is why we lock our cars and homes, even though we know of laws prohibiting auto theft and breaking and entering. It’s common sense.
Because firearms are misunderstood by many, and tend to invoke strong emotions, too often common sense gives way to fear and irrationality. When legislators pass laws based on those fears and irrational thoughts, the results can be disastrous.
At the airport yesterday, there were other police officers who were able to come to the aid of their fallen brother. They shot and killed the criminal, and thus stopped him from further injuring good people. Notice that they used guns, in a “gun free zone” to stop a criminal. But what if there had not been another armed LEO? How many people would have been killed or injured? We of course have no idea if there was a licensed citizen in the immediate vicinity, but knowing how busy the airport generally is, it is highly likely there were multiple nearby.
We will never know why this person took these actions, but we know he will not hurt anyone again. We know that about 90% of the time a LEO loses his gun, he is shot with it. We have no reason to think yesterday would have been any different, if not for armed intervention in a timely manor. The criminal shot another LEO first. Why would he do that? Maybe he knew that the other officer, being armed, was now the only person who could stop him. Maybe he planned on killing the Delta employees he had just argued with, and who called security. Maybe he would have killed lots of people, including the officer that he took the gun from. But none of that happened, because someone used force and stopped him. Most gun free zones don’t have LEO’s close enough to stop a violent criminal in timely manor. Over 90% of multiple victim killings happen in victim zones. Removed from irrational fears, it makes perfect sense. Even crazed criminals understand that when no one can stop them, they have complete control.
In 2002 a man killed two and injured four others when he started shooting people at the El Al ticket counter at the LAX airport. Again, he was stopped only by lethal force – in that case an armed ticket agent. But we have seen the tragic results in “gun free” victim zones in Ohio. At the Al Rosa Villa several people were killed in a victim zone before a LEO could stop the killing, again with a gun and lethal force.
There is talk tonight about the movie “Flight 93” It’s being called “shocking.” To those who have never dealt with a personal violent encounter, it probably is shocking, but to many it is life, and sometimes death. Killers are violent people. Violent beyond what most imagine. And the only thing that stops them is force, often deadly force. The more people that possess that deadly force, and the more places they possess it, the less success violent killers will have. That is why, “more guns means less crime.” It’s common sense, but just in case Dr. John Lott has an exhaustive study that proves it, just as today’s headlines prove it.
The other important lesson for everyone who carries a gun is retention. The criminal at the CLE airport did not bring his own gun, he took one from a police officer. While it is much harder to see (and thus take) a concealed gun, it is still possible (made easier if your killer knows you are armed, say by reading it in the Plain Dealer). We must all insure we practice and are proficient in gun retention skills. Your life, and those close to you may depend on that skill some day.