Twelve Minutes

By Gerard Valentino

Imagine what you can do with twelve minutes of your life. For some, the time is spent making a call to check on their mother, for others, it’s a quick smoke break while at work.

One deranged murderer used his time to kill twenty people and wound twenty-one others.

Just twelve minutes changed the life of at least one hundred people in the Killen, Texas Luby’s restaurant, and for some that same twelve minutes was a lifetime. They died during a hellish attack on the innocent. Gun advocates know how Suzanna Hupp lost her parents in the massacre and took matters into her own hands by becoming an advocate for legal concealed carry in Texas.

What people don’t realize is it took more than twelve minutes for the first responding officer to arrive. Although that officer acted heroically by shooting the rampaging gunman he was too late for at least forty-one people.

When order was restored victims were found where they hit the ground in a vain attempt to avoid the gunshots. One man, Suzanna Hupp’s father, tried to end the rampage but was gunned down in the process. Another threw his own body through a plate glass window and opened a path to safety for countless strangers.

It wasn’t enough for the forty-one people who were shot that day.

People who survived were often lucky, but some were willing to do whatever it took to get out of the killing zone. Americans, now more than ever, have to be willing to take their personal protection into their own hands. Honest law-abiding people need to see to it that the next time it takes twelve minutes for the police to respond the outcome will be different. Concealed carry laws nationwide will help, but only if people are empowered to carry.

Ohio’s concealed carry law has improved drastically since its inception, but it isn’t enough.

Right now, the poor are effectively barred from getting a concealed handgun license due to the cost, which often is in excess of $200 when all the fees are added up. Combined with the expense of a gun, ammunition and holster, it is simply too much for many to afford. Even those in the middle class have a hard time prying that much from their family’s budget.

Establishment media commentators, political pundits and politicians carry on about the cost of prescription medication and health care. Yet, say nothing about the fact that the most basic right to self-defense is priced out of the market for many Ohioans.

The most dedicated know the choice to carry might be the difference between life and death. But for those not intimate with the personal protection community it never enters their mind. They read news reports of spree killings and think it always happens to someone else. Adding to the apathy is the feeling the police will respond and save the day.

However, twelve minutes was way too long for forty-one people at the Luby’s in Killeen, TX. In the case of the Northern Illinois University killings, the police responded in just about three minutes. Still, five died and twenty-one were wounded. Even three minutes is a long time when someone starts shooting innocent people.

As an aside, the death toll for the NIU killings is reported as six, including the gunman. He gets no such inclusion here, and doesn’t deserve to be considered among the senseless deaths that day. His death wasn’t senseless, killing himself was the only justified action he took that day. Too bad he didn’t simply kill himself alone in his hotel room and leave five innocent people alive, and others uninjured.

Even when the police response was under three minutes, twenty-six people were shot and five were killed.

The law enforcement community is getting better at responding to active shooter situations. Instead of waiting outside for far too long, as they did at Columbine, they move in quickly to stop the carnage. Three minutes is a long time to wait when someone is shooting in a crowded place.

During the rampage at NIU, the murderer got off over thirty rounds in that time.

So, even with an excellent response time of three minutes the carnage was far too great. Only luck kept the death toll from being much higher since twenty-one people who were wounded survived.

During a combined total of fifteen minutes twenty-five people were left dead, and forty-two others wounded.

That total falls at the feet of all the anti-gunners out there who left the victims at the whim of a murderer. They bear moral responsibility for acting in such a careless and illogical manner by thinking their gun bans would disarm criminals or the deranged. Pro-gun advocates, in our desire to be thought of as reasonable are, at times, not harsh enough on the anti-gun crusaders who leave twenty-five people to be slaughtered.

We get no such mercy from the anti-gunners, partially because they survive on lunacy and partially because they thrive on the illogical.

Next time you come across an anti-gun loon, ask what they would do with their last few minutes on earth. After the answer, remind them of the last few minutes of Suzanna Hupp’s father or the last moments of the five people killed at NIU. Point out to your anti-gun adversary how gun bans didn’t stop the criminals from getting a gun, and only succeeded in getting twenty-five innocent people slaughtered.

The anti-gun crowd’s pet gun bans allowed the murders in Killen, and at NIU, to see the risk of being stopped by an armed victim as reasonable and worth taking. Both knew every victim would be unarmed because the massacres took place in so-called gun free zones which are touted as one piece of reasonable gun control.

Their willingness to push gun control made the murderer’s job frighteningly easy.

Simply stated, there is nothing reasonable about that.

Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair and writes for the

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