By Will Andrews, Training Director
There is a sole suspect in the horrible shooting spree that left 11 dead and more than a half dozen wounded in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA on October 27, 2018. He faces 63 federal charges, and a separate 36 charges in Pennsylvania State Court. Many of these charges are capital offenses. That is to say, he has been charged with breaking a total of 99 laws. Continue reading…
The take away of this event should be that in time of real crisis, help will never arrive in time to save lives. You’re on your own. You are responsible for your own safety from criminals and terrorists. What we can expect is that the criminal justice system will hold the perpetrators responsible for their actions in the aftermath. Certainly you can’t expect local governments to do anything useful for your safety.
The City of Pittsburgh has made a predictable, impotent response to this horrible event. They have chosen to enact useless gun legislation. Never mind that the murderer in this story broke 99 laws in this murder spree, I’m sure the new city ordinances will prevent something like this from ever happening again. The most impotent new city ordinance passed includes a ban on shooting semi-automatic rifles in public places inside the city limits. I suspect there’s not a city or town anywhere in the United States that doesn’t already have an ordinance banning the firing of ANY firearm in any public space within the city limits. Matter of fact, I understand that Pittsburgh passed its last ban on shooting in public places in 1993. They had a ban in place in 1893 as well.
The behavior of criminals cannot be controlled with law. It’s time as a society that we face this ugly truth. Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. They don’t obey the laws on the books now, and they won’t obey the laws we pass in the future. If we are to survive attacks by murderers and terrorists, we must take positive action. Laws won’t help.
If the leadership of Pittsburgh had any real intention to make the city a safer place, they could very simply use existing personnel and facilities to train church groups in active shooter response. The city already owns meeting rooms and employs a cadre of well trained professional instructors well versed on subjects that would save lives. They could, at very low cost, train the public to make their own security assessments. They could very easily teach trauma care and how to save the lives of shooting victims. They could even teach the public basic unarmed defensive techniques, the use of pepper spray, or even shooting. At very nominal fees to cover the materials for each class, Pittsburgh could become a much safer city.
Passing useless, impossible to enforce and impotent new laws is the predictable response to any such tragedy. It allows the elected officials to appear on television announcing that they have done something, all while doing absolutely nothing. It is always more important to the elected to look good than to do good.