3/01 GOA Hails Bartlett Self-Defense Bill
Declares its time to hold “rogue prosecutors” personally liable
by Erich Pratt
Most people would consider Garfield Hart a bonafide hero.
But to prosecutors, he’s a dangerous gunman who needs to be taught a lesson.
Garfield and his brother, Vibert, are co-owners of a Brooklyn electronics store.
In January of last year, a gunman marched into their store, pointed a shotgun at their heads, and herded them to the back room.
GOA head Larry Pratt discusses the potential prospects for the Citizens Self-Defense Act.
The thug ordered the two brothers to lay on the floor.
Well, Garfield and Vibert weren’t going to wait around and see if the crook, William Outlaw, was only interested in cracking the safe, or if he was also intending to eliminate all the eyewitnesses.
A struggle broke out and then a gunshot was fired.
The shotgun-wielding crook stumbled out of the store and died on the sidewalk.
Garfield had taken out his concealed firearm (illegal in Brooklyn) and had fired into Outlaw’s chest.
Local prosecutors charge Brooklyn hero on gun charges
Having dodged one bullet, Garfield Hart now is looking down the barrel of another “gun.” Prosecutors have charged Garfield with criminal possession of a handgun.
It is cases like these where gun owners hope the Citizen’s Self-Defense Act could make a huge difference.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) is the sponsor of H.R. 31, a bill that would help protect persons like Garfield Hart by giving them a recourse in court if they are wronged by local anti-gun laws and prosecutors.
H.R. 31 would allow aggrieved gun owners to bring an action against local officials “for damages, injunctive relief, and such other relief as the court deems appropriate.”
Should the gun owner win, he or she would also be eligible to be recompensed for their attorney’s fees.
Bartlett bill would help citizens rein in rogue prosecutors
Rep. Bartlett told Gun Owners of America that his bill would put an end to local gun control laws “that target law-abiding citizens instead of criminals.”
Moreover, Bartlett says the bill would “overrule state and local laws that force homeowners to run away rather than defend their homes.”
Gun rights scholar Stephen Halbrook has clearly shown how the framers of the 14th Amendment specifically wanted to give Congress the right to impose 2nd Amendment rights upon the states. (See the ad for the book below.)
In keeping with this, H.R. 31 would hold local prosecutors liable for imposing their anti-gun whims upon decent, upstanding citizens.
GOA Executive Director applauds this approach.
“It’s time to hold prosecutors liable for harassing decent people,” said Pratt. “No matter what the law is, prosecutors don’t have to take legal action against a person who uses a gun in self-defense.”
Prosecutors do have discretion. Even in anti-gun Washington, D.C., prosecutors have sometimes refrained from charging law-abiding homeowners who used guns to defend themselves.
Thus, the case of Garfield Hart would appear to be just another example of legal terrorism.
The beauty of the Bartlett bill is that, were it to become law, it would have a chilling effect upon anti-gun prosecutors. Rogue district attorneys could be subsequently found personally liable for damages and ordered to recompense their law-abiding victims.
Wakefield shooting victim was licensed to carry, but scared to do so
For example, had the Bartlett bill already been law, it is possible that the Wakefield, Massachusetts shooting last December could have ended much differently.
Just one day after Christmas, Michael McDermott walked into the offices of an Internet consulting firm and shot seven people dead.
Ironically, one of the victims was a legal gun owner who was licensed to carry in a nearby state.
Louis “Sandy” Javelle held both a federal firearms license and a permit to carry a handgun in New Hampshire.
But Massachusetts law prevented him from carrying his firearm in the state and on the job.
As a result, the only one armed with a gun on December 26 was the thug.
HR 31 would empower decent gun owners
The Bartlett bill would embolden gun owners like Sandy to go ahead and carry their firearms for self-defense.
There is no doubt that Sandy Javelle was bold. When the shooting started, Sandy ordered his coworkers to lock the door behind him and barricade it. He then confronted McDermott and soon became the third victim.
A man with that kind of boldness could certainly have used the Bartlett bill as his “get out of jail free” card if the Massachusetts authorities ever bothered him for exercising his Second Amendment rights.
Unfortunately, any discussion about what could have happened in the Massachusetts office will only be a theoretical one.
Similar to Sandy Javelle, many decent gun owners choose not to carry their firearms where they think they could run afoul of the powers that be.
That is why the Bartlett bill is so desperately needed. Currently, there are 21 Representatives who have cosponsored H.R. 31.
Gun owners should urge their representatives to add their names to the bill as well.
|Halbrook’s groundbreaking work, That Every Man Be Armed, provides a definitive account of the individual right to keep and bear arms meaning of the Second Amendment. Moreover, it clearly shows how the framers of the 14th Amendment specifically wanted to give Congress the right to impose 2nd Amendment rights upon the states. The book can be obtained from Gun Owners Foundation. Simply go to the GOF website at http://www.gunowners.com/bookst.htm or call 1-888-886-GUNS.|
GOA Calls For Dismissal of Clinton-Backed Anti-Gun Lawsuits
by Mike Hammond
Now that Al Gore has packed his bags and left the vice presidential mansion, he can credit his defeat to his anti-gun positions and to the work of Second Amendment activists.
Just as Bill Clinton correctly blamed firearm owners for his loss of Congress in 1994, it is absolutely clear that George Bush, rather than Al Gore, is the new president because of Gore’s rabidly anti-gun stance.
Pro-gun voters oust anti-gunners from White House
During the New Hampshire primary, Gore advocated national handgun registration.
Later, he tired to moderate this message when it became clear that it would cost him several pivotal states.
Nevertheless, Gore’s anti-gun positions resulted in losses in Tennessee, West Virginia and Arkansas. The loss of any one of these states was enough to cost him the presidency.
In addition, pro-gun forces in Michigan and Pennsylvania diverted Gore’s energy from other key states, such as Florida. Perhaps more important, firearms owners in the Florida Panhandle — and Cuban-Americans incensed by Janet Reno’s “storm-trooper” tactics — clearly provided the margin of victory in that state.
Having delivered the Presidency to George W. Bush, however, the Second Amendment community must insure that Bush acts quickly to undo the anti-constitutional policies of his predecessors.
Clinton-Gore waged war against the Second Amendment
Just as the Gore campaign attempted to use the courts to set aside the electoral process, the Clinton-Gore administration has attempted to eliminate gun ownership through judicial activism and unconstitutional regulations and executive orders.
These regulations and lawsuits will not automatically cease merely because of Bush’s election; they must be affirmatively eliminated.
At the core of the Clinton-Gore anti-gun vendetta was its effort, in conjunction with over thirty municipalities, to convince judges to bankrupt the firearms industry by imposing billion dollar judgments against it.
Brought under bizarre and far-fetched legal theories, even the proponents of these suits concede that the intention is to use the public purse in order to deplete the resources of small firearm makers.
HUD lawsuits aimed at crippling gun makers
This effort reached its peak when, in December 1999, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Andrew Cuomo threatened to sue the gun industry to recoup the cost of fighting crime in public housing.
Writing on March 14, 2000, HUD Assistant Secretary Hal DeCell conceded that the agency was attempting to use these lawsuits to force anti-gun concessions. “If the gun industry is unwilling to negotiate,” said DeCell, “we will support the efforts of public housing authorities to seek redress in the courts.”
HUD has also participated very actively in the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition — a syndicate that was intended to encourage and assist anti-gun lawsuits around the country.
All together, more than 30 cities and localities have brought their own suits against the gun makers.
The impact — and intent — of these HUD-encouraged lawsuits is clear. Dade County Circuit Court Judge Amy Dean told Miami-Dale County attorneys suing the gun industry: “If you… were to get exactly what you wanted, [guns would] be taken off the market entirely.” (Reuters, 11/15/99)
Fortunately, as Al Gore learned, “he who lives by the courts dies by the courts!”
GOA asks Bush to push for the defeat of these anti-gun lawsuits
The Bush administration now has an opportunity, through HUD and the Department of Justice, to use its clout to push for the dismissal of this groundless and unconstitutional litigation.
Gun Owners of America is taking a two-step approach to achieving these dismissals and reversing anti-gun Clinton-Gore policies.
The first step was to call for the new president to take the lead in fighting baseless lawsuits intended only to bankrupt gun manufacturers.
In February, Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt called on Bush to withdraw anti-gun regulations and actively seek the dismissal of anti-gun lawsuits through a legal procedure called “intervention.”
Said Pratt: “On the very first day of the Clinton administration, the White House moved to repeal Reagan policies which were unacceptable to its supporters. President Bush can be no less zealous in fighting for the Constitution than Bill Clinton was in fighting against it.”
GOA is asking the Bush administration to intervene on behalf of gun owners and argue for the dismissal of the city lawsuits that are threatening to bankrupt gun makers.
In addition, GOA has encouraged pro-gun legislators to introduce legislation to eliminate these harassment lawsuits.
For example, S. 954, introduced by Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) in 1999, would have required anti-gun zealots who lose their frivolous lawsuits to compensate gun makers for the cost of defending these suits.
Pro-gun activists relish the prospect of Handgun Control and its allies being ordered to pay gun dealers and manufacturers reparations, which can be used for the manufacture, importation, and sale of more guns.
In the House, Reps. John Hostettler (R-IN) and Bob Barr (R-GA) also introduced similar legislation last Congress to protect gun makers.
GOA has called for these legislators to reintroduce their bills in the 107th Congress.
Moreover, GOA has encouraged the new President to ask for the dismal of frivolous, anti-gun lawsuits, and to eliminate funding for — and HUD’s involvement in — the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition.
Easy Access to Another Unregulated Weapon is Killing our Children
by Erich Pratt
Stores like Walmart have marketed these instruments of death to children under the age of 21. Not only are there no laws to discourage this type of irresponsible marketing, there are no laws preventing minors from handling these kinds of weapons at all.
Parents have been known to encourage kids as young as two or three to “play” with these assault weapons, without any parental supervision whatsoever.
The greatest travesty occurs around birthdays and Christmas, as some have even been known to negligently give these instruments of death as gifts to their children. Not surprisingly, children take these items to school, resulting in senseless violence all across this country.
All this violence could be easily avoided if reasonable steps were taken to regulate this deadly killer:
To be sure, nobody wants to stop the legitimate sport and recreational uses of this weapon. But no one should object to small, incremental steps in order to save children’s lives.
These weapons are completely frowned upon in England. Not surprisingly, that country does not record any deaths resulting from this deadly item.
So what is this lethal killer? What is causing so many young people in this country to tragically lose their lives?
It is the football.
Yes, it is that funny-looking pigskin that is sold across counters nationwide, in so many different sizes and colors.
It will come as a shock to many that more children die playing high school football, than they do by firearms at school.
The University of North Carolina conducts yearly surveys to determine the number of high school football fatalities. Likewise, school gun deaths are annually tabulated by the National School Safety Center.
These studies show that twice as many football players (18) died during the most recent school year ending in June, 2000 — from hits to the head, heat stroke, etc. — as compared with the nine students who were shot by firearms.
So now what?
Will we start hearing passionate calls to dry up the massive supply of footballs so children will no longer have easy access to them?
Will the media start demonizing the purveyors of death who profit from this deadly killer-the football manufacturers and the TV executives who make millions of dollars from airing these gladiator forums (otherwise known as football games)?
Will Sen. Chuck Schumer join Hillary Clinton in demanding background checks before the sale and purchase of any football?
Don’t count on it.
But one thing is for sure.
Now when your next-door neighbor tries to lecture you about the evils of keeping guns in your home, you can warn them about the REAL danger to their kids’ health.
Ask them to pull their kids off the football team and to support a ban on those ugly pigskins.
Remember, if it just saves one life.
Where We’re Headed
by Robert A. Waters
You’re sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door.
Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers. At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way.
With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it.
In the darkness, you make out two shadows. One holds a weapon — it looks like a crowbar.
When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire. The blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside.
As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you’re in trouble. In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was never registered.
Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm.
When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter. “What kind of sentence will I get?” you ask.
“Only ten-to-twelve years,” he replies, as if that’s nothing. “Behave yourself, and you’ll be out in seven.”
The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper. Somehow, you’re portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are represented as choir boys.
Their friends and relatives can’t find an unkind word to say about them.
Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both “victims” have been arrested numerous times. But the next day’s headline says it all: “Lovable Rogue Son Didn’t Deserve to Die.”
The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters.
As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up, then the international media.
The surviving burglar has become a folk hero. Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he’ll probably win.
The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you’ve been critical of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time. The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.
A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven’t been reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you. Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man.
It doesn’t take long for the jury to convict you of all charges.
The judge sentences you to life in prison.
This case really happened.
Use a gun in self-defense, go to jail
On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk, England, killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term.
How did it become a crime to defend one’s own life in the once-great British Empire?
It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license. The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns. Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.
Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987. Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead.
The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of “gun control”, demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)
Nine years later, at Dunblane, Scotland, Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.
Demonizing gun owners
For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable, or worse, criminals. Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners. Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, sealed the fate of the few sidearms still owned by private citizens.
During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real criminals were released. Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, “We cannot have people take the law into their own hands.”
All of Martin’s neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences. Martin himself, a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.
When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three months to turn them over to local authorities. Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who didn’t were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn’t comply.
Police later bragged that they’d taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.
How did the authorities know who had handguns?
The guns had been registered and licensed. Kinda like cars.
|Robert Waters is the author of The Best Defense, a collection of fascinating human interest stories of people who successfully used firearms to defend themselves and others against violent assaults. The book can be obtained from Gun Owners Foundation. Simply go to the GOF website at http://www.gunowners.com/bookst.htm or call 1-888-886-GUNS.|
America On Line Needs to Be Turned Off Line
by Larry Pratt
Let me fully disclose my feelings about America On Line. I do not like the company. I do not like their politics and I do not like their service.
When I had America On Line I frequently found it impossible to download big programs. They would take so long that the little dialog box would pop up and tell me when I wasn’t looking that I had not been using the computer, and would I like to stay connected? By the time I looked at the screen again I was off line.
I concluded that America On Line would be better named America Off Line. So, I turned them off permanently.
Now I am urging you to do the same. Even if you like the quality of their service. By patronizing AOL you are aiding and abetting the enemy.
Please let me explain.
Reports are frequently received at Gun Owners of America that AOL filters out pro-Second Amendment web sites.
Now, AOL has decided to escalate their war against our firearms freedoms. The Ogden, Utah office has fired three men pretty much because they are gun owners.
Luke Hansen, Paul Carlson and Jason Melling were well aware of the anti-self defense prohibition on guns in the workplace at AOL where they worked. They respected this dangerous workplace requirement.
However, one day they were in the parking lot which is leased, but not owned by AOL. On their own time, they were seen transferring firearms from their trunks to Hansen’s trunk for an expedition to the shooting range.
Because of that, they were fired. The three are in court, but more should be done to support these three freedom fighters.
Sarah Thompson, a medical doctor and director the Utah Gun Owners Alliance has called for a boycott of AOL. I agree.
I would urge that you do two things.
Contact the folks at keepandbeararms.com on the web and sign up for their internet access service. If all you want is e-mail, that is free. The keepandbeararms.com internet service is competitively priced with AOL and is for unlimited service.
Then, call to cancel your AOL service so that you can tell an AOL representative why they are losing your business. Be polite; but be firm. You could also call the AOL national representative in Northern Virginia who is covering this issue, Nicholas Graham, and tell him what you have done. His number is 1-703-265-1746.
You might ask him if his policy would have stopped the killing of the seven people in the Wakefield, MA dot com office.
This is a “two-fer”, folks; you’re helping a great group at keepandbeararms.com (where you ought to be checking everyday for firearms related news, anyway) and no longer will you be enriching a rabidly anti-gun company.
David Barton has written a wonderful little book. It has a huge amount of ammunition per page for obliterating the anti-self defense crowd’s main argument.
The sub title of The Second Amendment (Preserving the Inalienable Right of Individual Self-Protection) tells the reader what to expect inside. You won’t be disappointed.
It contains an exhaustive compilation of 1) early legal commentaries 2) views of the founding fathers 3) early legislative acts and 4) state constitutions. All of this to prove overwhelmingly that the Second Amendment is an individual right. The Second Amendment is not designed to protect a state’s right to have a militia.
Get this book. GOA has used it in debates. You should too. It can be obtained from Gun Owners Foundation, for only $5.95 plus $4.50 shipping. Simply go to the GOF website at http://www.gunowners.com/bookst.htm or call 1-888-886-GUNS.
Be Real Careful Around Anti-Gunners
by Larry Pratt
Barbara Graham is an anti-gunner that folks would be well advised to stay clear of.
After attending the Million Mom March last Mother’s Day to protest gun violence, she went on to commit some of her own.
On February 1, Graham was convicted in DC Superior Court for shooting the young man she suspected had killed her son. Turned out the police had arrested the culprit some time earlier, but that did not stop judge-and-jury-and-executioner Graham.
Perhaps the cry to restrict guns should be translated to what is really meant: “Stop me before I shoot again!”
A less violent episode occurred in Colorado last year when a pro-gun protester at a Million Mommy meeting in the Denver area was literally assaulted and battered by one of the Million Moms (actually a male).
The pro-gun protester had his megaphone shoved into his teeth, after which he fled from the Maniac Mommy who pursued him and pummeled him. Incredibly, the protester restrained himself, even though he was legally carrying a concealed handgun at the time.
At no time did the armed victim ever reach for his gun.
True Stories of Armed Self-Defense
by Robert A. Waters
[The month of January] brought numerous reminders of why many Americans own guns. But these stories were nowhere to be seen on ABC, CBS, CNN, or NBC. They weren’t news to editors of the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times.
Overlooked by the mainstream media, these accounts show how lives are saved when law-abiding citizens own firearms.
Forty-five home invasions occurred in Chattanooga, Tennessee between October, 2000 and January, 2001. But on the night of January 12, the home invasions came to an abrupt end. Two masked gunmen burst through the door of Tiffany Bibbs’s home. When the mother, who was holding her baby, attempted to dial 911, one of the robbers knocked the phone out of her hands. Then the assailants forced the four occupants of the house to give up their money and jewelry. As they were leaving, one of the intruders snatched Bibbs’s baby from her arms and ran outside.
Gerald Lamar Beverly, a visitor in the home, grabbed a handgun and followed the robbers. The assailant placed the baby on the porch and began shooting at Beverly. The visitor returned fire. When police arrived, Beverly and an armed neighbor were standing over the body of Mica Kaba Townsend. Beverly was not charged. There have been no more home invasions reported in Chattanooga since January 12….
In other cases, an armed man in Houston was shot and killed while attempting to rob a car stereo shop; the manager of a bar in Phoenix shot and killed one of four robbers; a homeowner in Portsmouth, Virginia shot a teenager who tried to break into his home; a store clerk in Tulsa, Oklahoma killed an armed robber; and a Phoenix father shot and killed a man who forced his way into the home. And so it goes….
These are just a few cases of armed self-defense that went unreported by the mainstream media in January, 2001. Because of this shameful neglect, many Americans have a distorted view of guns. The media will never convince people of their fairness and objectivity until they begin to cover these stories.
Mr. Waters is the author of The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a Firearm.
Help Defend the Second Amendment Every Time You Place a Long Distance Call
Gun Owners of America is in Washington fighting for the Bill of Rights and your Second Amendment freedoms everyday.
And you can help GOA every day as well — or at least as often as you make a long distance phone call.
GOA has partnered with Life Line, one of America’s major long distance telephone providers.
Every long distance call made by a GOA customer of Life Line results in a 10% payment to GOA of each and every long distance call made.
In 2000, Life Line gave GOA nearly $60,000.
Unlike patronizing ATT, Sprint or MCI, patrons of Life Line have none of their moneys filtered to anti-gun candidates.
Life Line offers a variety of plans, including its “Sunday Best” which offers 4.9 cents a minute rates anywhere in the U.S. on Sundays and 6.9 cents a minute the other six days. A monthly service charge applies.
You can help yourself and help GOA by using Life Line. Call the special GOA toll free number at Life Line to find out which plan will work best for you. That number is 1-800-311-2811.
A Tale Of Two Cities: Armed And Alive, Disarmed And Dead
by Larry Pratt
It’s a cautionary tale — or should be — of two cities. In one (Wakefield, Massachusetts), it was the worst of times because only the Bad Guy mass murderer had the guns.
But, in the other city (New York), it was the best of times since a Good Guy also had a gun, knew how to use it, and because of this the Bad Guys are dead.
Describing what happened when seven employees of an Internet consulting company were murdered in cold blood, Middlesex County (MA) District Attorney Martha Coakley said:
“There is an enormous amount of bullets and casings in the building. There was an enormous amount of fire power that occurred in that building today.”
The Washington Post said that what happened was a “slaughter.” And a surviving co-worker of the employees who were massacred lamented the fact that she was unable to do something “for the people who were there and couldn’t get out of the way.”
Meanwhile, in the other city, the Big Apple, things turned out quite differently.
Off duty but armed, on Christmas Eve, Detective Michael Zeller went to the Two Flag Deli Grocery in Brooklyn. Zeller was accompanied by his wife Marie, their 3-year-old daughter, and a two-month-old son. They were going to pick up Mrs. Zeller’s mother who owns the Deli.
Just about closing time, Jonathan Lynch walked in and asked for a sandwich. Marie Zeller, who was closing up while her Mom left to get her bags from her nearby apartment, said, sure, she’d make him a sandwich.
But, as the New York Daily News reports it, the Zellers became suspicious when Lynch said he wanted to go outside and ask a friend if he also wanted a sandwich. The Zellers watched Lynch chat with his friend, who stood near the open trunk of a parked car.
Michael Zeller studied the two men but dismissed any distrust, telling his wife things looked OK. But, to be sure, he walked outside to take another look.
Seconds later, when he headed back into the store, he was staring down the barrel of a .22 caliber revolver pointed at his head.
As the first robber ordered the husband to lie on the floor, the second robber held a knife to Marie Zeller’s throat, forcing her to empty a cash register.
Suddenly, the Zeller’s 3-year-old daughter Devin, who was at her Mom’s side, ran from behind the counter and screamed: “Leave my Daddy alone.” Daddy yelled to Devin: “Go back.” Startled, the robber gunman briefly took his eyes off of Michael Zeller — a big mistake.
Reaching into his waistband, Zeller pulled out his 9mm Glock pistol and squeezed off five shots.
The first two bullets struck the 6-foot, 240-pound James Culbertson in the chest, mortally wounding him.
Another shot ripped into the lungs of the 6-foot, 170-pound knife-wielder Lynch, who died at the scene.
Both of the two dead robbers had long criminal records. Police said Lynch’s record dated back to 1986, with arrests for assault, grand larceny and armed robbery. Culbertson had been arrested seven times, but six arrests were sealed, apparently because he was a juvenile at the time. In 1999, he was arrested in Queens for robbery and possession of stolen property, but was allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and sentenced to “community service.”
I say that all of this is a cautionary tale — or ought to be — of two cities. So, what, exactly, do I mean? Well, in his novel, “A Tale Of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens notes, at the beginning, that he writes of a time when, among other things, “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” And so it is in our time regarding guns.
Over and over, ad nauseam, we are told, foolishly, by the Anti-Gun Nuts that guns are the focus of all evil in the world, that they must be banned, that concealed weapons always do more harm than good, blah, blah, blah.
But, this is a lie.