Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

A safer nation? Make compromises and pay the costs

Post by Brian O'Neill on Dec. 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm with 45 Comments »
December 17, 2012 9:40 pm

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt

What may have been true in 1933, at least in the context of FDR’s speech, seems pathetically out of place today. Our current state of fear is no mere metaphor. Mass shootings are a phenomena as real and violent as they are random and impersonal.

Our nation's mass shooting flow chart/

We have become so numb to these events that the least informed among us could write the script: disaffected, deranged loner shoots at people in a public place; the news media hone in on the perp, pasting his photo, his gun collection, his clinical diagnosis, heck even his favorite movie on the front page; repeat.

We have also heard the stats. According to NBC there have been more than 40 mass shootings since Columbine in 1999. Though law enforcement has made changes to their tactical response to these events, in the past fourteen years our prevention planning has remained the same- nonexistent.

Because of that we are now wallowing in the unspeakable horror – the massacre of innocents – in Newtown, CT. Our own failings as individuals, as communities and as a nation are a bitter, bitter pill.

We don’t need rhetoric or finger-pointing. We need real world solutions that will protect even the most vulnerable of us from a random, public shooting incident. That effort will require accurate data, legislation forged by political compromise, and revenue streams. To be blunt, the only chance we have of measurable intervention against these random acts of mass violence – without jeopardizing our status as a free society –  is if everyone  has skin in the game.

Because there are only two components to a mass shooting, the problem itself is straightforward. There is the shooter, represented almost exclusively by males between the ages of 15 and 45, and there is the weapon, often a high-calibre rifle or handgun with ample rounds in multiple magazines. The logical solution requires intervention before a) a troubled individual transforms into a monster filled with homicidal rage; and/or b) said individual arms himself with a firearm.

Framing the problem is simple, but truly accepting the reality is another. I did several years ago when I was attacked by a psychotic, enraged man who managed to ring my bell pretty good before my partner and I handcuffed him. He was unmedicated and on the streets because there were and are almost no resources for disturbed individuals like him.

Funding more mental health facilities, especially for people prone to psychotic episodes, is a good start. All that’s required are conscientious politicians, a majority of taxpayers willing to vote against their wallets and (gulp) a bureaucracy capable of putting it into place.

There are many well publicized incidents like my example. It was not lost on me that I escaped without serious injury because my attacker was unable to arm himself, a fact which brings us to the second, more polarizing question: How do we keep guns, especially assault rifles capable of inflicting massive trauma in a minimal amount of time, away from a small subset of people?

The simple answer is that we can’t. Instead, the solution will require a painful compromise between those who would seek the abolishment of all private firearms and those who consider it their right to own weapons normally reserved for military use.

It’s a tall order. One thing, though, is clear. Failure to do anything at all will only lead to more bloody atrocities, more images of carnage, until we are all finally, irrevocably and comfortably numb. FDR realized this, said as much in a fuller quote from his speech.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Leave a comment Comments → 45
  1. wyecoyote says:


    Yes increasing mental health may be neccessary unfortunately people won’t like it cause it will increase taxes.

    As to solutions I brought up before this shooting the possiblity of allowing facalty at schools to be armed if provided they go through formal training. Yet after this shooting that has been brought up and not considered by those that want gun control. Even listening to one radio host who stated that guns should only be in the hands of police and not teachers. Then this same host goes on to say that we need to talk about solutions. Hm to me that is someone of his ilk that only wants one thing. We could have armed guards at every entrance and roaming the halways. That would discourage this. But then again the cost would be high and again those that want nothing but gun control will say no.

    As to Assault Rifles. Per the DOJ study the AWB had no impact on crime. Per the FBI studies the 5.56/.223 caliber and 7.62 caliber (in all lengths) amount between 2-4 percent of all rifle related crimes. Which then ends up being between .001 to .03 percent of all crime. Again nothing that really impacts crime. But, those that want them banned only want it for two reasons because it looks like something evil and incramental steps on banning all guns. Yes that is the eventual goal of the Brady Camp and others very few will admit it openly and when it happens the media leaves it alone. So yes someone like myself who looks at the cost benift of items sees the AWB as nothing more than a feel good bill without any real benift on crime prevention.

    Sorry for any typos I put this up quickly and didn’t proof read it.

  2. harleyrider1 says:

    You’re on the right track. As far as gun control laws we need to simply enforce the ones we have. More laws do not make us more safer.

    Here’s where you are on the right track: Mental illness. Pierce County used to have a fully funded path for officers and families to have someone instantly evaluated. This included 24-hour pysch eval and holding facilities other than jail. Dedicated.

    We need to return that so as to give people options. Police officers are much safer than others for many reasons dealing with mentally ill. Families, neighbors, shoppers, strangers are not provided a clear 24-hour option other than “talk”.

    Professionals and the public need to move mental health funding to the top of the budget. Beautiful art, nice sidewalks, lighting, more firefighters – none of this does us any good if we are not here to appreicate it.

  3. I agree that something must be done to ensure that those with mental illnesses are treated as well as prohibited from access to firearms. Unfortunately, as a society we value personal liberty, and don’t commit the mentally ill against their will anymore (Frances Farmer, anyone?). Even parents of the perpetrators of these crimes know (or should know) their own children have issues, yet ignore (at society’s peril) the warning signs, or fail to act in time to save lives.

    But the knee jerk reactionism in this country is frightening. Yes, let’s punish society by outlawing scary looking guns. I’m sorry, I hate it when the media labels an AR-15 as a “weapon designed for military use” which is a flat out lie and at the very least misleading the public. Brian, stop taking liberties with the truth to push an agenda. Those “firearms designed for military use” are illegal in washington state, and heavily restricted by the federal government regardless.

  4. Brian O'Neill says:

    Per wikipedia, the AR-15 was originally designed by Armalite for the military and manufactured by Colt as the M16. I have owned one of these weapons and carried it in my patrol car at work. There is absolutely no reason, other than the simple desire to own this weapon, for a civilian to own a weapon like this. Its high capacity ammo magazines, the high velocity and size of its rounds, and a light, highly accurate frame are why this rifle was developed as a tool to kill people. There is no other logical rationale, and it is time for people who fear that any restriction or legislation is somehow anti-American to recognize that we can’t shoot our way out of this problem.

  5. wyecoyote says:

    Its high capacity ammo magazines, the high velocity and size of its rounds, and a light, highly accurate frame are why this rifle was developed as a tool to kill people.

    Read more here:

    Then why do police have them? If it is only designed to kill people by your rational then the police should not have them. I’ll say this as soon as the police are disarmed then we can talk about me turning in mine. I deleted what I wanted to say to keep the discussion going but your train of thought taken to extreme went down a way I would not talk about police officers. Suffice it to say as soon as your willing as well as all other officers are willing to give up theirs then I will give up mine. But, as a police officer your used to having some special priveledges that non police officers aren’t afforded.

    Mine I use for varmint hunting. I hunt with disabled hunters that use the AR-10 platform for hunting. They can not operate a bolt/pump or lever fast enough and prefer the AR platform.

  6. NotPoliticallyCorrect says:

    A SWAT team can go in, fire 70+ rounds hit the target maybe 22 times. Yet the target was not even shooting back. Rifles such as the AR’s should not be in their hands.

  7. simonsjs says:

    Brian apparently you forgot who our founding fathers wanted us to be able to protect ourselves against. Thugs and government thugs. As citizens, we are way behind in arming ourselves against the g thugs.

  8. simonsjs says:

    Besides, you wouldn’t be able to have a column if you didn’t go along with the pc BS.

  9. NTsquirrel says:

    The police force and the military need high-capacity magazines. Otherwise we would have a police force like Britain’s, where police responded rapidly to a mass stabbing, and then were reduced to following the assailant at a distance until a supervisor with a gun showed up. If you want the cops to actually protect your life, they need more than bear spray and a baton.

    I am very much in agreement with the second amendment and the right to bear arms. That said, there is no reason for a civilian to have a weapon designed specifically for rapid killing without reloading. I cannot see any survivable situation in my daily life where I would need more than 5 double-taps to defend myself or those around me. Banning high-capacity magazines and weapons that use them won’t prevent me from defending my family. It may make the next nut job who does something so horrific stop to reload, making an opportunity for someone to stop him or get the children away.

    Until we as a society find a real way to help the violent mentally ill, we need to do everything we can to reduce the damage they are capable of.

  10. Let just about anyone get knocked in the head just about
    right and you’ve got a 15 second “nut case”.

  11. wyecoyote says:

    NTSquirell, But that isn’t supposed to happen in britian guns are strictly controlled. Sarcasam off. Police have no duty to protect ones life per the supreme court ruling. They only have a duty to society as a whole. We as indivduals have a duty to protect our life and our families the police are under no obligation legaly.

    The AWB is not a ban on function. It is only a ban on certain cosmetic features you can’t have a pistol grip but you can have a thumb hole stock. You can’t have a bayonet. You can’t have a flash suppressor however, you can have a muzzle break.

    This is no more than a feel good bill. Per the DOJ’s own study it has no impact on crime. Even if you look at the FBI studies you are talking about impacting .001 to .03 percent of crime with that caliber of rifle. They don’t actually ban semi automatic firearms.

    If the end result is to actually save lives banning fast food restaurants would do more than this bill would. But, people want to feel good about something and not actually look at the crime statistics.

  12. smokey984 says:

    NTsquirrel said: If you want the cops to actually protect your life, they need more than bear spray and a baton.

    Just like they protected the 27 deseased citizens on friday? Virgina tech the cops protected those 37 human beings as well. I bet you or anyone else can make that argument to the grieving parents of Columbine or the other series of mass shooting weve experienced since the 1996 gunfee zone act was signed into law.

    Im certainly not trying to take away the important role our societys first responders play, but the FACT remains Police were at least 3-7 minutes away in response time, depending on several factors. Their job is inherently reactive in nature from a statistical standpoint.

    When evil comes around with mayhem in mind i prefer not to wait on a 7 minute response and if so then i would like the CHOICE of defending myself and those around me until the cops arrive.

    I could have had a Glock and 10 ten round magazines and had enough time to reload and expend all rounds prior to their arrival.

    The M-4 this jackass used was semi-auto, meaning 1 squeese of the triger and one round is expended. The same philosophy applies to all guns (Shotguns, Hunting rifles, hand guns, etc) Does it really matter what type of weapons platform one chooses?

    And just to clarify…a thirty round magazine is not a high capacity thingy as the media would happily spoon feed you to your delight. Its STANDARD capacity. Ask a soldier or Law Enforcement if they only want a ten round magazine for their guns while performing their jobs…

    Level the playing field..

    do not take away a human beings choice to defend themselves from harm. Thats exactly the case with these gun free zones.

  13. simonsjs says:

    Over 100 dead on our highways EVERYDAY and not a word about banning cars. Food kills over 800 everyday not a word about banning food. Banning guns will only strengthen government and weaken citizens. That is exactly the opposite of what our founding fathers had in mind when our country was started. These shooters are on goverment approved drugs. Maybe we should go after the drug companies and those who prescribe them.

  14. NotPoliticallyCorrect says:

    Simonjs, Well said above!!!!

    We have seen how well gun control works, during the assault weapons ban. Noth Hollywood Shootout, individuals were arrested earlier, did about 100 days in jail, then the courts gave them their weapons back. Afterwards, they went out and held up a Bank of America, resulting in the shootout. Of course there was the Columbine shooting, which speaks for itself.

    I don’t want to forget to mention our government, sending weapons to the drug cartels in mexico, then wanting to possibly take ours away. We have a congress that can’t even get their own act together, and they want to try and pass another law as such. Would be different if they were acting responsibly.

  15. smokey984 says:

    Spoons are responsible for obesity.

    I hearby propose, “Spoon free zones” effective immediately on all eating establishments nationwide.

    Just like prohibition during the 1920’s got rid of Beer, wine and hard liquor.

    Hey, did you guys know, when the politicians made drugs illegal some years ago they have completely disappeared from society?

  16. Brian, I am sorry, but you’re missing my point. It is widely understood that the civilian version of the firearm platform in question is called the AR-15, a semi-auto variant that is not issued to the military. The AR-15 itself is not a military weapon. The main feature difference between the AR-15 and the M-16 is the M-16 is select fire, originally fully automatic, later changed to be burst fire. At no time has the civilian version been a select fire weapon. Functionally the AR-15 is little different than the civilian version of the M-14, the M1A, except the AR-15 would be banned under the old assault weapon ban, while the M1A wouldn’t. Thus the assault weapons ban are for cosmetic differences, not functional differences.

    What I am basically objecting to is the misleading characterization of the civilian firearm, the AR-15, is not a military weapon. It is not a machine gun, it is not an assault rifle, it is not issued to the military, it is the most common sporting rifle sold today. People not in the gun culture don’t understand the difference, and it doesn’t help to have the media constantly confuse the issue. Especially now as our elected politicians are falling all over themselves to enact legislation (or decree by executive fiat) pointless laws that won’t do squat to stop the next tragedy.

  17. allgirlusa says:

    If assualt weapons are outlawed they will just continue to be supplied to criminals here from sources like Mexico. I would not be able to buy one as a law abiding citizen, but they would be readily available just like meth, heroin, cocaine, etc. I mean, do you really think if they’re outlawed the criminals won’t have access to them? Outlawing them only denies us who can legally own them.

  18. BlaineCGarver says:

    Brian, you are one scary cop…..Do LEO oaths no longer make reference to upholding the constitution? Not what YOU think the constitution is, but, the real one? You hated the idea of weapons in civilian hands since you started appearing in this blog, and now, you are shamelessly standing on the dead bodies of kids, the emotions of anguished families, and the horror of the populous. I’m quite frankly disgusted.

  19. Brian O'Neill says:

    Perhaps a few of you had positions where you used firearms as a tool. I certainly did. Over the years I carried an AR-15, a Ruger Mini-14, a shotgun, a semi-auto pistol and even a .357 revolver. I am well aware of the capabilities of each of these weapons, and I can tell you what each of these tools is capable of in the hands of someone looking to kill people on a large scale, and in a big hurry.

    If you are so enamored with your right to carry whatever type of firearm you choose, despite the fact that some of those weapons are designed to do the type of destruction that we have seen in places like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Newtown, then have the decency to acknowledge that your selfish desires come before everyone else’s right to feel safe.

    “Why should I give up my AR-15 when the criminals will find a way to get one anyway?” That is the most-asked question by every single naysayer and gun rights apologist in this country. No, this won’t solve every problem we have, not by a long shot. But if the next mass shooter has a tough time finding a 30 round magazine, and has to settle for a smaller body count at the mall some time in the future, then that is the victory for which I will settle.

    This is a big country, and gun owners (which include me) are not the only ones who live in it.

  20. leehallfae says:

    Rewording a sentence a bit”

    “There is nothing to fear unless and until you feel fear.” That is, the wise words of FDR, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” as amended by nature.

  21. leehallfae says:

    My question: How does anyone define “Mental Illness”, and it matters as ALL of us could, at any time, be considered a menace to society.

    Adam Lanza’s medical records are no longer relevant. Maybe he was just angry because he was angry, and he, having nothing to lose, decided that if he were to be robbed of his identity, via being sent to a locked mental ward, that others would also suffer.

    ‘Intervention against random acts of mass violence – if everyone has skin in the game – OK. Officer O’Neil, what is the price of this illusion of safety? $100.00 a month per taxpayer? Will a stash of coin of the realm offer extra protection, and before asking taxpayers to fund this, offer a guarantee of some sort.

  22. Everyone’s right to “feel safe”. How true.

  23. BlaineCGarver says:

    Still blaming the tool, Brian? Ok, let’s play it your way….The next shooter takes a six shot revolver with 10 speed loaders….Oops, there’s 66 dead kids, with a hundred year old , NON-semiautomatic, manual loading weapon. You’re knee is jerking so hard, you’re logic is terminally jarred.

  24. Brian O'Neill says:

    Your scenario is flawed. As in the incident in Newtown, police departments’ active shooter response was created to be a rapid intervention to shooting incidents. Logic and physics dictates that there would have been many more survivors in all of the 40 plus mass shooting incidents since Columbine if the killers had resorted to a six shot revolver.

    And the tool with which you replaced the AR-15? Still a firearm.

  25. Brian O'Neill says:

    leehallfae- If the FDR quote was incorrect, I’m afraid you will need to direct your ire at Wikipedia. I was unable to find your reference.

  26. smokey984 says:

    The active shooter response was created to be a rapid intervention to shooting incidents?

    That response was so rapid in Newton that the police got there just in time folks! To clean up the mess of course, and investigate a crime scene with no defendent…Must be hard putting your hand on a shoulder of a grieving parent and telling them little Timmy isnt coming home tonight all because i got there just in time ;)

  27. wyecoyote says:

    If you are so enamored with your right to carry whatever type of firearm you choose, despite the fact that some of those weapons are designed to do the type of destruction that we have seen in places like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Newtown, then have the decency to acknowledge that your selfish desires come before everyone else’s right to feel safe

    Read more here:

    So Brian I take it that you will be the one leading the charge to disarm police officers. After all police officers must have a selfish desire to carry these. If we banned police from carring firearms many lives would be saved. After all police rarely stop a crime in progress. And even if they happen upon a crime in progress they have a taser or pepper spray.

    You really are giving yourself away in that you don’t want non police officers to be armed. You would rather have no guns. Just come out and say so. Quit two stepping around and admit it freely for all to see. You are not after actual crime prevention just getting rid of guns for non police officers. The AWB bill is no more than a feel good bill. And you’re asertion that those opposing are only for selfish reasons look at yourself in a mirror. You and others are doing it for selfish reasons. You are not after actual open and free discusion as to what might or might not work. I have already pointed out that according to the DOJ the AWB bill had no impact on crime. The bill was no more than a feel good bill.

    Violent crime rate has dropped since the ban was lifted. The murder rate has dropped. Yet you want this for selfish reasons. You Brian are the selfish one that doesn’t want an actual discusion. None of your posts brings up any actual real data that shows it would reduce crime. And you should no better that the AWB in no way impacts the function but is only a feature ban. Also the Ruger Mini 14 was not banned under the AWB and wouldn’t be going forward it has the same function as the AR-15 platform.

    Also most of your fellow officers disagree with you. I know many of them as well as ones that know you and they disagree with you.

  28. MatthewBrooks says:

    Brian, on 12-19-2012 at 10:39PM you wrote: “I am well aware of the capabilities of each of these weapons, and I can tell you what each of these tools is capable of in the hands of someone looking to kill people on a large scale, and in a big hurry.”

    As you have extensive training in the area of firearms and are well-versed in police patrol procedures, you undoubtedly are aware of the damage that someone intent upon doing evil can wreak upon the defenseless.

    Taking your statement and moving forward.

    The Ban

    Let’s assume for the moment that there is a re-enactment of the federal assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994-2004.

    This ban, among other things, restricted further manufacture and sale of standard capacity magazines with the exception of those manufactured for “GOV/LE USE ONLY”. After the enactment of this law, the only persons who could purchase factory-new standard capacity magazines were government employees bearing the appropriate letterhead and approval from their agency.

    For ten years no civilian could purchase a new standard capacity magazine, and any standard capacity magazine manufactured was required to bear the LEO-only stamp. However, in the build up to this legislation becoming law, firearms manufacturers ramped up their production of standard capacity magazines and sold them to anyone who wanted to purchase them.

    When the ban was signed into law there were already hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of standard capacity magazines already in the hands of tens of millions of gun owners. These magazines varied in size from ten rounds on up to 100 round magazines. They were still readily available to any person who wished to purchase them, and they freely did so, albeit it at a fairly substantial premium in price.

    The point I am trying to make here is that short of adding even more unconstitutional and draconian language to the law, there was nothing that the government could do to actually reduce the availability of these magazines. Had they tried, they were certain to run into even more constitutionally-based objections with violations of the fourth amendment sure to lead the way.

    Not anxious to get into any more legal trouble than they anticipated, law makers instead passed what they could claim as a success: not much more than renaming standard capacity magazines to the evil and dreaded “high-capacity magazines”.

    Three rounds

    Springing to my mind here is my very own duty weapon, the venerable GLOCK model 21. This firearm, in it’s standard configuration, has a magazine capacity of 13 rounds, plus one in the chamber when carried in its law-enforcement capacity – for a total of 14 rounds. Three bullets. The entire law could reasonably be boiled down to three bullets. That’s it. The other items restricted in the law did nothing to alter or restrict the lethality of any weapon at all. A muzzle shroud? Surely having unburned hands and fingers would stop crime in its tracks? As did the vertical fore-grip and adjustable stocks that I’m sure made it much more difficult for those with dexterity problems and other disabilities to commit the atrocities they otherwise would.


    As a trained police officer working during this era, you are also no doubt well-versed in pre-Columbine tactics when dealing with such incidents. Surround, contain and wait for SWAT or other high-speed, low-drag units to address the situation. In the time it takes for a spree-killer to begin their rampage, how long (again, pre-Columbine) would it have taken for a police response to actually engage the shooter? 5 minutes? 10? 30? An hour? More? Considering these amounts of time, and the amount of time it takes for an average, untrained, person to change magazines and reload his weapon, how many rounds could be fired? Dozens, hundreds, thousands? Tens of thousands? Would being restricted to ten round magazines have slowed the dealers of death in any appreciable way in these situations? Unlikely.

    Fast-forward to today. Or, rather, last week. We on the west coast awoke to horrible, horrible news. An atrocity had been committed. The anger and rage of the worst kind, taken out on the youngest of us. As the hours passed into days following the events at Newtown, Ct. it became clear that even in the post-Columbine law enforcement world, we as police officers simply can’t get there fast enough. Sources differ in the specifics, but it is safe to say that from the time the first call was dispatched, it was in the area of nearly 20 minutes before boots were on the ground and moving toward this coward. In the end, the damage was done. He had chosen the path of the lowest scum: he acted against the weak and then took his own life prior to facing the music he knew was coming his way.

    20 minutes. 20 long, agonizing minutes where he was, for all intents and purposes, free to impose his evil will upon the most innocent of victims. I have not yet read the specifics of the current laws in the state of Connecticut, but I understand it to have some of the most restrictive laws in the country regarding firearms. They even suffer from their own version of an “assault weapon” ban. And yet evil triumphed again.

    Had this monster been carrying only ten round magazines, would his spree have been any less deadly or vicious? Not with 20 minutes to roam freely, executing children and relentlessly pushing bullet after bullet forth from his gun. The mother, father or child who has been shot knows no difference in their pain or death whether they died at the hands of a five shot .38-special or a 100 round drum magazine attached to a M249 SAW.

    It is terrible. It is agonizing. To those of us who have volunteered to die for others if necessary, we agonize over what we could do to change this. So that there won’t be another Columbine, Virginia Tech, Paducah, Jonesboro, Moses Lake, Springfield, Omaha, Clackamas, Foss High School, Forza Coffee Shop, or Newtwon, Connecticut.

    Brian, if giving up our 13 round magazines would truly ensure that no one would ever again need to use a gun in the defense of self or others, than I would gladly do so. The truth of the matter is that no law, no regulation and no ordinance will change the heart of man. There will always be those who choose to do evil. It’s at the root of mankind. It’s in our nature. Short of divine intervention and a complete change in the hearts of mankind, there will always be a need to defend one’s self or others.

    Criminals will be criminals. It’s what they do. They ignore laws and visit violence upon others. Rules, laws and regulations only stop those predisposed to follow the laws.

    Now, on to your next paragraph.

    You stated, “If you are so enamored with your right… then have the decency to acknowledge that your selfish desires come before everyone else’s right to feel safe.”

    Really? I expected more from you. As a reader of your column for much of the past year, I have found most of your comments and opinions to be well reasoned and well thought out. Rarely have I seen you resort to name calling and derision in order to counter others’ opinions.

    Shouldn’t we all be enamored with our rights? Our God-given, inalienable, un-infringeable rights? Our right to speak our mind, to assemble, to protest, to petition, to be secure in our persons and possessions, to be able to face our accuser in a speedy trial, our right to not incriminate ourselves and our right to worship freely? And our right to secure ourselves and our freedom by keeping and bearing arms.

    Calling those of us who believe in what the founding fathers of this nation firmly established for all time selfish? A little broad and overreaching, isn’t it? What is the right to feel safe? If someone feels safe shrouding themselves in an illusion of police protection and a government-sponsored nanny state, then they are free to do so. However, when those moments of clarity are brought to the them at the end of the smoking barrel of a murderous coward, when they are brought back to the sharp reality of life, that the government and the police cannot protect everyone in every situation, it is up to them to try to reason the cause of their lack of safety.

    For those…
    …who have already had this moment of clarity;
    …who have thought about the logical conclusion of what a under-armed or disarmed society really represents;
    …who have acted to take steps they deem appropriate to secure for themselves their lives and their enjoyment of liberty;

    I would only ask to be left alone by those who wish to impose their social engineering schemes upon us.

    We have the right to defend ourselves and if we choose to do so with a GLOCK 17 with a 33 round magazine attached to it, they should be free to do so.

    For those who wish to take them from us who continue to live peaceably and without harming others, have you been honest with yourself? What are you trying to accomplish? History has shown without ambiguity that disarming society has the opposite of the advertised claim of reducing crime or danger.

    Everyone is responsible for themselves.

    Carry on and stay safe sir. The world is an evil place and it’s not changing any time soon.

  29. Brian O'Neill says:


    Thanks for you well thought out and eloquent response. You brought up some excellent points, though on a few of those we may have to agree to disagree.

    You brought up the matter of numbers: the number of high capacity magazines already in the public venue.; the “three bullet” issue. To an extent, it’s hard to dispute your logic. Here’s my problem, though. We are not isolated individuals living in caves, rather we are a nation whose people live in communities in which we are dependent upon each other. If everyone were to choose their own course, say “screw you” to their neighbor next door, our communities would fail. Some might say we are already failing because of that even now. If we want to make this a safer country for everyone, not just gun owners, then we need to have a real conversation where no one can say “leave me alone to do things the way I want” and simply walk away.

    As far as our huge surprlus of equipment, there will be magazines aplenty for years to come. Also, you are correct when you suggest that the changes brought by legislation may be miniscule compared to the problem. Just like compounded money, however, over change will come in time. It may be our grandchildren who truly benefit from any legislation enacted today. Logically, at some point in the future a shooter wouldn’t have access to the equipment available today, and the body count just might be less. This is the crux of it for me. So you need to ask yourself, if enacting a ban could save even one life, would you still cling to the status quo and offer up someone you love?

    And please keep in mind that social engineering is how our country came to be. We are a product of our own design, and we change our program on a daily basis. Thanks for your input.

  30. Mathew, thanks for that post, well said.

    Brian, that last point, “if it saves one life” comment, is simple kindergarten talk. The world, as you obviously are aware, is full of evil, dangerous things. No amount of laws will save a life when evil wants to visit you or someone you love. Life is a constant struggle against it. Our society is filled with warning labels attached to everything. Do we ban five gallon buckets because some kid is going to drown in one? Ban all ladders over the height of three feet? After all, if it saves one life it’s worth it, right? Sure, people will still die, because they invent new ways of getting on the roof to get their cat down. But at least you will sleep better at night, knowing those evil ladders and buckets can’t decide to go on a rampage today.

  31. simonsjs says:

    No one life will NEVER be with it. Brian you can’t possibly believe your own words. Give.up guns so some will Pathetic!

  32. DevilDog2019 says:

    Very well said Matthew Brooks. I haven’t posted in a long time. (As I keep my word) I really think that we need to have Armed Volunteers at our elementary schools. I think the answers are too simple for the Politicians, and others like LEO Reps to accept. A very logical reason that these shootings happen in “Gun Free Zones” is why??? No one n the building has a weapon.

    I work for the VA. I remember when our “VA Police” had no fire arms. When they got them around 93-94, the officers said that they didn’t need them for the patients, but the employees. If any Patient came out to the hospital with a loaded weapon (a pistol for this scenario), we would not know, until the sh!t hits the fan.

    How do you prepare for that which you cannot prevent? We have VA Police in vehicles, that still need a response time to get there. Pt in the Crosswalk using a walker has the right of way, 20 KILLED while waiting for PT to cross you path… :(

  33. elmerfudd says:

    For someone who claims to be familiar with these weapons, you have some odd opinions about them.

    In what way is a 5.56 a high caliber rifle? It’s just a jumped up 22 for Christ’s sake. It’s a tiny bullet. The cartridge is considered too underpowered to legally hunt deer with. OK, so it’s slightly faster than most, but it’s no speed demon either. Then later on in your comments you bring up “the size of it’s rounds” as if there were something sinister about them. What pray tell is so concerning about a 22 caliber bullet and a cartridge that was developed from a 1950’s era varmint cartridge, (.222 Remington)? Soldiers in WW1, WW2 and Korea were carrying rifles which packed more than twice as much kinetic energy per shot.

    IMO, these were just inflammatory comments designed to fool the ignorant.

  34. Brian O'Neill says:

    Elmerfudd- This was my reference, taken from the NY Times: “investigators recovered “numerous” empty 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster rifle. The .223-caliber bullet is a small, high-velocity round that has been used by Western military forces for decades, in part because it inflicts devastating wounds.”

    I am disappointed that this discussion has devolved into a squabble about the types of rounds, their respective sizes and speeds. There’s only one true description of the ammo used in Newtown: lethal.

  35. simonsjs says:

    Brian, I think you are disappointed because hardly anyone is going along with your NONSENSE. The 2nd Amendment is for only 1 thing. Protection from people like you who want to take away guns from the citizens.

  36. Brian, bullets are inherently lethal, aren’t they? Aren’t the hollow point bullets in your issued high capacity magazines inserted in your glock 22 (or whatever your 40 cal duty weapon is) designed to leave devastating wounds? Or that Remington 870 pump loaded with 00 buck? So why do you think it’s okay for you to carry such an arsenal of death but ordinary citizens shouldn’t? Is your life worth more than mine? I don’t think so personally. I might be biased though

  37. The NRA was amazing in their press conference the other day. What we need is teachers that are willing and allowed to do the psych evals and shooting training that police go through, and receive additional certification pay to conceal carry….we need to eliminate these government-mandated soft killing zones. And to say that the general public has no need for high-capacity magazines…tell that to the guy that defended his home during the LA Riots with an AR-15. Funny how quick you are to deny others their rights….

  38. wyecoyote says:

    This is the crux of it for me. So you need to ask yourself, if enacting a ban could save even one life, would you still cling to the status quo and offer up someone you love?

    Read more here:

    The argument of “if it would save even one life.” Is not an argument. I could name many things that could be done to save just one life. How bout banning people that live in cities with population over 500,000 from owning cars that would save more than one life. All the lives saved from drunk drivers and other traffic accidents. That would save more lives.

    You do understand that the Conneticet has the AWB bill which mirrored the 94-04 fed bill. That Bushmaster AR-15 was compliant. The AWB is not a ban but a restriction on the cosmetic features only. You can have 2 of 5 the five being collapisble but stock, pistol grip, flash suppressor, detachable magazine and bayonet. Any combination with two of them you can have. Most choose the pistol grip and magazine.

  39. nwcolorist2 says:

    Good discussion on various firearms.

    There are two excellent reasons why banning any firearms is a bad idea: 1) the bad guy ignore it, while the law-abiding citizen is deprived of a means to defend themselves. This gives the criminal a leg up.

    Decades of experience shows this to be true, yet the anti-gun crowd keeps hammering away at their irrational dream of banning guns. Why?

    2) It violates the Second Amendment. If this is so important to people, start a national plan to repeal the Second Amendment

  40. smokey984 says:

    Some interesting news has broken in the wake of the latest push for gun control by President Obama and Senate Democrats: Obama sends his kids to a school where armed guards are used as a matter of fact.

    The school, Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, has 11 security officers and is seeking to hire a new police officer as we speak.

    If you dismiss this by saying, “Of course they have armed guards — they get Secret Service protection,” then you’ve missed the larger point.

    The larger point is that this is standard operating procedure for the school, period. And this is the reason people like NBC’s David Gregory send their kids to Sidwell, they know their kids will be protected from the carnage that befell kids at a school where armed guards weren’t used (and weren’t even allowed).

    Shame on President Obama for seeking more gun control and for trying to prevent the parents of other school children from doing what he has clearly done for his own. His children sit under the protection guns afford, while the children of regular Americans are sacrificed.

  41. smokey984 says:

    The term “high capacity clip” presently being bandied about by the politicos and television talking heads aggravates me. The term is a specious political creation. The fact is that a 30 round magazine is standard capacity for an AR or an AK, and anything less than that is a reduced capacity magazine. It is fine to say “full capacity” or “standard capacity” but calling 30 rounds “high capacity” is nothing but demonization and political grandstanding. Get your terminology straight and don’t fall for semantics traps!

    Oh, and FYI, at present, here are the bans in effect at the state level (some with grandfather clauses–be sure to research your state and local laws):

    States prohibiting magazines over 10 rounds: California, Hawaii*, Massachusetts, and New York. (The latter only if a magazine is post-9/1994 production)
    States prohibiting magazines over 12 rounds: Washington, DC
    States prohibiting magazines over 15 rounds: New Jersey
    States prohibiting magazines over 20 rounds: Maryland
    States prohibiting magazines over 31 rounds: Ohio

    * The Hawaii Rifle Association web site notes: “Hawaii state law prohibits greater than 10 round detachable pistol magazines (including rifle magazines capable of use in any pistol, such as the AR-15/M16, M1 Carbine, H&K carbine, Thompson, AKs, and aftermarket Ruger .22 magazines) unless blocked to hold 10 rounds or less and “not readily restorable”. Possession of illegal magazines [by themselves] is a misdemeanor, and possession of a handgun with even an empty one inserted is a Class C felony. “

  42. All, I know I am late to this conversation, but please know that Brian O’Neill does NOT represent the opinion of most police officers on the street. I won’t pretend to either, but most cops I know respect the second amendment and recognize that it was written with the specific intent that civilians are to have the same weaponry as the government. Talk about an inconvenient truth, but if you don’t believe me, try reading The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers. Dry reading, to be sure, but enlightening.

    Why do police officers carry semi-automatic rifles? Because they are the most effective tool available to us. Wouldn’t you want the most effective tool available when the police are a few minutes away but it is time to protect your family now?

    As for Brian, they rest of you have to know that police officers are drawn from society as a whole and we have good ones, bad ones, liberals and conservatives, gay and straight, etc. Some of us would kill or die to protect your rights and some, like Brian, wouldn’t care if those rights are removed, so long as it makes them feel safe. Just as my opinion is mine, his belongs to him and not the entire police community. He just has a broader audience.

  43. Brian O'Neill says:

    I have never claimed to speak for anyone other than myself, RyanA.

    I have worked at three different agencies since 1988, and while my point of view is based only on my opinions, those have been shaped in part by the many police officers with whom it has been my privilege to work. During that time span I have watched the erosion of police authority with each new Supreme Court ruling. I have traded in my .357 revolver for a Glock with 52 rounds on my gun belt and switched out a shotgun for an assault rifle. The world has changed, but people still expect the same level of safety regardless of the fact that the ultra-lethal weaponry available over the counter today was only available to the military a few decades ago.

    Think about that as your career progresses. Consider this, as well. When you claim that my opinion “does NOT represent the opinion of most police officers on the street”, (a viewpoint you will need to argue against the association of police chiefs and sheriffs that support an assault weapons ban) you fail to see that you are attempting to speak for our profession. Can’t have it both ways.

    Thanks for your comment and stay safe.

  44. Brian,

    The fact that you write this column as a police officer suggests you speak for all of us. And, apparently you didn’t read my next to last sentence. Further, if you (or anyone else) think WASPC or IACP speak for the rank and file police officer, you are far more removed from reality than your columns suggest.

    Your comments about firearms in general represent a true ignorance about those tools and about history. I understand the gun is nothing more than a tool to you and not a hobby. Nothing wrong with that, but please don’t allow your decision to remain ignorant on a topic make you look foolish. Your attempts to re-write history belie your agenda.

    “Ultra-lethal weaponry” is relative to the times. At one point in history it was the longbow. When you look at the role of the firearm in the history of our country (and the world, for that matter), you will see that it is only a few years at most from the time of their introduction to the military and their sale to civilians. This is true whether you are talking about the Henry rifle, Trapdoor Springfield, Springfield 1903, AK-47 or AR-15 (which was first offered for sale to civilians in 1963). The M1 Garand and M14 are the only two main battle rifles in our history I can think of which took a number of years before they were available on the civilian market.

    Given your role as a “journalist”, I’m disappointed (but not surprised) to see you use terms like “assault rifle” when talking about semi-automatics, and “high-calibre…handgun”. The only high-caliber handguns I am aware of are the not-too-common single-shots chambered for rifle rounds. Even describing an AK-47 as a “high-caliber rifle” is inaccurate since the most directly comparable round in projectile diameter and external and terminal ballistics is the .30-30. Although it doesn’t fit the agenda of your newspaper, it would be nice to see you use your position to accurately inform your readers rather than merely repeat hyperbole offered by people and groups committed to undercutting the constitution you swore to uphold and defend.

    As a police officer, it’s inexcusable for you to spread such misinformation. Surely someone with your police connections is able to contact a firearms instructor or range master to get your facts straight before going to print. I know for a fact the helpful folks at the Tacoma PD range would be happy to give you the straight scoop on firearms.

    I have been a police officer since 1989, a member of SWAT since 1992 and a firearms instructor since 1997. Before that, I served seven years in the Army. I have seen my share of conflict and know that the police can rarely be there to protect anyone. Civilians need the tools to protect themselves just as you do and they should have access to the most effective tools.

    We aren’t going to change each other’s minds on gun control. You’re for “reasonable restrictions” on one constitutional right (but not, apparently, the others) and I’m not. I’m just asking that you be more responsible with the “facts” you put forth. After all, there are a lot of people out there who will give more credence to your words because you are a police officer. You discredit yourself and our profession when you abuse that responsibility to further your personal political agenda. There is something wrong with an agenda that requires mis-statements of fact and manipulation of emotions instead of being able to stand alone on the facts.


  45. Brian O'Neill says:

    Thanks for the exhaustive and thoughtful reply, RyanA. Your credentials do you credit, however, you must understand that the audience of the local newspaper is not ONLY those individuals who are intimately familiar with firearms. When folks with limited experience with firearms look at an AR-15, they see an assault rifle (plenty of cops use these terms, as well). It’s hard to blame them when the assault rifle ban currently being proposed (as well as the one formerly in place) references AR-15s as well as AK-47s. While it would be unprofessional to simply shrug off the technicalities, I choose terms the lay person would better understand.

    This column is not meant to be a training manual for firearms, nor any other aspect of the police profession. It is, first and last, an opinion column. With that said, I respect your view and your right to say it.

    I just don’t agree.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0