The death of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse, Colorado Department of Corrections executive director Tom Clements and Mingo County Virginia sheriff Eugene Crum stem from the NRA’s two favorite myths: that the thing that stops “bad guys” with guns is “good guys with guns” and that criminals go out of their way to chose gun free zones.
Mike McLelland carried a gun even when he walked his dog and his wife Cynthia also had a license to carry a concealed handgun. “There were guns hidden all over the house,: his son, J. R. McLelland, told the New York Times. “Behind doors, everywhere. He could have been standing next to a .40-caliber Glock and you would not have known it. When they said that he got shot, it was unbelievable because he was so well-armed and so well-versed in guns.” Still the couple was murdered in their home over Easter weekend.
Ten days before the McLellands’ murder, Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was similarly shot in cold blood at his home. And five days after the McLellands’ murders, Walter Eugene Crum, Sheriff of Mingo County, West Virginia, was shot and killed while eating lunch in his patrol car just a few blocks from the Mingo County Courthouse.
The NRA has been strangely silent on the murders, temporarily stopping it catechism about “good guys” stopping “bad guys” and that criminals seek gun free zones for their crimes. Did the fallen officials need more guns? Should they have had their weapons drawn at all time? Even when opening the door to someone they may have known? The NRA doesn’t say.
The murder of four law enforcement officials and one’s wife since January confirms what criminologists have known for a long time—being armed is no hedge against the element of surprise. Contrary to the High Noon, “Draw Your Weapon” scenario that the carrier movement drums up, most gun crimes approximate what befell these officials and many others every year with armed but unprepared people dying. Nor do armed civilians probably have the weapons training the officials have.
Another NRA myth the recent bloodshed against officials explodes is the “law abiding citizen.” Kim Lene Williams, wife of the former North Texas judge Eric Williams confessed this week that she and the judge were involved in the shootings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse.
Gun laws and background checks only violate the rights of “law abiding” citizens says the NRA in defeating gun bill after gun bill— and only criminals will have guns! Does it mean “criminals” like Kim Lene and Eric Williams?
The fact is that every disgruntled employee, jealous husband and jealous wife, angry drunk and twentysomething shooter in a theater or mall was previously “law abiding.” The myth of law abiding “good guys” and criminal “bad guys”—and that the first can defend against the second—perpetuates gun sales and kills sane gun laws. It kills 9,500 Americans a year including law officials.
Use your economic power to force gun laws.