The Seattle Shooting & Concealed Weapons

By now the only people who are unfamiliar with the terror attack at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle have spent the last few days in a coma.

In the coming weeks there are going to be many discussions about this incident and how to prevent it from ever happening again. One of the ideas that I have seen promoted in various places is issuing concealed weapons.

One of the advocates of this position is a commenter at Treppenwitz who had the following to say on this post.
"The lesson here is that the Federation building is one of the highest security buildings in the city, and this still happenned -- without mutiple attackers, without inside knowledge of security procedure, without detailed planning. The only thing that would have stopped him is if one of the victims or bystanders was armed. American Jews should be clammoring for concealed carry permits, but the vast majority will instead delude themselves into believing that there was some way for the gov't to disarm this evil man before he struck."
I very much disagree with this comment. If you read the reports of the incident you will see that the terrorist forced his way into the building because he was holding a gun to the head of a young girl. He had his own human shield.

Concealed weapons would have been virtually useless at this point and if someone had decided to take one out and confront the gunman what would have happened. Here are a few of scenarios.
  1. Gunman sees said gun being trained upon him and surrenders.
  2. Gunman refuses to surrender because he has a hostage.
  3. Gunman and potential hero exchange fire potentially killing/injuring the hostage and or others nearby.
A concealed weapon is really good for deterrent purposes. Beyond that you hit a grey area that concerns me. The OK Corral makes for a good story, but life has a way of changing your plans.

If you want to have a gun in your house to defend yourself, that is fine by me. But outside of that I get a little antsy about it. Perhaps I'll blog more about this later.


Sheyna said...

We went to our local JCC today for the boys' swimming lessons and were met not only by the staff person who checks IDs and has non-members sign in, but also by an armed and fully visible cop.

I had mixed feelings about this; more secure, sure, but I didn't really want to be reminded that we were now sitting ducks simply by being there.

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Sheyna,

IMO, the only way to prevent the terrorists from winning is to live. Part of me is infuriated that every time I go to shul I pass an armed security guard, but I'd rather have them there than not.

StepIma said...

But I'm sure that the murderer in question had a concealed weapon as he approached the girl.

I kind of like Chris Rock's suggestion... go ahead and keep gun laws the same, but make bullets cost $5000 apiece. You'd have a lot fewer innocent bystanders shot, anyhow.

Okay, I'm kidding on that.

I just don't think more people with guns is the answer - more visible security makes a lot more sense.

JJ said...

Something those cowardly terrorists have in common- they all use innocent people as human shields.

I hope he gets put away for life- and that his cellmates really HATE terrorists.

Jack Steiner said...

I just don't think more people with guns is the answer - more visible security makes a lot more sense.



From your mouth to G-ds ears.

Anonymous said...

I live in New York City and thank god there has not been such!!nonsense!! here (one citizen going after others, specifically jewish people in such a fashion though we have had a few racial incidents recently but I don't think they ended in death.

I think one of the many answers is to continue to evolve our society into one that essentially demands cooperation and mutual respect. There are surely many Pakistanis here in New York as well as Jewish people but it seems for some reason that when people are here they are concious that however closely they are related to the countries overseas nonetheless there is something to be left behind that does not belong here and does not serve them here. I do think increased police and security presence is helpful as well as increased Jewish and increased Pakistani presence...

It's interesting to think that the tensions in Washington state where the quality of life may be "higher" than in crowded New York City are greater than New York City... where we are all so crowded together and living in smaller spaces, etc.. Even during our recent heat wave we did not have anything like that...

I guess if you are going to have a society in which any random predator can purchase the means to act in a predatory fashion then society should pre-arm the innocents via security personnel and not turn a blind and naive eye to the possibilities...

wishing you all the best...

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