Monday, March 28, 2005

Hypocrisy and Terri Schiavo

After nine days without food or water, Terri Schiavo's condition is rapidly worsening. Drudge links to a Reuters report that the end is near:

Schiavo, 41, passed her ninth day without nourishment and Gibbs [lawyer for the Shindler family-jgc] said she was declining rapidly. "They've begun to give her morphine drip for the pain. And at this point, we would say Terri has passed the point of no return," he told CBS' "Face the Nation."
What the... ???!!! I thought that the courts had determined to a medical certainty that Terri Schiavo was incapable of feeling pain! If Terri is in a Persistent Vegetative State as defined by Florida state law, then morphine should not be necessary.

Doesn't the fact that medical doctors have felt it necessary to prescribe morphine make it evident that Terri Schiavo can feel pain? And, therefore, isn't that very fact primae facie evidence that Terri is actually not in a Persistent Vegetative State? That her brain does indeed register pain? That she therefore does retain a minimal level of consciousness? Feeling pain is a higher-level activity, so the reports of her cerebral cortex being gone are clearly incorrect.

This is why Congress passed the Terri Schiavo Law: so that Judge Greer's decisions could be set aside and an objective look at Terri's condition could be taken. Judge Whittmoore, the federal judge who refused to look at the case, clearly misinterpreted the law in order to support his former colleagues on the Florida judiciary.

Why on Earth does a Florida state probate judge get to play God and decree that Terri Schiavo must be starved to death? Can someone tell me where in the Constitution does it give the government the authority not only to withdraw a feeding tube but to withhold all food and water by any and all means from someone who has not committed any crime or done anyone any harm on her husband-who-has-a-family-with-another-woman's say-so?

This whole thing sickens me. Michael Schiavo sickens me. His lawyer George Felos sickens me. Judge Greer's arrogance sickens me. And Judge Whittmoore sickens me with his moral cowardice. Maybe the only good thing that will come of this innocent woman's death is that we'll change our laws so this disgusting situation never happens again.

Michael Schiavo has shown the same disregard for people protesting his treatment of his wife when they showed up at his house:

A small group of protesters went to Michael Schiavo's home to lay symbolic dying
roses on his lawn. Someone inside turned on the lawn sprinklers, drenching the

How ironic that a man who won't let anyone give his suffering wife a sip of water is all too willing to turn the tap on for anyone calling him what he is... a murderer.

Update: I'm not the only one asking why Terri needs pain relief when she can't feel pain and when the manner of her death is supposedly painless.

Q & A: Whither ball for the .32 ACP?

Q: What do you consider the best defensive ammo for the .32 ACP? I have a Beretta Tomcat and was wondering if I should carry ball or hollow-points? Which one will have better stopping power?

A: Do not carry ball ammo for self-defense!

The .32 ACP belongs to the class of what I call the "eye, ear, nose, and throat" guns... because those are your preferred aiming points. Seriously, the .32 ACP earned its anemic reputation as a poor self-defense round because shooting someone with ball ammo is akin to stabbing them with a .32" diameter Phillips head screwdriver. It hurts, it very well may kill them... eventually, from sepsis... but it isn't going to stop them unless you stab them in the right place. Carrying ball ammo in your Tomcat is an attempt to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse... and it ain't gonna work. Use Winchester Silvertips instead; they do expand because the lighter bullet goes fast enough, and they penetrate enough to let the expansion actually do some good.

If you're bound and determined to carry ball in this caliber because you want penetration, you're fooling yourself and you're probably going to end up dead if you are forced to resort to using your gun and ammo in a defensive situation. If you really need penetration, because of winter and people are wearing thick clothes, etc., then choose another caliber--like the 9mm.

There are two components to "stopping power", the physical and the psychological. Physical stopping power (absolute stopping power) is caused by turning the brain off by destroying enough vital tissue that the attacker can no longer function. Hit someone in the brain, the aorta, the carotid artery or jugular vein, the spinal column, or some other area where even a relatively minor injury will cause an immediately life-threatening or -ending injury, and they're going to be stopped.

Psychological stopping power is the more uncertain of the two, and it occurs when the person who's attacking you becomes more worried about their own survival than in continuing the attack against you... whether or not your hit was life-threatening or whether or not you even have to shoot (that's why pointing a gun at the bad guy discourages many of them). For instance, hit someone in the shin with a bullet and it's going to hurt. Shoot them in the jaw and shoot out a few teeth on the way in, and it's going to hurt. Of course, for pyschological stopping power to have an effect, the person you have shot must have the mental wherewithal to realize that he has indeed been shot and to consider the potentially deleterious ramifications thereof.

I have talked to police officers who are dealing with people on crystal meth, or PCP, on a regular basis. People under the influence of these drugs can become fairly numb to pain, and can also be in a psychotic state where reality won't intrude. My LE friends have told me of being attacked by a naked PCP freak (seems a recurrent theme is for PCP addicts to end up naked because the drug makes them think they're really hot... even in the winter), and breaking this person's arm with a restraining hold yet the attacker still kept trying to attack because he felt no pain and didn't realize his arm was broken. That's when you see a bunch of cops clubbing an attacker with their batons, pepper-spraying them (they don't feel pain, but swollen membranes make it hard for them to breathe), etc. Shades of Rodney King (who I believe was "dusted").

If you are attacked by someone on PCP, or crystal meth, or some other substance that deadens pain and reduces the user to an animal, raging state once the adrenaline starts flowing, then chances are you are going to have to physically destroy enough of their body to eliminate their capability to continue the attack because they aren't going to respond to psychological stopping power. These criminals are the reason we have .223s and 12ga shotguns loaded with double-ought buck. Like the Moro juramentados in the Phillipine Insurrection who withstood multiple hits from the .38 Special and kept on coming (some of those guys were shot repeatedly with .30-40 Krags and kept on coming), and like a charging grizzly, you're going to have to shoot for bone and break them down.

The .32 ACP is really too anemic to be a primary self-defense handgun. I know, they're nice to carry (I have a Seecamp), but they're really the gun you carry when you can't carry anything bigger... and you need to realize you are basically shooting a .32" drill. My strategy when I'm carrying the .32 has always been to load it with Silvertips, act like a complete wuss if someone confronts me with a deadly weapon, sucker them into complacency, and then ambush them as I go to draw my 'wallet' and empty the gun into their upper chest and neck... and then running like hell.

Quite frankly, a S&W Airlight weighs less than a Seecamp or Guardian (and not much more than a P32), hits a lot harder, penetrates a lot better, is more reliable than any semiautomatic, isn't that much harder to conceal... can you see why I seldom carry my Seecamp anymore? Also, despite the rudimentary sights, I have no problem keeping them all on a B27 or IPSC target at 25 yards, and head shots within 10 yards rapid fire are also easy (all it takes is proper instruction and practice).

So, in summation my advice is:
• carry Silvertips
• practice shooting at close range until you can empty the gun quickly into your target without missing
• be prepared to run
• carry a larger caliber if at all possible

That answer your questions?

NB: Other gun-related articles, in my 'Lessons Learned' series that describes gun fights and what we can learn from them, can be found here and here.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different

It's time for a change. I'm (hopefully) getting over a series of sinus and ear infections. It looks like the Supreme Court has refused to hear the Schiavo case, so for her it's most likely the end of the line. Requiescat in pace. Enough depressing subjects, enough about crazy nuke-armed mullahs, stupid self-serving politicians, and the other folly that passes for modern life. Life goes on. Spring is here! Carpe diem!

Spring, my second favorite time of the year. It brings sunlight to my back yard, robins to my lawn, chickadees and flickers to my bird feeders... and starlings.

Click on the picture to get more information on starlings

I hate starlings. I hate them because often, especially in cities, the beautiful songs of native American bird species have been replaced by the groaning leafspring-like call of the interloper. I hate them because the aggressive little illegal immigrants have managed to greatly diminish the populations of home-grown species like the bluebird and many other hole-nesting species. I hate them because they are ugly, churlish, and have few redeeming qualities. Starlings truly live up to their Latin name, sturnus vulgaris. They are avian rats (English Sparrows are avian mice, and don't ask what I think of crows) and reducing the starling population helps native birds. Starlings were placed on this earth for just one purpose... they make great targets. What other species abounds that can legally be killed, year-round, without limit, in all 50 states?

I have shot starlings with a twelve gauge shotgun... overkill, yet somehow quite satisfying. I have stalked them with air rifles, a truly challenging sport second only to the stalking of the wary English Sparrow (now that is a sport that only an expert rifleman in every sense of the word can master, and if you have never tried it, don't knock it). I have sniped them with super-accurate .22 rifles. And I have ambushed them in the manner of tiger hunting from machans in colonial India, crouching behind an improvised hide as the unsuspecting quarry alighted in the bread-filled kill zone, easing my weapon up, trembling in anticipation as I slowly drew a bead on my nonchalant victim. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, feathered rat; it tolls for thee. Even now, as I sit at my dining room table writing this, I have an old favorite air rifle by my side, and my bay window is open to provide a line of fire to the suet block hanging yonder in fevered anticipation that yet another foolish starling will make the fatal mistake of alighting after frightening a favored flicker away. Oh, hope springs eternal in the human breast!

I have been dreaming lately of the perfect gun for small game and varmints. How about a four-barrel set, with .17 HMR, .17 Mach II, .22 LR Match, and .22 WMR? Use the .22 barrel for squirrels and other small game within 50 yards. The Mach II is a great starling gun out to 100 yards. The HMR works great on small varmints out to 200 yards, and the WMR works for turkey (where legal) and small predators out to 150 yards. Yes, I know about the new Sako Quad. If it's anything like other Sako products I'm sure it's brutally effective. But it has a synthetic stock, a matte blue finish, and in my opinion, no personality. It's a tool... a very fine tool, but just a tool. I don't want a stock designed by the same people who design race cars, and made out of the same materials. Real guns that a man can bond with must have wood.

Start with a single shot rifle action. Pick a series of chamberings that will allow the use of the same extractor. Modify the action, if needed, so that barrels can be easily interchanged, in the field. Hmmm... I've got a takedown BSA Martini Cadet action. Or, what about my High Wall Winder Takedown Musket? Perhaps based on a T/C Contender?

Nope, to all of those. Instead, I'm going to build it on a new USRAC/Miroku Winchester Low Wall rimfire action. Modern metallurgy, lots of 'em around, won't offend any collector's sensibilities... and just much more aesthetically pleasing than the butt-heavy, hard-to-open Contender. Smooth the action so it cycles like ice sliding over ice. Tune the trigger to a crisp 2.5 lbs. Lighten the hammer and stiffen the mainspring to decrease lock time. A beautiful feather crotch walnut stock and forend, half-octagon barrels, and a Leupold 6.5x20 EFR scope to top it off. Then, it must be decorated with the appropriate talismans. A starling peering into a nesting box. A squirrel scrunched up in the crook of a tree branch. A perched cawing crow. Each vignette surrounded by oak leaf scroll. I had better stop now before I am completely overtaken by lust.

Forget the 72 virgins, Mohammed. My paradise would be twenty acres in the country (east Texas, or northern Louisiana or Mississippi or Alabama), with a fishing pond loaded with bream and bass, and an upstairs library/office with a high ceiling and ceiling fan, and a balcony facing north where the shooting light is always good, overlooking oaks or pecans and a safe backstop, where the starlings and crows would alight unsuspectingly. It needs to be near state or federal land for more hunting opportunities, and put a small airport within 10 miles, so I could fly my plane to and from the big city as necessary.

And I'd have the perfect rifle. Hey, a man can dream, can't he?

Note: This is my entry in the current Carnival of Cordite. Check the Carnival for more gun-related articles from other bloggers.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Why Should We Care About Terri Schiavo?

Update: On Tuesday, a federal judge refused to order the reinsertion of Terri's feeding tube.

Also, see this site for a fantastic summary of the legal wranglings that have resulted from the dispute between Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers (Terri's parents). (Hat tip: NakedVillany.) After reading the report of the guardian ad litem appointed by Jeb Bush, I have to say I see Michael Schiavo in a whole new (sympathetic) light, and I can better understand his motivations. But, dammit, there ought to be a better way than starving someone to death. And, visit this site for a synopsis of the Terri Schiavo case.

As most of you know, Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who suffered severe brain damage back in the early 1990s due to interrupted blood flow to her brain, is currently in her fourth day of a state court-ordered deprival of food and water. The effect of the court order, which not only removed her feeding tube but also denies any attempt to provide Terri food and water by mouth is to sentence this woman to a painful death by dehydration and starvation in a week or two.

So, what's the big deal, some people say. The woman is brain-dead. The doctors have said so, and the court has determined so. Pull the plug and let her die so the whole ordeal will be over. That's fine... except that Terri isn't brain-dead, and there is no plug to pull. The only way available to the court to end her life is by denying her access to food and water... something that would kill anyone. If Terri were someone's grandmother living at home after a severe stroke, her guardian would be prosecuted for attempted murder if they were caught denying an invalid sustenance. Why would we treat a woman who has harmed no one, whose only 'crime' is that she has suffered a serious injury, with less regard for her individual rights and her personal comfort that we do monsters like Ted Bundy?

The reason Michael Schiavo gives for fighting to have his wife's life ended by denying her any sustenance is because she is so severely brain-damaged that she will never improve. Therefore any rehabilitation is a waste of money and it would be best for Terri if her life were ended, a position she allegedly agreed to in an off-the-cuff statement she made to her husband years before her injury. Are these valid reasons?

By any objective evaluation, Terri does not meet the criteria for being in a Persistant Vegetative State, according to Florida state law:

(12) "Persistent vegetative state" means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:
(a) The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of any kind.
(b) An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.

She is responsive to external stimuli, can track and follow objects, and does show signs of recognizing her family members. The true tragedy of Terri Schiavo's situation is that she is as much a victim of the legal system as she was of the disabling accident that caused her brain injury.

It is true that in the original court trial, the presiding judge, Judge George Greer, asserted that it was established as a "finding of fact" that Terri Schiavo was in a Persistent Vegetative State as defined by Florida law. But it is also true that in every single appeal where this "finding of fact" was challenged, the appeals courts have held that since the trial court established this "fact" it cannot be challenged on appeal. In other words, if Judge Greer made an error of fact during the original trial, that error cannot be overruled by an appeals court. Judge Greer has similarly been unwilling to revisit his decision despite being repeatedly urged by the Schindlers and after being presented with seventeen sworn affidavits by medical doctors who dispute his finding.

Michael Schiavo has argued that his wife once expressed to him that she would never want to live if she were in a vegetative state, and he has two members of his immediate family who back him up on this. Interestingly enough, however, he failed to provide this information during the medical malpractice suit he filed on his wife's behalf, instead promising to work with Terri for the rest of his life. He only remembered Terri's "wish to die" in 1998... five years after he filed the malpractice lawsuit and after he won over $1 million that he promised the civil jury would be used to provide for Terri's care and rehabilitation. That was the same jury that Michael Schiavo repeated his wedding vows for, and that he promised he would take care of his wife for the rest of his life. Evidently, winning the lawsuit changed Mr. Schiavo's opinion on his promises.

Michael Schiavo is Terri's husband in name only. Michael has moved on; he has been cohabitating with another woman, whom he characterizes as his 'fiance', since before the lawsuit was settled and they have two children together. As of this date, Mr. Schiavo has not spent a penny of that settlement on rehabilitation for Terri Schiavo as he promised under oath he would to the jury. To the contrary, he has denied her even ordinary medical and hygenic care, with one result being that after not having her teeth brushed for several years Terri had to have four teeth extracted due to extreme decay in 2004. He has denied her any routine medical treatment for infections, and has stated under oath that he hoped that infections Terri suffered would worsen into sepsis and result in her death. Michael Schiavo has had Terri categorized as an indigent and the cost of her care is borne by the state of Florida for the past several years. Do these examples sound like the efforts of a caring husband who would do anything to help his wife?

Where has the settlement money gone? Over $500,000 has been spent on legal fees to pay the attornies Michael has hired to accomplish his goal of cutting off all sustenance to his wife. More money has gone to 'administrative expenses'. Judge Greer has ordered the records of disbursements of Terri's money (the money received by her estate as a result of the malpractice suit filed by her husband) sealed so Terri's family and the public have no exact accounting.

Terri Schindler Schiavo comes from a family of practicing Catholics, and there is extensive evidence that she was a strong believer in the tenets of Catholicism, among them being the tenet of the sanctity of all human life. Her life is filled with anecdotes that fly in the face of her husband's assertion of her desire to die if somehow she was incapacitated. Isn't it suspect then, that only her estranged husband Michael Schiavo and his immediate family are witnesses to her so-called proclamation while Terri's family and close friends unanimously state that such a proclamation is opposed by everything she believed?

As evidenced by the assertions of dozens of otherwise-disinterested doctors, and as demonstrated by several videos on the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation website (videos that Michael Schiavo went to court to attempt to prevent their being seen by the general public), Terri is cognitive. One of Terri's lawyers, an officer of the court, has reported that on Friday, the day of the removal of the feeding tube, Terri tried to speak to object to having the tube removed. This lawyer has filed an affidavit, and her statement was made under penalty of perjury. If you believe that Michael Schiavo is right, that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state, then I ask you to look at the videos (here and here) on the foundation website, and judge for yourself whether Terri appears to be cognitive and responsive to external stimuli.

The real puzzler here is, why is Michael Schiavo still fighting his wife's family and attempting to effectively put Terri to death? My personal opinion is that the original reasons for his position have faded in importance, and the dispute between Michael Schiavo and the Shindler family has taken on a life of its own. Michael will not back down now for reasons that go beyond logic and into the realm of emotion. I'm not going to condemn Michael Schiavo for moving on, for finding someone else, and for building a new family and a new life with that person. However, I do condemn him for not doing the right thing: divorcing his current wife, Terri, sometime between the time he met his 'fiance', had two children with her, and the present. I would think that his 'fiance' ought to be just a little bit worried about whether Michael will take his marriage vows to her more seriously than he has with his current wife. I personally find Michael Schiavo to be repugnant.

I, for one, hope that the federal judge issues a temporary stay so Terri can have her feeding tube re-installed. I hope that both Michael and Terri Schiavo appear in front of a Congressional committee and that some truth is discovered. I hope that the federal judge authorizes new evaluations of Terri by independent medical experts so that the question of whether she is in a Persistent Vegetative State can be conclusively answered for the record. I hope that some light is shone on where Terri's money was spent, and if it was not spent towards Terri's rehabilitation then someone is held legally responsible for misfeasance or malfeasance. I hope that Michael Schiavo decides to truly move on with his life, divorces Terri, marries the mother of his children cum fiance, and gives Terri over to the people who truly love her -- the Schindlers -- together with whatever money is left from the judgement. I hope that the state of Florida would pass a law that would apply to any and every incapacitated person, so that they cannot be denied proper medical and hygenic care without an express written statement.

I am not a particularly religious person, but I have said a prayer for Terri and her family. I hope you will, too.

Note: More information on this issue can be found at Michelle Malkin, LaShawn Barber's website, Powerline, and Captain's Quarters (who covers the MSM's attempt to influence public opinion on Terri instead of reporting public opinion).

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Lessons Learned

A man was killed in Tyler, Texas on February 24, 2005, as he attempted to stop a murderer who had already killed his ex-wife and wounded his son at the Tyler Courthouse during a bitter child-support dispute. Mark Allen Wilson, 52, was in his apartment overlooking the courthouse square when he heard gunshots, grabbed his Glock 9mm handgun, and went out to confront the shooter, David Hernandez Arroyo Sr.
"They traded shots, missing each other, and then the gunman hit Wilson and Wilson went down," said Nelson Clyde III, publisher of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, recalling the shooting as he watched from Don Juan's.

"The gunman walked up to Wilson and shot him while he was on the ground," Clyde said. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing ... it was sickening."

"He was either wounded or dead, but the guy (Arroyo) shot him again to make sure he wouldn't get up," said witness Brandon Malone, a Tyler builder who was lunching inside Don Juan's.
According to another eyewitness account (see the comments), Wilson actually shot the gunman several times, but his rounds had no effect because the gunman was wearing a military flack jacket over a bullet-proof vest. Wilson then took cover behind a pickup truck (that coincidentally happened to be the gunman's). The gunman closed the distance and then maneuvered around the truck, shooting Wilson several times at close range with an AK-47 rifle, and finishing him off with a shot to the head. The gunman then drove off, followed by another witness to the events, and was shortly cornered and killed by responding police in the ensuing shootout.

I salute Mark Wilson for his courage in running to the sound of the guns. How many of us would do the same? Police credit his intervention with saving the life of Arroyo's son. Mark Wilson was a very brave man, who paid the ultimate price for helping others. What can we learn from this?

Being that he was at his house, why didn't Wilson grab a rifle or a shotgun instead of his handgun? Think how this story would have ended if he had grabbed, say, an AR-15 (every patriotic American should own an AR-15 as their 'Stuff Hits The Fan' gun).

A view of the Courthouse square, steps in foreground.
The flowers on the steps are where Arroyo killed his wife,
flowers across the street in front of yellow building where
Wilson was killed, Wilson's apartment in
building at right with arched windows.
(Image courtesy of 'Blackfork6' via Geek with a .45)

The Bad Guy's vest wouldn't have stopped the rounds... and if it did a headshot would have been far easier. From the pictures of the courthouse I've seen (see above), I believe Wilson could have engaged the Bad Guy from his front door, or even his apartment window, very effectively with a rifle and with relative safety. Or, think how several rounds of 00 buck would have made shredding the Bad Guy's legs, arms, and/or head a lot easier at the relatively short range that this gunfight occurred, or how a slug would have made hash of the Bad Guy's vest, or at least broken some ribs beneath it.

Above all, all of us who carry guns for self-defense need to remember that when the chips are down and Plan A isn't working, then go to Plan B... or Plan C... or Plan D. And we need to have alternatives already thought out, because once the bullets start flying there isn't a lot of time to think. If you shoot a Bad Guy in the body and he doesn't react, shoot him somewhere else! Head shots are a lot easier if the Bad Guy is lying on the ground (and still posing a threat) than if he up on his feet and running back and forth. If you are forced to go to cover behind a vehicle, look for other parts of his body to engage (feet, legs, etc.). This was the successful strategy used by LAPD SWAT during the North Hollywood bank robbery shootout; the good guys went down to avoid the bad guy's shooting, saw his legs and feet, and started pouring in rounds. Plan B (or C, or D) might be to run away, and although you can't outrun a rifle bullet you can outrun someone you just shot in the foot or ankle or shin or thigh, who might then be more concerned about his mangled leg, blood loss, and the massive pain caused by multiple broken bones than someone disappearing between cars a block away.

Again, this isn't to criticize Mark who was a very brave man. It is for the rest of us to think realistically about what it means to use a gun in defense of ourselves and others, to remember that guns (especially handguns) aren't the Hammer of Thor and that we need to consider what we do next when we put a few in the ten-ring and our opponent's only reaction is anger, and to have a plan, and a second plan to use when the first plan fails. Guns don't win gunfights, tactics win gunfights.

Rules To Live By (a distillation of numerous classes and conversations with those far more qualified than I):

• Never take a handgun to a gunfight if a long gun is available. A handgun is what we use to fight to get to our long gun.

• Never take your eyes off of your opponents; if you duck behind a car, get down to ground level so you can see his feet, see where he's heading, scoot around to keep the car between you and him, and shoot him in the feet if possible to eliminate his mobility.

• Never do at close range what you can do at long range, and remember that you don't have to get close enough to the bad guy to hit him with the gun, just close enough to hit him with the bullets. A gun (even a handgun) isn't a contact weapon and if you're reduced to using it as such you're screwed.

• The ideal tactical situation in a gunfight is to be where you can effectively bring fire on your opponent and he cannot return the favor. Let your opponent stand out in the open while you're behind cover. Don't leave cover unless it's for a good reason. Don't ever stand toe-to-toe; distance is the ally of the good marksman. Don't give your opponent a chance.

• Never forget that running away is a viable tactic; "those who fight and run away fight again another day."

• If you choose to get involved in a gunfight (rather than being dragged into one kicking and screaming), you had better figure a way out if things aren't working if you are at all interested in surviving.

• The only way you win a gunfight is by not being shot. If you and your opponent are both shot, you both lose.

I hesitate to use the word "hero" because it is so often used to describe people who really aren't heroic. Sports figures who play children's games for millions of dollars aren't heroes. Neither are sleazy politicians who commit perjury, hide behind semantics, and claim glory for earning a comtempt citation and the loss of their law license. Every once in a while, however, we see an example of real heroism, where someone among us shows tremendous physical and moral courage and risks his life to help others. The firefighters and police of New York City on September 11 who ran to the burning towers come to mind, as do people like the passengers of Flight 93, football player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman and others who have given their all to help make us safer. Mark Wilson is another real hero, and we are diminished by his passing.

Here's to you, Mark Wilson. You had the courage to try. Rest in Peace.

NB: Other gun-related articles, in my 'Lessons Learned' series that describes gun fights and what we can learn from them, can be found here. I also write on .32 ACP defense ammo that is perhaps the most-read article on this blog, here.

Notes: More on Mark Wilson in the links above, and from the blogs of Greek with a .45, The Smallest Minority, and The Carnival of Cordite at Resistance is futile! who clued me into this story (hat tip to Instapundit). In fact, this will be my entry into next week's carnival.

Update:Other blogs are discussing this as well, from several different points of view. Here's a link to a good summary, and here's another.