Of Note

Something I read this morning in an old Scotus case:

On April 1, 1975, at approximately 7:45 a.m., Thomas and Eunice Kersey, aged 86 and 74, were robbed and fatally shot at their farmhouse in central Florida. The evidence showed that Sampson and Jeanette Armstrong had gone to the back door of the Kersey house and asked for water for an overheated car. When Mr. Kersey came out of the house, Sampson Armstrong grabbed him, pointed a gun at him, and told Jeanette Armstrong to take his money. Mr. Kersey cried for help, and his wife came out of the house with a gun and shot Jeanette Armstrong, wounding her. Sampson Armstrong, and perhaps Jeanette Armstrong, then shot and killed both of the Kerseys, dragged them into the kitchen, and took their money and fled.

Also, at footnote 3, is this:

the Florida Supreme Court rejected the trial court’s conclusion that the Kerseys had been killed in order to eliminate them as witnesses, and stated that, according to the only direct account of the events, “the shootings were indeed spontaneous, and were precipitated by the armed resistance of Mrs. Kersey.”

Do tragedies like this occur more often than succesful self-defense shootings? Who knows. But there it is. Or was.

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7 Comments on “Of Note”

  1. Dan Says:

    I’ve always wanted to see a study on that kind of thing. I don’t know why in the world one hasn’t been done.

  2. Truman Says:

    The National Self-Defense Survey indicated that there were 2.5 million incidents of defensive gun use per year in the U.S. during the 1988-1993 period. This is probably a conservative estimate, for two reasons. First, cases of respondents intentionally withholding reports of genuine defensive-gun uses were probably more common than cases of respondents reporting incidents that did not occur or that were not genuinely defensive. Second, the survey covered only adults age 18 and older, thereby excluding all defensive gun uses involving adolescents, the age group most likely to suffer a violent victimization.

    The authors concluded that defensive uses of guns are about three to four times as common as criminal uses of guns. The National Self-Defense Survey confirmed the picture of frequent defensive gun use implied by the results of earlier, less sophisticated surveys.

    A national survey conducted in 1994 by the Police Foundation and sponsored by the National Institute of Justice almost exactly confirmed the estimates from the National Self-Defense Survey. This survey’s person-based estimate was that 1.44% of the adult population had used a gun for protection against a person in the previous year, implying 2.73 million defensive gun users. These results were well within sampling error of the corresponding 1.33% and 2.55 million estimates produced by the National Self-Defense Survey.

  3. Truman Says:

    Doesn’t fit the template of the liberal media, so you don’t hear about it.

  4. Truman Says:

    “the only direct account of the events”

    Would have come from the shooters, since they murdered the other eyewitnesses, who may have very well given a different account.

    Maybe I’m a cynic, but I’m a little sceptical of the account of witnesses who have an interest in the outcomes of the proceedings.

  5. Willie Says:

    All I know is that my friend Bruce, retired angry fireman, has a huge arsenal, plus access to a 50 cal. sniper rifle, (who doesn’t in Bama) but had to borrow my 45 year old pump Benjamin air rifle to save his cat from being pecked to death by an incensed blue jay. I have a baseball bat, and my trusty air rifle to protect my castle.

  6. wheeler Says:

    “Doesn’t fit the template of the liberal media, so you don’t hear about it.”

    and here i was about to commend you for finally making an attempt at an intelligent discussion.

    oh well.

    anyway, i think the question was how often gun uses in self defense end up causing more harm than they prevent, which i don’t think is addressed by the studies you cite.

    nor do i think any study could conclusively answer the question. there’s too many variables and too much speculation invovled.

  7. ALmod Says:

    I bought a bb gun to ward off furry pests in my yard, but other than that, I refuse to keep a gun around the house. You never know what little hands might get into. With Daddy being a police officer who also trained in firearms, I was raised around guns, and I can shoot one quite effectively. I could probably outperform some secret service agents on a range if I wanted to. It’s been a few years, though, and Daddy has all of my guns.

    Being around Daddy also taught me several lessons in self defense. The best defense against violent crime is brains. First, you have to avoid making yourself or anyone with you an easy target. Indiscriminate criminals (the ones who aren’t specifically targeting anyone) are more prone to grab the little old lady in a dark parking lot than an alert person in a crowded area. When that fails, you have to keep a cool head and THINK before acting. A gun is a last resort, since most people carry them in ways that make it difficult to access in most scenarios. In most cases, you have to get away FIRST before you can have an advantage.

    The first thing that my Daddy taught me is that if I use a gun to save my life, I should aim to KILL and not disarm or disable. A wound may do nothing more than make your attacker madder and come at you faster, giving you less or no time for another shot. (That is to say, you don’t shoot someone running away from you– ever.) Don’t fire a warning shot, either. Again, you may not have time for another shot, and it points the gun away from the attacker so that he can better disarm you.

    I’d say that unfortunately about 80% of people who purchase guns for defense never bother to learn how to properly care for/aim/fire their gun. An even greater percentage never bother to learn the best ways to use a gun in a defensive situation.

    All in all, I’d say that I’m more effective defensively without a gun. The presence of a gun makes people act differently. You don’t seem as threatening and so the other person is more likely to let down his guard and/or act less violently. Guns also tend to make you more of a target for some reason.


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