Crime Victims Updates





These news items provide the latest data, additional cases, and more detailed arguments both in favor of and in opposition to the contention that potential victims would be better off if they armed themselves in anticipation of being attacked by criminals.  See the pro’s and con’s of gun possession on pp. 424 – 429 in Ch. 13.

A gunman blasted his way through the locked doors of an elementary school  and opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle loaded with bullets designed to inflict maximum damage. His 26 victims ranged in age from 6 to 56. Twenty were first graders, 12 girls and 8 boys, and 6 were women, including the principal, the school psychologist, and classroom teachers.  A number of acts of bravery cost some courageous adults their lives, but also limited the overall number of casualties. Before the attack on the school, the 20 year old killer murdered his mother, and used her collection of high powered firearms to carry out the ruthless assault.  His bloody rampage ended when he turned his weapon on himself. Read the sickening details here.

Gun Sales Rise in 2012gun-demand_3

According to one indicator (the number of federal background checks initiated when a buyer applies for permission to purchase a gun), Americans stepped up their purchases of firearms during 2012. Read the article from Mother Jones Magazine here.

The Number Of Households With Firearms Has Been Declining Since 1970

However, according to a different measurement system, the number of gun owners in America is declining, but those households that are armed have a growing arsenal of firearms. Based on poll data, it seems that the number of gun-owning households has declined from 50% in 1973 to 32% in 2010. Read about the trend here

The very latest poll estimates that the proportion of households possessing a firearm crept up to 34% but the 2% increase from 2010 was not considered to be statistically significant. Read about the trends in the share of gun-owning households here.

A Database Of Mass Shootings

A guide to the outbreaks of mass shootings in the U.S. appeared in Mother Jones magazine before the Connecticut elementary school massacre because of mass shootings in a Sikh temple, a movie theater, and a shopping mall earlier in 2012. View the database and an interactive map about the victims of mass shootings here;      Also, read about the casualties of mass shootings here.

The Kind of Cases Advocates of Gun Control Cite

Adds a number of recent cases to those listed on pp. 428-429 of Ch. 13.

This collection of cases culled from the news during a typical week highlights incidents in which  an innocent person gets shot, or a minor altercation escalates into a deadly encounter, or a child accidently dies from gunfire, or a despondent person commits suicide. Read about the tragedies here.

The Kind Of Cases Advocates of Armed Self-Defense Cite

Adds a number of recent cases to those listed on p. 425 of Ch. 13.

This collection of cases culled from the news during a typical month by a publication affiliated with the National Rifle Association highlights incidents in which an armed citizen successfully brandishes or uses a legally owned firearm for self-protection. Read the NRA’s compilation of  cases illustrating the importance of victims under attack exercising their Second Amendment rights here.

A Survivor of Domestic Violence And Of The Murders Of Two Family Members Buys A Gun But Then Changes Her Mind

She decides that arming in self-defense is not the solution to gun violence, and calls upon the media to improve its coverage of this deeply entrenched problem. See the video of her interview here.

A Member of Congress Who Survived An Assassination Attempt Testifies In Favor Of Gun Control Legislation

Read about the hearing and hear her address a sub-committee here. Then hear her husband testify, along with the head of the NRA and a woman who argues that assault weapons might be necessary for mothers to fight back against a pack of vicious home invaders. Watch the video of the highlights of the hearing here.

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Survivor Of Virginia Tech Massacre Has An Agenda For Immediate Action

Several regulatory measures seem reasonable and could prevent some shooting sprees against innocent victims in the future: more comprehensive background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and a ban on possessing large capacity magazines, according to a former student who was seriously wounded in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. He now works as a gun control activist. Hear about his plan in a video interview here.

A Totally Different “Solution” Is Proposed By Staunch Advocates For Armed Self-Defense: Every Household Must Possess A Gun

Nelson, a small town in Georgia, made the news by considering an ordinance requiring every family to have a gun for protection as a deterrent to burglars, “just like an alarm system” as one supporter contended. The town’s attempt to require gun ownership is modeled after nearby Kennesaw, which has mandated that households be armed since 1982. Read about these developments  here .

Let Teachers Carry Guns To Protect Themselves and Their Students?

In the aftermath of the massacre of elementary school children, the National Rifle Asssociation (NRA) called for a “good guy with a gun” to be stationed in every building to protect students. Read about their proposal here.

South Dakota has become the first state to specifically authorize teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools to bring their guns into the classroom. Read about the new law here.

The gun control debate has become highly politicized.  A far right group, the “Oath Keepers,” faults the federal government for limiting the “rights” of individuals to carry weapons wherever they go. The arguments put forward by this extremist group go beyond the NRA’s call to arms: Read the “Oath-keepers” editorial.

Should College Students Be Permitted To Carry Guns On Campus For Self-Protection?

After a graduate student goes on a killing spree in an crowded movie theater, a debate breaks out over allowing students with concealed carry permits at the University of Colorado to  bring their handguns on to the campus. See the video here,

Sportscaster Questions The “Wisdom” of Athletes Arming For Self-Defense

After a football player murders his intimate partner and then later commits suicide, Bob Costas says that professional athletes often get guns for self-protection. Many have become embroiled in avoidable violence but not one has successfully used a gun in a legitimate case of self-defense, he argues.

Read an article about the controversy sparked by his remarks, and watch his half-time comments

See an interview where he criticizes “gun culture:”


The opponents of gun control legislation offer this rebuttal here.



Addresses an issue raised  on pp. 5-6 in Ch. 1 about the need for objectivity when deciding who to designate as the victim and as the offender.
Also provides another example about acting in self-defense vs. crossing the line and unleashing excessive force.

The debate continues over whether this law enables would-be victims to pull a gun and fire it in  self-defense or permits aggressive individuals to “shoot first” and then claim they were about to be attacked.

Read two articles about this controversial case:

Man shoots noisy teen.
Column: ‘Stand your ground’ law flaws

And view a video outlining the two sides in this debate here.

The controversy intensifies because the race of the survivor and the race of the deceased might play a role in how the criminal justice system responds to real-life cases, as this newspaper analysis suggests here.



Offers a real-life case that might be considered as an example of a victim “going too far” to protect his property, as discussed on p. 431 of Ch. 13.

An FBI agent looks out of the second floor window of his home and spots a man breaking into his car. He shoots the thief and is labeled a vigilante, as described here. But the prosecutor doesn’t pursue the case, for reasons explained here.


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