Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Burying The Lede, Yet Again. (Armed Citizens Stop Mass Murders)

Jeanne Assam said that she was "acting in her capacity as personal protection security" at the New Life Church, when she stopped a rampant shooter. The 41 year old ex-cop credits her faith in God for giving her the ability to hold steady her pistol while fire on Matthew Murry repeatedly to end his killing.

In an interview on CNN with Larry King, she sat with the pastor of the church, answering inane questions in muted, careful tones.

King: "Why do you have a security guard armed, during church services, on a Sunday?"

The pastor, Brady Boyd, began with "Well, I think it's obvious..." He finished with these telling words:
"Larry, the real story here to me is the fact that the man got 60 feet inside our building, and if he had gotten another hundred feet, there were several hundred people standing in the main rotunda. What she did, when she heard the gunshots-- we're looking at a lady who did not hesitate. When she heard the gunshots, she rushed down the hallway toward the attacker... she was under arms, she had a handgun... this is a hero, we're talking about, I'm sitting next to a real-life heroine, that... I'm tellin' you, this is the bravest woman that I've ever met. She did not flinch, she put her own life at risk. She is not on our staff; she's a volunteer. She's a worshiper at our church, who provides security as a ministry for our church."
Kudos for the pastor for pointing out part the real story. But for some reason, I suspect that some of it was also being obscured.

Matthew Murray had a semi-automatic rifle, two handguns, and supposedly about 1000 rounds of ammo, along with smoke bombs. He had previously been identified as mentally distressed, and had been making threats on a website. He killed five people (mostly in the parking lot), and wounded five others. The pastor's right; if he'd made it into the rotunda, or worse, into the worship area earlier, it would have been a complete massacre but for an armed response.

The pastor states that this is "not the wild west" and says that they have strict guidelines for people carrying at their church, but I gather by the absence of what's said that Miss Assam (yes, she's still available, gentlemen) was not OFFICIALLY a security guard. Oh, she had a permit to carry, and had been a cop for 14 years, but I'm twigging to the fact that she had another full-time job, was not paid to work at the church, and was not uniformed.

That's not a bad thing. I'm not completely sure why they're burying that.

The fact that an armed private citizen stopped a mass murder should be the lead to the story, and should be trumpeted from the rooftops.

But, ho hum. Only 5 killed and 5 injured? Not too interesting. Ridiculously, the story is diminished because she stopped the killing.

If churches are going to be "unarmed citizen zones," I frankly think that they owe it to their worshippers to post armed guards at the outer perimeter of the church as well. If your church doesn't have a disaster plan, ask why not.

I'm a police officer who works patrol. I have a degree in Criminal Justice, and am working on my master's in it. That should give me some credibility to say what you, gentle reader, already know: The police can't get there in time to save you.

I'm so sorry about that fact. Sometimes, we get lucky. And usually, we stop it before it gets to the very worst that it could get to. But generally, we help pick up the pieces.

And whether or not you're the type to give thanks to your God, remember Jeanne Assam. And consider how you'll get your own oxen out of that well, Sabbath or no.

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At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 12:44:00 PM, Anonymous turtled28 said...

Not being a church-goer, I never thought this story would have as much impact as it has. A very good friend of mine attends the Arvada, CO church that was attacked earlier that morning. The young lady (and I believe her boyfriend) who were shot were new members of the church, and had been friends with many parishioners for a long while. It humbled me to see how it affected my friend, and it moves me to hear how the congregation came together after such a senseless crime.
It saddened me a little to see that in several cases, the Arvada story was completely neglected when the Colo. Springs church story is splashed about.
Thank you for posting this thought provoking piece.

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 1:47:00 PM, Blogger JD said...

She is a hero no doubt. I can only hope I would do as well in the same position (and hope I never find out)

As to why we are not told she did not work there I think it is obvious - The news folks don't want you to know. . . and they don't want you to think about this stuff from the viewpoint of "what can I do to save myself/family?" They don't want people to see gun owners in a good light in any way shape or form. And they REALLY don't want you to see gun control/gun free zones as a bad thing.

Just my thoughts on it

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 2:48:00 PM, Blogger Rabbit said...

Good post, Matt.

In reading through the latest dispatches regarding this, I'm appalled yet somehow not surprised that the media outlets are trying to paint her as 'plainclothes security' while in the next lines delving into her 'firing for internal affairs investigations' as a police officer.

Blame the hero.

They are also making hay with the apparent fact he popped himself with his shotgun after she 'wounded him', which they submit as evidence he was 'self-limiting of his carnage, yet was tortured by security'.

More nut control, less gun control.


At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 4:07:00 PM, Blogger Simeron said...

If you read the part of the book Combat (I think that's the name) that Mark put up on his blog called Sheep, Sheepdogs and Wolves there is a part of that where it talks about people that carry, legally, in church.

They talk to one of the officers that were in the chuch in Forth Worth/Dallas when a gunman came in killing. He speaks out all he could do was press his own body over his son and wait to die. All because he "left his sidearm" outside because he didn't think he should carry in church.

He said it was the most helpless and disgusting feeling he has ever felt and he will NEVER be unarmed again because, when the wolf comes to eat you, not having your weapon is the best help you can give the wolf.

This lady is a sheepdog. She protected her sheep. That's what a good sheepdog does even if they never get a treat or even a good scratch behind the ears. I think she is getting her thanks at least.

But sadly, in this day and age, it's probably best that this is quiet. Our heroes and heroines of today, that only 50 short years ago would be hailed from the rooftops as you say, are villified and shunned by the very society they protect far to often.

I made a post on my blog about a death of a dear friend, Mr. Common Sense. You might want to read it sometime and get what I mean.

Society seems to be getting dumber by the grain.

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 4:08:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I don't care if he choked on his Wriggley's DoubleMint gum out of surprise-- she stopped the threat. The fact that he ate his own gun after that bothers me not one whit.

And yes, I had caught a whiff of her having been fired, before. She referenced embracing her church and her God after experiencing "the lowest of the lows," which led me to believe that there was probably a reason why she didn't finish out her 20 years.

I don't give a damn about that. I fail to see how it could possibly be pertinent.

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 4:26:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Fixit said...

You're right Matt, it doesn't matter.

The only facts that matter are that
1. a critter entered an area intent on doing harm

2. he was stopped because of the presence of citizen with a firearm.

She saved lives.
She is a heroine.

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 4:39:00 PM, Blogger karrde said...

Is that burying the lede (central fact in news story), or burying the lead (chemical element, symbol Pb, soft but heavy metal)...

Well, some lead was buried in the appropriate location before the lede was buried by the news.

This might also hinge on the lack of church-goingness among the friends and family of people who are attracted to the news business. That is, they might not know that 75% of the work done at the average church is done by volunteer labor.

Sure, the pastors are paid. The secretaries are paid. The treasurer might be paid, depending on the size of the congregation and the weekly take. But the ushers, Sunday School teachers, any security staff, sound technicians, and the musicians are volunteers.

Her status as former cop did probably give her the edge to know when to start shooting, and when to stop. I notice that two other weapons were drawn, but they refrained from firing.

(Are there any officially-recorded discharges of firearm in Miss Assam's police record? That kind of thing would be public too, wouldn't it?)

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 5:13:00 PM, Blogger Assrot said...

Yeah, it's that sorry ass Liberal media. They are every where you go. You can't get away from them and you can't stop the way they twist a story to their agenda.

They want everyone to think this was a paid security officer that stopped the killer and not just an average, law abiding citizen with a concealed carry handgun protecting herself and the people around her.

She did a great job and I commend her for it. I agree with you that the fact she was there as a worshiper and a normal everyday citizen that happened to have a concealed carry permit should have been the damn headline.

Unfortunately, I also know you are correct in that the cops usually get there in time for the cleanup and that's about it most of the time.

We need to outlaw "gun free zones" as long as the person carrying the gun is a law abiding, mentally stable person with a proper concealed carry permit.

I'm sick of whining ass anti-gunners. They cause shit like this to happen because the criminals know that most people don't carry.

If everybody that could carry, would carry and gun free zones were outlawed, I think you'd see a lot less innocent people getting killed and alot more of these nutjobs and crooks going to the place they really belong. (6 feet under)

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 6:08:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Karrde: I liked play on words that resulted from "Bury the lead," but I note that "lede" is not that commonly used. Merriam-Webster, for example, doesn't even recognize it. recognizes it as L-E-D-E, but also recognizes L-E-A-D as acceptable (see #37 on the second entry).

David Rosenfelt used L-E-A-D in the title of his best seller Bury The Lead, which could, admittedly, have also intentionally been to evoke the play on words (it's a murder/thriller).

In her interview, she said that she'd never fired her gun in the line of duty. I hadn't seen that someone else had also drawn down on him. As I understand it, there was a time period between when he was stopped and when he killed himself. That may have been when other guns came to bear, but that's utter speculation on my part.

And some departments make discharges part of public record, some don't.

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 6:13:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

For whatever reason, Miss Assam is furthering that story of her as a security officer. She uses the term "person protection security," or some such. I don't know what the motivation is. I suppose that we should take her at her word, though. We owe her that.

But even if she was "appointed" to "be on duty" (her words) for the church, she was not acting as a licensed, uniformed, security agent, from what I'm given to understand.

She was an armed citizen.

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 8:08:00 PM, Blogger Farmmom said...

Any way you look at it she saved lives. The media can say what they want but the end result is that this lady didn't stand there and let some nut job kill her or anymore people. In my eyes she is a heroine and deserves the thanks of everyone for stopping what could have been a bigger tragedy than it is.

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 9:06:00 PM, Blogger Johnny Virgil said...

Simiron's comment reminded me of this essay:

At Monday, December 17, 2007 3:30:00 PM, Anonymous Shrimp said...

I suspect the reason she is furthering the "security guard" story is that seems more socially acceptable (to her, to the media, to people in general) that she was authorized to carry her gun in church because she was a "security guard."

A lot of people seem uncomfortable with the idea of wearing guns in certain places, and churches are one of those places where guns are verboten even though it's perfectly legal to wear a gun in church in CO.

I really doubt the media would be anywhere near as nice to her as they have been if she'd been "Susie Homemaker, church-goer and plain-old-citizen-with-a-gun" rather than an ex-cop "security guard" who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

As it is, they're trying to dig dirt on her. Richard Jewell all over again.

Regardless, she presented more of an obstacle to the shooter than a "gun-busters sign", and ended his rampage. Virginia Tech could have used such an ending...


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