Friday, August 24, 2012

Bad Journalism and Bad Marksmanship

My cousin 88 has an office in the Empire State Building in NYC, so when I noticed the shooting this morning I immediately concluded that cousin 88 was alive and well. If not, Uncle Parsimonious or Auntie Annie would have phoned. As it turned out, Auntie Annie did phone late this morning to convey a (for her) microscopically brief message that 88 was okay and the gunman had been shot to death by police.  Auntie loves to talk on the phone, but today she concluded with something along the lines of "I have to get off the phone now.  'Bye!"  Click.  Dead air space.

Intrigued by the brevity of her call I decided to read the news, and that's where I got a little spun up.  I read three articles in their entirety and scanned a few more, then I applied Ockham's razor (lex parsimoniae) and concluded that, as usual, commercial media bitched it beyond almost all recognition.  I'm not surprised.  I'm pissed off.

You can follow the links and read the stories as you see fit, but the long and shot of it is that the shooter, former employee Jeffrey Johnson, was terminally angry with his manager Steven Ercolino (VP of Sales at Hazan Import Corp. at 10 W. 33rd St; NY, NY.) whom Johnson claimed had been harassing Johnson in the workplace for a long time.  Johnson ambushed Ercolino on his way in to work and shot him in the head with a .45.  Johnson then walked away from the scene of the shooting - he didn't flee as some publications claimed - and was followed by a construction worker who pointed him out to some NYC police who were loitering nearby.  Johnson drew his gun and police shot and killed him.  Collateral damages were limited to nine people, but news sources cannot agree on the number of men and women wounded and just who wounded them.

USA Today provided the best coverage out of the three here, and at least stated in passing that it wasn't clear if Johnson managed to get off any shots at police.  Likely Johnson didn't get off any shots, which means that all the other casualties were caused by police who failed to hit what I hope they were aiming at, or at least pointing their pistol at: Jeffrey Johnson.  Here are a few links and quotes from commercial media:

 CNN: Empire State Building shootings kill 2 and wound 9, police say
The shooter was one of the two killed, according to investigators. They identified him as Jeffrey Johnson, 56, who was laid off last year and apparently killed a former co-worker near the building, shooting the 41-year-old victim in the head.
USA Today: Gunman shot dead by police after he kills former co-worker
Update at 11:52 am. ET: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking to reporters, says surveillance video of the scene shows that the suspect pulled a weapon from his bag and "tried to fire" at the officers, but that it was unclear whether he was able to get off a round.
The Guardian: New York gunman kills former boss in Empire State Building shooting
Johnson pulled his gun – a .45 caliber handgun – from a black bag he was carrying, and fired on the officers. "The [police] tape clearly shows that the gunman had the gun out and was trying to kill the officers," Bloomberg said.
They returned fire, killing Johnson on the streets outside the entrance to the Empire State Building. In the exchange of bullets, at least nine people were injured – four women and five men. All were taken to city hospitals with gunshot wounds, but none are believed to be in a life-threatening condition.
My objection here is that the media isn't emphasizing or even mentioning that in a highly patrolled area, one amateur assassin managed to carry out his mission unopposed before committing suicide by cop.  What good did all this policing actually accomplish?  If that construction worker hadn't decided to get involved the shooter would have just walked away, and it would have been a long time before he was apprehended.

Note that no one else was armed.  New York is as notorious for it's anti-freedom laws as it is for population density.  What if this had been an amateur terrorist attack?  The environment is target rich and no one will have so much as a single shot .22 rifle to shoot back with.  Then what?  More gun control laws from Mayor Blowhard?

There were a lot of people present at the shooting, yet only one had the cojones to get involved.  My hat is off to this man, who not only ran the risk of being shot by Johnson but also ran a substantial risk of being shot by New York Police, either by accident or on purpose.

The number of injured stands at nine so far, but that could change.  These people did not get shot because of Johnson.  They got shot because New York City Police can't hit what they're shooting at, and the commercial media is already trying to cover it up.  Note that no mention of the number of shots fired by police is mentioned.  I'm betting both cops emptied their clips and a large number of bullets will never be accounted for.

If police are going to be armed, then every single one of them should have to qualify at least once per week.  Fail to qualify and you can turn in your pistol and patrol a desk until you pass your firearms qualification with pistol.  Qualifications for shotgun, AR15 rifle and sub-machinegun can be handled separately.

The real miracle here is that the cops didn't kill any of the bystanders, some of which might have been children.  Try explaining to a child's mother just how it happened that her five-year-old was in the line of fire and the police didn't have a choice.  Now everyone's sorry... please sign these papers as a mere formality.

Anyway, that's my opinion.  I'm waiting to see how the rest of this shakes out.

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