Friday, February 8, 2008

City Hall Shooting in Missouri

Why would you need a gun in city hall? Oh wait, don't they have armed security and cops at city halls and other government buildings to protect you? Yup! That didn't stop Charles Thornton from killing 2 police officers, 3 city officials, someone else that the story doesn't identify, and wounding a reporter and the mayor.

Panus said the gunman killed one officer outside City Hall, then walked into the council chambers, shot another and continued pulling the trigger. A witness said the gunman yelled "Shoot the mayor!" as he fired shots in the chambers, hitting Swoboda.

One individual tried to defend himself but sadly, the high capacity chair did not stop the gunman.
..the shooter fired at City Attorney John Hessel, who tried to fight off the attacker by throwing chairs. The shooter then moved behind the desk where the council sits and fired more shots at council members.
At this time the gun is not to blame, however the local government is:
The only way that I can put into context that you might understand is that my brother went to war tonight with the people, the government that was putting torment and strife into his life," Thornton's brother, Gerald Thornton, told St. Louis' KMOV-TV.
It is not known if there were "No Guns" signs posted or if they were obstructed from the gunmans view as that would have surely stopped this tragedy.

There was talk about banning Thornton from city hall but I doubt that would have made a difference either considering he killed an officer before even entering the building.

One thing for sure, Charles Thornton was going to murder people in that building, laws be damned. I'm not saying everyone should carry a gun in public buildings, or even everywhere for that matter, but I am saying that if a madman is on the loose you are responsible for your own safety. This sort of incident is exactly why I don't trust my life to security guards or even cops. There is no guarantee that they can successfully intervene when your life is on the line. On the flipside, there is also no guarantee that I can successfully defend myself no matter what I'm carrying, but the point is that I can try without having to resort to throwing chairs and hiding under a desk. If you have ever been in a public building in DC and seen the overweight, bored 20-something security guards armed with .38's and not paying attention to their suroundings you would know what I'm talking about.

Update: Here is a Yahoo news video of Alan Hopfl who was in the meeting when the shooting started. He said that "Cookie" Thornton had a "large, silver revolver" and that he knew Cookie and this came as a "complete surprise to me." What I find interesting is that Hopfl saw the gunman pull out the revolver and gun someone down. Think about that the next time someone tells you that police officers are trained to know who the bad guys are and that is why only they should be the ones armed. It doesn't take a genious to see who the threat is.

It's a good thing Cookie didn't have a super deadly assault thingy or things could have gotten out of hand.

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