Friday, May 25, 2007

Do Cops Really Need Your Help?

When the shots rang out at the Latah County Courthouse on Saturday night, some people tried to help.

One man packed a pistol and rifle into his car and drove to the scene. Officers didn't know if there was more than one shooter at the time, so they packed him in for questioning.

At a house nearby, 20-year old UI student Pete Husmann was watching "Die Hard." He got out his .45 caliber handgun and rode his bicycle to the scene, trying to help.

The UI Argonaut reports Husmann did not have time to draw his weapon before being wounded by gunman Jason Hamilton. The first bullet struck Husmann in the back, passing through his liver and a rib. While on the ground, he was hit twice more. The second bullet entered in the front of his neck and exited through his shoulder while a third bullet struck him in the thigh.

Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch characterized Husmann's action as vigilantism. In an interview with the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (subscription required), Rausch said of Husmann's involvement: "we appreciate the thought, but it was foolhardy." He said armed civilians who respond to a crime scene can create the perfect combination for disaster, as was the case in that scene outside the Latah County Courthouse. He pointed out that had Husmann managed to pull out his gun and start firing, police might have mistaken him for the shooter and taken him out.

Let's go back a month, to the days following the Virginia Tech shootings.

Gun advocates weighed in with comments such as:

"Whether or not you believe it's a good idea for the carrying of concealed firearms to be widespread, anywhere in the world, it's absolutely incontestable that less people would have died had a few students in that classroom been armed."(Source)

"An armed citizen could have stopped this guy [Cho Seung-hui] almost dead in his tracks with minimal loss of life. Assuming he wasn't one of the victims caught off-guard in the front of a room before the first shots rang out, an armed citizen would have had their weapon drawn and returning fire after the first few shots. People might have died but it would have been very few."(Source)

In Texas, governor Rick Perry and some Republicans in the Legislature say they are considering repealing a state law that prohibits the possession of firearms on college campuses. "It makes sense for Texans to be able to protect themselves from deranged individuals," Perry said. (Source

Here's a what the National Review's John Derbyshire wrote:

"As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy [Cho Seung-hui]? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake—one of them reportedly a .22.

"At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him."

Back now to Pete Husmann, who together with his family, appear to share the very same sentiments. The avid hunter took three bullets, and told his mother his initial thought was, "Now I know what a deer feels like." He also told his mother he prayed to God to let him live as he lay bleeding in the dark, bullets flying above him.

Bystander (and very brave soul) Alex Moore ran into the danger and pulled Husmann to safety. (Watch KREM's video) He also used his belt as a tourniquet on Husmann, slowed the bleeding and ulitmately saved his life.

Still, in an interview with KREM TV which aired last night, Husmann said he would definitely do it again, but maybe differently - this time he wouldn't get shot.

His mother Janice says she's very proud of him; father Sam said that if this happened again, he would definitely hope Pete would do the same thing.

I hope that family has good medical insurance.

More on Pete Husmann, from the Spokesman Review. A discussion celebrating his actions, is at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an argument I hear time and time again from gun advocates. The idea that a gun automatically equals safety. Growing up on the edge of Idaho gave me opportunity to hear this quite often and now, having moved to Forks Washington, I hear similiar sentiments repeated. In fact my father wanted to buy me a gun when I moved to Forks and I politely told him "No thank you, Dad." It seems that gun advocates feel that logic and tactics can be thrown out the window as long as you have a bigger gun than the other guy. We seem to forget that the human body is a pretty fragile and squishy thing compared to a speeding bit of metal.