Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Exercising the Right, to KEEP and BEAR Arms
the New American, That Freedom Shall Not Perish ^ | 09.22.03 | Robert W. Lee

Posted on 09/10/2003 10:45:33 AM PDT by Coleus

Vol. 19, No. 19
September 22, 2003
Table of Contents

More on Gun Control

Exercising the Right
by Robert W. Lee

"... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Fighting Back

Shortly before 5:30 a.m. on June 16th, Stephen Heller was chatting with a young woman who had arrived moments earlier at his home in Sanger, Texas, when two masked men dressed in black and wearing gloves suddenly barged into the residence. At least one was armed.

The intruders apparently intended to rob Heller, but the homeowner resisted fiercely. He was able to stab one with a knife he had nearby and shoot the other several times with a handgun he grabbed during the brawl.

Scott Howard was pronounced dead at the scene from the gunshot wounds. The other interloper, Travis Lee Smith, fled with the woman (who was apparently an accomplice) to Marietta, Oklahoma, some 40 miles north of Sanger. Smith eventually went to a hospital for treatment of his knife wounds. Acting on tips, police took both Smith and the woman into custody. Smith was transferred to a hospital in Ardmore, Oklahoma, while the woman was jailed in Marietta pending extradition back to Texas.

Homeowner Heller suffered only a few minor injuries during the scuffle with Howard and Smith.

Return to Scene of Crime

Shawn Larsen of Clackamas County, Oregon, awoke on August 2nd to find that his bedroom window had been forced open, and that a number of his belongings had been stolen by a stealthy burglar. While searching for clues, he found the pilfered items hidden under his deck.

Surmising that the thief would return later to retrieve the booty, Larsen decided to keep watch. When the culprit did indeed reappear around midnight, the homeowner was waiting — this time with a gun. "I told him to freeze and he wouldn’t," Larsen told Portland television station KGW the next day. Feeling threatened, Larsen fired at least two shots, striking Justin Jimmy Hawkins in a shoulder and a leg.

Hawkins fled, but police soon found him after he sought help at a nearby home. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of his wounds. Following his release the next morning, he was taken to jail.

KGW reported that, according to police, Hawkins is a transient with an extensive criminal history including at least 17 arrests for crimes ranging from aggravated murder and assault to burglary, robbery, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Oregon law allows homeowners to take reasonable steps to protect themselves against intruders. The would-be victim expressed relief that he had not killed Hawkins, but was also (in the words of KGW) "relieved to know the suspect who broke into his home twice in one day is in jail."

Coyote Attack

Near sundown on August 4th, three-year-old Sangchul Bae was watching his dad hit practice balls at the Jess Ranch Golf Course in Apple Valley, California, when a coyote suddenly emerged from nearby bushes and lunged at the boy. The aggressive predator clamped its jaws on the toddler’s face and began dragging him toward the bushes. The child’s father pummeled the coyote with his golf club, causing the animal to release its grip and momentarily back off. But the coyote was undeterred and repeatedly attacked the terrified boy.

At this point, as reported by Los Angeles television station KNBC the next day, "an off-duty deputy stepped in, fired a round at the coyote and wounded him." Other accounts questioned whether the bullet actually found its mark, but in any event, the animal scurried away in the wake of the gunshot and did not return. A helicopter was called in to search for it in the open desert surrounding the golf course, but to no avail.

Sangchul Bae was rushed by ambulance to a medical center for treatment of what were described as moderate lacerations to his jaw and arm. According to KNBC, he was "stable and will undergo plastic surgery on his wounds."

Home Invasion Tragedy

Ray and Annie Friesen had been married for 53 years when, at around 2:30 p.m. on June 30th, someone knocked at the door of their home in the Beaver Valley area of Payson, Arizona. Mrs. Friesen, 73, was resting in a bedroom, so Mr. Friesen, 79, opened the door. A middle-aged stranger claimed that his car had broken down and asked if he could make a phone call for assistance.

Mr. Friesen did not invite him in but brought him a cordless phone, and the stranger then pretended to call someone from outside. However, when the stranger returned the phone to Mr. Friesen, he suddenly pulled a hunting knife and forced the elderly homeowner into the dining room, where he tied him to a chair and demanded his wallet, credit cards, and car keys. Mr. Friesen complied. The intruder then went to the room where Mrs. Friesen was resting. When Mr. Friesen heard his wife scream, he mustered the strength to break himself free of his bindings. Grabbing a handgun, he rushed to the bedroom.

According to a Gila County Sheriff’s Office report, Mr. Friesen heard his wife scream again, and, upon entering the room, saw the thug towering over her, knife in hand. She was bleeding profusely. Mr. Friesen shot the murderous thug several times, then called 911. When medical personnel arrived, they pronounced the suspect — and, tragically, Mrs. Friesen — dead at the scene. It is likely that Mr. Friesen, too, would have been killed if he had not shot the deranged intruder.

A few days later, authorities identified the killer as Mitchell Bell, believed to be a transient who had lived along a nearby river.

Media Coverup

From an August 1st Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed by Dr. John R. Lott Jr., resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the newly released The Bias Against Guns:

"In 2001 (the last year available), ABC, CBS and NBC ran 190,000 words’ worth of gun-crime stories on their morning and evening national news broadcasts. But they ran not a single story mentioning a private citizen using a gun to stop a crime. The only network I could find that ran any defensive gun-use stories was the Fox News Channel.

"The print media were almost as lopsided: The New York Times ran 50,745 words on gun crimes, but only one short (163-word) story on a retired police officer who used his gun to stop a robbery. For USA Today, the tally was 5,660 words on gun crimes versus zero on defensive uses."

Exercising the Right
by Robert W. Lee

"... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Blood Feud

James L. Karnes Sr., 51, resides with his family in Cedar Grove, Kentucky. For many years he and a neighbor, Ronald S. Richardson, 52, had been feuding over property lines and rights. Richardson once filed a lawsuit against Karnes about boundary lines and alleged damage to the Richardson property, after which Karnes filed two trespassing complaints against Richardson. In 2000 Richardson pled guilty to trespassing and in 2001 was found guilty of the same offense. He agreed to have no further contact with members of the Karnes family.

On January 29th of this year, however, sheriff’s deputies were summoned to the Karnes residence three times between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to investigate complaints that Richardson had not only trespassed again, but had fired shots near the Karnes property. The deputies concluded that Richardson had not violated any laws, so could not be taken into custody. Shortly after 8:30 p.m., however, dispatchers received a fourth call, this time from Karnes’ wife, reporting that Richardson had shot her husband in the stomach with a .357 Magnum handgun as the feuding duo stood near a barbed wire fence.

When Mrs. Karnes ran outside to be with her seriously wounded husband, son James Karnes Jr., 26, grabbed a 9-mm handgun and followed. Fearing that Richardson now posed a threat to his mother, he fired twice, striking his father’s assailant in the chest. Richardson was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bullitt County Coroner, while the elder Karnes was airlifted to the University of Louisville Hospital, where he was listed in serious but stable condition.

Details of the tragic confrontation were submitted to a Bullitt Circuit Grand Jury to determine if young Karnes had violated any laws in protecting his mother. On April 30th, jurors ruled that, all things considered (including the record of past differences between the neighbors), he had indeed acted in justifiable self-defense.

Good Neighbor

Shortly after noon on April 29th, Yong Do Cho, owner of Joe’s Food Market in Houston, Texas, was returning to his store from a bank when three men in a gray Isuzu began following him. When one of the trio, later identified as 18-year-old Francis Dalton, fired a shot through a window of Cho’s car, the terrified small businessman sped up and raced three blocks with his assailants in hot pursuit before pulling into the parking lot of a check-cashing business. He hoped that someone in the shop, well-known for its zero-tolerance policy toward thugs, could help him.

When owner Fabern Dale Cossey emerged from the check-cashing facility, Dalton shot at him, but missed. Cossey, who was armed, returned fire, wounding the youth. Dalton and 33-year-old accomplice Flenzy Ray Jones then scurried from the scene on foot, but were soon apprehended by police. The third man escaped in the Isuzu.

Jones was charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Dalton faced the same charge pending his release from a local hospital, where he was listed in fair condition.

Early Bird

At around 2 a.m. on Sunday, April 14th, someone began banging on a door at the residence of Gerald and Audrey Heggstrom in Glendale, Oregon. Mrs. Heggstrom, a millworker who describes herself as a night owl because she works the late shift, had dozed off in the living room when "there was a loud enough noise that it startled me. I looked out the window and he was standing by the front door."

"He" was Keith W. Newman, 39, described in a subsequent police report as a "transient from New York via Eugene."

Mrs. Heggstrom woke her husband (also a millworker, though on the day-shift), who handed her his Glock .45-caliber handgun before answering the door. When he asked the stranger what he wanted, Newman said he was looking for a woman named "Katy." Told that no such person lived there, he walked away and Mr. Heggstrom went back to bed. Mrs. Heggstrom, however, was now wide awake. "The adrenaline was still pumping from being startled like that," she told Roseburg News-Review reporter Chris Pollock. "I was sitting watching TV and the security light on the front porch came on 15 minutes later. I went into the kitchen and looked out the window, and just then I saw him [Newman] go into the garage."

She roused her husband from bed a second time, and with gun in hand he went outside to confront the intruder. "I walked over to him with the gun pointed right at him and asked him what … he was doing," he recalls. Needless to say, "It got his attention."

Mrs. Heggstrom had in the meantime called the sheriff’s office. Deputies arrived within about 20 minutes and took Newman — still held at gunpoint by Mr. Heggstrom — into custody. He was charged with burglary and criminal trespass.

Gerald Heggstrom told Pollock, "I was just protecting my family and my property, as far as I was concerned." He added that Newman "would’ve been all right if he’d left the first time."


From a May 9th USA Today op-ed piece captioned "Gun laws don’t reduce crime," by Dr. John R. Lott Jr., a resident scholar at the Washington, D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute and the author of More Guns, Less Crime: "One would never know from reading the news that there exists not one single academic study showing that the federal Brady Act, assault-weapons bans, state waiting periods, background checks, one-gun-a-month rules or safe-storage laws reduce violent crime. Some research even finds that these rules increase crime.

"… Europe has everything American gun-control proponents favor, but the three worst public shootings in the past year all occurred in Europe. All took place in so-called gun-free ‘safe zones.’

"Around the world, from Australia to England, countries that have recently strengthened gun-control laws with the promise of lowering crime have instead seen violent crime soar. In the four years after the U.K. banned handguns in 1996, gun crime rose by an astounding 40%. Since Australia’s 1996 laws banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively, armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24% and kidnappings by 43%. While murders fell by 3%, manslaughter rose by 16%."

by Robert W. Lee

"... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Lethal Hideout

At around 2:30 p.m. on December 15, 2001, police in Hartford, Connecticut, responded to a burglar alarm at Bacon’s Antiques, a secondhand merchandise store owned by Manchester resident Jeffrey Andrews. They found a broken front window, but did not find an intruder during a search of the premises.

Mr. Andrews arrived during the search and, after the police left, remained to board up the broken window. Shortly before 6:00 p.m., a man armed with a gun emerged from a back stockroom. He had apparently been hiding among old paintings, statues, commercial signs, and other paraphernalia during the police search, but finally concluded that everyone had left. As he and Andrews began arguing, the latter grabbed a gun he kept at the store for protection and fired, striking the intruder twice in the stomach. He then called the police. When officers arrived for a second time, they found Rafael Santana, 32, on the floor. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital later that evening.

As reported by the Hartford Courant for December 17th, Andrews "has a state permit to carry a gun" and "police said they did not expect to file charges" against him. According to Courant staff writers Matt Burgard and Lee Foster, the mother of Santana’s 15-year-old son acknowledged that Santana "had a history of drug abuse and criminal arrests, including a record of drug possession charges."

Robbers Outgunned

Since opening in 1968, Avalon Jewelers in downtown Hayward, California, had never been victimized by armed robbers. Then on December 18, 2001, two armed men walked into the family-owned store and threatened one of the owners and an employee. Unbeknownst to them, however, Rod Vargas (another owner) was sequestered behind a one-way mirror with a small arsenal of guns by his side. When the military veteran realized that a robbery was in progress, he grabbed an M1 rifle and confronted the two thugs. As he pointed the rifle at one’s head, they both turned tail and ran from the store empty-handed.

Vargas called police, who arrived within minutes. Despite combing the area for the suspects, both men got away.

Vargas, recalling how one of the miscreants "was looking right down the barrel of the rifle," told the Hayward Daily Review for December 22nd: "If we don’t fight back, we are encouraging crime."

Inebriated Trespasser

Shortly after 2:00 a.m. on November 24, 2001, Cedar Springs, Michigan, police officer Jack Peters was on patrol when he noticed two hitchhikers who appeared to be drunk. They ran when he flashed his lights on them. One was apprehended, but the other — 22-year-old Kevin Lee Salinas — got away.

Less than two hours later, at about 3:30 a.m., Valerie Clarke was awakened by the sound of someone rattling windows and doors at the Clarke home. She woke her husband Robert, 48, who grabbed a flashlight and went to investigate while Mrs. Clarke called 911. When Mr. Clarke opened the back slider door and peered outside with the flashlight, he noticed a man standing near some outbuildings in the back yard. It was Salinas.

Rather than flee, Salinas began walking toward the house. Clarke, concerned for the safety of himself and his family, retrieved a 9 mm handgun from inside the home and, at least twice, ordered the trespasser to leave the property. Instead, Salinas continued to approach and climbed onto the back porch. When he was within about five feet of Clarke, the homeowner fired a single shot that struck him in the abdomen. He died about eight hours later in a Grand Rapids health facility.

It was later learned that Salinas was on probation for a larceny conviction. He was also wanted on a bench warrant related to an April domestic assault charge, and had been scheduled to stand trial on December 3rd for a July home invasion during which he allegedly assaulted an ex-girlfriend. He faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the litany of felony charges.

In an opinion released December 19th, Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth stated that Robert Clarke had acted in self-defense and would not face any charges for shooting Salinas. While believing that Clarke should have opted not to confront the inebriated trespasser, Forsyth noted that the Clarkes "had five kids in the house," that Salinas was drunk (two-and-one-half times the legal driving limit) and incoherent, and that he kept coming even when Clarke had "a gun pointed at him."

So Much for the Crowbar

John Samanns, 37, owns John’s Drive-Thru, a liquor store in south Lakeland, Florida. In the wake of previous break-ins, he was sleeping at the store on December 4, 2001 when, at about 1:45 a.m., he heard an alarm go off. Armed with a Taurus 9 mm handgun, he went to the south side of the establishment, where he confronted a man who had gained entry by using a crowbar to break the deadbolt on an exterior metal gate. When the burglar raised the crowbar over his head in a threatening manner, Samanns fired two shots, one of which struck Larry D. Russell, 41, in the abdomen. Russell died.

Shortly before Christmas, the state attorney’s office ruled that Samanns was justified in using lethal force to defend himself against Russell.

Dressed for Defense

Robert Gresham operates his business, Clothes Line, in Nashville, Tennessee. Shortly before 11 a.m. on December 15, 2001, John D. Buchanan, 19, attempted to rob the clothing vendor. As the youth began pulling a gun from his waistband, Gresham, who has a state-issued permit to carry a firearm, drew his own .44-caliber revolver and opened fire. As reported by the Nashville Tennessean for December 18th, the seriously wounded Buchanan fled, and Gresham "saw him drive away when he went outside in the parking lot.... Gresham told police that a second man fired at him. Gresham returned the fire, but neither man was hit...."

Shortly thereafter, several young men arrived at the emergency room of a local hospital, helped take Buchanan inside, then drove away. Gresham subsequently identified Buchanan (who died) as the man who had attempted to rob him.

According to The Tennessean, "The Metro Police Department has ruled that a clothing vendor who shot and killed an alleged would-be robber Saturday acted within his rights to self-defense. The department is calling the death a justifiable homicide.

Exercising the Right
by Robert W. Lee

"... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Jewelry Store Shootout

On July 9th, a man and woman entered Norton’s Jewelry in downtown Marietta, Georgia, and asked to see some expensive items. They left without making a purchase, but owner Ronnie Norton, 54, felt uneasy, suspecting that they may have been casing the store. He mentioned the incident, along with his concern, to wife Barbara that night.

The next afternoon, as they were preparing to close the store, Mrs. Norton noticed two men loitering outside. She told her husband, who promptly retrieved a .32-caliber handgun from its carrying case and slipped it into his belt. As the Daily Oklahoman for July 17th noted, "Norton always carries a gun or keeps one within arm’s reach."

The two men eventually entered the store. One asked to see a $2,500 wedding set. As Mr. Norton walked toward the safe, with one of the men close behind, Mrs. Norton noticed the latter place his hand in his pocket. Suspecting the worst, she bolted for the front door, but was grabbed and thrown to the floor by the other man (who was also armed) before she could escape.

When Mr. Norton turned around, he found himself staring at a 9mm pistol pointed at his chest. As described by Daily Oklahoman reporter Ed Godfrey, "The gunman ordered Norton to the floor but he refused," whereupon the thug "repeated the order and waved the weapon in front of Norton, giving the jeweler a chance to grab the man’s wrist and push the gun away."