Thursday, July 18, 2013

Who killed Trayvon Martin? An honest discussion of race and crime

Earlier this week on July 16, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the NAACP convention in Orlando in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict. In the speech, Holder said that the “tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak honestly – and openly – about the complicated and emotionally-charged issues that this case has raised.” In truth, the national conversation about the killing of Trayvon Martin has been anything but honest. 

George Zimmerman admits that he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Even though Zimmerman pulled the trigger to fire the shot that ultimately killed Martin, he was not the only cause of Martin’s death. There seems to be plenty of blame to go around.

As noted in Examiner, Zimmerman, a registered Democrat, lived in a racially mixed neighborhood. In fact, Martin’s father’s girlfriend lived in the same neighborhood. It is unlikely that Zimmerman would have thought the mere presence of a black teenager would be alarming unless he was acting suspiciously. The Daily Caller reported in April 2012 that Zimmerman was one of few people in Sanford who pushed for justice in 2010 when the son of a white police officer beat a black man.

It seems likely that there is more to the case than the media narrative of a racist neighborhood watch captain killing an innocent black teenager. In many accidents, investigators point to a chain of events that lead up to the final incident. If any of the events that link together to cause the accident had not occurred the accident chain might have been broken. In the case of Trayvon Martin, there are several links in the chain.

The most obvious link in the chain is the string of burglaries that occurred in George Zimmerman’s neighborhood prior to his encounter with Trayvon Martin. According to CNN, there were at least eight burglaries within the previous 14 months. CNN notes that witnesses reported black males were responsible in three to four of the incidents while the other four had no witnesses or suspects. One resident said that George Zimmerman had called to alert police to a burglary in progress at his home on Feb. 2. Zimmerman’s call noted that the burglar in this case was also a black man.

According to the FBI, blacks represent 28 percent of arrests in the United States even though they make up only 13 percent of the population according to the Census Bureau. This means that they commit a disproportionate number of crimes compared to other demographic groups. Half of all murder arrests and more than half of robbery arrests are blacks. Thirty-one percent of burglary arrests are blacks. The statistics are even higher for juvenile arrests. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks are “disproportionately represented among both homicide victims and offenders.”

None of this means that every black person should be automatically suspected of criminal behavior. However, it does show that if a black teenager is acting strangely and looking into houses as Zimmerman alleges, investigating further is not unreasonable. The very purpose for the existence of a neighborhood watch is to be alert for suspicious activity regardless of race.

The question is why crime and incarceration rates among blacks are so much higher than their share of the total population. The answer can likely be found in the destruction of the black family. Data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that 67 percent of black children live in single-parent households. This is a far greater rate than for other races. Seventy-two percent of black children are born to unwed mothers according to NBC News.

The link between single-parent families and risky behaviors of children is well established. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, especially when the absent parent is the father, children are much more likely to become sexually active, use drugs, and have increased risk of juvenile delinquency.

The underlying truths represented by these statistics may have shaped Trayvon Martin’s young life. Martin’s step-mother, Alicia Stanley, raised him for 14 years until she and Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, divorced. Trayvon apparently changed after the divorce. In a CNN interview, Stanley said that he wasn’t a “thug” and that language like “creepy-ass cracker” was not used their home. Stanley said that she did not believe that race was a factor in the shooting.

Nevertheless, New York Times reported that, after the shooting, pictures and text messages found on Trayvon’s cell phone included guns, drugs, fighting and the fact that he had been kicked out of his mother’s house. One picture apparently shows Martin smoking marijuana, which has been shown to cause aggression, anxiety and paranoia. The Daily Mail reports that Trayvon was suspended from school three times in the months before his death. Reasons for the suspensions were possession of a burglary tool and jewelry, truancy, and possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Twitter messages refer to Trayvon hitting a bus driver. (Martin’s complete tweets can be viewed here.) ABC News also reported that Martin’s autopsy showed THC, the drug found in marijuana, in his blood.

In one eerily prescient exchange of text messages, reported in the Miami Herald, a friend asked Trayvon “so you just turning into a lil hoodlum [?]” and then warned “Boy don’t get one planted in ya chest.” Three months later, Trayvon was dead.

There were many links in the chain that led to Trayvon Martin’s death. George Zimmerman’s ill-considered decision to follow the teen is only the most obvious. Directly related to Zimmerman’s paranoia was the spate of burglaries that local police either could not or would not solve. The “broken windows” theory of policing holds that prosecution of small crimes can prevent larger, more violent crimes. In this case, if the police had solved the string of burglaries, they might have prevented an assault and killing. Likewise, if Trayvon’s parents and school administrators had reacted more strongly to the warning signs in his academic career, he might have been “scared straight.”

The biggest and most difficult link to break is the destruction of the black family. Trayvon Martin’s problems may have stemmed from the divorce of his father and step-mother. Like many children of divorce, Martin seems to have begun having trouble at school, become involved with drugs, and finally graduated to violence. Eyewitness testimony, reported by ABC News, supports Zimmerman’s story that he was pinned by Martin and screamed for help. If Martin had returned to his father’s girlfriend’s home rather than turning to confront Zimmerman, regardless of who threw the first punch, he would be alive today. His anger, resulting from anger at his parents’ divorce and compounded by drug use, may have played a role in his decision not to walk away.

Bill Cosby is one of the few black leaders who is willing to speak frankly about the problems facing the black community. In a 2011 interview with the Christian Post, Cosby decried the rise in single-parent families and the “media that romanticizes criminal behavior, things that a person will say against women, profanity, being gangster, having multiple children with multiple men and women and not wanting to is prevalent.”

The way to prevent more Trayvon Martins is not banning stand-your-ground laws, guns or hoodies. Preventing the deaths of more young black men and women starts with repairing the damage to the black family, a much more difficult task than demonizing George Zimmerman. Perhaps that is why so many choose to ignore the problem.

Originally published as Atlanta Conservative Examiner

Monday, July 15, 2013

The system worked for George Zimmerman

Although many Americans are upset about the not guilty verdict handed down by the jury for George Zimmerman, the case is actually proof that the judicial system still works and is not controlled by politicians and interest groups. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black man, on February 26, 2012. Although the circumstances of the killing were uncertain, many in the media rushed to judgment and fanned the flames of race almost immediately.

Media reports immediately claimed that Zimmerman was a racist who shot Martin because he was a black man who was walking in Zimmerman’s neighborhood. As Examiner reported at the time, Zimmerman’s neighborhood was racially mixed and had suffered a large number of burglaries in the months leading up to the shooting. Martin was staying at his father’s girlfriend’s house, which was in the same gated community where Zimmerman lived. Logically, Zimmerman would not have been shocked to see a black man in his neighborhood.

The only evidence that the shooting was racially motivated seems to be the color of the men’s skin and a telephone call that Zimmerman made to the Sanford police while he was following Martin. Originally described as a 911 call, Zimmerman actually called the police department’s nonemergency line. A recording of the call was edited by NBC’s Today Show to make Zimmerman appear racist.

According to Reuters, NBC deleted several seconds of the call to make it appear that Zimmerman initially volunteered information about Martin’s race. In reality, Zimmerman only mentioned that Martin was black when queried by police. An NBC producer was fired over the incident and George Zimmerman is suing the company. The complete transcript of the call is available on Document Cloud.

Zimmerman does not dispute that he followed Martin, but says that Martin confronted him and began assaulting him after he began to return to his truck after getting out to look for a street sign. No one knows for sure what happened because there were no witnesses to the start of the fight.

In a July 2013 CNN interview, Sanford police chief Bill Lee said that there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman on the night of the shooting because the evidence supported Zimmerman’s story. One investigator did favor arresting Zimmerman for manslaughter, but Lee says that the evidence did not even support that charge and that an arrest would have violated Zimmerman’s Fourth Amendment rights. Lee said that the investigation was “taken away from us.” The mayor released the telephone tapes before the investigation was completed and Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor in the case less than a month after the killing. Lee said that he was pressured by city officials to arrest Zimmerman, even without evidence of a crime, to placate the public. Around the same time, President Obama made a statement that, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Lee’s department presented a capias request to the state attorney to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to arrest Zimmerman, but was removed from the investigation before the request was answered.

The facts in the case must be judged on their own merit. The facts do not include sensational, and often erroneous, media reports. The skin color of the victim and his accused murderer are not relevant to the question of whether Trayvon Martin’s killing was justified. There is an old saying that “justice is blind.” Justice should also be colorblind.

The accumulated weight of hundreds of years of repression and discrimination of blacks cannot be placed upon George Zimmerman’s shoulders. Zimmerman is responsible for his own behavior and no one else’s. The banished institution of slavery was not on trial in Florida. Neither was the separate-but-(not quite) equal system of “Jim Crow” laws. In 1923, white mobs killed at least six blacks and destroyed most of the black town of Rosewood, Florida. George Zimmerman was not part of that mob. America has checkered past when it comes to race relations, but America was not on trial.

Many of Zimmerman’s critics are angry about the fact that he shot an unarmed man. Florida’s self-defense law does not require that an assailant be armed for someone to defend themselves with a gun. According to a survey by CNN, “nearly all states allow use of deadly force to protect yourself inside your home, based on the Castle doctrine,” a concept that dates back to Roman times. At least 33 other states have expanded the right self-defense to homes, offices and other areas as well. Zimmerman’s defense did not hinge on the Castle Doctrine according to Bill Lee. According to his testimony, Zimmerman could not retreat since he was pinned by Martin.

Florida law provides that a person is justified when they “reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.” George Zimmerman told police that Martin attacked him and told him, “You’re gonna die tonight, mothaf____!” according to Business Insider. At that point, Zimmerman said that his gun became exposed and both men reached for it. Zimmerman was able to get the gun and shoot Martin. Zimmerman’s critics may disagree with the law as it is written, but the jury was required to decide the case based on current law, not what pundits believe the law should be.

In American jurisprudence, criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Jurors should not enter the trial with preconceived notions about the defendant’s guilt or innocence. It is up to the prosecutor to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that it is “beyond dispute that any reasonable alternative is possible” and “that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts” according to West’s law encyclopedia. In practice, this means that the American justice system defaults to a position where guilty men sometimes go free so that fewer innocent men will go to jail.

In the end, for both Bill Lee’s police investigators and the jury, there was simply not enough evidence to charge or convict George Zimmerman. The prosecution seems to have been pushed for political reasons to answer the media and public calls for Zimmerman’s arrest. The pressure may have emanated from as high as President Obama’s Department of Justice. The prosecution of George Zimmerman was an attempt to subvert justice for political reasons. In the end, in spite of the pressure, the system worked.

Originally published by Atlanta Conservative Examiner

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Customs agents may be conducting illegal searches

In the wake of a number recent seemingly random searches of general aviation aircraft by federal law enforcement agents, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association demanded answers from Customs and Border Protection officials. In recent months, numerous searches of private aircraft have been reported by both the AOPA and the Atlantic. The AOPA filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of members who were stopped and searched by federal agents.

In one case, cited by both sources, Gabriel Silverstein, a pilot from New York, was stopped by CBP officers twice on a cross country business trip to Oklahoma in his Cirrus light airplane in May. A California Bonanza pilot, Larry Gaines, was surrounded by federal agents and questioned for two hours. Another particularly disturbing example occurred last year when Robin Fleming, a 70-year-old glider pilot was arrested for ostensibly breaching a “no fly zone” over a nuclear plant in Hartsville, S.C. even though there were no posted airspace restrictions.

In the July 12 edition of AOPA Live Ken Mead, AOPA’s general counsel and executive vice president discussed the response from Customs and Border Protection. “It’s essentially a kiss off letter from the law enforcement agency,” Mead said, “that says we’re police, we’re law enforcement, the stuff you asked for is law enforcement sensitive and besides, not to worry because we’re there to watch out for the civil rights of your members.”

Mead, who is a former inspector general for the Department of Transportation, was not impressed with the government’s answer. “That’s an unsatisfactory response and we’re going to appeal it, but we’re not going to play games with these people,” he said. “That’s not how our government is set up. People get stopped by armed law enforcement agents, searched and they’re totally innocent. I take a look at my books and my law school training and I say there has got to be a reason for this and when there is no reason given I get concerned, I get alarmed, and I want relief. I want some action.”

The Federal Aviation Administration has the authority to conduct ramp checks, but aviation law attorneys Richard Miller and Reigel and Associates agree that FAA inspectors do not have the right to search private aircraft without permission. Pilots are required to allow FAA inspectors to examine their pilot licenses, medical certificates and aircraft documents. Nevertheless, a work instruction for performing ramp inspections on the FAA website tells inspectors to inspect some interior items such as seats and seatbelts. Searching private aircraft without probable cause may be violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

The AOPA apparently intends to take the fight over illegal aircraft searches to Washington. Mead said, “This is headed to Congress. This is not a battle that is going to be won by communication with enforcement agencies or the federal government or the state or local level. It needs a congressional spotlight.”

The AOPA is attempting to build a database of aircraft searches. The organization has requested that pilots who have been detained or searched by federal agents contact AOPA to tell their stories. This can be accomplished through an online questionnaire on the AOPA website or by calling 800-USA-AOPA.


Originally published on Aviation Examiner

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

God save America
This Fourth of July it might be time to amend the traditional patriotic song and sentiment of “God bless America.” In recent years, America has become so divorced from godly values that it now seems mocking and irreverent to seek his blessing. It might be more appropriate to prostrate ourselves and seek his forgiveness.

The most recent rejection of God is the wave of gay marriage laws sweeping the nation. Twenty years ago, gay marriage was unheard of. Denmark passed a gay partnership law in 1989, but same-sex marriage did not exist legally until 2000 when the Netherlands first passed a gay marriage law. In what would become a familiar theme, gay marriage was legalized in Canada the next year after two gay couples sued. In the U.S., Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, again after a lawsuit. In 2007, Iowa followed suit, again after the state’s marriage law was struck down by courts. Gay marriage did not pass through the legislative process until 2009 when Vermont’s legislature approved the redefinition of marriage. At this point, gay marriage is legal in twelve states, but recent Supreme Court decisions indicate that the Court will probably strike down state definition of marriage laws in the near future.

One of the few truly scientific studies that has been done on the radical changes to the structure of society’s most basic unit, the family, is the New Family Structures Study of 2012. The study reported that gay families are much less stable than comparable heterosexual families. The instability leads to many negative effects in children including being “more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, and report… more sexual victimization.”

In the New Testament, particularly Romans 1, homosexuality is described, not as an unpardonable sin, but as a consequence of judgment. Paul wrote that homosexuality is one of the consequences of a society that rejects God. Homosexuality is not the only result of judgment, however. Paul’s roll call of depravities reads like a list of twenty-first century special interest groups:

“…filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
The issue of abortion has also seen setbacks in recent years. President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, was billed by Life News as “the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade.” The ACA, “Obamacare,” mandates that all insurance policies cover abortifacient drugs without copayments. The ACA also ignores the Hyde Amendment that once prohibited federal tax money from being used for abortion. Together with federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, Obamacare means that the United States government is in the business of funding and encouraging abortions.

Abortion was at the forefront in the trial of Kermit Gosnell. Although the trial of the Philadelphia abortionist was largely ignored by the media, the news of how Gosnell and his staff allowed babies to be born only to murder them in cold blood spread around the country via social networks. Gosnell was found guilty of three counts of first degree murder as well as a number of other charges. An estimated 50 million Americans have been aborted since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Also in 2013, Colorado became the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The use of the drug is being normalized in spite of the fact that there are clear links between marijuana use and schizophrenia and aggression. Writing in the Wall St. Journal, Samuel Wilkinson of the Yale School of Psychiatry points out that heavy users of marijuana who start at a young age have a 200 percent increased risk for schizophrenia, which affects more than three million Americans. About one third of homeless Americans are schizophrenics.

The expansion of abortion and homosexuality corresponds to attacks on religion in spite of the First Amendment. Christian teaching on these issues is being called “offensive” by liberal activists. Members of the Obama Administration talk of “freedom of worship” rather than “freedom of religion.” What this means in practice is that religion, specifically the Christian religion, is being driven underground. Advocates of traditional marriage or pro-life causes can have their jobs threatened or be forced to attend sensitivity training. Christian businesses are sued if they refuse to supply their services to gay weddings, even in states where gay marriage is not legal. In New Jersey, a Methodist church has already been sued – and lost – for refusing to rent their facility to a lesbian couple for their same-sex union.

The fundamental problems with America today are rooted in the decline of Christianity and the corresponding rise of government. The beginning of the decline of American marriage in the 1960s is clearly visible on a Heritage Foundation graph. A separate graph shows the simultaneous rise of out-of-wedlock children at the same time. Both correspond to the “Great Society” programs of President Johnson in which the federal government began to take responsibility for caring for the poor and children away from families, churches, and charities. Unsurprisingly, the federal debt began a meteoric rise at the same time.

At the same time, American church attendance fell sharply. Gallup reports that in 1955 U.S. church attendance over the past week was at 75 percent. Now, even though 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian, only 43 percent attend church regularly. Consequently, many American Christians are ignorant about the doctrines of their professed faith, leaving them open to pseudo-Biblical arguments for liberal policies.

These social trends mean that out-of-wedlock births now account for almost half of U.S. births. The average age of a woman at her first marriage is 26.5 years while the average age at her first childbirth is 25.7 according to CBS News. This is causing a rise in single-parent families that poses dire consequences for the United States because these families are much more likely to live in poverty and require government financial assistance than traditional families. There are also negative effects on the children of single-parent families, such as being more likely to be abused and more likely to become involved in violent crime, drug abuse, and premarital sex according to the National Fatherhood Initiative. The cycle repeats as children of broken homes grow up to have their own children, often in single-parent homes as a result of premarital sex or divorce, and the dependency on government entitlement programs becomes more pronounced.

It may already be too late to reverse America’s decline. Jonathan Cahn, author of “the Harbinger,” believes that recent history, from the Sept. 11 attacks to the economic crash, are warnings from God and that America is running out of time for repentance. Cahn pointed out to Examiner that the “macro pictures of end-time prophecy” do not include America. The current series of “harbinger” warnings “fill in the gap with specific detail” as to how America will “lose its crown as the head of nations” although Cahn is careful not to commit to a specific timeline.

Last year, no less a man of God than Billy Graham published a letter to America in which he wrote, “My heart aches for America and its deceived people…. The farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control.” Graham related how his wife Ruth had exclaimed, “If God doesn’t punish America, he’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Nevertheless, Graham also points out, “The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance.”

Later in the year, Graham ran ads that urged Americans “to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.” For his involvement in politics, Graham’s ministries were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service.

America is at a crossroads. Either our country will continue to reject God and continue to decline or we will seek his forgiveness and begin the process of repentance. The process of turning America around begins with individuals. Even if the country faces the ultimate judgment, individuals can be saved. As Jonathan Cahn said in his interview with Examiner, “We all live in the face of judgment.  And the time to repent, to be saved, and to get right with God . . . is now.”
Originally published on

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Two robberies show need for gun rights

Citizens of the small Georgia town of Villa Rica got a lesson in gun control last week. On two consecutive days last week, armed robbers attacked local businesses in the normally quiet suburb of Atlanta. In each incident, a man was killed by a gun. Ostensibly both were victims of “gun violence,” but for circumstances were very different. After a weeklong manhunt, the final suspect was arrested this morning in Atlanta.

According to the Villa Rican, the first incident occurred on Tuesday, June 25, when a 19-year-old man wearing a hoodie and ski mask entered Junior’s Food Store, a local convenience store and gas station, around 9:45 p.m. The man, Durante Octavious Ashley, 19, was a part-time employee of the store, but that night he pulled a gun on the clerk who was on duty and demanded money. The clerk opened the cash register and, when Ashley turned his attention to the money inside, pulled his own gun and shot the robber, killing him.

Store owner Rosh Patel confirmed to Examiner on July 2 that because the shooting was in self-defense, no charges are expected against the clerk, whose name was not released. Mr. Patel said that the clerk was very shaken by the incident and was taking some time off from work.

Less than 24 hours later, four men entered a jewelry store on the other side of town. Inside the store, they took out hammers and began smashing jewelry cases to steal the contents. Before the incident ended, one of the men shot and killed store owner Mitch Mobley. Although other people were in the store at the time of the robbery, no one else was injured according to the Villa Rican, although others, including one of Mobley’s sons, were also in the store.

WSB reported that Urarahy Rodrigues, the 34-year-old owner of Defkon One Fighting and Fitness, saw the four killers run past his gym in the same shopping center as the Mobley Company. Rodrigues took a cell phone video of the fleeing suspects and then chased after them. He caught up to 16-year-old Eric Billings, the alleged trigger man, and held him in a choke hold until police arrived.

The four robbers fled after the murder. As of this writing, three of the four men have been arrested. According to WTOC, the sixteen-year-old, Eric Billings, and Raphael Rucker, 23, were arrested on June 27, the day after the murder. On Saturday, June 29, WSB reported that 20-year-old Gregory Clifton was captured by police. The fourth suspect, 21-year-old Cranford Phelps, was arrested in Atlanta in the early hours of July 2. The three adults all had prior criminal records. Since Eric Billings is a juvenile, his record could not be verified.

The two incidents illustrate the difference between armed and unarmed victims. At Junior’s, because the clerk was armed with a legal gun, he was able to act to save his own life. Mitch Mobley, who was apparently unarmed, was at the mercy of the four robbers who burst into his store. In both cases, the police were unavailable to protect the victims during the robberies. All too often the role of the police is to arrest murderers in the days after the crime. This is a necessary and important role, but arresting his murderers won’t bring Mitch Mobley back to life. In fact, if it weren’t for Urarahy Rodrigues, who says “I am not a hero,” the perpetrators might have escaped.

Mobley was mourned by the community. Villa Rica had lost more than a business leader and a family man. He was also a philanthropist who organized charity golf tournaments to benefit causes such as cancer research. His store may have been targeted by the men from Atlanta simply because it was near Interstate 20.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics notes that the number of gun homicides has declined 39 percent from 1993 through 2011 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). There were 11,101 fatal firearm homicides that year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 31,672 gun deaths in 2010 (compared to 33,687 motor vehicle deaths).

The decline in gun homicides comes at a time when the total number of guns in the U.S. has increased sharply. There was a surge in gun sales after the election of Barack Obama and in 2011 Gallup found gun ownership at a 20 year high. Gun violence also declined amidst the Great Recession even though crime is traditionally assumed to spike in times of economic distress. The data calls into question the effectiveness of traditional gun control methods and seems to confirm economist John Lott’s groundbreaking 1998 study, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

Another gun control issue brought into question by the report is the effort to impose background checks and waiting periods at gun shows. According to the BJS report, less than two percent of criminals bought weapons at a flea market or gun show. The vast majority obtained their gun from family or friends (37 percent) or an illegal source (40 percent).

The BJS report notes that in about one percent of nonfatal violent crimes (about 4,600 incidents), a victim reported using a gun to defend themselves. About 0.1 percent of victims of property crime also used guns in self-defense. Without guns for self-defense, the number of gun homicides might rise by almost 5,000.

No one can know for sure whether Mitch Mobley would be alive today if he had kept a gun in his jewelry store. What can be said for certain is that when the gang of criminals burst into his store, he, his staff and his customers were at their mercy. They gave him none.

Originally published as Atlanta Conservative Examiner