(What Columbine COULD have been!!)
By Ann Coulter 08/13/1999 Remember this name: Thomas Glenn Terry. It won't be bandied quite as much as "Mark O. Barton" over the next few weeks, but it should be. Two armed men burst into Shoney's restaurant in Anniston, Alabama and herded the patrons and employees into a walk-in refrigerator, at gun point. The robbers kept the manager behind for his assistance as they looted the restaurant. One patron, however, also remained behind. Thomas Glenn Terry had opted against being locked in a refrigerator, and hid from the attackers under a table. As one of the armed robbers ransacked the cash register, another patroled the restaurant. When he came across Mr. Terry, he pulled his gun. But unlike the recent victims in Atlanta, this victim was armed. Using his own legally concealed handgun, Terry shot and killed the robber. The other armed robber, who had had his gun trained on the manager, then opened fire on Terry. Terry shot back, mortally wounding the second robber. The two dozen hostages were released unharmed. Only the criminals -- who had been armed with stolen guns by the way -- didn't make it out alive. You probably hadn't heard of the Shoney's restaurant incident. In the media's boundless capacity to stultify the public with sensational news stories, they have made places like Littleton, Colorado household names. But "Anniston, Alabama" doesn't ring a bell. A massacre is a story. Thwarting a massacre isn't. once you know about Anniston, and similar averted tragedies, something will start to leap out at you as you read news accounts of gunmen shooting scores of innocents. Massacre stories always include a terrifying account of how the killers proceeded from victim to victim, pausing to reload, and shooting again. Mass murder requires that the victims be unarmed. Thomas Glenn Terry, though heroic, is not altogether unique. Two years ago in Pearl, Mississippi a deranged student shot and killed two of his classmates. Fortunately, Joel Myrick, the assistant principal had a gun in his car. He prevented the shooting from becoming a Littleton level massacre by holding the student at gunpoint until the police arrived. A year later, in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old boy opened fire at an eighth-grade graduation dance, killing a teacher and wounding three others. A single murder did not become a mass murder only because a near-by restaurant owner, James Strand, happened to be armed. As the shooter stopped to reload, Strand immobilized the shooter, holding him for over ten minutes, until the police appeared. A lot of killing can be accomplished in ten minutes when none of your victims is armed. How long did it take the police to arrive in Atlanta? Barton walked into one office building in Atlanta shot four people dead, then left the building, ambled across the street, entered another building, and killed at least five more people. As in Littleton there are film clips of policemen scaling the building's walls to rescue terrified and completely defenseless people inside. Most striking in the news reports of Barton's shooting spree was this: Fully three hours after the shooting, some people were still hiding in the building. Hiding. Waiting like pigs before the slaughter. Because none of them was armed. None but the madman. But for some reason, the government's response is always to disarm more citizens. Not to disarm itself, by the way, but to disarm people other than the police who show up 15 minutes after the shooting has begun. This isn't a complaint about the police, they simply can't be everywhere at once. It's a plea for more citizen guards. There may be bad citizens, but, let me remind you, there are also bad police. Why are they the only ones don't have to hide in their offices when madmen with guns show up? More guns will not create more Mark Bartons. Guns can do a lot of things, like protect you from lunatics, but they don't make you criminally insane. Consider Mr. Barton. The initial reports have been that he killed his children because his stock porfolio had declined. Well, that's a rational response. Whether it was his stocks or his wife or the weather -- he killed his children. This is a madman. In the absence of a gun, he could have used an axe, a bomb, or a machette. One of the most efficient murder sprees this century was accomplished not with guns, but with machettes. Madmen in Rwanda murdered almost one million people in under four months, with machettes. If only Thomas Glenn Terry had been there.
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