Why People Keep Guns for Self-Defense.

Story 1:

Home-invasion spree led to killing

Five robbers who broke into a house and killed a man while his wife and children were home early Monday are believed to have invaded four other South Side residences and attempted to break into another in a spree that began Sunday night, police said.

Three of the five suspects had been arrested by Tuesday morning and Tucson police continued to look for the remaining two men.

The crime spree is said to have began Sunday at 9:15 p.m. in Pima County when several men entered a home in the 10000 block of South Oak Canyon Lane, near South Country Club Road and East Summit Street, while the family was home, said Lt. Michael O’Connor of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department violent-crimes section. The robbers confronted the residents, demanding money, drugs and valuables. When they left, the men stole two vehicles, abandoning one a short time later and fleeing in the other, which is described as a light-colored Lexus.

Nearly five hours later at 2:02 a.m., robbers forced their way into another residence, in the 800 block of West Milton Street, near South 12th Avenue and West Drexel Road, and demanded money, but left the home without taking anything, said Sgt. Decio Hopffer, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

Around 3:15 a.m., robbers made their way to the 7300 block of South Via Hermosa, near South Cardinal Avenue and West Los Reales Road, where they forced their way into a residence, O’Connor said. They confronted the homeowners, pistol-whipped a man and fired a shot but did not hit anyone. It was unknown what was stolen at that home, but the men fled the scene.

The next home to be hit by the robbers was in the 2600 block of West Vereda Las Muchas, near West Valencia and South Mission roads, around 3:30 a.m., O’Connor said. Several men pounded on the door, trying to force their way in, but when neighbors were awakened and came out to check on the noise, they got into a vehicle and left.

After that unsuccessful attempt, the robbers arrived at a home in the 1800 block of West Arroyo Vista Drive at 3:45 a.m. where they once again forced their way in and demanded money, but did not get any and left the scene, Hopffer said.

Then the group made its way to the home of 35-year-old Martin Guillermo Rodriguez in the 6300 block of South Beardslee Drive, near Valencia and Mission.

They forced their way into the two story home at the end of the cul-de-sac where Rodriguez’s wife, children and relatives were staying, Hopffer said.

They demanded money and gunfire broke out, he said. Rodriguez was hit and the men left in a white sedan.

At 4:44 a.m., Rodriguez’s wife called 911 to report that her husband had been shot, Hopffer said. Police arrived two minutes later, but Rodriguez was pronounced dead in his home shortly thereafter.

The motive remained unknown Tuesday, but police did say that it did not appear to be drug-related.

“These suspects were out there on a crime spree, hitting homes, hitting people,” Hopffer said. “They did not hesitate to use violence and kill a person. The community is safer as a result of having taken these violent individuals off the streets.”

Thomas Michael Hernandez and Adrian Valenzuela, both 19, and 18-year-old Andy Chavarria Gonzales were booked into the Pima County jail on more than a dozen charges each, including first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, discharging a firearm at a structure, armed robbery and burglary.

Hernandez was arrested early Tuesday while Gonzales and Valenzuela were arrested Monday. They were each being held on $2 million bond.

Hernandez was recently released from prison in March after serving only 10 months of a 2 1/2-year sentence for an aggravated assault charge, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections Web site.

He was to be on supervised release until July 16, the Web site shows.

Gonzales and Valenzuela were indicted by a grand jury on weapons-misconduct charges that stemmed from an incident in April, according to online court records.

Valenzuela has had several other run-ins with the law, including being indicted on a drive-by-shooting charge in an October 2004 incident and a charge of weapons misconduct in November 2005, according to online court records. He is currently facing drug charges as well.

Police are still seeking two men, who are described as being 18 to 20 years old with shaved heads.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME, the anonymous tip line of the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

Story 2, also from here in Tucson:

Homeowner exchanges gunfire with would-be burglars

Imagine waking-up in the middle of the night to the sound of someone trying to break into your home.

A Southwest side homeowner says that happened to him early this morning on South Sparrow Avenue, near West Los Reales Road and Camino de Oeste just east of the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation.

“There’s been so many home invasions,” says Alex Morales, “Like what happened down the street. You get scared for your life.”

So, Alex Morales, who lives with his wife, two children, and two grand kids says he didn’t think twice about grabbing his gun when burglary suspects tried to enter his home.

“It’s not that you’re trying to protect what you have; you’re scared for your life, and you’re scared for your family’s life that they might do something to them,” says Morales, who woke up to see a man trying to pry his back door open with a crow bar.

He then grabbed his gun, and rushed over to the door.

“I told him, ‘Either get out of here, or I’m going to blow your head off!’ “

Then Morales said it appeared the intruders tried to run away, so he headed towards the front of the house.

With gun in hand, Morales rushed down this hallway and straight towards the front door.

He went on the door step and then he heard gun shots and says he was forced to exchange fire with the car that was fleeing.

Morales said, “I walked out and they had seen me and they stopped and they shot twice at me, so I got my gun and shot about three or four times at them again.”

Morales doesn’t believe he hit the suspects and, so far, nobody has been arrested.

Whatever the case, Morales says that because he has a family to look out for and protect, if someone tries to rob his house again, “I’m not going to hesitate. If they want to come back, and try to do it again, they are more than welcome. I’ll beef up security and get a few bullets for them. There’s a bullet for everybody that wants to come to my house.”

But Dr. Arthur Kellermann wants you to believe that having a gun in your house for self-protection is more dangerous to you and your family than being disarmed.

If a gun ban was actually passed, who would be disarmed? The home invaders or people like Alex Morales?

Hey! I’m “This Guy”!.

I was on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show late this afternoon, and dropped Hugh an email:

I was one of your last callers on Thursday (6/29). In the beginning of the Mark Steyn interview you said:

“I’ve always thought we were going to win this war, and I’ve always thought we’d summon the political will to do it. But today’s Supreme Court decision, coupled with the House of Representatives’ refusal to name names in their resolution condemning the action of the New York Times, and the similar reasoning coming out of the United States Senate leaves me wondering.”

Then you asked Mark, “What’s it going to take?”

As I said, I’ve been struggling with that question myself. I’ve been a blogger for a little over three years, and while my particular concentration has been on individual rights, I sometimes (often) stray into other areas of politics. Last weekend, as I said, I posted a piece specifically on this question, “A Terrible Resolve.” In short, unless the Jihadis strike a major blow against us, here, in the continental United States, we aren’t going to get serious and we’re going to give up.

As I say in the piece:

“And here we are again. This time we’re engaged in combat with enemies that wear no uniform, that blend with the civilian population, that use that population as a shield as well as a target, and who embrace their own deaths. Our soldiers, once again, are in the unenviable position of having to determine which woman, child, or old man is harmless, friendly, or a killer. Sometimes we make mistakes. And, as before, sometimes they might not be mistakes.

“But still, we’re restrained. No carpet-bombing. No nukes. In fact, we’ve gone so far as to drop precision-guided bombs filled with concrete in order to minimize the risk of killing innocents or destroying important infrastructure. However, we’re willing to unapologetically kill women and children when the target requires it.

“The question is, ‘How much longer will this restraint last?’

“The Wilsonians want us out for diplomatic reasons. The Hamiltonians don’t want to keep paying the financial bill. The Jeffersonians don’t want to keep paying the bill in blood.

“The Jacksonians want us to take the gloves off.”

Please do read the whole thing. It will probably depress you further, but it will remind you that there are a lot of people out here in the shaft of the spear backing up the people on the point.

The “shaft of the spear” bit had to do with the caller right before me, “Major Mike,” who commented that the NYT story and today’s SCOTUS decision were going to send a message to the soldiers on the point of the spear that there was nothing backing them up.

Well, Hugh must’ve read the piece and liked it, because he linked:

Bonus Question: Who’s better read and more trustworthy on basic matters of logic? NYTer Eric Lichtblau, or this guy?

Well, Dammit, There Goes Another One

Instapundit informs us that publisher Jim Baen has died, and links to an obituary by author David Drake.


Jim Baen was the proprietor of Baen Books, my favorite publisher for some time now. Baen Books publishes Drake, Lois McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, John Ringo, David Weber, Eric Flint, Jerry Pournelle, and many, many others. He gave many new authors their first shot, among them Elizabeth Moon and Lois McMaster Bujold, I believe.

A while back, Baen books had this included at the back of each volume:


Recently we received this letter from Travis Shelton of Dayton, Texas:

I have come to associate Baen Books with Del Monte. Now what is that supposed to mean? Well, if you’re in a strange store with a lot of different labels, you pick Del Monte because the product will be consistent and will not disappoint.

Something I have noticed about Baen Books is that the stories are always fast-paced, exciting, action-filled and seem to be published because of content instead of who wrote the book. I now find myself glancing to see who published the book instead of reading the back or intro. If it’s a Baen Book it’s going to be good and exciting and will capture your spare reading moments.

Another discovery I have recently made is that I don’t have any Baen Books in my unread stacks — and I read four to seven books a week, so that in itself is a meaningful statistic.

I found myself in full agreement with Mr. Shelton. And the reason he (and I) looked at the publisher’s mark first was because of Jim Baen. He published stuff that was good, not because it was written by a “name.” For example, here’s a list of my favorite Baen books:

The General series by S.M. Stirling and David Drake:

The Forge,
The Hammer,
The Anvil,
The Steel,
The Sword,

The Miles Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold,
The Belisarius series by David Drake and Eric Flint,
The Hammer’s Slammers series by David Drake,
1632 and all of its sequels by Eric Flint et. al,

And that’s just a taste. I’m not a big fan of fantasy, but Elizabeth Moon’s The Deed of Paksennarion is excellent, as is Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Spirit Ring.

The Baen website informs us, “The surviving partners of Baen and his heirs intend to continue Jim’s legacy of innovative, independent publishing. Longtime Baen Books executive editor Toni Weisskopf will be acting publisher and direct day-to-day operation of the company.” I hope they are up to the task. They have great big shoes to fill.

A Blogger Walks the Walk

Tim Tyrell, aka “Gunscribe” and author of the blog From the Heartland, decided to try to illustrate to the Lincoln, Nebraska City Council the stupidity of their proposed ban on concealed weapons, now that Nebraska state legislature has passed a “shall-issue” concealed carry law. He tried to do so in a most graphic manner. He open-carried at a City Council meeting – in full compliance with existing law:

Pistol-packer tries to make a point to City Council

Tim Tyrrell Sr. went to the City Council meeting on Monday with a loaded 40-caliber Glock handgun on his hip.

And that’s perfectly legal.

Until now, council members haven’t been concerned enough about their safety to ban anything other than cell phones from the council chambers.

Even though plenty of angry citizens march down to city hall on a regular basis, there are no metal detectors at the door; no signs asking people to leave their guns at home.

Tyrrell was trying to make a point about the concealed weapons ban on the council agenda: Even if Mayor Coleen Seng’s proposed ban were to pass, nothing would prevent people from carrying around unconcealed weapons. (He did not testify at the meeting; the council won’t have a public hearing on Seng’s proposal until July 31.)

Tyrrell is a disabled veteran and firearms instructor who writes a blog called “From the Heartland.” He has debated the gun rights issue with Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady, and even called Casady before Monday’s meeting to let him know he’d be packing heat.

Casady supports the mayor’s proposal to exempt Lincoln from recently passed state legislation that will allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons beginning in January. Tyrrell believes Seng’s ban would do nothing to prevent criminals from carrying guns.

“Anybody who wants to can go to a gun shop, buy a firearm, a box of ammunition and a holster without knowing anything about what they’re doing, strap it on and walk down the streets of Lincoln and be perfectly legal,” Tyrrell said.

The new state conceal-carry law will put people through their paces — a background check and training — in order to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, he said.

“The people that the mayor is worried about are already carrying and they’re not gonna stop,” he said.

As it is, no city ordinance or council rule bans weapons from pistols to bayonets in the council chambers.

Years ago, one particularly colorful “regular” council meeting attendee often wore a single-action Colt revolver on his hip, Casady said, and eventually took to bringing all manner of weapons to the meetings, including a wooden club called a shillelagh.

“(That) worried me because he could be rather volatile at times,” Casady said.

While Casady believes Tyrrell is a law-abiding citizen, he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for people to go around displaying a pistol on their belt and doesn’t think weapons should be allowed into meetings of governing bodies. But if people are going to bring guns to council meetings, he said, “I’d rather have it out where I can see it.”

The Public Building Commission — which maintains city and county government buildings — considered banning weapons, but decided to wait to see what happened with Seng’s proposed ordinance.

State law will ban concealed weapons in some public buildings come January, but nothing in state law or Seng’s ordinance would stop people from bringing an unconcealed weapon into city hall, according to City Attorney Dana Roper.

Good on ‘ya mate, but I don’t think the exposure of the Mayor and Council’s hypocrisy will do much good. That’s like water off a duck’s back to a politician. Hypocrisy, along with bull-headed obstinancy, is their stock-in-trade.

I am encouraged by the reader’s comments, however. Only three of them were clueless bigots. The rest were quite positive.

Oh For…

Secondhand smoke classified as lethal

Surgeon general says there’s no safe level

By Miriah Meyer and Jeremy Manier
Tribune staff reporters
Published June 27, 2006, 10:48 PM CDT

No amount of air filtration can eliminate the health hazards of secondhand smoke, according to a new U.S. surgeon general’s report that could challenge a controversial loophole in Chicago’s impending ban on smoking in public places.

The report surveyed 20 years of scientific evidence about the effects of secondhand smoke and found that even trace amounts cause immediate and damaging effects in non-smokers. That led Surgeon General Richard Carmona to conclude there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

“The debate is over as far as I’m concerned,” said Carmona. “Based on the science I wouldn’t allow anyone in my family to stand in a room with someone smoking.”

Some 126 million non-smokers in the U.S. are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces, putting them at a 20 percent to 30 percent greater risk for lung cancer and heart disease, according to the report. It attributed an estimated 50,000 deaths each year to secondhand smoke exposure, 430 of them babies who succumb to sudden infant death syndrome.

The new report comes 20 years after the surgeon general concluded for the first time that exposure to tobacco smoke causes lung cancer and other ailments in non-smokers. Since then, science has expanded the list of diseases and conditions resulting from exposure to include SIDS, developmental effects in children, heart disease and the risk of other cancers.

The findings have “tremendous public policy implications” and should give ammunition to cities and states trying to enact smoking bans, said Stanton Glantz, director of the University of California at San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, who helped draft the paper.

“Tremendous public policy implications.” Yes, I bet it does.

Tell me, Dr. Carmona, if you wouldn’t allow anyone in your family to stand in a room with someone smoking, is that true for a closet? A living room? A ballroom? A warehouse? Where do you draw the line? “Oh my God! Someone in Kentucky is smoking a cigarette!”

If cigarette smoke is “lethal,” then why are my parents at age 71 – smokers until about five years ago – still alive? Why am I? After all, they smoked around me from birth until I moved out of the house. Same for my sister. My brother still smokes – and that means he’s still living, too. My grandmother on my father’s side smoked until she died – in her eighties.

What you see here is the initial salvo of the last battle over property rights. It’s the final step down the slippery slope that started quite a while back.

“Sandra Starr, vice chairwoman of the Princeton Regional Health Commission . . ., said there is no ‘slippery slope’ toward a total ban on smoking in public places. ‘The commission’s overriding concern,’ she said, ‘is access to the machines by minors.'” — New York Times, Sept. 5, 1993, § 1, at 52.

“Last month, the Princeton Regional Health Commission took a bold step to protect its citizens by enacting a ban on smoking in all public places of accommodation, including restaurants and taverns. . . . In doing so, Princeton has paved the way for other municipalities to institute similar bans . . . .”— The Record (Bergen County), July 12, 2000, at L7.

(Both quotes courtesy of Eugene Volokh.) What we’re headed for is a government mandated ban on smoking in your own home – and the excuse will be (as it usually is) “It’s for the CHILDREN!

And then what else will the .gov decide that you are unqualified to decide on your own?

Thank You, Chris Muir:.

EDITED TO ADD: An even BETTER tribute to Rob: YouBitch‘s The New Guy – go read! Rob would have LOVED it!

UPDATE: Dipnut of Isn’tapundit writes a hell of a eulogy. (And it would be nice if we got more than one post every six months, Dipnut. I’m just sayin’.)

I Try Not to Judge All by the Worst Examples…

From the comments of condolence at Gut Rumbles:

I seriously hope that God has a sense of humor and allows Ron to enter the Kingdom of Heaven but I suppose that poor old Ron is enduring a pain worse than all he dealt with here on Earth. Poor bastid is in Hell as we speak and I really hate it for him but he stood his ground against God and faith so………he’s paying the ultimate price.

Damn, I’m gonna miss reading him every day.
I tried to warn him but…….he just wouldn’t buy what I was selling. Poor pitiful, brilliant man.
Posted by RonDoble at June 26, 2006 11:05 PM

I can just imagine what Rob would have to say to Mr. Doble. (Perhaps calling him “Ron” was projection do you think?)

I, however, shall refrain, and only excerpt one key piece from my previous post, Why I Am an Atheist:

Charles Darwin, Professor Wilson relates, lost his faith not because of his formulation of the theory of evolution, but because he realized what his faith meant:

He gradually dropped his Christian beliefs because becoming a man of the world, much more aware of other cultures and other religious beliefs and so on, he said that he realized that the stories of the Bible were basically no different than the stories of these other religions, and it seemed to him that they were not in of themselves convincing. But what really turned him against religion was the doctrine of damnation. He said “If the Bible is true, and you must be redeemed in Christ and be a believer in order to go to Heaven and not go to hell, you must be this and others will be condemned,” and he said “That includes my brothers and all my best friends,” and he said “That is a damnable doctrine.” Those are his words.

I certainly understand the sentiment.

Asshat. Go “sell” it somewhere else.

Awww, Dammit.


This is Sam. Rob has passed away. They found him at 2:00 this morning slumped over on the couch. He did not shoot himself and no pills or alcohol were found in the house. When I find out anything else I’ll let you know. Out of respect for my family please do not leave nasty comments.

I’ve been reading Acidman since about the time I discovered the blogosphere. I started this blog just so I could debate one of Rob’s commenters on the topic of gun control.

Say what you want about Rob, he didn’t pull any punches. He said what he meant, meant what he said, and took no shit from anybody. I admire and respect that. It was fascinating watching the ongoing train wreck that was often his life, and I feel for both Sam and Quinton, and especially for his Grandmother. Outliving your children is one thing. Outliving your grandchildren must be especially hard.

Rest in peace, Acidman. If there’s an afterlife, I hope yours is a lot like Costa Rica, with sweet nubile women, a working Roscoe, and all the good food, good beer, and good company you could ever want. You will be sorely missed.

And if people do leave nasty comments either here or at Rob’s, well, I’ll know what quality of person would do such a thing, and consider the source.


I’m asking for your assistance. No, not monetary or donative. I need information.

So far I’ve owned an Epson CX5200, an Epson CX5400 and now an Epson CX4600. All are 3-in-1 units that scan, copy and color print. The quality of the color prints has been uniformly excellent (more on that in a second). The scanners have worked very well, and the ability to copy documents at home has been occasionally very useful.


The CX5200 stopped printing in magenta about 10 months after I got it. After wrangling with Epson tech support, they ponied up a replacement unit, the CX5400. Eight months later, guess what? The printer stopped printing again. Cyan this time. Out of warranty. So off to the store I go to get something to replace it. Money’s a bit tight, and there on the shelf is the CX4600 for well under $100. How could I go wrong?

Easily. The print heads plug up all the time. Head cleaning drains the cartridges rapidly. And a full set of cartridges costs as much as the original purchase price of the unit. Now the only color the damned thing will print in is YELLOW.

I’ve had enough. I need something that will WORK. I don’t need FAX capability, and I don’t need a document feeder on the input. I just need to scan, copy single sheets, and print photo-quality images.

So, what do you suggest?