Posts tagged “Benjamin Franklin

Demagogues and Gun Control

Over three years ago, Mike Kuspa, one of the Midwest‘s foremost experts on major shooting tactical responses, and I formed The Spingola Group (SG).  This crew of current and retired law enforcement officers has one goal in mind: assisting organizations, such as schools, churches and businesses, to prepare their staffs for those critical minutes after an armed madman enters their facility with the intent to kill as many people as possible.

While there is no foolproof way to fully thwart the madness witnessed in Newtown, Connecticut, the old cliché that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure can minimize the carnage.

Unfortunately, whenever an opportunity presents itself, grandstanding politicians are all too willing to dance on the graves of murder victims in order to advance their own myopic agendas.  By now, though, Americans should know that policy made in a vacuum—the internment of Japanese-American citizens after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the speedy implementation of the USA Patriot Act quickly come to mind—usually results in our rights and freedoms fading like a dying ember.

Some of the pontificators in the mainstream media, many of whom have likely never shouldered a firearm or lived in a troubled neighborhood, have also jumped into the fray.  Liberal Wisconsin State Journal columnist and gun control advocate Chris Rickert, generally one of Madison’s more rational voices (I know, that’s probably an oxymoron), is a prime example. 

In a recent shot at “Republican” politicians, Rickert claims that the “silence” from the likes of Gov. Scott Walker, and the leaders of the legislature, Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos, on a shooting spree in another state is telling.

“When you’re a true believer, events [such as those in Newtown] aren’t evidence,” Rickert quotes former Democrat Party legislator Mordecai Lee. “Events aren’t facts because you have a belief that can’t be overturned by any events or facts.”

What would Rickert and Lee propose to resolve the problem? The columnist, of course, is short on any specifics, although a hunch says European-style gun control.

Dr. John R. Lott, the author of “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws,” is a researcher who views events by looking at the numbers not the rhetoric from the usual suspects.

“Europe has a lot of multiple victim shootings” said Dr. Lott in recent interview with Front Page Magazine.  “If you look at a per capita rate, the rate of multiple-victim public shootings in Europe and the United States over the last 10 years have been fairly similar to each other. A couple of years ago you had a couple of big shootings in Finland. About two-and-a-half years ago you had a big shooting in the U.K., 12 people were killed. 

“You had Norway last year [where 77 died]. Two years ago, you had the shooting in Austria at a Sikh Temple. There have been several multiple-victim public shootings in France over the last couple of years. Over the last decade, you’ve had a couple of big school shootings in Germany. Germany in terms of modern incidents has two of the four worst public-school shootings, and they have very strict gun-control laws. The one common feature of all of those shootings in Europe is that they all take place in gun-free zones, in places where guns are supposed to be banned.”

In my new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, a chapter entitled, “Do-Gooder Signs Provide Solace for Active Shooters” takes New York City’s nanny-state mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to task for his simplistic view on the Second Amendment and self-defense.

“These are the same signs [posted gun-free zones],” I noted, “that James Holmes—the shooter at the Aurora, Colorado theater—likely ignored. After all, reality dictates that do-gooder, no carry policies do little more than provide killers, like Holmes, with some solace in knowing that their law-abiding victims have voluntarily disarmed.”

Having served for parts of five decades as a law enforcement officer, I know, in most instances, that calling the police is often the best form of crime prevention.  Yet, when confronted by a suicidal gunman or an armed burglar, when a victim needs the police in a matter of seconds the police are likely minutes away.

Just ask Brittany Zimmermann, the University of Wisconsin-Madison student attacked and killed by an intruder in her Doty Street apartment on April 2, 2008. In a struggle for life, Ms. Zimmermann did call the police, but officers were never dispatched.

Almost five years later, sources say only one Madison Police Department detective works the case, rarely, on a part-time basis. While the brass at the Madison PD claims Zimmermann’s homicide is not officially a cold case, the investigative strategy, it appears, is centered on a future hit from a DNA data base.

Chris Rickert certainly knows that Brittany Zimmermann was killed only a few miles away from where he works.  If Madison journalists spent as much time exposing the botched investigation into Ms. Zimmermann’s death as they do carrying water for gun control, the Zimmermann family might finally have some peace this Christmas.  Brittany Zimmermann was not murdered with a firearm. She was stabbed to death. If she had access to a handgun—the same instrument Rickert et al would seek to ban or control—Ms. Zimmermann would likely be alive today and the bloody crime scene on Doty Street would have had a much different look.

As the holidays near and the Zimmermann family realizes that another year has come-and-gone with their daughter’s killer at-large to murder again, one can bet that Mr. Lee’s quote that “Events aren’t facts because you have a belief that can’t be overturned by any events or facts” are more applicable to those of Rickert’s ilk than proponents of self-defense—a long held tenant of natural law.  Just ask the family of Brittany Zimmermann.   

Benjmain Franklin once said, “Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor security.” 

As such, the attributes the Spingola Group identifies to confront evil are “anticipation, preparation and perseverance”—not unarmed surrender. 


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012