Concealed handgum permit holder's intervention in Texas shooting may have saved lives

It hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but the media has given some attention to Mark Wilson and his role in helping stop the shooting that left two people dead in Tyler, Texas yesterday. Here is one the most complete discussions that I could find.

Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia)

February 25, 2005, Friday

SECTION: News; Pg. P8C

LENGTH: 788 words

HEADLINE: Texas man dies confronting gunman


BODY: Man dies while trying to stop rampage credited with saving the life of the gunman's son

TYLER, Texas - A 52-year-old manufacturing plant employee, credited with saving another man's life by jumping into the middle of a fierce firefight on a Texas downtown square, was known for taking life "head-on." Friends weren't surprised to hear that Mark Wilson sacrificed his own life byconfronting a gunman firing an AK-47 assault-style rifle Thursday in Tyler, Texas.

"He is the type of person who would grab his gun and go," said Lewis George of Dallas, Wilson's former brother-in-law and best friend for 30 years. "If it was me, I would have been running the other way.

"Mark, he took life head-on."

Wilson was shot several times by David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. during a deadly shooting spree outside the Smith County Courthouse. Aroyo also killed his ex-wife and wounded his 23-year-old son and three police officers.

Wilson, who lived in a loft apartment on the square, had apparently just returned home after having lunch with a friend when he saw Arroyo walking down the street, shooting people, friends said.

Wilson, who had once owned a gun range in Tyler, apparently grabbed a Glock9mm handgun and ran downstairs. One eyewitness said they traded shots, initially missing each other until Arroyo hit Wilson.

"The gunman walked up to Wilson and shot him while he was on the ground," TheAssociated Press reported Tyler Morning Telegraph publisher Nelson Clyde III saying in today's editions of the newspaper. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was sickening."

Arroyo was wearing body armor. But by distracting Arroyo, police said, Wilsonprevented him from fatally shooting his son, David Hernandez Arroyo Jr.

"Based on what we can tell, Mr. Wilson may have saved the younger Arroyo's life," Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle said. Swindle told The Associated Pressthat Wilson may have hit the gunman, but that his rounds did not penetrate the man's body armor.

"Arroyo was shot by his father, and we believe around that point in time is maybe when Mr. Wilson came up and confronted the suspect," Swindle said.

Lorraine Childress, a sales assistant for Merill Lynch, watched the shootout from her 16th-floor office overlooking downtown Tyler. Little did she know that her friend Mark Wilson was trying to stop the rampage. "We are so proud of our friend," Childress said. "We know Mark saved this young man's life by doing what he did."

Word of Wilson's courageous act quickly spread through this community of 86,000 about 125 miles east of Fort Worth, and no one seemed surprised that Wilson jumped into the middle of the shootout.

Just outside the front of the loft where Wilson lived, the courthouse square was covered in crime scene tape and the street was littered with shell casings. Police had cordoned off Wilson's white Dodge pickup.

Behind the truck, Wilson's prized Porsche 911 was covered by a tarp.

"Ever since he moved into those lofts eight years ago, he's been on the lookout down on the square," said Deborah O'Sullivan, whose husband, John, is the landlord of the lofts where Wilson lived.

"With his knowledge of weapons, he would have immediately known it was gunfire and taken action. That's just Mark. He was always looking out for others." . . .

By contrast the stories that I found on NBC and ABC did not discuss the concealed handgun permit holder's actions. CNN also had some stories that provide useful details about what happened. Thanks very much to Howard Nemerov for bringing this to my attention.

I have additional posts on this case at Tyler, Texas here, here, and here.

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Push for Gun Control in Illinois

anti-gun lawmakers on Thursday are queued up to move their own proposals--including measures to limit handgun purchases and ban many assault weapons--through a committee more sympathetic to their position. That sets the stage for a major confrontation over gun control in the full House in the coming weeks that will pit urban and Downstate lawmakers against each other. It also could pressure Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich to take sides in a politically sensitive battle of which he has tried to steer clear. . . . An aide to Blagojevich said the governor supports the mayor's legislative package and has "pledged to do whatever we can to help those bills pass."

So much for Blagojevich's original campaign pledge on gun issues. Anyway, there are many places where the gun control issues are not dead. There is some pro-gun legislation being pushed in Illinois, but it is not going to get the Governor's signature even if it were to make it through the legislature.


British "Beer Commercial Featuring Shotgun Is Banned"

Ad "offensive to pub landlords"? Well, I suppose that is one class of people who haven't previously felt like a protected class.

A "threatening" beer advertisement depicting a double-barreled shotgun pointed at the viewer was banned by Britain's advertising watchdog on Wednesday. There were 51 complaints about the advert for Ruddles ale which featured a shotgun positioned at the reader from between two pub stools, and read: "Excuse me, I believe that's my seat." Complainants said the advertisement, which appeared in newspapers, was offensive and irresponsible because it condoned the threatening use of guns. The Union Pub Company said the advert was particularly offensive to pub landlords. Greene King, which produces Ruddles, said the advert was part of their "uncompromisingly from the country" campaign, which targeted male bitter-drinkers who would recognize the humor behind the advertisement. The Advertising Standards Authority said the advertisement was "unlikely to be seen as condoning or provoking anti-social behavior" but added it could be considered threatening and was likely to cause "serious or widespread offence."

Florida boy accused of assault with rubber band

Election Assistance Commission Meeting in Columbus, Ohio Today

The Election Assistance Commission will be meeting today in Columbus, Ohio at the Moritz College of Law. There will be a public hearing on voting systems from 10-11:30 am, and a public hearing on provisional voting from 1-5 pm. Among those who will testify this afternoon will be Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood. I will also be testifying on some very preliminary new research that I have regarding provisional ballots.


Legislation to reduce political bias in college classes?

Inside Higher Ed is fearful of an administrative code designed to prohibit political and religious discrimination. The of the proposed law in Ohio seem pretty unobjectionable to me:

1) that students have access "to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion" and be exposed to "a plurality of serious scholarly methodologies and perspectives."

2) that students should "be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers" and prohibits discrimination on the basis of "political, ideological, or religious beliefs."

Inside Higher Ed appears to view this as a rightwing plot. I would prefer not to see these interventions because I believe that they are unenforceable and I would rather leave this regulation to the market (admittedly I understand that there is a problem with public funding that protects schools from these market forces), but it ironic that liberals who impose these types of rules all the time find these particular rules objectionable. Could it be that liberals know that these rules will primarily be binding on liberal professors?


President's Day

This evening Sonya Jones mentioned to me how Texas colleges are having classes tomorrow. When I was a kid we celebrated both Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays. Now even with all the Presidents birthdays lumped together, they are not celebrated. While I am never one to argue for more government holidays, it is disappointing (indeed a pet peeve of mine) that we can not find one holiday to get rid of to celebrate these birthdays (particularly Washington's). For younger school children, it would be nice if they read about Washington's battlefield heroics, his turning down the offer to be King, and to read about his beliefs.

Losers cry foul

Is it only me or are academics who aren't getting what they want behaving childishly? I know that is shocking. An Associated Press story with the "objective" title that "Scientific Influence Wanes, Research Funding Weakened in Bush Administration, Experts Say", complains that on various issues, apparently for outside government scientists we are talking about Global Warming, the scientists who are predicting the most dire prospects aren't being listened to. Rather than simply admitting that well-informed academics may have different opinions, the claim is that all scientists are simply being ignored. The Union of Concerned Scientists is also not exactly an unbiased source.

Three Defensive Gun Uses from last couple of days

1) CLINTON, La. An East Feliciana Parish woman fired a bullet into the chest of a man who had broken into her farmhouse, then fought off his beating until the man died from the gunshot wound. Georgia Belle Sullivan says she was sleeping before dawn yesterday when her dogs' barking woke her up. She retrieved her gun, then saw a shadow move behind a line of chairs. She told authorities that's when a man lunged at her.

2) MISHAWAKA, Indiana . . . According to a report from the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit, which is investigating the case, Birtwhistle was awakened in his first-floor bedroom by the sound of someone trying to kick down his front door. At that point, the octogenarian retrieved the loaded revolver he kept in his bedroom and went to investigate the situation. "He was trying to kick the front door in," Birtwhistle said. "I warned him not to, but he kept trying." According to investigators, Rosebush eventually was able to break the door loose, prompting Birtwhistle to fire at least one shot through the door. The shot mortally wounded the assailant, who fell onto the homeowner and knocked him to the floor.

3) BARDONIA, N.Y. . . . Caught On Camera: Jewelry Heist Ends In Violence Fixler said that while the incident was not "memorable," he feels he did what he had to. "I'd be dead," he said in a phone interview. "My life was going to be over. That's what I thought about."Detective Lt. Charles Delo of the Clarkstown police force, which covers Bardonia, said a review of the shooting on a surveillance videotape showed it to be justified. Fixler had a permit for his .38-caliber handgun. Fixler, a 57-year-old ex-Marine, had to sidle along his counter with the robber's gun in his face to get to the spot where his handgun was hidden, he said.