Thursday, June 28, 2018, Annapolis, Maryland, about 1500, the offices of The Capital Gazette, a newspaper in continuous operation since colonial times. The Washington Port Reports:
The man accused of killing five Capital Gazette staff had threatened the newspaper in 2013 but then “went dark,” police said. Until Thursday.
Shortly before [name withheld because the shooter wants it to be known] blasted out the glass doors of the newsroom near Annapolis at about 3 p.m., he sent another threat on social media, police said, and then unleashed his rampage, shooting with a legally purchased 12-gauge pump-action shotgun until he finally laid it down and hid under a desk as police arrived.
The news organization and its lawyer had reported the May 2013 threats and spoke with a detective who investigated. The newspaper decided not to pursue criminal charges because it might ‘exacerbate’ the situation, Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy J. Altomare said Friday during a news conference.
The newsroom is an open space, and ‘the desk would be the only place you could hide,’ [Annapolis Mayor Gavin] Buckley said.
Buckley said Annapolis, which has a population of about 39,000, is a small town where officials all know the newspaper’s reporters, who cover zoning issues, local crime and even a cat stuck in a tree.
‘They don’t make a lot of money — maybe $30,000 a year,’ Buckley said. ‘It’s immoral that their lives were at risk.
Jayne Miller, a reporter with Baltimore’s WBAL-TV, said Thursday she spoke to a woman who said Ramos stalked, harassed and sued her years before the Capital Gazette murder spree. She said [the killer] became “fixated” on her to the point where she became frightened enough to move out of state.
‘He’s a f—ing nut job,’ the woman said, according to Miller. The unidentified woman told Miller she had warned a former police official years ago that [the killer] ‘will be your next mass shooter.’
Police held a final press conference on the shooting on Friday and revealed the Capital Gazette met with lawyers and police in 2013 to discuss if they should press charges against [the killer], who had posted threats on social media aimed at the paper. However, Anne Arundel County Chief Timothy Altomare said the newspaper ultimately declined to pursue charges over concerns it would ‘exacerbate an already flammable situation.
Consider this from one of the potential victims:
Shortly after the attack, Gazette reporter Phil Davis posted this message on Twitter: ‘There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.
Of course, there could be only one reason for this attack: TRUMP!
A top editor at Reuters apologized on Thursday night after blaming President Trump for the deadly Capital Gazette shooting in a now-deleted tweet that was sent during a ‘state of emotional distress,’ but he might still be disciplined by the international news service.
Reuters Breakingviews Editor Rob Cox admitted that he ‘responded emotionally and inappropriately’ after being called out for jumping to conclusions prior to the facts emerging. Police said the suspected gunman, eventually identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, targeted the newspaper after a lengthy feud regarding a 2012 defamation lawsuit.
Cox was not alone in demonstrating the integrity and calm rationality for which the media have become justly infamous:
Cox wasn’t the only powerful media member attempting to pin the tragic attacks on President Trump. Think Progress founder Judd Legum claimed ‘[the shooter] does appear to be a Trump supporter,’ using a 2015 tweet that had nothing to do with politics as his evidence. He was quickly mocked for the misleading tweet but had not deleted it at the time of this publication.
Mr. Trump’s comments about the shooting were entirely supportive of the press, and entirely appropriate and heartfelt. Powerline comments on the Media’s Trump Derangement Syndrome. And there are many more examples of media blaming Mr. Trump at Legal Insurrection. What we know:
1) The killer lost a defamation suit against The Capital Gazette some five years ago, after the paper reported on his conviction for criminal harassment.
2) The killer had made threats against The Gazette in the past, but they declined to prosecute, apparently afraid of making the situation worse.
3) The killer had been convicted of “harassment” within the last several years, but there is no additional information available about that situation as this is written.
4) The killer used a common, pump action 12-gauge shotgun. We do not know what sort of ammunition was used. The weapon, according to the Annapolis Police Chief, was legally purchased a year or two before the attack. Age was never a factor: the shooter is 38.
5) The police arrived in an extraordinarily short time: approximately one minute after receiving the dispatch.
6) The killer is not cooperating with police, but it seems clear his motivation had nothing to do with politics, but was revenge against The Gazette for his losing defamation suit.
7) Annapolis officers underwent active shooter training only a week before the attack, which was likely helpful to them in responding to the attack.
The killer used one of the most common firearms on the market, a type even the most rabid anti liberty/gun “activists” have not explicitly tried to ban. There is no “common sense” gun control measure that would have possibly deterred or stopped this killer. We don’t know if he used 00 buckshot or slugs, shotgun ammunition commonly considered most effective for combat applications, however, even birdshot, at indoor close range, is deadly.
No AR-15 pattern weapon was used, no “assault weapon,” no “high-capacity” magazine. Despite what anti-liberty/gun activists and the media (I know: one-in-the-same) would have us believe, most mass shootings have been done with common handguns or shotguns. The use of any kind of rifle is rare; the use of AR-15s, more so.
The police had been warned of the potential danger the killer posed, and they were, at the time–years ago–almost certainly aware of him and sensitive to any missteps he might make, but as years passed, he would have slipped from their threat radar, replaced by more urgent, contemporary threats. This is not an indictment of the police, but a reminder of the realities of human nature and the conditions under which all police officers must work. There are very few of them, and a great many potentially dangerous people.
Police response was incredibly rapid, the fastest of which I am aware for such crimes. It almost certainly means, by mere chance, an officer or officers were nearby, and traffic conditions–again by mere chance–allowed a rapid response. But what the media does not realize, and probably wouldn’t tell us if they did, is in such attacks, seconds count, and the police are always minutes away.
The response time of the police doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. Here’s how it likely happened: the killer shot his way into the building, and began hunting his victims, shooting as he moved. Most 12-guage shotguns, unless an extended magazine tube has been added, hold only four total rounds, requiring some reloading. The first reaction to the shooting would have been panic. People would have done their best to run and hide, and one of the victims was said to have been shot while running for the back door. Most hid under their desks, which was the only concealment–not cover–available to them.
No one currently knows the actual time frame, but it’s most likely it took as much as five to eight minutes for one of the potential victims, or someone nearby, to call the police. It would have taken about 30 seconds for police dispatchers to understand what was happening, obtain enough information to make a coherent radio/computer broadcast, and tell officers. In this case, the first officer arrived within a minute, but it would have taken another minute, at best, to enter the building, and several more minutes to find and take down the shooter, who in this case apparently abandoned his shotgun and was found hiding under a desk.
The unusually rapid police response–most take substantially longer–must have seemed an eternity to people like Phil Davis, who was reduced to hiding under his desk, waiting to be killed. The killer had sufficient time to kill five people–with a pump-action shotgun, and to wound others. It is highly likely he could have killed more, and may have killed police officers if he chose suicide by police. Seconds matter.
I do not know the business policies of The Gazette, but it is highly likely the office is a gun-free, victim disarmament zone. We don’t know if signs to that effect were posted, but virtually anyone would be safe in believing any media office would be welcoming to those that wished to kill. This conclusion seems reasonable in that there was apparently no one armed to resist the killer.
I’m sure that the people that work at The Gazette have some sense evil exists. Some may actually deny it, or think it could never touch them, despite all of the manifestations of evil any reporter must see, or in some way experience. Perhaps all now know evil may touch them and those they love, at any time and place.
Until the day the right of all Americans to carry concealed weapons wherever they may be is universally observed, I will continue to argue for that right. I make the point because the police cannot protect anyone. In fact, they have no legal obligation to protect anyone. In any mass shooting, unless the victims have the ability, then and there, to shoot and stop the killer, some number of them are going to be injured and killed before the police, no matter how fast and dedicated, can possibly arrive. Until there are no more victim disarmament zones, no one plotting mass murder will be deterred. They will, rather, seek out such zones, as every contemporary mass murderer has.
It is most likely the media and anti-liberty/gun agitators will not linger overlong on this shooting. The victims are not members of preferred progressive victim groups, the wrong kind of gun was used, there were apparently no evil firearm accessories employed, and there were no children involved with which to flog people that support the entire Constitution.
To be absolutely clear: the fact that the victims worked in the media does not in any way excuse the shooter, nor should anyone so much as think that because the media has chosen political sides and is no longer trustworthy, this crime was in any way so much as understandable. President Trump has not taken this view, nor do I.
One person and one person alone–not any inanimate object or organization–is responsible.
However, one wonders if Phil Davis–and anyone working in the media–now understands the value, the responsibility, the necessity of being prepared and able to defend one’s life, and the lives of those they love and with who they work? The police can’t do it.
I trust no one in the legacy media. They have proved themselves irresponsible and deceptive, people that think the normal Americans of flyover country less worthy than themselves. But I fully support their right to keep and bear arms that they may preserve their lives wherever they are, even as so many of them do not support the right of normal Americans to do the same. No one should ever be reduced to hiding under a desk, a desk that will not stop projectiles, hoping they won’t be found and killed in the next few seconds. Hoping the police will arrive in time to save them.
When it comes to preserving our lives against evil, we’re on our own. We always have been. Is the media capable of understanding that?
UPDATE, 06-30-18, 1315 CST: As Fox News reports, it appears the media is certainly unwilling, and likely, so Trump deranged are they, incapable. A reporter for The Springfield Republican outright lied:
One might be forgiven in thinking Berry’s sorrow is that his assumption about his employers being so Trump deranged they would abandon even the pretense of journalistic integrity. One might also be forgiven for thinking Berry’s apology sincere. He did not insult “POTUS supporter.” He betrayed even the pretense of unbiased journalism, and hammered another nail in journalism’s coffin. In this particular case, he is only one of many.
Consider the unwarranted enmity heaped upon Mr. Trump by the fake news media in light of his comments about the Gazette attack:
President Donald Trump, who has frequently criticized journalists for reporting ‘fake news,’ on Friday said, ‘Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs.
Yes, they should. We all should, but that’s not human nature, and government cannot protect us. It has no conscience, and while individual politicians might care about individual citizens, government cannot and does not.
The question remains: now that journalists have been given a dose of reality hard to ignore, can they draw the right conclusions and actually defend their own lives and the Constitution, or are progressive narratives more important to them?