Parking lot, Short Hills Mall (courtesy nj.com)

I’m going to skip around on this one. Let’s start with Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff’s comment after learning that an as-yet-unidentified 30-year-old Hudson County man was shot dead during a carjacking at the Short Hills Mall. “Our police department is out there and I’m sure they’re doing everything that needs to be done. But it is upsetting and it’s unfortunate that this happened.” Yes the Millburn, New Jersey police force are out there, somewhere. Thanks to New Jersey gun laws, the police are, in effect, the only legally armed civilians in the Garden State. And I guess it’s just “unfortunate” that they weren’t on level three of the parking lot when this happened to happen . . .

[Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn] Murray said the shooting occurred at about 9:10 p.m. She said the victim had been out with his wife shopping and they were returning to their vehicle when they were confronted by two men. She said the husband had opened the door for his wife and was getting into the driver’s side when he was shot. Murray believed multiple shots were fired.

Authorities believe the two assailants fled in the Range Rover and headed east on Route 24.

“We do not know why that car (was targeted), but it obviously was a car with some value,” said Murray.

Ms. Murray’s comment seems to hint that there may have been more in play here than a “simple” car jacking. Which would be reassuring to the wealthy individuals who shop at the mall’s upscale shops: Channel, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, etc. Only . . .

While shoplifting is a constant issue at the mall, violent crime is rarely reported, but there have been a number of carjackings over the years.

In September 2009, a Hillside man was charged with attempted kidnapping, carjacking and robbery after he was arrested for allegedly forcing his way into the car of a 56-year-old woman from Randolph who had been shopping at the mall, pulling out a knife and demanding money, police said.

After the woman turned over cash and jewelry, he told her to drive to an ATM. Instead, she opened her car door and ran.

In February 2006, two women were carjacked at gunpoint outside a mall restaurant, Joe’s American Bar & Grill. The two were getting into a silver 2004 Jeep Liberty when they were approached by two men. One had a gun, told the women to get out of the car and leave the keys inside the vehicle.

And in October of 2002, a 76-year-old woman from Caldwell returning to her car was robbed by a man who forced his way into her Cadillac parked near the Saks Fifth Avenue department store and stole her cash and jewelry, police said.

The man told the shopper he had a gun, but she never saw one, police said. He robbed her of her wedding and engagement rings and a bracelet.

This report could have been filed under This Is What Happens to a Disarmed Populace. But had the victim been an armed civilian who knew about the mall’s carjacking history, or simply maintained situational awareness, he would have had a chance to be celebrating Christmas this year. And now, doesn’t.

What will it take for Garden State voters to save themselves from themselves? I’m not sure I want to know.

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69 Responses to It Should Have Been a Defensive Gun Use: Short Hills Mall NJ Edition

  1. Unfortunately, it’s a cultural problem.Tell these sad stories to New Jersey/Chicagoans/San Fransiscans/New Yorkers, and they’ll say “tough cookies,but it’s only a car/money/etc.Just surrender .”

    They very idea of defending your life, and your dignity doesn’t exist to these people.Which is a tragedy for common sense, and a victory for venal politcians.

    • This is exactly the problem. And even beyond that, there have been countless times during conversations with people like that when they’ve simply said “I don’t value my life that much, it’s not worth defending like that.” It’s completely unfathomable to me that one would value the life of their attacker more than their own.

      However, when I do get responses like that, I change the question to “what if you had a kid, and it was their life you had to defend?” And when I get the same response, that the life of the attacker/murderer/rapist is more valuable to that person than the life of their child, even just saying it in a theoretical sense. . .

      I can’t describe that feeling of seething fury.

      • That is simply bizarre. All creatures on this planet are supposed to have a built-in sense of self-preservation. Otherwise, they simply wouldn’t survive.

        The philosophy of life you are describing is a philosophy of surrender.

      • The true cognitive dissonance occurs, though, when they reveal that they are perfectly willing to see your firearms taken from you at gunpoint, with the real possibility of your death if you decline to turn them in.

    • those who really “matter” in society, namely our betters like Shannon Watts and Mike Bloomberg, either valet or have their people go get the car. . . . . they could care less and when suburban moms start to fear more for their safety, perhaps they will question the defenseless/surrender mantra BS they are being fed

      • Wake up and smell the roses man. Calling it like you see it is not a “cultural problem.” That “sweeping statement” is by and large true.

        Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule. But the places he listed, like Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and California, ARE by and large populated with those kinds of people. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have all the horrendous gun control bills on the books that they have. If they were populated with people who responded with “I’ll shoot the bastard” instead of “It’s just a car,” they would have gun laws like Wyoming or Montana. But they don’t, because the majority of people in those states are the “it’s just a car” people, and the “I’ll shoot the bastard” people, while they do exist, are in the minority.

        So yes, it’s a sweeping statement, but it’s pretty accurate.

        • Please differentiate there rest of Illinois from Tiny Dancer’s personal fiefdom. Outside Crook County, the state is getting better and better for 2nd amendment advocates. We now have a “shall issue” CCW law, as well as access to SBRs. Next year, we might be able to get suppressors. (The statute is both vague and we have a bill ready for the next legislative session.)

        • Calling it like you see it is a problem when how you see it isn’t how it really is. I know nothing about ST (or you, other assuming that you’re Alaskan) but judging by ST’s statement they have never been involved in shooting sports in NJ and NY. I was born, raised and currently live in NYC and I know a lot of folks who are dedicated to the shooting sports and retaking ground from the anti-2A folks. Myself and many of the members of my NYC-based shooting club took time off from work and drove for hours to take part in a demonstrations against the SAFE Act at our state capital. We stood in the freezing cold with thousands of other NYers who care about the 2A. So I take ST’s broad-brush characterization of people here as a personal insult. There’s a system here that puts road blocks up for people trying to get into shooting. This system was purposely designed this way and it does a good job of scaring off potential shooters. I could probably write for hours about this but the assertion that the problem here is a “cultural” one (whatever that means) is way too simplistic, like much of the political discourse in America.

        • FrankM, I grew up in Chicago….pre Heller.I know of what I speak when discussing the mindset behind places legally dominated by anti gun regulation.

          While I applaud your dedication to the RKBA, what was the result of your group standing in the weather to protest the SAFE act? The law still passed.Why? Because for every person who stood up to the Cuomo Machine, ten were quietly supporting his actions where it counted-that is, at the ballot box.

          Most gun control supporters arent people who are dedicated to the cause, per se.They’re doctors, lawyers, grocery store managers, and social workers who’ve grown up thinking that only police should be armed .So when a bill comes up to infringe on the RKBA, there’s maybe one person in ten who actually opposes it.

          If you still think I’m full of it, there’s a video of an RKBA activist circulating a fake petition in Los Angeles California mandating a ban on the 2nd Amendment and confiscation of legal arms.Every single bystander save three signed it without batting an eye.

        • My apologies for the very late response to you, ST, so I wonder if you’ll see this but just a few notes: The SAFE Act was passed through political chicanery with no discussion and forewarning. So the protests were actually after it was passed. In a sense you’re right, they didn’t do much to change the law but I think they helped energize pro-gun folks and quite a few on the fence people.

          I’ll also say, I don’t think you’re full of it but I think it’s dangerous to think in generalities. In NY we have little choice who we vote for and I think this is true for much of the nation. From a personal perspective I’m in a tough spot because while I’m an ardent supporter of gun rights I also consider myself a progressive (in that I’m a liberal in the classical sense, i.e. I believe that our government’s role is to intervene when a corporate cabal is intent on doing us, or our rights, harm but should not impose on personal rights) but am wholly disgusted by so-called “progressives” stance on gun control. I’m often left with no one whom I feel comfortable voting for.

          And I’ve seen that video! I took it more as an indictment on how little people pay attention than how vehemently anti-gun they are. There have been some non-gun-related ones that were pretty shocking.

        • Just a nitpick – the only “corporate cabal” is, of course, the government, who hands out favors to their cronies and passes regulations that stifle competition. In a true Free Market, without stupid government regulations, the corporations that are ripping people off would go out of business in very short order. The most brutal, merciless regulator there is is competition. Without government protection for their cronies, people who see the money that can be made will come up with a better way to do the same thing cheaper, and eat the corporatists’ lunch.

    • That’s just it: it’s not *just* the money, the wallet, the watch, phone, jewlery, whatever. It’s one’s personal dignity. It’s the right not to be violated. And despite what coffee house critics proclaim, there is always the chance, a fairly strong chance at that, of losing your life despite having complied. If these people have never looked down the barrrel of a gun, it’s really easy to sit there and second guess another man’s unsought decision to take a life when his own was at grave risk.

      It reminds me of a story, perhaps apocryphal, of a defendant fending off in court the lawyer of the burglar he’d shot dead. “And how exactly did you decide that your t.v. was worth more than my client’s life?”, the lawyer would ask. “Actually, sir, I didn’t make that decision. Your client did.” was the reply.

    • You are correct ST. We live in a day and age where the rich have insurance to cover their losses. It’s nothing for them to recover from a theft. So they don’t understand the plight of the average joke when he wants to defend his property because he can’t afford to replacement. We’re not all that far from 100 years ago, when the theft of a horse was a hanging offense because if you too a man’s horse, for all intents and purposes you took away the equivalent today of his car, his tractor and his truck. Essentially, bankrupting him and probably killing him and his family.

      So no, the elitists don’t understand that, nor will they. Ever.

  2. Terrible scenario. Anti-gunners will chock this up to bad luck. For us, it is cringe worthy to see a life lost in a situation where the right to armed self defense is not granted to ordinary citizens.

    • No. Anti-gunners will chalk this up to lax gun laws. “Stronger” gun laws would have denied the killers their guns, and the man would still be alive. Q.E.D.

      • Of course the question then becomes would you rather be shot or hacked up with a machete? We, the people of the gun, would prefer to be armed with the most effective tool(s) possible to prevent either of those choices from fully developing…

  3. b0bb33z3r sent in a tip on this story after it was already written but he also pointed out that “note, Millburn is the same wealthy town that the woman was savagely beaten in front of her 3 year old while the nannycam recorded it.”

  4. “What will it take for Garden State voters to save themselves from themselves?”

    RF, I think they don’t even realize they need saving.

    • The percentage of gun owners is relatively (very) small in NJ, not enough people to stand up to the tyranny of the majority. And the courts, which are supposed to protect our constitutional rights, are a joke in this region, so nobody will be saving anybody. I expect gun restrictions to remain the same or slowly get worse with time. There’s no way they will be relaxed. Thus, no self defense for you!

  5. Hey… I lived a good chunk of my like in NJ. Not all of us are spineless weaklings. Mind you, I have gotten better since I moved to the relative conservative stronghold that is Northern Illinois. I wonder is moving across the border into Wisconsin will do for me?

    • Wondering why you moved from a bad situation (NJ) to a worse situation (IL) aside…

      Moving to Wisconsin would be highly recommended. They do tend to have a liberal voting record, but that’s because of Madison. Full of college yuppie kids. Probably 95% of the population of Wisconsin that doesn’t live in Madison wishes that Madison was its own state because the culture and political stances are so incredibly different.

      Moving East into Indiana or west into Iowa would be a much better option than Wisconsin.

      But that being said, a truck stop toilet is arguably better than IL.

      • Having lived in both places, I can honestly say that IL has nothing on NJ or Cuomostan. We may not be a truly “free” state yet, but we are loads better than anything north and east of PA. (NH and VT excluded)

        • Y’all keep forgetting that gun-free paradise, the Formerly Free State – Maryland. With the best government money can buy.

      • Western Wisconsin (where I live) is pretty well divorced from the Madison looneys. Very gun friendly, and hunter friendly if that’s your thing.

  6. Agreed on the issue of NJ residents (my home state) being nearly defenseless due to the idiotic gun laws there. I live in Sarasota, Florida now and have my CCW and regularly carry, something I can’t even contemplate when visiting my family and friends in NJ, which I’ll be doing in 2 weeks. That said, I have to call you out on doing what you always accuse the MAIG, etc. crowd of doing, namely waving the bloody shirt in support of your (our) point of view on gun rights. The crimes you cited are spread pretty far apart and don’t demonstrate any particular pattern. Random crimes do happen at random times and places, and the people of NJ/NY should have the right to arm and defend themselves just like we do. All I’m saying is, if it’s wrong for the gun control crowd to “wave the bloody shirt” in support of their point of view then we don’t get a free pass on that one either.

      • Another difference is that the anti gun mouthpieces seem almost giddy with the joy of having another tragedy to exploit.
        Our side seems more intent on educating those who have not seen the results of rampant gun control. Oh and far from giddy, we tend to experience true rage over lost rights and the cost of those lost rights.

        From my point of view anyway…

    • That’s being too simplistic. I haven’t ever seen a definition but for me, “waving the bloody shirt” is designed to ramp up emotional reactions at the cost of logical reasoning. On the other hand, a definition that was so broad that it included any discussion of death by violence would make discussing self-defense impossible.

      Our side can cross the line, but I don’t think this post does. The main thrust is to think through the scenarios and add the option of armed self-defense for the good guys. While it’s no guarantee that the outcome would have improved in every case, the victims would have had more options than just surrender and hope for the best.

  7. Of course, Shannon Watts’ would have told the guy, hey, if like me you can afford a Range Rover, you can afford to valet. . . . and thus, this wouldn’t have happened. . . . . .

    Maybe Shannon can comfort the now widowed wife that it was best her late husband didn’t have a chance to fire back. . . . . it is for the children(TM) and all.

  8. What will it take for Garden State voters to save themselves from themselves?

    They will never save themselves from themselves until it is absolutely crystal clear that no one else is going to save them. And that will never happen until they have been facing an imminent threat for days without government showing up.

    Don’t take my word for it, just look at all the people who converged on the Superdome in New Orleans as a hurricane Katrina shelter. The people there put up with horrific conditions for days until they finally realized that no one was coming to save them. Then they started to leave … or maybe government finally did show up after several days. It doesn’t really matter though because my point is that people will sit around for days in deplorable conditions waiting for government rather than helping themselves.

    And people of the Garden State will do the same. Sit around and wait for government to save them rather than saving themselves.

  9. This has to be fake… just like the mall shooting in NJ a few weeks back…

    NJ absolutely CANNOT have any gun violence because we have “the 2nd strongest gun control laws in the nation”…

    Right?

  10. I grew up 5 minutes from there. Criminals from Newark and Irvington go out to the wealthy NYC suburbs that this mall is part of and steal cars out of the mall’s parking garage all of the time. This happens quite often but fortunately very rarely is violent.

  11. It’s my proposal that in fact; the people of New Jersey represent the norm for most human beings around the world. That, in fact, most people don’t actually desire freedom; but rather to be subjects/slaves.

    Just as most of the subjects in New Jersey want the government to have the “Monopoly of force” and are horrified at the idea of regular citizens having “weapons of War” freely carrying weapons for self-defense; most of the subjects around the world want their government to have almost total power over them, with the great majority disarmed, except for the designated agents of the state. Then; when the brutality gets too great; which it always does; the people will rise up to finally over throw the current tyrant; but they usually replace him with one more brutal and tyrannical.

    The US of A was practically unique in that our revolution led to greater freedom. Over two hundred years later; we will see if we still have enough citizens that understand what it costs to be free.

    • “It’s my proposal that in fact; the people of New Jersey represent the norm for most human beings around the world. That, in fact, most people don’t actually desire freedom; but rather to be subjects/slaves.”

      Actually, I think they’re quite content with the status quo as long as nobody messes with their “things.” Forget about the “other guy” – that’s not MY problem…

    • “Disarmament rests on the assumption that all people are good, and, basically, want the same things. But if all people were basically good, why would we, increasingly, pass more and more elaborate laws? The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so: and his right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution.” – David Mamet

  12. Just my opinion but I think it’s not so much of a question of electing the right people, but having the right people to elect. Thats the biggest problem here in the Northeast. Neither party ever seems to be willing to support a strong 2A candidate. There are the odd exceptions, but as a rule in NY,NJ,CT and Mass, the voters never are given much of a choice. Which is why we have some pretty low turnouts for most elections. Quick example. I live in Connecticut. My town recently held local elections. The sitting mayor is a Dem. our local Republican party nominated a guy who, about 2 weeks before the vote, actually said he wasn’t even sure he wanted to be mayor and suspended his campaign. Without withdrawing from the race. The Repub. commitee didnt see any reason to replace him with another candidate. So, out of a town of @ 35,000 people, about 3,000 bothered to vote. A friend of mine had filed to run as a burgess..kind of like an alderman..but not being a long standing insider member of either party, as soon as the announcement was made, the slander started. Thousands owed in unpaid taxes..it was less than a thousand and it was car taxes that arent due for months but hey! That dont matter when theres only so much room for fingers in the public till. Anyway, thats the real problem that has to be tackled first. Find a way to break the old political parties and their corrupt ways or nothing will ever really change. Y’know I’ve lived in CT my whole life. I know how liberal it supposedly is but honestly, I dont know that many people who would call themselves hard core liberals. Dont get me wrong, theres more than enough of them, but almost anytime a true conservative has a shot at being elected to state office, they win. Of course the liberal press goes nuts and gets busy with a fine toothed comb but thats another discussion. Its hard to change local policies by voting, because (in some places) the parties are so established, intertwined and totally corrupted that they know they dont have to respond to the voters. Add in a manipulative lying equally corrupt news media and any candidate thats not part of the “team” has a very slim chance of winning office. Throw in the usual promises to the state employees and the multi-generational welfare class and a healthy dose of voter apathy and ya get what we have now. I wish I could have hope that things could change for the better around here but I dont.

    • as a rule in NY,NJ,CT and Mass, the voters never are given much of a choice

      Having lived in three out of four of those places, I can tell you that “the voters” don’t want a choice. They are blissful in their ignorance.

    • It’s true. I’ve lived in NJ for 33 years and even though the characters change, it’s all the same story. NJ is a bizarre right/wrong side of the tracks state with BMWs and Bentleys parked next to Pontiacs and Kias in most places. Government is conspicuously corrupt in its operations, and a disarmed populace is an “obedient” one… except when there is total disobedience and lack of regard for human rights or safety when white and blue collars mingle. I can’t carry in public without “proof of need” to the tune of MULTIPLE attempts on my life, or specific need outlined by my employer. Just the same, I have the right to carry at home. Not very useful, but until politics catches up with the zoo beyond my front door, I’ll have to keep bringing my knife to a gun-fight.

  13. Just wait till Obama’s Utopia is realized; disarmed, poor, hungry w/no medical care and enslaved to who-ever has the cash to buy you

  14. Situational awareness is a must. The killers were already steps ahead.They chose,make their move,and drive off while the victims are still trying to comprehend what happened.

    People need to face the fact that there are citizens in this country that will kill you for no reason at all. They will even kill you with their hands,so taking guns away does not mean everyone would be safe.

    You simply can not count on others to save you.Avoiding situations where you can be attacked reduces risk, but sadly you are never 100% safe anywhere.

  15. I suspect that situational awareness may have afforded a better option here than a gun. Perhaps it may have been possible to avoid the ambush. Given the abbreviated description, even if the victim had been armed, if you get shot before you even know what’s happening, the pistol on your hip doesn’t do you any good.

    • A lot of situational awareness is to not go to stupid places at stupid times where a lot of mean people spend time. If you can’t go to your local high-end mall and come out of it alive, then that means always, in every situation and every place you might go, you must be in high alert mode or only travel in herds. This environment was cultivated by strict gun control policies, creating target rich zones and encouraging predators with limited or no negative repercussions to their chosen criminal lifestyle. The kids growing up in the criminals’ zone of influence see what it takes to get ahead and proceed to be the next generation of thugs. And so the cycle continues…

      So my point would be that a gun would most definitely have been the preferred option here. It couldn’t have gotten any worse for the dead guy and the rest of society would have benefitted by helping to create a hostile work environment for the criminals.

  16. The husband and his wife were both classmates of mine at Syracuse Law. Both of them were wonderful people. Unbelievably tragic event.

  17. In order to get a ccw, you must go before the nj supreme court and prove a valid and just cause as to why you need to carry. In other words, you need to be eating lunch with the right people

  18. I hope Robert Farago sees the follow-up to this.

    foxnews had this genius quote from this guy’s genius uncle:
    “He would never have done anything stupid, like grab for a gun — but I know he would not have hesitated to protect Jamie,” her uncle, Dr. Mark Schare, told The Post on Monday.”

    What the what?

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