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Priest killed by ex-con wielding colleague's gun (courtesy

Over at, they’re running an article called Guns Kill Children; The overwhelming evidence that pediatricians are right and the NRA is wrong. It’s the usual context-free farrago of cherry-picked studies using highly misleading data parameters (e.g., teenage gang-bangers are considered children). The underlying point: guns are dangerous! Owning a gun puts you and yours in mortal peril! Slate’s bottom line: being disarmed is safer than being armed. Here’s a story [via] that seems to back up the antis’ anti-pistol premise . . .

The attack occurred after the Rev. Joseph Terra opened the kitchen door of the Mother of Mercy Mission rectory to investigate noises in a courtyard on Wednesday night, police said.

[An ex-con named Gary Michael Moran beat Rev. Tera with a metal rod.]

Badly injured, the 56-year-old Terra made it to his bedroom and retrieved his .357-caliber gun but was unable to fire before the attacker grabbed it, forced the priest to his knees and demanded money, according to court records.

Terra soon blacked out. When he regained consciousness, the Rev. Kenneth Walker had been shot.

Setting aside the not-unexpected fact that Moran was a violent ex-con with a rap sheet as long as the rod he used to assault Rev. Terra, noting the unexpected fact that Terra had a .357 revolver (most likely), clocking the mission critical fact that he didn’t carry his piece, we can hear the antis bleat, KILLED WITH HIS OWN GUN! See? It would have been better if Rev. Terra didn’t have a gun.

In this case, maybe. In any case, maybe. Because a violent assault is usually a chaotic affair with a huge number of variables. So all you can do is look at the overall numbers, the odds, and take your chances. And the survey says . . . you’re better off with a gun that without – given that even the lowest-ever number of estimated defensive gun uses (60k) dwarfs the number of firearms-related homicides. And suicides. Combined.

In fact, you’d have to twist the facts like licorice to come to any other conclusion. Which the antis are more than happy to do. Again, Slate:

Children from states where firearms are prevalent suffer from significantly higher rates of homicide, even after accounting for poverty, education, and urbanization.

Crucially, these deaths are not offset by defensive gun use. As one study found, for every time a gun is used legally in self-defense at home, there are “four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” A study of adolescents in California found that there were 13 times as many threatening as self-defensive uses of guns. Of the defensive encounters, many arose in confrontations that became hostile because of the presence of a firearm.

The study in question looked at defensive gun uses in the home. Specifically, homes in Memphis, Tennessee; Seattle, Washington; and Galveston, Texas (hardly middle America.) The study only counted “justifiable homicides” in the home. Successful gun uses that didn’t involve injury or death – though “used legally in self-defense” – didn’t count. Let’s skew the data – for the children!

Of course, the decision to exercise one’s natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights to keep and bear arms isn’t about stats. It’s about a lot of things that have nothing to do with number crunching; from hunting to fun to self-protection to the protection of others to a defense against tyranny to none-of-your-damn business.

But this much is true: you can’t be shot with your own gun if you don’t have one. Then again, not having a gun doesn’t reduce your chances of being shot with someone else’s gun or beaten to death by an ex-con who should never have been released from prison.

Put another way, a murderer doesn’t need your gun to kill you. But you may well need your gun to stop him/her/them. Carrying a concealed firearm helps prevent an illegal transfer when push comes to shove. Weapons retention training doesn’t go amiss either. At the end of the day, it’s all a crap shoot. But to those who would disarm us to save us, I say two words: no dice.

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    • In other news, roofers are more likely to die from falls, boaters drowning, and power line techs from electrocution. Its just a ridiculous argument, total murders won’t change just because you tell criminals they will get in more trouble if they kill you a certain way.

  1. People that tell you you should not be entitled to carry a gun or that you have to be disarmed for the sake of all are usually protected by men with automatic guns or carry firearms by themselves. This is why I highly distrust such people…

    “no dice” does not appear to be correct Spanish, amigo Roberto.
    Maybe “No me digas” or something like that would apply.

    • I think he means “no dice” as in the english phrase that roughly equivocates too ‘that isn’t going to fly with me, mate’.

    • gringito,

      The word “dice” in Mr. Farago’s post was not a form of the Spanish verb “decir”. Rather, “dice” is an English word referring to small white cubes with the numbers 1 through 6 that we use in many board games. The words “no dice” is an English colloquialism used to refuse a request or indicate no chance of success.

  2. Sure, guns are purely a liability, and defense of oneself and others in the face of violent attack is futile. That’s why the police don’t carry guns anymore.

  3. To the point of being killed with your own weapon, specifically the Rev Joe situation, it’s awful, but there are things in life worse than death…

    The pleads of “you’ll only hurt yourself” or “the BG will take your gun and shoot you” would lead one to infer these people would happily throwdown their self dignity, and worse, the dignity of their family, at the possibility of living a little longer.

    Rev Joe died defending himself, his family, and home to the best of his ability, regardless of the outcome, there are only a few more honorable ways to die.

    • +1

      If I am to be violently attacked, I want a fighting chance – even if I am destined to lose.

      Their whole “getting shot with your own gun” argument presumes that the assailant wouldn’t have killed me anyway. It’s a stupid premise.


  4. Not all plans are foolproof, but I would very much rather be facing down a potential attacker(s) with a firearm than without one at all. It’s like poker.. You gotta know when to hold ’em and know when to show ’em. This coming from a martial artist, really. (Judo / Brazilian Jiujitsu)

  5. Why do anti-gun people assume that our position is that a gun will save you 100% of the time? We never claimed that. A gun in MOST life and death situations is better than no gun. It’s as simple as that.

  6. “An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002”.

    This is the leading sentence from an article at This does not include the death toll from medical mistakes made outside hospitals.

    If I were a pediatrician or any other type of doctor, I would also prefer to direct the nation’s attention away from the cost, in lives, the medical profession extracts every year. If you have a gun in your house, your child is at least six times more likely to be killed by an incompetent doctor than your firearm.

    • And I’m not going to stop getting medical care, because many, many more people are saved by doctors every year. Statistics in context!

  7. By god they may kill me with my own gun but they will need to wade through a pile of brass and beat me with it.

  8. The right to choose to own a firearm and use it to defend yourself doesn’t have jack squat to do with whether exercising that right is the best choice in any given situation or as a statistical matter. It’s an individual right, and it’s the individual’s choice whether to exercise it.

  9. Nice critical thinking skills ABC news.

    Way to extrapolate anecdotal evidence into broad sweeping generalization semi-truth at absolute best.

    I’ll take Willingness to Fight for My Life for $1000 Alex.

    Daily Double!!!!

    What is…not being some thugs b*tch.


    How much did you risk?

    All of it.

  10. All things considered, I would rather better my chances with access to my own gun than have no chance but the mercy of the attacker.

  11. This is why home carry is actually more needed than when you are out of the house. At least outside, someone might see you being attacked and help or at least call the police;inside, there’s no one to hear you scream.

  12. I wonder how long the NRA will wait to address this nonsense:

    Hillary Clinton – “Can’t let gun fanatics ‘terrorize’ majority”

    5:32 p.m.: An audience member asked Clinton if she thinks a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would help curb gun violence in the U.S. Clinton responded: “Yes, I do.”

    “What’s been happening with these school shootings should cause everyone to think hard,” she added. “We cannot let a minority of people–and that’s what it is, a minority–hold a view point that terrorizes (people).”

    • That’s not new. They’ve been inferring gun owners are terrorists for awhile now and pretty sure the government stated it explicitly last week.

  13. Yup, if Rev. Terra didn’t have a gun, he would have been peacefully beaten to death with that “metal rod.” Great outcome!

    • But being a thug’s gravely wounded, crippled or dead b*tch is a morally and ethically superior position to these people.


  14. Soooo .. they’re going immediately reverse all gun “buy backs” by giving every thug a gun? That way when you’re attacked you just take his gun and shoot him with it! After all, according to all the anecdotal evidence ABC15 can find that’s the safest way.

    Wow, I just solved violent crime. Were’s my Nobel Peace Prize?

  15. Fr. Terra (age 56) is expected to make a full recovery, after surgery and was released from the ICU and he attended the Requiem Mass for Fr. Walker. They plan on having him return a pastor.

    It was Fr. Walker (age 29) who was killed by the bad guy who got Fr. Terra’s gun. I could only imagine the horrid feeling that I would feel if another was killed with my gun… but the only fault is the bad guy’s. Fr. Terra may have failed to defend himself and Fr. Walker. But he was beaten in the head before even going for his gun.

    The bad guy wasn’t someone who was going to take a few bucks and leave them unharmed, who only went violent because Fr. Terra defended himself. He beat Fr. Terra in the head BEFORE he went for his gun, a beating that caused him to pass out and almost killed him. If he had knocked out and killed Fr. Terra before Fr. Terra had a chance to go for his gun, does anyone think he would have spared Fr. Walker?

    The “anti-s” can spin it however they like. What is clear is that this bad guy was murderous to begin with.

    I knew these priests. Both very good men. Very tragic.

  16. I guess they missed the President Obama ordered post Newtown study that showed that people who were armed with firearms had better outcomes than the unarmed victim. The author of this article can read about it in Slate.

  17. So who was shot? “Terra soon blacked out. When he regained consciousness, the Rev. Kenneth Walker had been shot.” Another reverend was shot? Can someone clear this up? Rev terra isn’t rev Kenneth walker.

    • To clarify, there were two priests living at the rectory of the church, Fr. Terra and Fr. Walker. Fr. Terra heard a noise in the kitchen and went to investigate. He was then assaulted by the perp with a tire iron. Fr. Terra then went back to his room to get his gun. Fr Terra, due to injuries to his hand (I believe his fingers were broken), was not able to fire his weapon, and the perp was able to take the gun from him after a struggle. Fr Terra blacked out around this time. Fr. Walker, hearing all the commotion arrived on the scene and was shot by the perp, who apparently fled afterwards, stealing Fr Walker’s vehicle. Fr Terra doesn’t remember calling 911, but remembers giving last rites to Fr Walker.

      I was kind of wondering when this story would make it to TTAG, initially perhaps as an “It should have been a DGU” post. The revelation that it was Fr. Terra’s gun used in the crime only came out yesterday when they arrested the perp (the incident happened last Wednesday). My heart sank when I heard that, as I knew the antis would have a field day with it. Would it have been a better outcome if Fr Terra never went for his gun? Considering the guy that did this, I don’t think so. Fr Terra would probably have been beaten to death there and then, and maybe Fr Walker as well.

  18. You know, I started to rail about the illogic and inconsistency of a typical gun control diatribe like this again, you know, things like, “Really, how many lives do swimming pools SAVE versus the people who die because we have them. Or of the 28 people who die every night from drunk driving, but you’re not out there looking to put common sense ‘regulations’ on liquor.”

    But then I went to Slate to attempt to maybe express my unhealthy desire to contradict them, and when I look at the front page, and it includes stories like, “Sex and Harry Potter: Was Voldemort a Virgin?” And I’m wondering why would I even bother.

  19. This is funny. First of all, this incident is a prime exemple of why you need to have a gun ON YOUR PERSON.
    While he was badly beaten he was unarmed. Just like those training targets where you draw on a bad guy with a gun pointed on you – there are good times to go for the gun and this wasn’t one of them.
    Having a gun and using one are two separate topics, and it turns out the good guy in this story decided too late to use it.
    The moral of the story should be that you should use the gun before somebody bashes up your skull and beats up your friends, and not when you’re nearly dead.

  20. Anti gun folks seem to believe that people who keep and/or carry firearms view it as a guaranteed way to never get hurt or killed ever. No matter how many times you say it they can’t understand that a gun is just a tool that gives you more of a chance of survival should you find yourself in a bad situation.
    By their logic, people who own table saws think that its a guaranteed way to have a brand new solid oak kitchen table built and placed in your dining room.

  21. Killed with your on weapon. It happens. Some days you get the bear, some days you don’t make it off the barstool.

    Problem is, that ain’t what happened here. At. All.

  22. David beat me to it. The Anti’s left out that critical piece of information in their glee to see a real-life report of ‘shot w/his(their) own gun’. The good Father’s fingers were injured, and he may not have had the energy or presence of mind to switch hands. Indeed quite plausible under the circumstances.


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