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From the Washington Post. On January 2, 2015: “Larry Wilkins was watching television Friday evening when he heard a faint knock on his front door of his home in Lyon County, Ky., east of Paducah. When he opened the door, he discovered a 7-year-old girl standing in the cold. She was bloodied, covered in scratches and barefoot except for a single sock” . . .

‘She told me that her mom and her dad were dead, and she was in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down,’ Wilkins told NBC News. ‘She asked if she could stay here. I said, ‘Honey, what can I do for you?’ I got a washcloth and cleaned her up. And of course called 911.’

Police have not released the name of the survivor, who managed to walk nearly a mile in the dark through territory full of  ‘fallen trees, creeks, ditches and blackberry briars,’ according to CNN. She was taken to a hospital where she is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, CNN reported.

That girl’s name is Sailor Gutzler, and her story is even more tragic than the lede reveals:

Authorities say the girl was one of five people flying in a Piper PA-34 over Kentucky when it reported engine trouble and lost contact with air traffic controllers about 5:55 p.m. Central time…

Authorities discovered four victims at a crash site ‘in a heavily wooded area near Kentucky Lake,’ according to the AP. Police identified them as Marty Gutzler, 49; Kimberly Gutzler, 45; their daughter, 9-year-old Piper Gutzler; and her cousin, 14-year-old Sierra Wilder. All the victims were from Nashville, Ill.

Sailor was right: her parents, sister and cousin had all been killed, leaving her alone–an orphan.

Also from the Washington Post. On December 30, 2014:

A woman was killed in an Idaho Wal-Mart Tuesday morning when her 2-year-old son accidentally shot her, according to local authorities.

Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Stu Miller said in a statement that the boy was seated in a shopping cart when he reached into his mother’s purse and fired the gun.

Police have identified the 29-year-old victim as Veronica J. Rutledge from Blackfoot, Idaho. Deputies found her dead on the scene ‘from an apparent gunshot wound.’ She had been shopping with the toddler and other family members, Miller said.

Authorities on the scene said three other children were with Rutledge, and that she had a permit for her concealed weapon, CBS affiliate KREM reported.

Rutledge was visiting from out of town, and the shooting took place as she was in the electronics section of the Wal-Mart in Hayden, ABC affiliate KXLY reported.

Two tragic, and fortunately rare, accidents, two children losing one or more parents, two immensely sad stories that leave people of good will reflecting on life, mortality and fate, stories that encourage us all to appreciate our loved ones and shower them with affection and appreciation. Tomorrow is guaranteed to none.


The public response to both tragedies has been predictable: sadness for the 7-year-old girl’s loss, and cruel, angry moralizing surrounding the toddler’s loss. Because guns.

USA Today’s coverage was a typical, obligatory mention of the tragic aspects of the death, and this:

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence mourned Rutledge’s death at the hands of her child, and said in a statement that children’s easy access to guns too often has deadly consequences.

‘Every day as parents, we make rational choices regarding our family’s safety: We buckle our children’s seat belts, make them wear bicycle helmets and teach them to look both ways before crossing the street,’ according to the center’s statement. ‘Many parents bring a gun into the home legally with no intent of doing harm. Many think they’re doing their family a service by offering protection. Yet these guns cause the majority of gun deaths and injuries.

Put aside, for the moment, the fact that so few toddlers accidently injure or kill anyone, let alone a parent in this particular way. There are essentially no statistics available on the frequency or distribution of such events and consider the cultural snobbery involved:

For East Coast residents, the idea that a young mother would carry a legal, loaded firearm while shopping with her kids might seem unusual. But in the West, especially rural areas where hunting remains an integral way of life, many people carry guns wherever they go.

The Daily Banter was also representative of the anti-liberty mindset, though far coarser than USA Today:

It seems trigger happy Tea Party enthusiasts aren’t the only ones capable of terminating their lives via extreme stupidity – nuclear scientists are too. Of course gun enthusiasts are keen to write this all off as a tragic accident, and are aiming their contempt at anti-gun advocates…

According to the [Washington] Post’s profile of Veronica Rutledge, she was completely obsessed with guns – following, the National Rifle Association (NRA). Her close friend Sherry Sandow told the post that:

‘In Idaho, we don’t have to worry about a lot of crime and things like that….and to see someone with a gun isn’t bizarre. [Veronica] wasn’t carrying a gun because she felt unsafe. She was carrying a gun because she was raised around guns. This was just a horrible accident.

The Post article doesn’t portray Rutledge as “completely obsessed with guns,” but rather as an intelligent, capable woman who enjoyed firearms and shooting and carried a licensed concealed handgun. The Daily Banter continued:

Outside of the US, virtually no one understands the pathological obsession with owning and shooting guns. In the UK where I am from, anyone who felt the need to carry a gun to their local store while looking after several very small children would be taken immediately to prison and given a very thorough psychiatric evaluation. This would of course be seen as the Big Bad Nanny State interfering with your God Given Freedom in America, but it is worth bearing in mind that had a sensible legal system been in place that prevented this type of stupidity, Veronica Rutledge would still be alive and her child would not be irreparably traumatized from killing his own mother.

Why did Rutledge take a gun to Walmart with her child and nieces? What exactly was the purpose? To defend herself from hidden assassins in the fruit and veg department? To defeat the terrorists in Walmart before they defeated her at home? While a huge amount of sympathy should go out to the family and those affected by the tragedy, it is difficult to feel too sorry for someone so reckless and stupid that they would leave a purse with a lethal weapon unattended around a two year old. Rutledge literally lived by the gun, and died by it – a fate every weapon wielding American needs to come to terms with. If you carry equipment designed with the sole purpose of killing, there’s a good chance it will actually kill someone.

The kindness and moral superiority of the betters of commoners that carry guns and frequent Walmart is very much on display in the article’s conclusion:

Veronica Rutledge was clearly a brilliant woman with a very bright future. Sadly, she was also an idiot.

Was she an idiot? The Washington Post provides insight:

Veronica Rutledge and her husband loved everything about guns. They practiced at shooting ranges. They hunted. And both of them, relatives and friends say, had permits to carry concealed firearms. Veronica typically left her Blackfoot, Idaho, home with her gun nestled at her side. So on Christmas morning last week, her husband gave her a present he hoped would make her life more comfortable: a purse with a special pocket for a concealed weapon.

The day after Christmas, she took her new gift with her on a trip with her husband and her 2-year-old son. They headed hundreds of miles north to the end of a country road where Terry Rutledge, her husband’s father, lived. The father-in-law learned of the new purse.

‘It was designed for that purpose — to carry a concealed firearm,’ Rutledge told The Washington Post late Tuesday night. ‘And you had to unzip a compartment to find the handgun.

Rutledge’s handgun was zipped into the compartment, and the purse left unattended for just a moment:

An inquisitive 2-year-old boy reached into the purse, unzipped the compartment, found the gun and shot his mother in the head,’ Rutledge said. ‘It’s a terrible, terrible incident.’

Rutledge isn’t just sad — he’s angry. Not at his grandson. Nor at his dead daughter-in-law, ‘who didn’t have a malicious fiber in her body,’ he said. He’s angry at the observers already using the accident as an excuse to grandstand on gun rights.

‘They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case,” he said. ‘… I brought my son up around guns, and he has extensive experience shooting it. And Veronica had had hand gun classes; they’re both licensed to carry, and this wasn’t just some purse she had thrown her gun into.

Far from being an idiot, Veronica Rutledge was an exceptional young woman who lived a life familiar to tens of millions of Americans:

The path Veronica Rutledge charted before her death, friends and family say, was one of academics and small-town, country living. ‘Hunting, being outdoors and being with her son’ was what made her happiest, her friend Rhonda Ellis told The Post. She was raised in northeast Idaho and always excelled at school, former high school classmate Kathleen Phelps said, recalling her as ‘extremely smart. … valedictorian of our class, very motivated and the smartest person I know. … Getting good grades was always very important to her.’

She went on to graduate in 2010 from the University of Idaho with a chemistry degree, according to a commencement program. From there, she got a job at Battelle’s Idaho National Laboratory and published several articles, one of which analyzed a method to absorb toxic waste discharged by burning nuclear fuel.

There are surely those that believe citizens should not be able to own or fly aircraft–for their own good, a good they’re not smart or moral enough to recognize–but far fewer in number and less vocal than those that believe citizens must be disarmed and for the same reasons.

Those schooled in the ways of firearms can surely, but kindly, learn from Veronica Rutledge’s death. Carrying a gun in a purse or any kind of pouch or bag not directly connected to one’s body is always less secure than carrying a holstered, concealed gun. Even with a purse designed for concealed carry, one should always carry it over the opposite shoulder so it can’t be easily grabbed, and so one’s arm can protect it. Leaving it unprotected, for even a few seconds, can lead to theft, or as in this case, tragedy. Yet, in the daily flow of life, Rutledge did take reasonable steps to secure her handgun. Thinking it likely, or even possible, that a two year old would be able to unzip a compartment, seize a handgun, pull the trigger and shoot his mother in the head, all within a few seconds, is an unlikely scenario indeed.

Why haven’t people spoken out, advocating the abolition of private aviation? After all, if the girl’s father didn’t have a plane, he and those that died would be alive and his daughter would have her family. In the same way it is narrowly true that if Veronica Rutledge did not have the choice to carry a handgun, she too would be alive and her toddler son would have his mother. Why then isn’t Marty Gutzler being proclaimed an idiot?

All that’s missing is the usual claim that if banning guns would save even one life, it’s a moral imperative to do it.

Those that support the Second Amendment are able to feel genuine sorrow and sympathy at these times, and to refrain from name-calling and demanding emotion-based legislation because they know that what is at stake is not emotion and outrage, but unchanging principle. If Americans are to be free and remain free, they must have an unalienable right to self-defense. This right requires that free men have the effective instruments necessary to defend their lives and the lives of others, and if necessary, to defend liberty itself.

And with these understandings is another: all tools can be dangerous and can and will be misused. Despite all efforts at education, despite all precautions, accidents happen and good, innocent people are injured or killed, but the value of firearms in preserving liberty and protecting lives dramatically outweighs the certainty that some people will misuse firearms, and some people will accidently injure or kill innocents, even people they love.

Firearms are ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive. People that shop at Walmart and don’t live in the civilized East can afford them, for goodness sake! But unlike aircraft, firearms threaten those that would control us all, for our own good. Even if they won’t admit it, they know that it is private firearm ownership that prevents them from achieving their ultimate dreams of control and power. And they resent it, and they hate those that prevent them from imposing the moral superiority and goodness they alone are capable of possessing and imposing on others less inherently wise and good, and so they are justified in their condescension and cruelty and sneering hatred of those, who, by means of their adherence to principle and expression of choice and freedom, stand in the way of the greater good.  Ask anyone from “outside of the US.”

Because unchanging principle demands it, we support the right of free men and women to keep and bear arms, and no accident or criminal outrage can justify abandoning that principle. Because we come to an understanding of the necessity and importance of such principles through logic, knowledge of human nature, and with good will, we will not call the victim of a freak accident–newsworthy because such things are so rare–an idiot as we honestly mourn their loss which diminishes us all, and pray for the peace and healing of those that love them.

Who is to determine our choices and the quality of our lives? People like Veronica Rutledge and Marty Gutzler, who by all accounts lived joyful, vibrant lives, lives enriched by the joy of shooting and the joy of flight, or the author of the Daily Banter article, one Ben Cohen, whose emotion-driven ignorance of fundamental principle, whose contempt for free men, and particularly for Veronica Rutledge, speaks for itself?

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  1. I feel sad for both families and hope that they can recover from these tragedies. And that is what these events are, tragedies. The Walmart nearest to where I live, the one I shop at, in Stroudsburg PA has had shootings in the parking lot. There have been other violent crimes committed there as well. It would be well within reason (in my opinion) for a shopper to be armed to protect their family from such violence. I plan my own shopping there to be over before 7:00 pm as a way to try to avoid stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places. The store is open 24-7, but they have nothing I need that I can’t wait to buy tomorrow.

    • You *especially* need a gun if you shop at the Stroudsburg Walmart… that place is ghetto.

  2. No one NEEDS a private airplane. Shouldn’t they leave the flying to professional pilots who are properly trained to handle such a dangerous undertaking?

    When will enough be enough?

    That being said – my prayers go out to all the members of both families.

    • “When will enough be enough?”

      For a bit of perspective, the accident / injury / death rates for General Aviation are similar to that of motorcycle riding.

      Haven’t heard a whole lotta calls for banning motorcycles. Except for the youth racing-stunting their crotch-rockets.

      Come to think of it, the left loves to legally harass local airports, going as far to get them shut down.

      Google Meigs Field

    • Wow, I am stunned by the logic of “need.” Its like me saying to you, you don’t “NEED” a car, you can walk to the store. Yet we know that a car makes going to the store more efficient and productive.

      I am a private pilot with a commercial license and instrument rating. For two years, I suffered through frequent travel between Madison, WI and St. Louis where I worked. When faced with weekly commuting to St. Louis, I purchased a plane and flew myself every week; down and back. Did I NEED to have a plane? Well you decide. Over the course of one year, I flew myself every week and had to cancel only two trips due to weather. The previous year using commercial, I suffered numerous flight delays and not too infrequent cancellations. I missed Saturdays with my family. My flexibility as to when to travel, schedule meetings, etc. was limited.

      The point is, commercial travel in my case had proven so miserable, I chose an alternative and am happy that I was free to do so. Its like having a car after spending a year walking to the grocery store 3 miles away every week with a wagon to lug back my food.

      And if you consider other applications where owners of small businesses fly their own air planes, they are tremendous tools for getting around to conduct business in small remote towns and there are many. It think you will find that many pilots of small planes fit in this category.

      I hope this provides a different perspective to walk a bit in someone else’s shoes before casting judgement on their decisions.

      • He was being sarcastic. Most people are here. The sarcasm points out the hypocrisy of the statists where they seem only obsessed with guns whereas other items are routinely used to kill people but there are no national organizations dedicated to a cultural and legislative war to ban them.

  3. Not all gun owners are gracious enough to refrain from name-calling and other rude actions. Don’t believe me? Wait for it. Those responses are minutes from pour in for this article.

      • Well, I don’t know enough to call names, because I am still waiting for the rest of the story. No, the other one.

        The differences between single engine and twin engine aircraft are these; your chances of having an engine fail are twice as high for a twin engine aircraft, but your chances of getting home after an engine failure are infinitely higher for a twin engine as for a single.

        The plane involved was a twin engine, the pilot reported engine trouble then disappeared off radar. He was apparently highly trained and experienced, why could he not get home on one engine? I don’t think we’ve heard the rest of the story.

        Both of these are extremely unusual stories. The little girl I find unbelievable, she was in pitch black, no lights visible anywhere, and somehow picked the right direction to struggle. And I still seriously doubt the story of the 2-year-old.

        • “The differences between single engine and twin engine aircraft are these; your chances of having an engine fail are twice as high for a twin engine aircraft, but your chances of getting home after an engine failure are infinitely higher for a twin engine as for a single.”

          Unfortunately, looks like not the case. From AVWeb –

          “Between 1972 and 1976, the NTSB investigated the outcome of twin-engine crashes and concluded that in the event of an engine failure that resulted in a crash, the likelihood of it being fatal was four times greater than a crash in a single.”

        • In response to Geoff PR’s post, not all incidents of a single engine failing on a twin result in a crash, so that statistic illustrates the difficulty of maintaining controlled flight with asymmetric thrust, but ignores the more likely success of skilled pilots who safely land twins with one engine out.

          Also from avweb:

          “A single is about two-and-a-half times more likely to have an accident due to engine/prop failure than a twin (8% versus 3%). And if we assume that a twin is twice as likely to have an engine/prop failure (since it has twice as many to fail), then we can conclude that an engine/prop failure in a single is five times more likely to result in an accident than an engine/prop failure in a twin.”

        • Dave wrote:

          “In response to Geoff PR’s post, not all incidents of a single engine failing on a twin result in a crash, so that statistic illustrates the difficulty of maintaining controlled flight with asymmetric thrust, but ignores the more likely success of skilled pilots who safely land twins with one engine out.”

          The key here I believe is the ‘skilled pilot’. An ugly truth is that pilots are often not as skilled as they think they are. Asymmetric thrust will coldly expose that. The huge jump in the workload reconfiguring the plane, attempting engine restart, etc, can easily distract the pilot from Rule #1, flying the effing airplane.

          In my opinion light twins tend to go splat when the pilot wasn’t up to the job.

          The old adage of aviation being utterly, brutally intolerant of error.

          Don’t get me wrong, if the route I was planning to primarily fly the airplane was over inhospitable terrain or cold water I’d want a turbine or twin.

    • I don’t think name calling is called for, but when it happens, don’t you think it is out of appropriate outrage that the woman failed to secure her weapon? What if the child shot himself? What if someone else was shot? Every time there is a negligent discharge story on TTAG, except for those by cops, many of you come out in support for the irresponsible gun owner. And when the person who shot his refrigerator is the one writhing the article, everybody has a big laugh over it. Bullshit! Just because no one was hurt or killed does not excuse bad gun handling.
      I feel so sorry for the toddler that killed his mother “by accident”. But it was her negligence that is ultimately responsible and I am sorry she died. We need to learn from this and make more people aware of the danger of leaving a gun within reach of someone too young to be held responsible.
      I do not agree with this article’s premise. I see the plane crash and the gun stories incomparable. I understand the point the author is trying to make but I see nothing out of the ordinary to the responses to each story. I abhor hypocrisy, but I don’t see it here.

      • There’s class and there is no-class. There’s also showing respect for the dead and the families.

        There are ways to focus on the actions that led to an event without so-called “personal attacks.” It is indeed important to learn from others…mistakes and successes. It’s not that hard to do this without acting like a spoiled, self centered 12 year old that can do, and never has done, no wrong or made a mistake.

        Juvenile name-calling serves no purpose other than to make the name caller feel self superior.

        Indeed, I personally find the lessons easier to assimilate when they are presented in a cold, objective, analytical manner than with emotional outpouring and “outrage.”

        • When is the last time I called names in a comment where I was not being obviously sarcastic or ironic? Well, other than about this idiot, irresponsible gun owning mother, because she was an idiot. 😉

      • I agree, the gun may have been in a zippered pocket but it was not in her control. What she did was negligent and idiotic. Because of that, she payed the ultimate price and now her child will grow up without a mother.

        • Yup. She paid the ultimate price for not securing her firearm well and not watching her spawn while he was withing reach of the poorly secured firearm.

    • Well, even the most rude here more gracious than the Daily Banter writer or many of the comments there.

  4. We need to turn their ‘logic’ back on them. If it can save even one life, then we should encourage everyone to arm themselves. We have cases where lives have been saved by people wielding a firearm, therefore, everyone should be encouraged to tool up!

  5. Of course, none of the people dancing on the grave of the young mother who was shot by her toddler have stopped to think how many things had to go wrong in order for the young mother to be killed.

    Not many two year olds can even pick up a gun let alone operate it. Then, the gun had to be pointed in a direction that would kill the mom. (as I’ve said in the past, owning a gun does not automatically give one the ability to hit a target)

    That all these events lined up perfectly in order to create this tragedy is astounding. Yet, it’s all about the gun.

    • That’s generally true of all tragedies…not one single ’cause’ but several that had to align just so.

      And yet, tragedies occur frequently enough.

      So, rational data shows that likelihood is no guarantee that something bad won’t happen. That’s well to keep in mind for the anti’s that claim “your odds of getting attacked are small, so why carry a gun” and other such nonsense.

      • “That’s generally true of all tragedies…not one single ’cause’ but several that had to align just so.”

        Yup. In aviation, it’s called ‘The accident chain’.

        Aviation tries to instill the concept of risk management. Pilots, being human, can louse that up. Flying beyond your skills (weather,complex aircraft systems, etc.), flying an airplane with a known problem, stupid decisions like flying without adequate fuel, etc.

        When your engine conks out in your car, it’s rarely fatal. In an airplane you have serious problems.

        A minor collision in a car is rarely fatal. If your airplane touches an other airplane in flight, no matter how slight, its over 97 percent fatal.

        Flying and driving are completely different critters.

    • And he had to find the compartment in her purse, unzip it, and remove the gun.

      Some active, intelligent little kids seem to have a sixth sense about exactly the one thing you don’t want them to find, and they make a beeline for it. They will take you by surprise as they develop and all of sudden figure out how to open the front door, for example (speaking from experience on that one). Yeah, I think several things had to go wrong for this to happen.

    • I understand that accidents happen even when the best training and precautions are taken. And my heart goes out to the families affected. The dialogue here can be instructive. In the aviation industry, through the NTSB dissects and reports on accidents back to pilots so they can learn from the mistakes of others. As a private pilot with a commercial license, I have found these reports very helpful in improving my ability to conduct safe flights.

      So what an we learn from the Rutledge tragedy. Here is my take:

      1.) Gun ownership and carry require constant and diligent risk assessment and management.

      2.) Carrying in a backpack or purse that is not secured to your body seems to create a higher carry safety risk profile.

      3.) The type of gun involved in the incident I don’t think was mentioned. Handguns come in a plethora of types with equally as many safety options. Are there better configurations than others when it comes to carry safety?

      • “The type of gun involved in the incident I don’t think was mentioned. Handguns come in a plethora of types with equally as many safety options. Are there better configurations than others when it comes to carry safety?”

        In her case, she could have chosen wiser. It was a 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, with one in the pipe.

        Had she carried it empty chamber, the outcome would have been better, as a two year old probably wouldn’t have been able to work the slide.

        A revolver with a stout trigger pull would have been a better choice in my opinion.

        Fly safe, don’t let complacency or ‘get there itis’ bite you in the ass.

        • I have to agree. If this had not happened, eventually her son would be 3. And then 4. A revolver would be the hot ticket, followed by an empty pipe until her son had gun safety training.

  6. I’d just like to say that if I find my end by way of a gun accident, it’s all been worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d rather live free and with choice than trapped in the mind set that others know what’s best for me. I’m pretty confident these families would feel the same.

    • Exactly. I would rather stand as a free man until death than kneel at the feet of a tyrannical ideology no matter how that death occurs.

  7. I had the opportunity to work with some crew from the RAF back in the day. They were sharp, funny, great guys and damn good at their jobs. Being in logistics, we talked munitions. Being munitions, we talked guns. Oddly enough, the only emotions they had regarding Americans and guns were curiosity and a little envy. Anyway, point being that if I were ever called upon to fight alongside them, or they along me, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I’d gladly be at their side.

    Now, Ben Cohen, on the other hand, comes across as a snide little prick. I wouldn’t be interested in fighting alongside him, I’d rather kick him in the nuts.

    But, according to Ben here, wouldn’t I be justified in deciding to write off my previous experiences with Britons, and just conclude that they’re all glib assholes who think owning guns makes us all rednecks? Hey, fair is fair, right? Hell, we can throw in that official that made the comment about the best thing gun owners can do is shoot themselves and just write off the entire country, right?

    Well, shit, that was easy. No wonder Ben’s a writer.

    • At least everyone knows how to spell Sailor. My beef is with uncommon spellings of common names. My morning Dunkin Donuts last week was sold to me by a cute little new hire named Summer. Except it was spelled Somer. That poor girl is gonna have to spell her name for everyone she gives it to for the rest of her life.

      • When she hits 18 a trip to the courthouse can change that…

        Some of those creative spellings, tho…..ugh.

  8. Re “But unlike aircraft, firearms threaten those that would control us all, for our own good. Even if they won’t admit it, they know that it is private firearm ownership that prevents them from achieving their ultimate dreams of control and power.”

    FWIW, I would like to add or amplify that I don’t think that guns serve to prevent statist power directly – historical disarmaments often proceed without armed rebellion, as many/most people surrender their rights and responsibilities without a fight, and the resisting few are dealt with in isolation. Rather, the power of an armed population is to negate/mitigate the need for a police state to be established in the first place. The freedom and responsibility to carry a weapon and defend yourself both depends upon and establishes the citizens self-sufficiency and self-determination, which is the true crux of the fight. Power-centers, in whatever form, have always sought to expand and consolidate their power, and ultimately, this power is disipated by the same entropic forces that corrode any and all organized human endeavors.

  9. “In Idaho, we don’t have to worry about a lot of crime and things like that….and to see someone with a gun isn’t bizarre.”

    Maybe there is a connection between these things supported by data? hmm..Also, I hate to be that guy, but “just say no to off-body carry” if at all possible.

    • We have a little different view of things up here in North Idaho/ American redoubt,…….That the person owning the gun is responsible for it, and responsible for their own training….. and we believe it is better to suffer under too much liberty, than too suffer under too much oppression.. We accept the losses that come from being free and in control.

  10. And don’t forget, if you have a gun you’re more likely to have it taken away and used on you than you are to use it in self defense. That’s why we should take the guns away from the police and give them to the criminals. That way, if they go to use them, we can just take them away and use them on them.

    • It is clear that your logic should start with disarming the Secret Service, and announcing that fact to the world.

  11. I’ll never fly, i hate planes, and all the hyped up stories about the TSA, and quite frankly… if I have to watch another plane story, being Opined by captain skully on CBS it will be too soon……. If you want to strip down for some TSA dude for a full body cavity search because he found your stash of hotel lotions..have at it…BUT.. don’t let my unwillingness to engage in your plane flying,prevent you from doing it… Can I get the same respect for my guns? NOPE.

    • Ladies and Gentlemen, we have found B. A. Barracas! Do you “Pity the fools” who go through all the hassle to fly somewhere?

      Sorry, I just found it amusing the thought of Fuque sitting at his keyboard, all mohawked up, waiting for Hannibal to call the A-team together. No offense meant.

      • You’re not alone, My family finds it amusing too…I gave up a trip to the Bahamas and missed a wedding in Fuji..But I Google earth both.. They look great from satellite.

  12. The mom was obviously a very intelligent person who put too much faith in her purse as a safe place to store her firearm and leave it unattended with a toddler. Her tragic mistake should serve as a lesson for other armed moms, not a platform for gun owners to call her an idiot and gun banners to call all concealed carriers idiots or reckless.

    The pilot dad likewise made some mistakes that led to his death and that of 3 other people, orphaning his daughter in the process. Perhaps members of recreational aviation will learn from his mistakes, no one will likely call him an idiot or reckless even though I bet the acciddental death rate of recreational pilots is higher than that of legal concealed carriers.

    • Agreed. Here in Illinois in 2008 we had a yahoo land his plane at a golf course in Lincolnshire just because he son was late for tennis practice. Which is more dangerous this or concealed carry?

    • “The pilot dad likewise made some mistakes that led to his death and that of 3 other people, orphaning his daughter in the process.”

      The NTSB report will lay things out.

      The plane was a Piper PA-34 Seneca. Light twins are fast and sexy.

      There’s an old aviation saying that when loosing an engine on a twin the remaining working engine will take you right to the scene of the crash.

      If you don’t IMMEDIATELY re-configure the airplane (ailerons rudder, pitch), the non-symmetric thrust from the working engine tends to put you into uncontrollable flight.

      Stall, spin, splat.

  13. Being a person who suggested Veronica Rutledge had become too casual or comfortable with her carry habits and now reading the updated information provided in this very well written article, I fully recant my earlier suggestion and admit my suggestion was erroneous. *tail between legs*

    Many types of property, be it guns, airplanes or countless other “things”, introduce risks into life and sometimes those risks create tragedies. Risk creates the need for responsibility and rational action. Risk also adds savor and challenge to life. Without risk, things would be pretty dull. I think you have to accept the risks life brings you daily in order to have a life worth living. Journalists, lobby Groups and Pundits who say we “must” eliminate risks, like guns. from life are driving an unrealistic, hypocritical agenda where they purport to cherry-pick and dictate to the rest of us what we should or not be able to own or do. It is a form of tyranny. Using the few tragedies that result from the risks we accept to forbid the ownership and use of any “thing” is antithetical to any concept of Liberty, Personal Freedom, and Self Determination. You do not modify the rule because of the exception, and to advocate so doing is wrong-minded and foolish. By and large, none of these people supported telling “Charlie Hebdo” not to publish their last cover for the magazine, showing a cartoon likely to further infuriate the Islamic world because it is “free speech”, but for those same Journalists to advocate for denying everyone their natural, civil and Constitutionally Protected right to keep and bear Arms based on a tragedy such as befell Veronica Rutledge, demonstrates that they truly have no concept of the meaning of Liberty. It makes everything else they advocate for meaningless. The same applies to anyone else using these tragedies to advocate against Liberty, Personal Freedom and Self Determination. They are too feckless and agenda driven to understand, and that may be the deeper tragedy of these two children.

  14. If one wants to follow the reasoning that guns and private aircraft should be banned due to fatal accidents then shouldn’t private cars be banned as well? All of the above are rideculous arguments because they don’t weigh the positive against the negative.

    • Give it time. Now that we have driverless cars I assure you this very thing will be suggested in a major media outlet, oh…in the next decade or so.

  15. Michael,

    This is a beautiful and well crafted article. Thank you for sharing.

    Earlier today on another post, I drew a comparison between airplanes and guns. Both are tools that are inherently dangerous. So are tools in a wood shop. And here are some additional thoughts, particularly around safety.

    With airplanes, we would never think of flying after 4-8 hours of training …. yet we do that with guns. We would also never think that hopping in a plane to fly it after a year of not is a good idea either. Training needs to be ongoing to be safe.

    We would never let young children loose in a wood shop full of power tools without proper safeguards …. yet how many people who think they are responsible, have loaded unlocked guns in drawers “just in case?” As gun owners, we understand the “just in case.” However, what happens if a neighbor with children stop over for a visit unexpectedly. We all know how curious young children are.

    I am new to this debate but not new to guns. I have been watching, training, learning and thinking over the last 5-6 years about guns. I hold two CC permits. I have experienced competitive shooting. I have concluded: 1.) guns are tools. 2.) They are designed to kill. 3.) As such, they are inherently dangerous. 4.) Possessing inherently dangerous tools that are designed to kill requires our sincere respect and strong sense of responsibility. 5.) CC training is woefully inadequate. 6.) Widespread ownership of military type rifles and hand guns by responsible citizens well trained in their use is the ONLY effective deterrent to tyranny (thug in a dark parking lot to dictators) and defense of our freedoms and liberty.

    As for #6, it is wishful thinking to believe otherwise. I am sure all those who died under the hands of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and others would agree. There is, to my knowledge, not on shred of historical evidence supporting that evil does not and will not continue to lurk in the hearts of man (an women). Our founders knew that and created a form of government that would best endure and preserve liberty as men and women clamor for power. It is and will remain, the natural order in our world. To me, it is a very simple mental exercise to imagine how lives might have turned out differently if the Jews in Germany, Russians under Stalin, citizens under Mao, Cambodians under Mao and the million in Rwanda would have faired if each household were armed with a military rifle, hand guns and a 1,000 rounds of ammunition and were trained in their use. Might the 10s of millions who perished been saved? Might the tyrants not even have attempted to exterminate them or send them off to some gulag? It is not by accident that the Colt 45 was called the “Peace Maker.” How ironic that may seem to many while it reflects the crux of the argument as to why guns are a good thing in the hands of good people. There is actually LESS violence.

    We need to change how we engage in the discussion about guns. We need to find ways to engage those people who fear guns and want to band them. We need to help the media try and open their minds to the other side of the argument. For starters, we need to be very clear in admitting that guns are tools designed to kill and therefore are inherently dangerous. Let’s step up and help people understand that we understand that fact. That is not the debate. Let’s convince them that we are very serious, responsible and patriotic about gun ownership. We need to demonstrate that we are responsible by continuous training and it is not about target practice; its about responsibility, risk management and safety.

    Thanks again for your wonderful article.

  16. I know hundreds of gun owners. In fact among the people I know, I’m surprised when I learn that one of them doesn’t own a gun. Many of them shoot regularly.

    I know a few dozen motorcyclists.

    I know one person who has been shot. That was a very minor hand injury of his own doing. Beyond that I don’t have first or second hand information of any accident more serious than a hammer bite involving a gun. I know several people that have died riding a motorcycle and many more yet that have been seriously injured. A motorcycle related bulletin board will frequently have xrays featuring extensive orthopedic work used as avatars.

    I participate in backpacking, motorcycling, bicycling horseback riding and shooting. I have done a limited amount of climbing and I have flown light planes and scuba dived. I also have a shop full of woodworking equipment and kn a few people that have lost digits to them. Of all these activities, shooting is among the safest.

    I guess if your idea of an adventurous evening is going to a movie, art gallery or library (all of which I do on occasion), shooting might seem dangerous. Everything is relative.

  17. It’s a sign of the times that anything having to do with a gun is considered in the media (and in the minds of many) from the point of “since no right-thinking person would ever handle a gun, then…”

  18. As a pilot and a gun owner/carrier, I feel mildly qualified to make a comment or two. There is no comparison between the two activities. Setting aside weather, aircraft mechanical factors and airport/ATC/FAR realities and leave only the motor skills, there is no comparison. Flying safely is orders of magnitude more difficult than shooting safely on a motor basis alone. The judgement component is closer, but still a lot more complex in aviation.

    My opinion and worth what you paid for it…

  19. What about deaths due to vehicle crashes? What about all the innocents who’re murdered by street gang / drug dealers? There’re a lot of threats to life but the gun control fanatics focus only on the supposed threat from legally owned guns. They also LIE and say that legal gun sales somehow increase the number of illegal guns and increase illegal gun use as well. On top of that: they are insulting and invariably sarcastic about people who just want to have the CHANCE to defend themselves and their loved ones. The drug trade is by far the largest factor in the number of illegal guns and murders. Yet the gun control fanatics never say a word about controlling drug users in our country.

  20. What we really need to be working on is finding a way to demonstrate what happens to those who intentionally interfere with others who’re just doing what they have the right to do. I think we need a “research and development” organization to work on finding a way to put an end to the gun control fanatics’ interference. No more Mr. Nice Guy for these ignorant neurotics.

  21. Great writing Mike, thanks. Learned in aviation not to critique the pilot until the after accident report came out with the facts. Am applying same to gun accidents, and you remind us all again that sadly, the news is no longer about reporting the facts. Far too often its about flogging the narrative…

    And I’m not at all surprised at the contempt of the progtards for the “little people”, its a defining characteristic, that follows the long tradition of the NYC and DC press looking down on everyone else, especially in flyover country. They condemn themselves with their own comments.

  22. Twin engine aircraft are initially very difficult to control when one engine fails suddenly. The thrust from the good engine rotates the aircraft towards the dead engine. Immediate corrective action is required and if the aircraft slows down the torque from the good engine will overwhelm the ability of the flight controls to maintain directional control. Very bad news especially at night.

    In some respects it is safer to have a an engine failure in a single engine airplane as it will keep going straight. The pilot merely has to configure the flaps for a lower speed landing configuration and adjust the elevator trim. The aircraft will glide down and if the pilot selects all but the very worst landing site and does not freak out and over control the aircraft the subsequent landing will be highly survivable.

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