Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ten Years Ago Today...

Massachusetts had its deadliest workplace shooting. Brad_in_ma sent me the following article as a reminder:

Emotions raw 10 years after shooting
Irene Wood tries to enjoy the Christmas season, but this year the 73-year-old suburban New Jersey woman said she was having a “very difficult time just keeping my act together.’’

Ten years ago today, her 29-year-old son, Craig Wood, was among seven employees of Edgewater Technology Inc. in Wakefield who were gunned down by a co-worker in the worst mass murder in Massachusetts history.
Personal connections to this shooting abound. The shooter lived in the town next to mine, and most likely drove through my town on his way to work every day - he most likely drove through my town on his way to commit this horrible act. A family member works at the school near Edgewater Technologies where survivors were brought for safety while the building was cleared. At the time I was on a political bulletin board, and when news of the shooting broke, cause a small amount of panic among board participants, as news reports only stated "technology company north of Boston".

There's a good bit missing from the retrospective. First, Brad points out this nugget:
Despite the passage of time, Stephen C. Doherty, the now-retired Wakefield police chief who rushed to the company minutes after shooting erupted in the usually placid town, said his memories of the carnage surface almost every day.
(emphasis mine). Minutes. When seconds count, police are only minutes away. We repeat this mantra often, at the risk of losing sight of what it represents. This is the very reason we carry our own guns - by their very nature, the police cannot be everywhere at once. Short of a militant police state, we cannot have round-the-clock police protection - and if we did, who would want it? That's the stuff of sci-fi horror, where an overbearing centralized government controls and dictates our every move. We are the first line of defense, plain and simple.

The other thing that's not mentioned is that McDermott was not legally allowed to own the two firearms used. He was ineligible to own firearms in MA and had been ordered to turn in his firearms and had not complied, yet police never confiscated his firearms. He'd been declared unsuitable over repeated mental illness issues, and yet had not had his firearms - bought and registered in Massachusetts - removed as prescribed by MA law. Now, I don't think anyone honestly thinks that he couldn't have gotten guns elsewhere, but the simple fact is that even in MA, which has strict gun control, an ineligible person continued to own firearms in violation of the state's laws, and nothing was done about it.

You are your own defense. Never lose sight of that. Don't rely on criminals obeying the laws, nor adhering to quaint notions of "restraining orders" or any other paper defense. Laws only keep the law-abiding in check; they do nothing to stop the evil or deranged. There's no such thing as a "safe" place - a small office building where everyone knows everyone else should have been safe, but wasn't. "There's no safety outside the grave" - Jubal Harshaw, "Stranger in a Strange Land". There are places where you might be safer than others, but nowhere is completely safe - absolutely safety is an illusion, or else brought only by the cold hand of Death.

I prefer the option of making others Safe should they place me or mine in jeopardy.

That is all.


Pediatric RN said...

I know one of the EMT's that was the first on the scene to the shooting (before the police) and he said it would be a sight that he would never be able to forget.

He told us the story and it was pretty bad.

Old NFO said...

That is a sad story, and definite reason to carry... Thanks!

Weer'd Beard said...

When I moved to Wakefield many people associated the shooting with my town.

Also IIRC one of the dead had a NH Carry permit in his pocket.

Lot of good that did him, as he didn't have a Mass Permit.

I will also say that Wakefield as a town is one of the best towns in Mass for a gun-owner to live. The police here are NOT happy about the laws and do everything in their power to make the process as painless as possible.

I am my own defense.

Brad_in_IL said...

I sent an email to the author of he article, pointing out the glaring omission of how McDermott was deemed too unstable to possess firearms. Have I received a reply? Not yet, and I'm not holding my breath either.

- Brad