Christine and Beth

Christine Belford & Beth Mulford, our friends and neighbors, yesterday morning were gunned down entering our courthouse. Our city of Wilmington ground to a halt, our streets were blocked off, and the center of our city became an armed encampment for a day.

We have seen this before in other places. We see it with increasing frequency in this country. And yesterday those in our community got to see it up close.

And I can tell you it is different when this particular malice comes upon your doorstep. Because you immediately lose that comforting feeling that this will never happen near you. That warm and fuzzy you wrap yourself in thinking that this is something that happens to other people and in other places.

I suppose deep down we always knew that was an illusion. If we didn’t know that before yesterday morning, we surely know it today…

Christine’s story is known to all of us in our community. We all know her or know of her. For years she had been embroiled in a nasty divorce. Since 2006 she had been fighting a psychotic husband and his equally obsessive family. Her story gained national attention when her ex-husband and his mother kidnapped her children and took them on an eighteen month odyssey through South America.

All of this ended yesterday at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware. It ended when the father of her ex-husband shot her dead. Ironically, and after all of these years of struggle and insanity, it ended when she was finally on the verge of putting all of this behind her.

There is another element to this story that is both ironic and deeply disturbing. Christine was gunned down and killed inside of our courthouse. An armed encampment if ever there was one. Arguably and supposedly one of the safest places in our community. This is the place we turn to when we seek justice, and protections and precautions exist to protect us in this place and to keep us safe.

Christine went to this supposed place of safety on this morning seeking justice. But instead of justice, Christine was served death. Despite all of the elaborate protections in place to protect her and others there with a similar purpose, none of that mattered. She was killed instantly as though none of these protections existed. For her, it was all meaningless and for naught.

Immediately after her violent death, a progression of events and responses took place. Armed responders appeared quickly and seemingly by the hundreds. Streets were blocked off, nearby schools were locked down, and urgent searches take place looking for additional threats and perpetrators. I don’t need to describe this progression of events- we’ve all seen it before. It plays itself out with increased frequency in this nation.

In what seems like an instant, the normal streets of our community became by all appearances a war zone. And they stayed that way all day. It goes beyond a police response to one that by all appearances is a military response, replete with legions of men and women in combat gear and cradling assault weapons. This was for our safety, and to insure our safety, and I understand that and can appreciate it. So the searches took place and the streets remained closed and the schools remained in lockdown all day.

Eventually, you see these armed people simply milling around. Not prepared or ready to leave, but certainly realizing there is nothing more to be done. And that goes on seemingly forever as well. And it was at that moment that I realized the sheer impotence of all of this. That all of these efforts and responses are utterly impotent and useless. It is all after the fact.

It was all useless and ineffective. She was killed instantly within this secure fortress. And equally impotent is this show of force after her death, because no amount of force and regardless of the number or responders in combat gear can right this wrong after the fact. We do everything we can and everything within our power, and it is all utterly useless. Impotent.

It is a charade. A necessary charade to be sure, but a charade nevertheless. It serves our delusion regarding gun violence in this country. Because at some point you have to accept the fact that we are indeed delusional. In the face of this insanity I suppose we have to be, and that may be the only thing we have left. We delude ourselves and feel comforted.

We feel that gun violence is something that affects others. And with proper precautions we can be safe. We tell ourselves that the person shot yesterday in our city doesn’t affect us in our world because we would never be in that position or place to begin with. With each death that affects others we tell ourselves that we are safe and immune. Never mind that tens of thousands of us die each year in our country.

And then when you least expect it all of those delusions are ******** away. If Christine and Beth can be slaughtered within the confines of what is the safest building in our community, you have to accept the fact that none of us are safe. We are not safe and we never were. No amount of security and protection could keep her safe and alive before her murder, and no amount of response in the face of this slaughter could bring them back.

In the wake of this incident, I find myself wondering about a term that I hear with increasing frequency. That term being “responsible” gun ownership. And “responsible” gun owners. I wonder what that means, and I wonder who these responsible gun owners are. We don’t know yet whether the man that killed Christine and Beth was one of these "responsible" gun owners.

We search for a way to protect ourselves, and yet at the same time protect the supposed rights of the responsible gun owners. To reach an accommodation with them and hopefully enhance our safety. And I wonder who these people are. What definition can you apply to them and this term.

Was the killer of Christine and Beth one of them? It appears he was, for he never used his guns to kill before. And what about Nancy Lanza? She was a responsible and legal gun owner, wasn’t she? At least right up to that point when her arsenal was used to slaughter children. And I recall an incident just before the holidays, and close to us in Wilmington and in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. When a father attempting to sell his guns went to a gun shop with his seven year old child. But instead of selling his guns, he returned to his vehicle and inadvertently blew his son’s chest out in a horrific act of carelessness. And I suppose he was responsible as well- at least up to that very moment when he blew his son’s heart to smithereens.

In the end, it’s all very simple- at least to me. It’s not the gun owners, whether they be responsible or not. It’s the guns. Responsible owners or not, they all contribute to tens of thousands of deaths every year. Tens of thousands have to die in the name of this freedom and supposed right.

And I’m left wondering about Christine and Beth as we add their names to that list of deaths and statistics. I have to wonder about their rights too. Their right to live. And to me it all becomes very clear. Because their rights preempt and transcend any other right. Their rights and the tens of thousands of others that die each year transcend anyone’s right to possess these instruments of death.

It really isn’t the person who holds the gun. There are those that would have us believe this. It’s the guns…

sarahc302 sarahc302
22-25, F
7 Responses Feb 12, 2013

Tough topic, I don't mind certain parts of gun control but is this a gun issue or is there really something being done for the mentality ill that seems to be doing these things. More people killed by drunk drivers and now even more from people texting while driving, do we ban cell phones? Do we say no one under 21 allowed to own a cell phone? More people over dose on drugs and it comes down to the individual as a whole.

It is more than those with Psychological issues, who do shootings. It is just just those with these issues that get the press. It sells air time and print space. The issue is to remove the ideal that violence solves the problem, it is listening to people and treating them with respect and consideration. going and doing the right thing and not doing the minimum that has to be done. It should require guns be safer like being chipped so no one other than the owner can use it.

Filling a country with guns, especially automatic weapons is a bizarre way to promote safety. Each year over 9,000 people in the USA die in gun related incidents - from a child finding a loaded gun in an adult's bedside draw and playing with it, to intentional mass murder. Terrorists as a one off managed to kill 3000 people in a dreadful atrocity and they are considered a threat. But the 9000+ deaths are each year. So statistically Americans are a greater threat to themselves than International Terrorists are.

It is not the law we need to change, but people's hearts. However when you have a society that doesn't teach morals, manners or holding someone accountable for their actions and the consequences that go with those actions, taking away guns is going to cure it.

If a person has evil or murder in their heart, it doesn't matter if they have access to a gun or not. Lots of objects can become a weapon, and someone trained in martial arts can kill without any object or weapon.

Unfortunately, your premise isn't supported by fact. There are any number of countries that mimic our culture. Most notably European countries. And none of them experience death by firearm the way we do. We are unique among industrialized nations in that respect.

Also, the first thing a socialist or communist countries is to take away the citizens weapons. Easier to control unarmed people.
I think it is supported when you look at history. You have plenty of generations who grew up with guns in the home. However you actually had parents who taught their children the dangers of guns and the consequences. These generations were taught respect for laws, people in positions of authority. You didn't have mass media glorifying shooting and killing. There was discipline in the home, and in school. Now the culture is it is no laws or rules apply to me, I can do what I want and there are no consequences.

According to the FBI more people were killed by blunt objects than by rifles and shotguns. So should we ban hammers and bats and all other blunt objects?

Come on, when you have people who will kill somebody just because they were de-friended on Facebook, you have a serious moral and cultural problem, than a weapon problem.

The study, which just appeared in Volume 30, Number 2 of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy (pp. 649-694), set out to answer the question in its title: "Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence." Contrary to conventional wisdom, and the sniffs of our more sophisticated and generally anti-gun counterparts across the pond, the answer is "no." And not just no, as in there is no correlation between gun ownership and violent crime, but an emphatic no, showing a negative correlation: as gun ownership increases, murder and suicide decreases.

The findings of two criminologists - Prof. Don Kates and Prof. Gary Mauser - in their exhaustive study of American and European gun laws and violence rates, are telling:

Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. The study found that the nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000 population) have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000 population).

For example, Norway has the highest rate of gun ownership in Western Europe, yet possesses the lowest murder rate. In contrast, Holland's murder rate is nearly the worst, despite having the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe. Sweden and Denmark are two more examples of nations with high murder rates but few guns. As the study's authors write in the report:

If the mantra "more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death" were true, broad cross-national comparisons should show that nations with higher gun ownership per capita consistently have more death. Nations with higher gun ownership rates, however, do not have higher murder or suicide rates than those with lower gun ownership. Indeed many high gun ownership nations have much lower murder rates. the study also shows that Russia's murder rate is four times higher than the U.S. and more than 20 times higher than Norway. This, in a country that practically eradicated private gun ownership over the course of decades of totalitarian rule and police state methods of suppression. Needless to say, very few Russian murders involve guns.

The important thing to keep in mind is not the rate of deaths by gun - a statistic that anti-gun advocates are quick to recite - but the overall murder rate, regardless of means. The criminologists explain:

[P]er capita murder overall is only half as frequent in the United States as in several other nations where gun murder is rarer, but murder by strangling, stabbing, or beating is much more frequent.

The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world - an average of 88 per 100 people. That puts it first in the world for gun ownership - and even the number two country, Yemen, has significantly fewer - 54.8 per 100 people
• But the US does not have the worst firearm murder rate - that prize belongs to Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica. In fact, the US is number 28, with a rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people
• Puerto Rico tops the world's table for firearms murders as a percentage of all homicides - 94.8%. It's followed by Sierra Leone in Africa and Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.

Deterrent to crimes (all crimes including murder) is to have EFFECTIVE PUNISHMENT and CONSEQUENCES.
America's high crime rates can be attributed to re volving-door justice. In a typical year in the U.S., there are 8.1 million serious crimes like homicide, assault, and burglary. Only 724,000 adults are arrested and fewer still (193,000) are convicted. Less than 150,000 are sentenced to prison, with 36,00 0 serving less than a year (U.S. News and World Report, July 31, 1989). A 1987 National Institute of Justice study found that the average felon released due to prison overcrowding commits upwards of 187 crimes per year, costing society approximately $430, 000.

Foreign countries are two to six times more effective in solving crimes and punishing criminals than the U.S. In London, about 20% of reported robberies end in conviction; in New York City, less than 5% result in conviction, and in those cases imprisonment is frequently not imposed. Nonetheless, England annually has twice as many homicides with firearms as it did before adopting its tough laws. Despite tight licensing procedures, the handgun-related robbery rate in Britain rose about 200% during the past dozen years, five times as fast as in the U.S.
art of Japan's low crime rate is explained by the efficiency of its criminal justice system, fewer protections of the right to privacy, and fewer rights for criminal suspects than exist in the United States. Japanese police routinely search citizens at will and twice a year pay "home visits" to citizens' residences. Suspect confession rate is 95% and trial conviction rate is over 99.9%. The Tokyo Bar Association has said that the Japanese police routinely "...engage in torture or illegal treatment. Even in cases where suspects claimed to have been tortured and their bodies bore the physical traces to back their claims, courts have still accepted their confessions." Neither the powers and secrecy of the police nor the docility of defense counsel would be acceptable to most Americans. In addition, the Japanese police understate the amount of crime, particularly covering up the problem of organized crime, in order to appear more efficient an d worthy of the respect the citizens have for the police.

Gun prohibitionists use this myth to oppose legislative proposals to allow law-abiding citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed firear ms. In spite of this opposition, numerous states have adopted favorable concealed carry laws over the past few years. In each case, anti-gun activists and politicians predicted that allowing law-abiding people to carry firearms would result in more deaths and injuries as people would resort to gunfire to settle minor disputes. Shoot-outs over fender-benders and Wild-West lawlessness were predicted in an effort to stir up public fear of reasonable laws.When the concealed carry laws were passed and put into pract ice, the result was completely different from the hysterical claims of the gun prohibitionists. In Florida, since the concealed carry law was changed in 1987, the homicide rate has dropped 21%, while the national rate has risen 12%. Across the nation, states with favorable concealed carry laws have a 33% lower homicide rate overall and 37% lower robbery rate than states that allow little or no concealed carry.

I wish I had time to illustrate where you are wrong on each and every point, but I don’t. I’ll come back and address some of the lesser points going forward and in the coming days.

Facts matter. History matters. With that said, here are some facts deserving of your consideration.

“Puerto Rico tops the world's table for firearms murders as a percentage of all homicides - 94.8%. It's followed by Sierra Leone in Africa and Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.”

Indeed… But are you aware that Puerto Rico is part of the United States? That Puerto Rico is populated by citizens of the United States, and subject to all US Laws….

“Also, the first thing a socialist or communist countries is to take away the citizens weapons. Easier to control unarmed people.”

No, in fact the opposite is true. Among popular myths on the right, this one is arguably the most popular. In fact, they eagerly apply National Socialist Germany as their prime example. It is absolutely inaccurate- a myth. In fact the exact opposite is true. Nazi Germany actually repealed the gun control measures that were in place under the previous Weimar Republic.

“According to the FBI more people were killed by blunt objects than by rifles and shotguns.”

Uh, no… I have no idea where you get your facts. But wherever they come from, you might want to take a very critical and skeptical look at the facts and statements they are giving you.

This is entirely wrong. And to see just how wrong it is, all you need to do is go directly to the FBI. Below is a link that does just that. The vast, overwhelming number of homicides in this country are by firearm.

From your table above it shows that were 323 murders by rifle in 2011
356 by shotgun
496 by blunt objects, which is exactly what i posted. last time I checked 496 is greater than 323 or 356.
also 728 by no weapon at all other than the human body (which i stated about martial arts). In 1609, the Satsuma clan of Kyushu invaded and conquered Okinawa. It is widely held that a secret conference of karate masters was held in 1629 to organize an underground resistance movement against the Satsuma, but there are no records now extant to suggest that any organized resistance to Satsuma rule actually occurred. In 1699, the Satsuma instituted a complete ban on private ownership of weapons, along with rigorous enforcement of this edict. Once again, this kindled interest in empty-hand martial arts among the Okinawans. It also served to force its practice and instruction into secrecy, resulting in a proliferation of styles of Te and Kenpo, most of which were maintained as family secrets -- passed down only from father to eldest son for generations. So, it was over 100 years after the Satsuma invasion until the first widely-known karate master emerged.

Gun ownership in the People's Republic of China is heavily regulated by law. Generally, private citizens are not allowed to possess guns.


Gun laws in Vietnam are generally referred to as restrictive. The only type of weapon Vietnamese citizens may own is a shotgun, and this is only after a license has been issued. The individual applying for the license must provide valid reasoning for wanting the shotgun such as hunting, and must be at least 18 years of age. Handguns and automatic weapons are prohibited.

In practice, only hunters own guns in Korea. (And hunters are not many in Korea.) By regulation, hunters cannot keep their guns all the time -- they must keep their guns at the police station during off-season. Handguns are pretty much nonexistent among civilians.

To quote Hitler"“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories, and a system of military strong-points must be evolved to cover the entire occupied country.”

Nazi Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

"“If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”
- Joseph Stalin

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. By 1987 that figure had risen to 61,911,000.

“The measures adopted to restore public order are: First of all, the elimination of the so-called subversive elements. … They were elements of disorder and subversion. On the morrow of each conflict I gave the categorical order to confiscate the largest possible number of weapons of every sort and kind. This confiscation, which continues with the utmost energy, has given satisfactory results.”
- Benito Mussolini, address to the Italian Senate, 1931

“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”
- Mao Tze Tung, Nov 6 1938

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952 10,076,000 political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated in Kuomintang China, and by 1987 another 35,236,000 exterminations were carried out under the Communists.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. Between 1975 and 19793, 2,035,000 “educated” people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

During the short four years of its rule in Cambodia, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge government murdered over 31 percent of the entire Cambodian population.

Our founding fathers also recognized the need for a MORAL SOCIETY, which something we don't have now.

“A free people ought to be armed.”
– George Washington

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”
– Thomas Jefferson,

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.”
- Patrick Henry
“Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense.”
- John Adams

“To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them.”
– George Mason,

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms.”
- James Madison,

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
- Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights

Down through history, governments have disarmed their citizens only to tyrannize those citizens once they were disarmed.

After the government of the Ottoman Empire quickly crushed an Armenian revolt in 1893, tens of thousands of Armenians were murdered by mobs armed and encouraged by the government. As anti-Armenian mobs were being armed, the government attempted to convince Armenians to surrender their guns.

Soviet Union..In October 1918, the Council of People's Commissars (the government) ordered the surrender of all firearms, ammunition, and sabres. [15] As has been the case in almost every nation where firearms registration has been introduced, registration proved a prelude to confiscation. Exempt from the confiscation order, however, were members of the Communist Party.

After Germany's defeat in World War I, the democratic Weimar government, fearing (with good cause) efforts by Communists or the militaristic right to overthrow the government, ordered the surrender of all firearms. Governmental efforts to disarm the civilian population--in part to comply with the Versailles Treaty--apparently ended in 1921

In 1873, firearms sales were prohibited, and firearms owners were required to turn their guns over to the government.

Amin's army numbered about 25,000 and his secret police--the "State Research Bureau"--only 3,000. [94] The army was ill-disciplined and incompetent, and collapsed not long after Amin began his ill-advised war against Tanzania in late 1978. [95] How could such a small and pathetic army get away with mass murder against a nation of thirteen million people? Is it possible that a disarmed Ugandan population was easier to murder than an armed one?

That is really my point....people, which is what I said in my first response. Crime starts in the hearts and minds of people. Also look at the judicial systems ( or consequences rendered) There has to be a deterrent that is effective in making one stop and think about the consequences.

5 More Responses

I am sorry for the tragedy in your community. You correctly focus on the concept of the "responsible gun owner." Anyone is susceptible to rage that overrides rational thought. Most of people lack the capability to cause any serious harm and the moment passes with, at most, some ill-chosen harsh words. However, access to a gun can make the moment irreversible.

Yes, it happened in my community 2 years ago less then a mile from my house, I was headed for that Safeway shopping center, where there was a shooting massacre where 11 shot, 6 dead and Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords was shot in the head. I watched the helicopter land and carry her to the UMC trauma center here in Tucson Az (where there is no gun control whatsoever!) I was sitting in traffic about a half mile, not even....when this happened!

I totally understand what you are saying and I don't find this a simple issue in any way, shape or form but I'm sorry I don't agree that it's about's about people resort to violence and they can do that without a gun be it with car, knife, sword or baseball bat. This lady would and could have died just the same from being stabbed.

I don't intend to get into a debate or argument. We've seen enough of that. And I don't mean that disrespectfully, because unlike many on your side of this position you seem intelligent, considered, and well spoken.

But having said that, you are wrong. These two women could not have been killed in this place and at this time with anything but a gun. Which if not for bullet proof vests, we would be talking at two more dead among those guarding this place. I also cite two other examples. And in neither of those would that carnage happened with a knife.

It is about the guns. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can move forward.

I suppose everyone to their own opinion but as a person trained in martial arts I know my main weapon is my mind. Not to be argumentative and just as an exercise in judgement and logic, if seems obvious that if no one pulls a trigger the gun cannot kill anyone. Sorry I know this is not a simple issue as I already said. Please tell me what is your solution then, ban all guns?

Thank you for writing such a thoughtful post, Sarah. I don't know how anyone could argue a single point you made. The insanity has to stop.