When Lack of Bullets Might Have Prolonged a Massacre

Obama and the Democrats believe they can dictate to Americans just how many bullets are “enough” (just like they tell us how much soda is enough, how much candy is enough, how much salt is enough, etc., etc., etc.). Central to the Obama/Dem argument is that nobody “needs” high-capacity magazines for self defense.

In response, gun rights advocates raised the example of the Georgia mother who ran out of bullets while protecting her two children from a home invader earlier this month. The intruder was wounded, but he was still able to run off. Critics of Obama/Dem gun policies rightly wondered what would have happened had there been more than one intruder, or if the mom hadn’t hit the man enough to slow him down.

I’d like to bring up another example, from one of the most notorious crimes in 20th Century American history – the University of Austin mass shooting on August 1st, 1966, when Charles Whitman murdered 14 people and injured 32 others while perched on the observation deck of the UT Austin bell tower (before embarking on his rampage, he’d also murdered his wife and mother).

That horrific incident has been recounted numerous times; no need to dwell on the gory details here. Let’s just skip to the end.

As Whitman was picking people off left and right, several law enforcement officials made their way to the top of the tower. Two Austin police officers, Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy, slowly went outside to the observation deck, where they heard Whitman shooting. Martinez had a .38 revolver, McCoy had a 12-gauge. As Martinez rounded a corner, he saw Whitman, about 50 feet away, and unloaded all six shots directly at the killer.

He missed. Every shot missed. And he was now out of ammo.

Whitman was about to return fire, but McCoy spun around the corner and blasted Whitman twice with the shotgun. The shots hit the head and neck, and Whitman was dead.

Now here’s my point. Martinez was a trained police officer (who would go on to have a fine career as a Texas Ranger). But at that moment, even with his training, he fired six rounds and missed. If that can happen to a professional, it can certainly happen to a civilian. Six bullets were not enough for Ramiro Martinez.

This is not to denigrate Martinez’s bravery. He and McCoy put their lives on the line that day to save innocent people and stop a madman. But if Martinez hadn’t had backup, backup not just in the form of another man, but in the form of more ammo, he’d have likely been killed, along with other people who Whitman would have been free to continue shooting at.

Obama and the Dems believe they know exactly how many bullets are “enough” for self-defense. They are full of crap. There is no standard for “enough.” There is only “make sure you have more than the person coming at you.”

Unlike in the movies, in real life, the good guys can miss.

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Martinez is second from the left, McCoy is third.

Martinez is second from the left, McCoy is third.

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(Postscript: Although the official autopsy of Charles Whitman found no evidence that any of Martinez’s bullets even grazed him, to this day one can find news reports incorrectly attributing Whitman’s death to Martinez, owing to poor reporting at the time of the incident, the slowness of the Austin PD to officially announce the sequence of events, and an amazingly inaccurate 1975 NBC/Ted Turner TV movie that was the subject of lawsuits by both Martinez and McCoy. I’m adding this postscript as a little jab at the conspiracy theorists who claim it’s “fishy” that there were conflicting media reports in the wake of Sandy Hook. In the Whitman case, there were conflicting and inaccurate media reports too, including reports that said he shot his mom, while other reports claimed he stabbed her. Media inaccuracy isn’t “fishy;” it’s the norm) 

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