Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NRA and the Pearl School Shooting example

Throughout the years, this post has gotten more visitors than any other on this blog... it's also gotten more comments, usually negative, from advocates on either side of the gun control issue calling me out for my position...(I've deleted the real nasty ones).  The point of this blog isn't necessarily about any given political issue, like guns, the blogs primary argument is that the "essence of normality, is the refusal of reality"... that no matter which side of the issue you're on somebody is trying to pull your strings...thus, your "reality" has been paid for and manipulated.  At the top of the page is a link to a video, about one of the prime string pullers, Bernay's, watch the video then order this book for more details...

The NRA may have gone publicly silent after the CT school shooting, but they are behind the scene's pulling the chains of their members.  Posted on Facebook and in "enlightened" forums such as this one NRA members are bringing up the 1997 shooting at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi.  They see it as an example of where a well armed citizenry, in this case the school's Assistant Principal, valiantly pulled his Colt and subdued a deranged gunman, preventing more deaths.

But, a closer look at that case - from wikipedia and other sources - doesn't tell the story they want it to tell.

First, the weapon - Woodham had a Marlin 30-30 hunting rifle.  Would the damage had been greater with an AR-15 and multiple Glocks?

Was it a gallant Assistant Principal, thanks only to his concealed weapon, who subdued Woodham?  No.  As the newspaper accounts in the second link makes clear, but Wikipedia leaves out, Woodham wrecked his car trying to flea, then the Assistant Principal grabbed the gun from his car and held him until authorities arrived.

And what this case clearly shows is that Woodham was a bullied, cross-dressing teen, growing up in a politically and socially conservative, Christian dominated part of the United States.  What if the community had welcomed diversity?  What if mental health treatment was as easy to get as a gun? 

Update:  Let me make another point, when I googled the Pearl shooting this morning and went to the wiki page it made clear that Woodham had hit a tree before being subdued by the Assistant Principal, that reference is no longer there.  So, looking at the edits on that Wikipedia page we see nearly 50 of them just this morning ...  Obviously, someone wants to make sure the strings get pulled and the Pearl River story gets told in the way they want it told.

A couple of books I'd recommend on the subject of gun control that take a reasonable look at the subject... the authors reach different conclusions but, they are well researched and may help you may your own decisions -
Targeting Guns - Kleck
The Gun Control Debate
The Politics of Gun Control

And a polemic that will piss many people off, but it it very well done and looks at a the various issues around these incidents - fear, bullying, culture, etc. - Bowling for Columbine


Chris said...

So what if he rammed his car into a tree? What if he had started shooting passer-bys? Or gone into a neighboring business or residential area? He couldnt have gone back into the High School and killed more people? Fact is, this principal potentially saved many lives by detaining him at gunpoint. He ended the threat to others who had no way of defending themselves. But that is all a mute point. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the SECURITY of a FREE state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be INFRINGED" is worded that way for a reason. It was written that way by much smarter and wiser, politically and socially aware men than you or I. These men knew it was the inevitable nature of governments and kings to become tyrants. They all move towards that, without exception, if they are allowed to. The people need to be on equal footing as the government when it comes to offensive weaponry in order to keep that power in check. If you want some real statistics on gun control, read through this. http://gunowners.org/fs0404.htm It even has sources and citations and they are all from legit studies done by independent, unbiased organizations.

Tovarich said...

As is the theme of this blog (see the heading and video link at the top of the page), here's the point I'm making - the NRA and others are pulling the strings of the public on this issue... they are pushing the Pearl River example out through their channels today in a coordinated effort for one reason - propaganda. And they are distorting the facts and telling half truths to do it.

I think it's legitimate to look at the Pearl River case, but if we're to learn from it we have to have all the facts. One side can't lie about it. They can't manipulate wikipedia to make it sound like something it wasn't - the story they're pushing is it wasn't a gun free zone that stopped this kid, it was a guy with a 45. Why does the tree matter? Because it, not a guy with a 45 stopped the murderer. Do a twitter search for the subject and these are the tweets you see:

"Ever hear about the Pearl River MS school shooting? The assistant principle shot the would be mass murder, end Gun Free Zones."
"Pearl River, MS. School Shooting 1997. Fascinating. Asst. principal had gun & stopped shooter. Only 2 died. Hmmm...media? ... coverage?"

It's the same on facebook and all over the internet today, mission accomplished for the NRA, (and they got their jab at the media in as well... which is part of their larger effort, it's "us", "our media", "our kind" against the rest) at the expense of facts, wisdom, and the truth, we get political slogans and propaganda.

Chris said...

Yea but why just focus on the NRA? Are the main news networks not full of predominately leftist propaganda? I whole-heartedly agree with you that the national discourse in our current society has deterioted to an idiotic level, but the NRA is definitely not the only guilty party. I completely support what the NRA stands for and because of that i must support them, even if they are contributing to the dumbing down of the masses.

Chris said...

Also, like Ive already stated, it wasnt the tree that detained that teenage killer. It was the .45 pistol pointed at him that kept him from improvising his plan and going back into the High School or neighboring business or home. The tree merely put a kink in his plan.

Ben said...

Do we know if the Asst. Principal's actions in retrieving his weapon caused this troubled child to abandon his shooting spree and flee the scene? Also your comment about the type of rifle needs rethinking. a 30-30 Marlin may be a "hunting rifle", but it's lever action can be used very rapidly and effectively making it a very dangerous weapon even if it would not be defined as an "assualt weapon" as previously defined by Federal law. We would also need to know how many shots were attempted before intervention before we can compare the efficacy of one weapon over another. I do agree with your overall point though. This is a very complicated issue and both sides of the debate need to engage in an intellectually honest dialogue. I'm not seeing much of that on either side.

Chris said...

Move on down here to South Texas and tell me assault weapons arent needed. I hate to destroy anybodys fantasy world, but we dont live in some Utopia. Assault rifles are the minimum necessary to fight these drug cartels and gangs that run rampant down here. Even then, law abiding citizens are at a disadvantage because these criminals turn those same Assault rifles into fully automatics. And again besides all of that, Assault rifles are the minimum necessary to fight a tyrannical government, which is what the 2nd Amendment is primarily concerned with. Simply put, neither I nor im sure most of my fellow law-abiding citizens, will ever give up my weapons.

Lauren Cox said...

Not that it really matters, but just to make things clear...the name of the high school is Pearl High School. Not Pearl River high school. I'm not quite sure how the word river was thrown into the mix here(we do have a pearl river 15 or so miles away though) but it has nothing to do with the school. Signed,
a Pearl High School graduate :)

Tovarich said...

Thanks Lauren. Good point, I've made that correction in my post.

Vanessa Meeks said...

You know...we are not a bunch of toothless, intolerant, ignorant people in the south. And for someone to try to excuse a killer by saying it was the fault of the community is laughable. If that is your argument, how do you explain the Connecticut shootings? Which, I guess I need to explain to you, is located in the north, where everyone is so enlightened, tolerant, and nurturing to crazed killers.

John Doe said...

So I went through the history tab for previous versions of the article and no mention of a tree even in November versions. Can you link me to a previous versions page that supports your claim that Wikipedia made mention of the crash and was redacted? Thanks.

Tovarich said...


Here is the entry copied that morning which I saved to Evernote:

Pearl High School shooting


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Religious involvement

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Trials and incarceration


External links

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This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2010)

Pearl High School shooting Location Pearl, Mississippi, United States

Date October 1, 1997 (UTC-6)

Attack type School shooting, spree killing, matricide

Weapon(s) Marlin Model 336 .30-30-caliber rifle, knife

Deaths 3, including Luke Woodham's mother

Injured 7

Perpetrator Luke Woodham

Motive (Majorly) School bullying, (Minorly) Childhood Abuse

The Pearl High School shooting was a school shooting that took place on October 1, 1997 at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. The gunman, 16-year-old Luke Woodham (born February 5, 1981), killed two students and injured seven others at his high school. Before the shooting at Pearl High School began, Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned his mother to death in his home.

The incident began on the morning of October 1, 1997 when Luke Woodham fatally stabbed and bludgeoned his mother, Mary Woodham, as she prepared for a morning jog. At his trial, Woodham claimed that he could not remember killing his mother.

Woodham drove his mother's car to Pearl High School. Wearing a trenchcoat, to hide his rifle when he entered the school, Woodham fatally shot Lydia Kaye Dew and Christina Menefee, his former girlfriend. Pearl High School assistant band director, Jeff Cannon, was standing five feet away from Dew when she was fatally shot. Woodham went on to wound seven others before leaving in his mother's car. [1][2]

However, assistant principal Joel Myrick had retrieved a .45 pistol from the glove compartment of his truck and subdued Woodham inside his mother's car after he hit a tree. Then Myrick demanded "Why did you shoot my kids?" to which Woodham replied, "Life has wronged me, sir." Minutes before he started the shooting, he gave the following message to a friend [3] : “ Iamnotinsane,Iamangry.Iama cross dresser. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society, push us and we will push back. ... All throughout my life, I was ridiculed, always beaten, always hated. Can you, society, truly blame me for what I do? Yes, you will. ... It was not a cry for attention, it was not a cry for help. It was a scream in sheer agony saying that if you can't pry your eyes open, if I can't do it through pacifism, if I can't show you through the displaying of intelligence, then I will do it with a bullet.

On October 8, 1997 Grant Boyette, Delbert Shaw, Donald Brooks, Wesley Brownell, Daniel Thompson and Justin Sledge were arrested in suspicion of conspiring with Woodham to commit the shooting. During his trial, Woodham claimed to have gotten ideas of committing the murders by being involved with a Satanic cult. Woodham admitted to being a Satanist, and claimed that his friend Grant Boyette invited Woodham to join a Satanic group known as "The Kroth." He claimed that Boyette told him that he had "potential to do something great." Woodham said that Boyette promised him that he could get his ex-girlfriend back or get even through black magic. [4]

Tovarich said...

After his conviction Woodham converted to Christianity, and said the following in a letter [5]

written to evangelical minister David Wilkerson: “ David, I receive your sermons through the mail. I am one of the school shooters. I’m the one they blame for starting it all off. On October 1, 1997, I went into Pearl High School and killed two students and wounded seven. I also killed my mother before this. After I came to jail I got saved. If there is any way that I can help your ministry, I would love to. Maybe I could give you my testimony. I’ll do anything to help. I look forward to your sermons each month… ”

Search Wikipedia

John Doe said...

Thanks Tovarich. I always like to double check facts just in case. Nothing worse than looking like a fool :)

Jeff Hatton said...

I think we can all agree that CNN is pretty much the farthest east you can get if conservatism were the west. Funny, but I just read CNN's account of this and they never mention the assistant principle, tree or him trying to get away. They just left all that out. They also stated that he was egged on by a cult member that he was involved in. They also left out any mention of cross dressing.....hmmm. I'm kinda thinking that you sir are the one with mixed up facts. If I know CNN they would love the opportunity to bring the fault to a bunch of redneck homophobes and this poor kid was pushed to his limit.
Here is the CNN report

Tovarich said...

Here's the quote from Woodham:

"I am not insane, I am angry. I am a cross dresser. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society, push us and we will push back. … All throughout my life, I was ridiculed, always beaten, always hated. Can you, society, truly blame me for what I do? Yes, you will. … It was not a cry for attention, it was not a cry for help. It was a scream in sheer agony saying that if you can’t pry your eyes open, if I can’t do it through pacifism, if I can’t show you through the displaying of intelligence, then I will do it with a bullet."

Maybe he was lying, maybe it was his infatuation with Hitler, or just a damaged kid, infatuated with a girl he couldn't have... but, I argue, that the point is this - no matter how much some wish it were so, there are no easy answers and MANY have used this tragedy to pull people strings.

As for CNN... I've written a lot about this on this blog (http://essenceofnormality.blogspot.com/2011/12/illusion-of-choice.html and http://essenceofnormality.blogspot.com/2010/07/manufacturing-consent.html for example) and won't belabor the point, but suffice to say we don't agree. I argue that ALL main stream, corporate controlled, news are essentially the same, no matter how much you've been led to believe that they represent some scale of truth versus fiction, or liberal versus conservative.