Do Guns Make A Nation Safe?




Recently I came across a video by ScIQ, which is a group linked with The Young Turks, which made some rather odd statements regarding safety and gun ownership. This is what Jayde Lovell had to say in her video:

“…So it turns out that our confidence in guns is woefully missguided, the evidence overwhelimingley shows that guns leave everbody less safe including their owners and this is not my opinion, these are the facts…” ~ Jayde Lovell, ScIQ

Jayde Lovell goes on to say:

“One study published in the reputable American Journal of Medicine looked at 27 developed countries to see if there was a relationship between guns and safety. They found no correlation between guns per capita per country and the crime rate meaning that if you add more guns to the population you don’t do much to affect the amount of crime, but what they found was a significant positive correlation between the number of guns in the population and firearm related deaths, basically the more guns the more people that die of gun injuries” ~ Jayde Lovell, ScIQ

Ironically ScIQ provided a link to an Harvard Law study called “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide” which goes against what she is saying in her video and here is what I found in that study within the first few pages:

“The same pattern appears when comparisons of violence to gun ownership are made within nations. Indeed, ‘data on firearms ownership by constabulary area in England,’ like data from the United States, show ‘a negative correlation,’ that is, ‘where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense violent crime rates are highest.'” ~ Harvard Law Study – Page 5 (653)

So, what this study says is that more guns mean less crime and less guns mean more crime. Common sense really, but many anti-gun people seem to be blind to common sense and logic. So blind that they link to a study which goes against what they are saying. Let’s take a further look at this Harvard Law study which ScIQ recommended we read:

“International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns means more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths. Unfortunately, such discussions are all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative. It may be useful to begin with a few examples. There is a compound assertion that (a) guns are uniquely available in the United States compared with other modern developed nations, which is why (b) the United States has by far the highest murder rate. Though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, statement (b) is, in fact, false and statement (a) is substantially so.

Since at least 1965, the false assertion that the United States has the industrialized world’s highest murder rate has been an artifact of politically motivated Soviet minimization designed to hide the true homicide rates. Since well before that date, the Soviet Union possessed extremely stringent gun controls that were effectuated by a police state apparatus providing stringent enforcement. So successful was that regime that few Russian civilians now have firearms and very few murders involve them. Yet, manifest success in keeping its people disarmed did not prevent the Soviet Union from having far and away the highest murder rate in the developed world.” ~ Harvard Law Study – Page 2 (650)

Interesting, Russia has less guns due to its strong gun control thanks to the era of the Soviet Union yet it has the highest murder rate in the developed world. Who would have thought? Well certainly not Jayde or she might have felt a bit silly when presenting this video:

Jayde continues:

“The question of ‘do guns make a nation safer’ has been tested multiple times. One study, published in the highly reputable American Journal of Medicine, looked at 27 developed countries, to see if there was a relationship between guns, and safety.

They found : no correlation between guns per capita per country and crime rate – meaning that even if you add more guns to a population, you don’t do much to affect crime.” ~ Jayde Lovell, ScIQ

Really? They found no correlation between guns per capita per country and crime rate? Let’s look at the table which was provided by the Harvard Law study below:

What this table shows are that Finland which as 39,000 gun owners as a murder rate of 1.98 while Russia which as a 4,000 gun owners as a murder rate of 20.54. Surely, if Jayde was correct then Russia should have far less murders. Also, Finland should have a higher murder rate since they have a greater amount of gun owners yet that’s not what the published study by Harvard shows. Let’s look at the second table presented by Harvard Law looking at Hand Gun policy compared to Murder Rates:

I should note that in the published study Harvard Law stress that they “are not arguing that the data in Table 2 shows that gun control causes nations to have much higher murder rates then neighbouring nations that permit handgun ownership.” They go on to say that countries which have problems with violence tend to adopt stricter gun control laws to reduce crime only their attempts don’t work. So, banning guns does not lead to a reduction of gun crime or in this case murder rates. In fact, banning guns as little effect on crime.

“No matter how one approaches the figures, one is forced to the rather startling conclusion that the use of firearms in crime was very much less [in England before 1920] when there were no controls of any sort and when anyone, convicted criminal or lunatic, could buy any type of firearm without restriction.” ~ Harvard Law Study – Page 17 (665)

So back when there were no gun controls in England there was far less crimes involving the use of a gun despite the fact anybody could own a gun including mentally ill people intent on causing harm and committing crime. On Page 17 (665) of the Harvard Law Study the question is asked: “Do Ordinary People Murder?”

“The ‘more guns equal more death’ mantra seems plausible only when viewed through the rubric that murders mostly involve ordinary people who kill because they have access to a firearm when they get angry. If this were true, murder might well increase where people have ready access to firearms, but the available data provides no such correlation. Nations and areas with more guns per capital do not have higher murder rates than those with fewer guns per capita.” ~ Harvard Law Study – Page 17-18 (665-666)

Clearly Jayde and ScIQ have an anti-gun agenda and are willing to lie and mislead people for that agenda. What strikes me the most about the lies is the fact that they would link to a study that goes against their own agenda. I can only assume they did not expect many people to take the time or effort to read through any of the studies. They, themselves didn’t even take the time and effort to read it otherwise I doubt they would have linked to it. Let’s look further at what Jayde said in her video and see how that correlates to the Harvard Law Study:

“A 1993 study published in none other than the New England Journal of Medicine found that just the presence of a firearm in the house makes it three times more likely that someone will be murdered by an intimate partner or a family member – usually during arguments. Basically, if you have a gun in your home, you’re way more likely to be murdered, or to murder someone else, or to kill yourself.” ~ Jayde Lovell, ScIQ


“Would We Be Safer If We All Had Guns? (Gun Control Debate)”, ScIQ, The Young Turks

No, this is not true and the Harvard Law Study addresses this false belief. If only Jayde had taken time to read the study! What the published study says is:

“Nevertheless, critics of gun ownership often argue that a ‘gun in the closet to protect against burglars will most likely be used to shoot a spouse in a moment of rage…The problem is you and me_law abiding folks;’ that banning handgun possession only for those with criminal records will ‘fail to protect us from the most likely source of handgun murder: ordinary citizens;’ that ‘most gun-related homicides…are the result of impulsive actions taken by individuals who have little or no criminal background or who are known to the victims;’ that ‘the majority of firearm homicide[s occur]..not as a result of criminal activity, but because of arguments between people who know each other;’ that each year there are thousands of gun murders ‘by law-abiding citizens who might have stayed law-abiding if they had not possessed firearms.’

These comments appear to rest on no evidence and actually contradict facts that have so uniformly been established by homicide studies dating back to the 1890’s that they have become ‘criminological axioms.’ Insofar as studies focus on perpetrators, they show that neither a majority , nor many, nor virtually any murderers are ordinary ‘law-abiding citizens.’ Rather, almost all murders are extremely aberrant individuals with life histories of violence, psychopathology, substance abuse and other dangerous behaviours.” ~ Harvard Law Study – Page 18 (666)

So, what is clear, is that owning a gun does not mean you are more likely to use the gun just because you have access to a gun. In fact, what the study shows is that those with a criminal past are likely to use a gun and if you know anything about criminals, you should know that they don’t obey the law so banning guns or making them illegal will never stop someone who is a criminal using a gun. Also, the study shows that an ordinary citizen having a gun does not mean that they will murder a person with it. Common sense should tell you that if that were the case people would use a kitchen knife to stab their loved one or friends in the heat of an argument. We just don’t see that happening from law-abiding citizens. Jayde suggested in her video that you are more likely to commit suicide if you have a gun.

“regardless of storage practice or type of gun, just having a gun in the home means an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide.” ~ Jayde Lovell, ScIQ

Again, this is false belief, one which the Harvard Law Study refutes and if Jayde had even bothered to read the study herself she would know that what she says in her video is wrong.

“Guns are just one among numerous available deadly instruments. Thus, banning guns cannot reduce the amount of suicides. Such measures only reduce the amount of suicides by firearms. Suicides committed in other ways increase to make up the difference. People do not commit suicide because they have guns available. They kill themselves for reasons they deem sufficient, and in the absence of firearms they just kill themselves in some other way.” Harvard Law Study – Page 45 (693)

Jayde asserts near the end of her video “but I know you trolls are going to tell me I’m wrong, so I dare you, I fucking dare you to link to any study that proves me wrong and I will enjoy tearing it to absolute shreds”.

Of course she knows people will tell her she is wrong. Notice how she refers to anyone who disagrees with her false statements as “trolls”. I wonder if that includes the people at Harvard Law who wrote the study? Well I doubt Jayde Lovell cam tear anything to shreds because it is very clear that she doesn’t read published studies, even those she talks about and links to in her video. The conclusion of this Harvard Law study:


By James Newman



BBC News

Police fear gun links between UK crime gangs and terrorists

October 31, 2016

Half of the terror plots prevented in the UK over the last two years involved extremists trying to buy guns, senior police officers have said. National Crime Agency (NCA) chief Lynne Owens said criminals “think nothing about who they sell firearms to”. UK security services have warned of the growing risk of a marauding gun attack, similar to those in Paris and Mumbai. A major campaign is being launched to try to clamp down on the supply of illegal firearms. The NCA said the appeal was aimed at anyone who might see guns smuggled through smaller ports of entry to the UK. The UK terror level is currently severe – meaning an attack is highly likely. Counter-terrorism officers believe the fact Britain is surrounded by water gives police a significant advantage in controlling the flow of guns into the country. But senior figures say a recent increase in the numbers of guns seized from criminals is making them “anxious”.

Ms Owens said preventing the supply of guns has “never been a more significant priority”. “Criminal networks, who think nothing about who they sell firearms to, present a significant route by which extremist groups will try to access the sort of weapons used in recent attacks in Europe.” Some 130 people were killed in gun and bomb attacks in Paris in November last year, while the 2008 Mumbai attacks left 174 people dead, including nine gunmen. Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner and national policing lead for counter-terrorism Mark Rowley said: “With terrorism you’ve got some vulnerable, lost people who just get hooked by an ideology. “You’ve got some very bright, determined, clear-thinking people who buy into and fully commit and are drivers of Daesh (Islamic State) propaganda and terrorism. “And then you do get gang members, criminals, people who are already angry, difficult people causing problems in communities who perhaps get given a more clear purpose for their violence by a terrorist ideology, whether they pick that up on the streets or in prison.

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Chicago Tribune.png

Uber driver, licensed to carry gun, shoots gunman in Logan Square

April 20, 2015

Authorities say no charges will be filed against an Uber driver who shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people in Logan Square over the weekend. The driver had a concealed-carry permit and acted in the defense of himself and others, Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn said in court Sunday. A group of people had been walking in front of the driver around 11:50 p.m. Friday in the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue when Everardo Custodio, 22, began firing into the crowd, Quinn said. The driver pulled out a handgun and fired six shots at Custodio, hitting him several times, according to court records.

Responding officers found Custodio lying on the ground, bleeding, Quinn said.  No other injuries were reported. Custodio was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic hospital, where he was treated for gunshot wounds to the shin, thigh and lower back, authorities said. Custodio, of the 2900 block of North Ridgeway Avenue, was charged with aggravated assault and unlawful use of a weapon charges.  He was denied bond during the Sunday court hearing. The Uber driver, a 47-year-old resident of Little Italy, provided police with a valid concealed-carry permit and a firearm owner’s identification card, Quinn said.

Copyright © Chicago Tribune



BBC News

Armed police to patrol six London boroughs after rise in gun crime

May 25, 2016

Armed police patrols will target London’s gun crime hotspots such as Hackney, Lambeth and Southwark after a rise in the number of shootings. Met Police chiefs say there are more guns on the streets which have fuelled a “significant” rise in the number of shootings in the past three months. There were 226 shootings in 2015. So far this year there have been 122, with a particular rise since March. Newham, Haringey and Brent were also highlighted as shooting hotspots. Operation Viper, with 50 officers, will aim to crack down on gun crime in the six areas, with marksmen accompanying officers on traffic stops. The Viper squads will also carry out weapons sweeps and targeted raids. Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the difference between life and death can be “an inch, or alternatively a good surgeon”.

Rewards of £2,000 are being offered for information that leads to the seizure of guns and the prosecution of criminals linked to them. Scotland Yard said the majority of shootings last year involved handguns. In 2015, 56% were handguns, 27% shotguns, 2% automatic weapons and 15% unknown or converted imitations. Among the victims, 42% had links to gangs and half of victims had links to drug dealing. Sir Bernard said a rise in shootings nationally suggests more weapons are getting on to the streets. He said it was possible more guns than police knew about had “got through” and had landed in the hands of criminals. “Clearly in some areas there is a gang element to it but that doesn’t account for all of it,” the Met boss added. “The fact that we’re seeing it across the country in the big cities probably indicates that we’re talking about more supply.”

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NBC News

Gunman Shot, Killed Inside West Philly Barbershop

March 22, 2015

Police say a man likely saved the lives of several people when he shot and killed a gunman inside a West Philadelphia barbershop. A 40-year-old man was inside Falah Barber Shop Inc. on the 600 block of Preston Street shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday when police say he began fighting with another person inside. “They were arguing,” said 16-year-old Yusaf Mack who was a customer inside the shop at the time. “They were taking it too far and one of the barbers said, ‘chill out.'” The fight quickly escalated and the 40-year-old man took out his gun and opened fire on customers and barbers, police said. “I heard gunshots so I ducked and I ran,” said Mack. As he was shooting, another man outside heard the gunfire, ran into the shop and took out his own gun, according to investigators.

He then opened fire, striking the 40-year-old man once in the chest. “He just shot him and when he was done shooting he ran,” Mack said. The 40-year-old man was taken to Presbyterian Hospital where he later died from his injuries. Police have not yet revealed his identity.Police said there were children inside the shop at the time but no one else was hurt. The man who killed the gunman later surrendered to police at the 16th District Headquarters. Investigators say at this point it appears the shooting was in self-defense and the man likely will not face any charges. They continue to investigate however. “The person who responded was a legal gun permit carrier,” said Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Llewellyn. “He responded and I guess he saved a lot of people in there.”

Copyright © NBC News



The Mail UK

(UK) Gun crime doubled, figures set to show

Reports said that the figures would show gun crime had doubled under Labour and that an average of 22 firearms offences were committed every day in Britain. The Home Office refused to comment ahead of the publication of the figures on Thursday. As part of a crackdown on gun crime, thought to have been planned long before the murders in Aston, Birmingham on New Year’s Day, the Prime Minister is reported to be announcing a ban on replica guns where air rifles are adapted to fire live bullets. Downing Street would not confirm the report in the Sunday Telegraph. A spokesman said: “The Prime Minister’s concerns about gun crime are very well known.” Home Secretary David Blunkett has called a summit of police chiefs, community representatives from across the country, customs and immigration officials, and the Crown Prosecution Service on Friday in a bid to tackle gun crime.

It is intended to uncover gaps in legislation on gun crime and will highlight the problem of the import of guns from the Balkans. Mr Blunkett joined police chiefs in appealing for information about the killers of cousins Latisha Shakespear and Charlene Ellis and said without the co-operation of the communities the police faced an “impossible task”. Mr Blunkett told The Sunday Telegraph: “The thing that worries me about black on black crime is that without co-operation of the communities closest to those carrying and using guns, the police have an impossible task. “I join with those who have appealed to the communities to play their part. “This is an issue for us all, not just the law enforcement agencies.” The Home Secretary is to make an announcement this week on proposals for a minimum five-year sentence for carrying guns.

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SOURCE = Daily Mail




Official: Suspect in deadly hospital shooting had lengthy history of gun arrests, violence

July 26, 2014

A psychiatric patient who killed his caseworker — and grazed his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back — has a lengthy history of gun arrests, violence and mental health problems, authorities said. Dr. Lee Silverman emptied his gun’s chamber, striking patient Richard Plotts several times, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said. Plotts by then had shot the caseworker in the face and fired several shots at Silverman, including one that grazed his temple and another that struck his thumb, he said. Plotts had 39 unspent bullets on him when he was wrestled to the ground at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, just southwest of Philadelphia, and police believe he had planned to use them. “If the doctor did not have a firearm, (and) the doctor did not utilize the firearm, he’d be dead today, and I believe that other people in that facility would also be dead,” Whelan said.

Police in Upper Darby, where Plotts lived, were aware of at least three mental health commitments — including once after he cut his wrists and once when he threatened suicide — but said such stays can last just one to three days. Whelan said Plotts had spent time in a mental health facility, but he did not discuss any potential diagnosis. Plotts also had at least four gun arrests, along with assault and drug charges, according to police and court records. And he has been barred from at least one residential shelter because of his violent history, Upper Darby police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. “The caseworkers and the doctors and the catchment centers — they know who violent individuals are, because they’re frequent fliers,” Chitwood said. “And the system is not geared toward keeping these people housed somewhere until they start to be better. So you put whole communities at risk.” Cathy Nickel, a neighbor at Plotts’ last known address, an apartment complex in Upper Darby, saw a caseworker move him out of the building about a year ago. As he was taken away in a van, she said, he yelled, “You haven’t heard the end of me!”

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SOURCE = Fox News



Met Police

Men jailed for series of armed robberies

October 31, 2016

Two convicted armed robbers, who are currently serving sentences, have been further jailed after Flying Squad detectives managed to link them to other offences. The robbers were identified following the arrest and conviction of a third man, Bright Darko, 30 (25.09.86) of Grebe Close, Walthamstow. Darko was arrested by Flying Squad officers immediately after committing an armed robbery at a bookmaker’s on Kilburn High Road, NW6 on 25 November 2015. Flying Squad officers had been monitoring Darko’s movements after a spate of armed robberies in north London. On that day, Darko was seen to scope out potential venues before spending an hour monitoring a shop on Kilburn High Road before carrying out the offence. Officers swooped on Darko as he attempted to flee following the robbery and he was caught in possession of a quantity of cash. Darko appeared in court at the Old Bailey charged with the Kilburn High Road offence on 10 December 2015 and pleaded guilty. However, officers pieced together further evidence which left Darko with no option but to plead guilty to a further 12 offences, all committed in 2015, when he appeared at the same court in March.

In all the offences, Darko carried an imitation firearm which he used to threaten staff. Darko was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday, 28 October to a total of 12 years’ imprisonment for 13 armed robberies. The judge made reference to Darko’s “campaign of armed robbery” that had a clear psychological impact on the several victims affected. As work continued into Darko’s activities, it was uncovered that two other men had been involved in some of the offences. Officers identified Syrus Hayles, 27, and Anthony Fagan, 54, as being associates of Darko’s. Both men had been jailed for nine years each in August 2015 after pleading guilty to five armed robberies in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex. However, evidence uncovered during the investigation into Darko pointed the finger at both men being involved in armed robberies prior to their previous arrest. On 5 December 2014, Hayles and Fagan robbed two bookmakers in north-east London. Hayles was armed on both occasions and threatened staff while Fagan kept lookout. The pair dressed as builders to carry out the offences, dressing in high-viz jackets and hard hats.

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SOURCE = Metropolitan Police



The Citizens Voice.png

Police: Plymouth homicide suspect shot by patron

September 10, 2012

The suspect accused of killing one man and wounding another in a Plymouth bar shooting early Sunday was stopped from his rampage when another armed bar patron shot him multiple times during a tense confrontation on Main Street outside the establishment.
William Allabaugh, 24, remains in critical condition in the hospital from multiple gunshot wounds and will be charged with criminal homicide upon recovery, police said in arrest papers. Investigators say Allabaugh shot a man in the head inside Bonnie’s Food and Spirits, 133 E. Main St., after being asked to leave the bar because customers complained he was armed, according to arrest papers filed by state and Plymouth police. Police said Allabaugh, of Plymouth, had also been making racial and anti-homosexual slurs while at the bar.

Stephen Hollman, 29, of Plymouth, who was located inside the bar with a wound to the head, remains in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said. After the initial shot inside the bar, police said the incident spilled outside and witnesses heard more shots fired. Police said Scott Luzetsky, 39, of Edwardsville, was found fatally shot on Main Street. An autopsy revealed he died of multiple gunshot wounds, the county coroner’s office said. Mark Ktytor, who was in the bar when the shooting erupted, told police he and bar manager Bob Wallace ducked behind a tree upon hearing the gunshots outside. They then saw Allabaugh walking toward them. Allabaugh was carrying a black semi-automatic handgun, Ktytor said, according to arrest papers.

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SOURCE = The Citizens Voice



Nottingham Post.png

(UK) Chilwell man could face trial over multiple firearms offences

October 31, 2016

A Chilwell man who is accused of multiple firearms offences may face trial next year. Lamarr Marquis, of Gayrigg Court, Chilwell, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court via video link on Monday afternoon. He is charged with two counts of having a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence, possessing prohibited ammunition and possession of a prohibited weapon in Chilwell on September 30. Police had been called to an incident in Inham Road in Chilwell at around 6pm on September 30.

Copyright © Nottingham Post




Churchgoers subdue gunman at Spartanburg church

March 26, 2012

A Boiling Springs man and his sister are accused of breaking into and pointing a shotgun at church full of members Sunday morning in Spartanburg County. About noon Sunday, deputies said 38-year-old Jesse Gates returned to the South Side Free Will Baptist Church on Upper Valley Falls Road in Boiling Springs, where he kicked in a door and entered the church armed with a shotgun before he was taken down by the pastor, the pastor’s grandson and two church members. Once deputies arrived Gates was taken into custody, along with his sister 34-year-old Angela Gates, and they two were transported to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. Jesse Gates didn’t hold back as he left sheriff’s office Sunday afternoon. In front of the media, he admitted to bringing a gun to the church that morning. “I wanted to see my kids,” Jesse Gates said. When asked why he brought a gun, he answered, “Because I went there one time and they wouldn’t help me.” Deputies said the case with Jesse Gates began early Sunday morning. Pastor Henry Guyton said Jesse Gates had been a regular at the church for the past few months – and on Sunday he showed up to the church complaining of chest pains.

He was checked out, and was medically cleared, but that wasn’t the last they saw of him. “He went home,” Henry Guyton said. “He came back with a gun.” The pastor’s grandson, Aaron Guyton, was the one with the concealed weapons permit in the church, and said he saw Gates when he came back. “We noticed he pulled back up,” Aaron Guyton said. “We noticed he went to the trunk of his car and pulled out a shotgun, so I went out with my gun and went through the back door and locked the door.” The pastor and the parishioners said they were able to get the gun away from Jesse Gates. He was eventually arrested – and so was his sister, who’s accused of aiding in the crime. Jesse Gates said he was there because he wanted to see his children, but that part of his story didn’t check out with deputies. “He’s claiming he came to see his kids,” said Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright. “His kids don’t go there.”

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SOURCE = Fox Carolina



Manchester Evening News.png

Gun crime on the rise? Our timeline shows 30 shootings in Greater Manchester in the last 14 months

August 3, 2015

The brazen shooting of a man standing outside a pub with his friends in Wythenshawe is the latest example of spiralling gun crime in Greater Manchester. Our timeline shows it is the latest of at least 30 shootings – three of them fatal – in the last 14 months, most of them in Salford. A police crackdown on gang and gun crime in south Manchester dubbed XCalibre – which included the jailing of key mobsters – almost wiped out gun incidents in places like Old Trafford, Moss Side and Longsight although tensions between the rival Gooch and Doddington outfits and various spin-offs continued.

Copyright © Manchester Evening News





S15A0891.Supreme Court of Georgia.

Decided: September 14, 2015.

NAHMIAS, Justice.

Appellant Jarmal Hill was convicted of felony murder and numerous other crimes in connection with a home invasion that resulted in the shooting death of his accomplice, Calvin Lavant. On appeal, he contends only that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. We affirm.[1]

1. On the night of May 2-3, 2009, Terrion Key and Charles Bailey hosted a party for a group of about a dozen friends at their apartment in College Park. Around 3:00 a.m., Appellant and Lavant, who lived in the same apartment complex, entered the apartment through an open sliding glass door. Appellant was armed with a black handgun and Lavant had a silver revolver; both men were dressed in black clothes and wore caps along with bandanas covering their noses and mouths. Appellant and Lavant ordered everyone in the apartment to lie on the floor and took their wallets, cell phones, and other valuables. Two former United States Marines, Sean Barner and James Adams, were attending the party but had gone outside briefly a few minutes before the home invasion; when they returned, they too were ordered at gunpoint to lie on the floor, and Appellant and Lavant took their cell phones, a wallet, and an iPod.

Appellant and Lavant ransacked the apartment for other items of value, and then decided to separate their male and female prisoners. The men were forced at gunpoint to go into the back bedroom and lie on the floor there, and two of the female guests were forced into the other bedroom, while the other two female guests remained in the living room. Lavant said to Appellant, “we are about to have sex with these girls, then we are going to kill them all.” Barner heard Appellant and Lavant discussing condoms and the number of bullets in their guns, and he decided that he needed to act. He had brought his book bag to the party, with his pistol in it, and, fortuitously, the bag was behind the bed in the bedroom where he was lying.

Barner took out his gun, stood up, and walked down the hallway into the living room with Adams following closely behind him. Barner saw Appellant standing by the front door of the apartment looking out and opened fire on Appellant, who ran out the sliding glass door. Barner then rushed back to the bedroom where Lavant was holding two of the women, shouted for everyone to get down, and broke down the door with his shoulder. Lavant had ordered the two women to bend over the bed, pulled one of the women’s underwear aside, and placed a condom over his penis. When Barner crashed into the room, Lavant started shooting at him. Barner fired back at Lavant, who fled through a window. Lavant was shot in the face and thigh, and one of the women in the room was hit in the arm and both legs, but she survived. The victims called 911.

Appellant and Lavant both fled towards Lavant’s building in the apartment complex. Lavant collapsed in the bushes outside his building, but Appellant continued on to the home of Lavant’s neighbor, Renaldo Weekes. Appellant arrived at Weekes’s door wearing all black and appearing “shook up” and “nervous.” He told Weekes that Lavant had been shot and was lying outside in the bushes, and after Weekes looked out the window and saw Lavant lying there, he called 911. Appellant claimed that Lavant had asked him to meet up at the front of the apartment complex because Lavant was being shot at, and when Appellant got there, he saw Lavant jump out of a window and then he and Lavant both started running.

The police arrived to process the crime scene and began interviewing witnesses. Weekes called officers over to help Lavant, who was taken to the hospital but pronounced dead on arrival. The police found Appellant’s cell phone near Lavant’s body and property stolen from the victims nearby. Appellant stayed in Weekes’s apartment until the police were gone; Weekes then saw Appellant place a black handgun in Lavant’s apartment before leaving for his hometown of Cordele, Georgia.

Later that morning, Lavant’s roommate, Anthony Floyd, called Appellant, who told Floyd that Lavant had gotten shot when he went to a party to rob it. Floyd also spoke to Lavant’s older brother, Casey Lewis, who then talked to Appellant. Appellant admitted to Lewis that he went with Lavant to rob a group of people and Lavant let one of the victims “slip off . . . and get to them.” Appellant was arrested in Cordele two days after the home invasion.

Barner and Key identified Appellant in court as the surviving assailant. Other testifying victims consistently described the surviving assailant as heavy-set and dark-skinned, as Appellant was, and said he carried a black handgun.

2. Appellant’s sole contention is that the evidence presented at trial was legally insufficient to support his convictions. We disagree.

(a) Appellant argues first that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions under the federal due process standard. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (99 SCt 2781, 61 LEd2d 560) (1979). Specifically, he asserts that the in-court identifications of him by Barner and Key were unreliable because they were not asked to identify him in a photographic lineup before trial and their testimony about the appearance of the surviving assailant differed to some extent. However, Appellant did not object to the admission of this eyewitness identification evidence at trial. See Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188, 196-201 (93 SCt 375, 34 LE2d 401) (1972) (discussing the due process protection against the admission of evidence deriving from suggestive identification procedures). And it is firmly established that the determination of a witness’s credibility, including eyewitness identification, is within the exclusive province of the jury. See Reeves v. State, 288 Ga. 545, 546 (705 SE2d 159) (2011). See also Walker v. State, 295 Ga. 688, 690 (763 SE2d 704) (2014) (holding that whether and to what extent a witness’s testimony should be believed is “a matter to be decided by the jury that saw and heard the testimony, not by an appellate court reviewing a transcript”); Vega v. State, 285 Ga. 32, 33 (673 SE2d 223) (2009) (“`It was for the jury to determine the credibility of the witnesses and to resolve any conflicts or inconsistencies in the evidence.'” (citation omitted)).

Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the evidence presented at trial and summarized above was sufficient to authorize a rational jury to find Appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which he was convicted, either directly or as a party to Lavant’s criminal conduct. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. at 319; OCGA § 16-6-20 (parties to crime); State v. Jackson, 287 Ga. 646, 652-653 (697 SE2d 757) (2010) (holding that a defendant may be convicted of felony murder when the death of his accomplice was a reasonably foreseeable result of their commission of a felony).

(b) Appellant also argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions under former OCGA § 24-4-6, which said: “To warrant a conviction on circumstantial evidence, the proved facts shall not only be consistent with the hypothesis of guilt, but shall exclude every other reasonable hypothesis save that of the guilt of the accused.”[2] However, this doctrine only applies when the State’s case against the defendant was “wholly circumstantial,” Walker, 295 Ga. at 691, and in this case, the State did not rely solely on circumstantial evidence. There was substantial direct evidence in the form of not only Barner’s and Key’s testimony identifying Appellant as one of their assailants, but also Appellant’s admission to Lewis of his participation in the home invasion. See id. Appellant disputes the credibility of the identification testimony, but “direct evidence from a witness who observed a crime is not converted into circumstantial evidence by the witness’s credibility or lack thereof.” Lewis v. State, 296 Ga. 259, 261 (765 SE2d 911) (2014). Moreover, the circumstantial evidence presented was also sufficient for the jury to reject any other reasonable theory except that Appellant was guilty as charged. See Clark v. State, 296 Ga. 543, 545-546 (769 SE2d 376) (2015). Thus, Appellant’s statutory challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is meritless.

Judgment affirmed. All the Justices concur.

[1] The crimes occurred on May 3, 2009. On February 15, 2011, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Appellant for three counts of felony murder, ten counts of armed robbery, 11 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, 11 counts of false imprisonment, burglary, attempted rape, and four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Trial began on March 7, 2011, and on March 15, the jury found Appellant guilty of all charges. The trial court sentenced him to serve life in prison for felony murder; a consecutive term of ten years for each count of false imprisonment, running concurrently with each other; a consecutive term of ten years for attempted rape; and a consecutive term of five years for each of three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, running concurrently with each other, plus a consecutive term of five years for the fourth firearm conviction. The remaining guilty verdicts merged or were vacated by operation of law. On March 21, 2011, Appellant filed a motion for new trial, which he amended on April 11, 2013. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the motion on May 29, 2013. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal directed to the Court of Appeals, which properly transferred the case to this Court on December 18, 2014. See Neal v. State, 290 Ga. 563, 569-570 (722 SE2d 765) (2012) (Hunstein, C.J., concurring). The case was docketed here for the April 2015 term and submitted for decision on the briefs.

[2] This case was tried under Georgia’s old Evidence Code. Former OCGA § 24-4-6 is carried forward in the new Evidence Code as OCGA § 24-14-6.

SOURCE = Supreme Court of Georgia (Google Scholar)




West Midlands named UK’s gun crime capital for second year

February 16, 2016

he West Midlands has been named the UK’s gun crime capital for the second year running. The Office for National Statistics recorded 562 offences for the 12 months up to April 2015 – up from 540 in the previous year. Those figures do not include the spike in shooting incidents in Birmingham since the Summer.To tackle the violence the force launched 23 intelligence-led tactical firearm operations involving armed officers in January alone and has arrested more than 40 people and recovered more than 25 weapons.

Copyright © ITV News



Las Vegas Review Journal.png

Three dead in shooting at Winnemucca bar

May 26, 2008

WINNEMUCCA — Three men were fatally shot early Sunday, and two other people were injured, at a bar filled with about 300 people, and the shootings might have stemmed from a long-standing feud between several families, police said. Winnemucca Police Chief Bob Davidson said a man entered Players Bar and Grill and fatally shot two members of a rival family before he was shot and killed by a patron. All three were pronounced dead at the scene. The dead shooter was identified as Ernesto Villagomez, 30, of Winnemucca. The other victims were identified as Jose Torres, 20, and his brother, Margarito Torres, 19, both of Winnemucca. A 34-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were listed in stable condition with gunshot wounds at the Winnemucca hospital. Their names were not released.

The shooting might have been in retaliation for an earlier drive-by shooting involving the families in Winnemucca, Davidson told Reno’s KRNV-TV. The 48-year-old patron from Reno who killed the shooter was taken into custody as a person of interest but was released after Humboldt County District Attorney Russell Smith determined the shooting was justifiable homicide. The patron was in possession of a valid concealed-weapons permit issued by the Washoe County sheriff’s office, Davidson said. The shootings occurred during the town’s annual Runnamucca motorcycle rally, but no evidence linked them to any rival motorcycle gangs or clubs, Davidson said. The case remained under investigation. Winnemucca is a town of 8,000 about 160 miles northeast of Reno.

Copyright © Las Vegas Review Journal



Birmingham Mail.png

Six Birmingham shootings in 31 days inside the nation’s gun capital

November 29, 2015

Birmingham is in mourning after witnessing SIX shootings in 31 days.

It’s another grim statistic from the city dubbed Britain’s gun crime capital. One in nine incidents of gun crime in England and Wales took place in the West Midlands last year, which has a higher gun crime rate for its population size than the Metropolitan Police Service area. Two people were killed and nine were injured in shootings between October 2 and November 2.

OCT 2 – A ‘targeted attack’ in Balsall Heath saw one gun man hunt down their target and shoot him in the back.

OCT 8Nineteen-year-old student Connor Smith shot dead and left in a Kings Norton street. Friends raise £2k to help pay for his funeral.

OCT 10 – Two days later bullets are sprayed through the open doors of a Costcutter convenience store leaving four men with leg wounds.

OCT 16 – Less than a week passed before a 32-year-old man is left with gun shot wounds to his leg and buttock in Falcon Lodge in Sutton Coldfield.

OCT 30Derek Junior Myers, known to friends as Trench is shot dead aged 25 in Soho Hill, on the border of Hockley and Handsworth. Another victim is also injured in the attack and is left in critical condition.

NOV 2 – A man and a woman suffer gun shot wounds to their legs in a violent attack in an Erdington cul-de-sac.

These are the ones that were reported to the police. Last year the West Midlands had a higher rate of firearms offences for its population than London or anywhere else, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Copyright © Birmingham News



New York Times

Colorado: Gunman Killed Himself

December 12, 2007

The gunman who killed four people in two church-related attacks on Sunday committed suicide after being shot “multiple times” by a volunteer security guard at a church in Colorado Springs, the El Paso County coroner said. The man, Matthew Murray, 24, was confronted by the guard, Jeanne Assam, a former police officer and member of the New Life Church, as he entered the building. He fired a single bullet into himself as he lay wounded, the corner said. Mr. Murray killed two people early Sunday at a missionary training center near Denver and had just killed two teenage sisters in the parking lot at New Life, about 12 hours later, before facing Ms. Assam.

Copyright © The New York Times





June 24, 2001

This is a twice-told tale, and the second telling magnifies the terror of the first. It takes place in Pearl, a town of 22,000 outside Jackson, Miss., flustered for years by an unwelcome reputation as the state’s unofficial capital for double-wide-trailer salesmen. Two weeks ago, however, true infamy was visited on Pearl. At 8 a.m. on Oct. 1, Luke Woodham, 16, bookish and overweight, drove a white Chevy Corsica up to his high school. That was already a sign of trouble: the young man had poor vision and was driven to school every day by his mother. But three hours earlier that morning, Mary Ann Woodham, 50, had been stabbed to death with a butcher knife in the home she shared with her son. Luke Woodham walked into Pearl High’s commons, an enclosure created by the school’s buildings. He then took a .30-.30 rifle from beneath his blue trench coat and opened fire, wounding seven schoolmates and killing two, Lydia Kaye Dew, 17, and Christina Menefee, 16, a girl he once dated. He was subdued by assistant principal Joel Myrick, who pulled a .45-cal. pistol from his car and ordered the gunman to the ground. “Mr. Myrick,” said Woodham, “I was the guy who gave you the discount on the pizza the other night.” Woodham had been hoping to make the assistant manager’s program at the local Domino’s.

As Woodham was charged with the murders of his mother and two classmates, his hometown went into deep mourning, stunned at the rampage. But was it just the work of one man? Last week a second tale wrapped itself around the first, to the greater dismay of Pearl. Six friends of Woodham’s were arrested on Oct. 7 on murder-conspiracy charges. Two of the suspects, Donald Brooks II, 17, and Marshall (“Grant”) Boyette Jr., 18, were accused of plotting to murder Brooks’ father, a local fire fighter. The police gave no reasons for that subplot, and after his father pleaded for him, Brooks was released on his own recognizance. Two other suspects, Wesley Brownell, 17, and Delbert Shaw, 18, posted bail at week’s end. The seven friends appear to have formed what they called “the Group.” Several members of the Group belonged to the Junior Classical League, which studied Latin. Some apparently had a penchant for black clothing and for the broodings on nihilism of the 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Visit source for more on this story

SOURCE = Time Magazine



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