Securing weapons would prevent many shootings


Apparently Larry Tradlener does not read the newspaper that he writes a guest column for. More than a month ago, the Cortez Journal editor debunked the same claim that Tradlener made in his latest column, i.e. that an armed citizen reduced the casualties of the shooting at the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. I have enclosed a copy of the interview with Nick Meli, the individual Tradlener referred to, that appeared in the Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, issue of The Oregonian of Portland, Ore. Official verification of this story, as well as the enhanced versions now appearing on the Internet, has not yet been provided to our family by the chief investigating officer for this case.

Among the reasons given by the Portland Police for why only two innocent people were killed, one of whom was my son-in-law, and one person was seriously injured, were that the police were on the scene within one minute of the first 9-1-1 call, and that first responders, as well as mall and store employees, had participated in a drill rehearsing this exact disaster scenario at this mall earlier in the year. These people did what they were trained to do: Get people under cover, secure their store, and get customers and employees safely outside as quickly as possible. They were not trained, or expected, to confront the assailant. That is the job of the police.

One of the most courageous individuals involved in this incident was the 15-year-old girl who refused to leave the side of her seriously wounded friend, Kristina Shevchenko, as approximately 60 shots were fired by the assailant.

The police reported that the assailant simply surreptitiously took the assault weapon from the gun's owner, an acquaintance of his, the previous night. The gun had been legally purchased, but left unsecured, by its owner. Simply put, the common-sense step of securing this weapon by its owner to prevent its unauthorized use would have prevented this tragedy, the Sandy Hook massacre, the recent shooting of his entire family by the 15-year-old boy in New Mexico, and countless suicides. Common sense cannot be legislated and its use is exceedingly uncommon.

Greg Kemp


Editor's note: In the enclosed story from The Oregonian, Meli said he aimed his weapon at the shooter but did not fire because he was worried about hitting an innocent bystander. He did not say whether he had been seen by the accused shooter, Jacob Tyler Roberts.