Perhaps even before the bodies of the five victims in Thursday’s shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis had been removed from the crime scene, Everytown for Gun Safety was making a pitch for money, over the name of Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Everytown is the gun prohibition lobbying group founded by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Moms Demand Action is associated with that group.
The message noted that, “a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper’s office in Annapolis, Maryland today, killing at least 5 people and wounding others.”
But that wasn’t all. The message continued, “Americans are facing the threat of gun violence in their everyday lives — in our churches, our movie theaters, our classrooms, our nightclubs, our neighborhoods, and our workplaces.
“No journalist should have to tweet a massacre as it occurs,” the message added. “No photographer should have to document a police response to his own newsroom.
“We’re demanding action, and we want you to stand side-by-side with us. With hundreds of local Moms Demand Action events planned across the country, now is the time for you to get involved in this fight.” At the bottom of the note, there’s a red click box with this appeal: “Contribute to end Gun Violence in America.” It isn’t explained how anything Everytown or the Moms group would have prevented Thursday’s attack.
To their credit, the newsroom survivors have published a Friday edition, identifying their murdered colleagues – Editorial Page Editor Gerald Fischman, staff writer John McNamara, Assistant Editor Rob Hiaasen, community correspondent Wendi Winters and sales assistant Rebecca Smith – and doing nuts-and-bolts, just-the-facts reporting of the mayhem.
The suspect, Jarrod W. Ramos of Laurel, was apprehended by quickly-responding police. He was armed with a shotgun and, according to a tweet by the newspaper’s crime reporter, Phil Davis, he apparently reloaded at least once. This was not an “assault weapon,” but with the gun control lobby reacting so fast to exploit the tragedy, rights activists are wondering on social media how long it will take before the shotgun becomes the new weapon of war” to be demonized. Reporters are already repeating the term “long gun” in their stories.
Published reports and statements by police indicate that the suspect shot his way into the newspaper office by firing into a glass door and shattering it. Two people were reportedly injured by flying glass shards.
Ramos reportedly had a long running feud with the newspaper, and had sued the Capital Gazette unsuccessfully. USA Today reported that threats had recently been made against the newspaper via social media. It wasn’t clear whether the threats had come from the suspect.
Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
While anti-gunners are moving to exploit the tragedy, they will have to confront some realities. The incident occurred in Maryland, a state with some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2016 – the most recent year for which data is available – Maryland saw 430 homicides that year, of which 328 involved firearms. Of those, 309 were committed with handguns, two with rifles, three with shotguns and 14 with “unknown” firearms. In Washington State, where anti-gunners have been working furiously to expand restrictive gun control laws, that same year saw 194 slayings, of which 127 — fewer than half of the killings in Maryland — involved firearms. Sixty-nine involved handguns, 11 were committed with rifles, five more with shotguns and 42 with “unknown” firearms.
Authorities are saying this was a “targeted attack,” and revealed that the suspect was also carrying some type of smoke grenade. The newspaper is reportedly one of 30 tenants in the building where the shooting occurred. The newspaper office is on the first floor.
Interestingly, according to the Capital Gazette report, one business located on the fourth floor essentially locked down during the incident. “Some employees removed high heels to prepare to flee the building,” the story said. “Others hid. One pulled two handguns out of his desk drawer for self-defense.”