By Greg Campbell
In a tragedy that shook a New York community to its very core and underscores the sickness that lingers in some in society, a New York felon killed two volunteer firemen as they bravely battled blazes set by the gunman to lure them into an ambush.
Though details are not entirely known at this time, initial reports indicate that after setting fire to seven houses, William Spengler sat poised with a .38 revolver, a 12 gauge shotgun and a .223 rifle. In a truly cowardly fashion, Spengler opened fire on the firemen as they battled the blazes set up for the ambush.
Michael Chiapperini, 43, a lieutenant with the Webster police, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19 were both shot and killed. Spengler killed himself as authorities moved in and police later found the remains of what is believed to be his sister who was likely killed by Spengler and a note that claimed that he had set the fires to do what he “likes doing best, killing people.”
Spengler was a convicted felon who had served 17 years for killing his grandmother with a hammer in 1980. And while liberals in the media are already wondering if this is a sign that more gun control is needed, there seems to be much more to consider than access to firearms.
As Spengler only received 17 years for the cold-blooded murder of his grandmother, perhaps a worthwhile discussion would be to consider stricter sentencing guidelines for obviously violent criminals.
Or, perhaps American jurisprudence would do well to consider the nature of our legal system’s commitment to rehabilitation in the prison system and the lenient parole system. If we are to question how this man obtained firearms, we should first question why he was allowed to walk the streets in the first place.
As this latest shooting comes at a time where Americans are raw from having a string of high-profile shootings occur, the media has worked diligently to frame gun violence as a product of loose gun laws.
However, as Spengler was a convicted felon, it was illegal for him to have access to firearms. New York has some of the strictest gun control measures in the country, so the questions many may wonder is, “if it was already illegal for him to gain access to a firearm, what would one more law do to deter it?”
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre stated in a press conference last week, “Worse, [the media] perpetuates the dangerous notion that one more gun ban — or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people — will protect us where 20,000 others have failed!”
While America mourns one more violent crime, we need to ask tough questions about society and monsters that live amongst us. More than anything, we should remember the firemen killed on the eve of Christmas- men who ran towards fires, but likely never expected to be shot when doing so.