Thursday, April 9, 2009



by Angelo Spagnolo

As I look out the window near my cluttered desk today, I get to appreciate all that is the good order of the universe. The sky is clear, a perfect blue. There's not a cloud in sight. The air is cool and fresh. The birds, clearly relishing this day that God has made, are singing to beat the band. After a long winter, this is clearly what the best of life is all about.

But unfortunately, if you turn any television on today, you'll find nothing but scenes of a city in extreme grief, mourning over the senseless, outrageous murder of three of its' policemen by a man who was armed with an automatic AK-47 assault rifle and who was protected, himself, by a bullet-proof vest; of 20,000 policemen from around the country sharing the grief of the Pittsburgh Police; of a city dumbstruck over the senselessness of these killings.

The three dead heros, who were responding to a call placed by the killer's mother (because his dog had wet in the house and he refused to clean it up), were mowed down in a hale of bullets that could only be compared to lambs being led to slaughter. The City of Pittsburgh, a close community, as large cities go, was stunned by the brutality of the crime. It was quite possibly the worst day in the history of the Pittsburgh Police and the city itself. I certainly cannot remember anything approaching the depths of this crime taking place in Pittsburgh during my lifetime.
Above: Instrument of death: The AK-47 automatic assault rifle. Why do people defend the legality of possessing a weapon as deadly as this one?

There are three aspects to this crime that have left the citizens particularly incensed:

1) The mother of the shooter, upon calling 911 was asked if there were any guns on the scene. She said that they were legally registered. How could she be unaware of the quantity of guns and ammo that her son had stockpiled? She certainly may find herself in a legal jackpot over this situation as well.

2) In the meantime, her unrepentent son had a cache of weapons and ammo, even a bullet-proof vest. Upon learning that his mother had called 911, he went into full battle mode, getting out his AK-47 and putting on his vest. To the credit of the police, their sharpshooters took out his legs and didn't blow his brains out so that this coward could stand trial. The temptation to shoot high must have been overwhelming. They are to be commended for not carrying out a sentence on the spot, but for bringing this criminal to justice.

3) The 911 operator made no mention of guns being on the premises to the police...even legally registered ones as the mother had said. Can you imagine that?

The last time I checked, a gun can kill, whether it's legally registered or not. What in the world was this operator (not) thinking? Also, anyone who knows the least little bit about police work or ever saw one episode of "COPS" knows that domestic calls are the very worst to deal with. How this operator could have not relayed this vital piece of information almost makes me as angry as what the killer did. Had these men been forewarned that guns were on the premises, I'm sure that they would have been much more cautious in approaching that house. Perhaps three brave men wouldn't have had to die and leave five children without a father?

Then there's the subject of guns themselves. Gun sales in this country are going through the roof right now. Weapons such as an AK-47 are elite killing machines on a level few people can comprehend. Possession of this type of weapon should carry an automatic 20 years in prison. An AK-47 is not a defensive weapon or hunting rifle. It is a murder machine, pure and simple. The N.R.A. needs to get its' head out of the sand and recognize these things for what they are. They are neither a threat to hunting rifles nor the right to bear arms. They are brutal assault weapons created by the military to annihilate our enemies on a battlefield. Having this weapon in the hands of a civilian in his home in Pittsburgh is nothing more than an invitation for a future death sentence for some unsuspecting this case, three unsuspecting police officers.

Sooner or later, these crackpots snap because, say, their mother screamed at them and then they wind up taking it out on a policeman or three or shooting up a mall. Don't get me wrong, while I'll never own one myself, I'm not against people having a handgun to protect themselves in their home, or a rifle to go deer hunting. However, the people who own these types of guns need to stop the argument that by failing to defend the right to own an automatic weapon that one day soon afterwards they'll lose their own right to kill Bambi or even to shoot their own wife if they should choose to do so.

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of hunters of any state in the nation. I think it's high time that they and the organization many of them belong to, the National Rifle Association, stepped up to the plate and condemned the possession of automatic weapons. I think it's also time that Congress enacted a stiff jail sentence for even possessing one of these killing machines.

Nothing good ever will come out of the end of an AK-47. Just ask the families of the three slain Pittsburgh policemen. Say a prayer today for them and the grieving families, spouses and small children they leave behind. By all means, call your congressman and the N.R.A. to let them know how you feel about senseless murders of policemen and the possession of automatic weapons.