Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thomas Caffall – Another Law-Abiding Gun Owner… Until He Wasn’t

Murderer Thomas Caffall, gun nut

Let me introduce to you Mr. Thomas Caffall, Texas gun nut.  Mr. Caffall loved his dog.  He was an ardent conservative and fan of FOX News, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck, was a fan of “Tea Party Patriots,” and was against Obama.  And he was a law-abiding gun owner.  In fact, he LOVED his gunzzz.  In every way he fit the typical gun fetishist.

How do I know this?  Because I went to his Facebook page.  There you can see just how much he loved his guns.  He was very proud of his restored Russian Mosin Nagant rifle, and had many pictures of it.  He also had a picture of his new AK-style assault rifle, a Czech vz. 58, which he bought for $799, no tax, no shipping, from czechpoint-usa.com.  As he said, “Just picked it up today, can’t wait to try it out on the range.  :)”.  See the screencapture and picture with his comments.  He knew all about the cost it would take to get a fully-automatic machine gun, and seemed to dream of it. 

screenshot of Caffall's assault rifle, with his comments, from his Facebook page

Of course, the gun lobby and their lap dogs want us to think that assault rifles have nothing at all do to with killing large numbers of people.  If you listened to them, you’d think these “sport rifles” were only made to do target shooting and to shoot varmints

Caffall linked to an article advertising that you could get a free AK-47 with the purchase of a truck, in Florida.  “anyone looking for a new car needs to read this!” he wrote.

He had interesting quotes.  One, inaccurately attributed to George Orwell, stated, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” 

He then quotes Edmund Burke with an “intellectual quote of the day”:  "People crushed by the law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to the law; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous."

As you can see from another screencapture (which is a partial representation), his likes included pages for gun companies and organizations, like the NRA, Mosin-Nagant, Beretta, vz. 58, Glock, Dragunov.

His list of “inspirational people” included snipers Vasily Zaytsev, Simo Hayha, and Carlos Hathcock, and gun inventors like Mikhail Kalashnikov, John Garand, Samuel Colt, and John Browning.

He was also mentally ill and dangerous and a “ticking time bomb”, according to his mother and stepfather, as stated in a news report

"He was crazy as hell," Richard Weaver, gunman Thomas Caffall's stepfather, told Houston station KPRC television.

"At one point, we were afraid that he was going to come up here and do something to his mother and me," Weaver said.

Shawn Kemp, a local acquaintance of Caffall’s, told The Eagle newspaper that he “fits the profile of a dude who might snap.”

Caffall seemed depressed and often talked about guns and war, Kemp told the newspaper.

"I don’t know the guy well, but I’ve been around him enough to know, well, that I’m not surprised at all,” Kemp said, adding that he had heard that Caffall planned to pawn some of his guns to pay his rent. 

"We were hoping he'd kill himself before doing something like this," Richard Weaver said. "We are just devastated for the families this SOB killed."

Even though the parents knew Caffall was a danger to himself and others, thanks to our gun culture there is almost no way they could have had his guns removed, just as the parents of the Café Racer shooter weren’t able to.

So what we had in Caffall was a man who had immersed himself into the gun culture, purchased many weapons including at least one assault weapon, was saturated with libertarian thought, and was dangerous even to his own parents.

But in America, that’s just fine for owning as many guns as you wish.

Constable Brian Bachmann
Then, yesterday, Constable Brian Bachmann, husband and father of two children and a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, arrived at Caffall’s College Station residence to serve an eviction notice.  Seems Caffall was buying too many guns and not paying his rent.  Caffall snapped and opened fire.

When the 30-minute firefight was over, Constable Bachmann and an innocent bystander, Chris Northcliff, were killed.  Caffall was mortally wounded, dying later.  Towne Holdsworth, who was helping her daughter move nearby, was wounded and is in critical condition.  A second officer was wounded in the calf.  Two other officers were wounded by shrapnel. 

In all, three people, including the shooter, were killed, and four were injured, by a previously law-abiding gun owner who was also mentally ill and armed with an assault weapon.

Was the gun he used the same one he had been so excited about purchasing, as pictured above?

Did he picture himself as a “rough man” standing “ready to do violence” as he had quoted on his Facebook page? 

Did he see himself as “crushed by the law” and an “enemy to the law” as in the Burke quote?

If you were able to go back in time before the shooting and talk to Caffall, would he claim that he owned his weapons for liberty and self-defense?  That owning an assault rifle was some sort of patriotic statement?

Don’t tell that to the victims and their families.  There are too many victims.  We are better than this.

The day of the shooting, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney once again towed the NRA message that no new legislation could help prevent shootings.  To Mitt and the NRA, such shootings are acceptable and unavoidable, and the cost of our "freedom."  But I care to differ.  Better mental health screening and reporting might have removed his guns or kept him from purchasing them and preventing the sale of assault weapons would have limited his lethality.  If our presidential candidates are not interested in creating new laws to reduce the 100,000 shootings a year, then what is their plan?  Do they have one at all?  Go HERE and demand that they answer this important question.

UPDATE:  Constable Bachmann was a police instructor and one-time police officer of the year.  If he can't defend himself against an armed attacker, what does this say about civilian conceal carry gun owners?