As reported, 51 year old Cecil Ramsay was a retired New York City police officer. His wife, Dady Belfort, and an acquaintance of theirs, Edwin Chittick, are also NYPD officers. Ramsay accused his wife and Chittick of having an affair, which appears to have been an unfounded accusation. After making the accusation, Ramsay opened fire on the car containing his wife and Chittick, non-fatally injuring Chittick. Ramsay then fatally shot himself in the head, in front of several construction workers who were standing nearby. My thoughts on this matter, insofar as it relates to gun rights, are below:
I often hear anti gun individuals argue that only the police should be able to lawfully own guns, on the theory that ordinary citizens are not responsible enough to be trusted with a gun. Leaving aside the point that gun ownership is a constitutional right, and therefore not something which can be legislated away based upon anti gun myths, I would like to point out that I am much more comfortable with armed citizens in the area than armed cops in the area.
This is because it has been shown that police are 5.5 times more likely than armed citizens to shoot the wrong person. This is likely because a citizen who acts in self defense is more likely to know who the “good guys” are, making it easier to avoid shooting them. For example, I know exactly who should and should not be inside my home, and should an intruder enter, I will be able to quickly identify them as an intruder. On the other hand, a cop who responds to a 911 call reporting a home invasion in progress will likely not know who is a resident of the home and who is a criminal, making it more likely that the wrong person will be shot. Another possible explanation is that citizens who defend themselves are often treated like criminals, while cops who shoot individuals who posed no threat are often treated like heroes, making citizens much more likely than cops to only shoot when absolutely necessary. Shifting to intentional wrongdoing, it has shown that concealed carry permit holders are more law abiding than even the police, and much more law abiding than the average citizen. Whether we’re talking about inadvertently shooting the wrong person, or an intentional criminal action, lawfully armed citizens pose less of a risk than either cops or ordinary citizens.
Getting back to the situation with Edwin Chittick, this crime shows that even the most thorough background checks and training won’t stop those who decide to commit a violent crime with a gun: Here we have a man who served as a cop for years and then retired, who was married to a cop, and who still decided to open fire on a car containing two cops. None of the background checks that he went through to get his job as a cop screened him out as a person who would try to murder two fellow cops, including his wife, before taking his own life. None of the weapons training that he received prevented him from pulling out his gun and trying to take two lives. None of the psychological testing or performance reviews flagged him as a potential threat. The sad fact is that some people in society are willing to try and take the lives of innocent people, before killing themselves. Such people may appear to be normal for years, only to finally snap. The only viable defense against this that I see is widespread gun ownership on the part of law abiding people, as gun control only serves to disarm the victims, while failing to stop the violent criminal from having a gun.