Saturday, August 8, 2009

Eric Thompson, Gun Dealer Extraordinaire

The Brady Campaign reports on the disturbing news that the same gun dealer who sold guns to Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, also did business with Sodini, the PA gym killer.


Eric Thompson, the arms dealer from Green Bay, Wisconsin, said publicly after helping arm the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois university shooters that since homicidal maniacs were buying guns and accessories from him, law-abiding citizens should buy guns from him, too, to protect themselves from the killers he was arming.

Now, he has done it again. The tortured misogynist who killed three and wounded nine in a Pittsburgh area gym this week was another customer of TGSCOM, the online arms warehouse that Thompson operates, buying a magloader and a high-capacity magazine from the dealer last year.

Once again, Thompson is telling journalists how upset he is, and how the incident proves that potential victims should arm themselves, to protect themselves from killers. The victims the Pennsylvania killer shot were participating in an aerobics class.

I remember seeing Thompson on a video interview after Virginal Tech. To me he seemed to personify the pro-gun mentality which says "Hey, it's not my fault," while shrugging the shoulders. I hear a lot of that around here whenever we talk about responsibility.

Mr. Thompson has promised to start a web site to discuss the issues of gun control and gun violence, a forum where both sides of the debate can meet.


“I hope and pray I will never again be in a position where I am asked questions about selling items used in a crime,” said Thompson. “The next news story I want to be involved in is how I sold a firearm to someone who helped prevent tragedy - not cause it.”

Now that's curious. Why do you think he didn't offer examples of DGUs which he could claim partial credit for? Obviously, because he doesn't know of any. It's very hard to reconcile that with the continual claims of how many lives are saved by gun use.

This has been an ongoing discussion. Do the incidents of DGU so greatly outnumber the incidents of gun violence that all we need to do is arm more of the good guys? That is the suggestion from some. I say it's wrong for several reasons, all of which which I've elaborated at length. But an old, very unscientific proof has been coming up again.

Some time ago I subscribed to a Google Alert under the title "shooting." So rare are the DGUs, that I think I need to amend my original estimate which was 100 to 1. It's really more like 200 to 1. Is this a conspiracy by Google to further their anti-gun agenda? Or could it be that the defensive gun proposition is not all it's cracked up to be?

What's your opinion?

22 comments:

  1. "Now that's curious. Why do you think he didn't offer examples of DGUs which he could claim partial credit for? Obviously, because he doesn't know of any. It's very hard to reconcile that with the continual claims of how many lives are saved by gun use."

    Because when a gun is used legally, no one bothers to trace it. No one bothers to investigate where they bought their magazines. So it would be hard for him to know if any of the guns or accessories he sold were ever used for self-defense.

    Also, TGSCOM is one of the largest (if not the largest)online retailers of firearms and accessories. It's inevitable that some of his products will be used for criminal purposes.

    "It's really more like 200 to 1. Is this a conspiracy by Google to further their anti-gun agenda? Or could it be that the defensive gun proposition is not all it's cracked up to be?"

    Considering the majority of defensive gun uses don't involving "shooting", Googling the term isn't going to be much help.

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  2. Oh, you want verified news reports of DGU's?

    Here ya go...

    http://www.claytoncramer.com/gundefenseblog/blogger.html

    This is a bit better than googling "shooting", wouldn't you agree?

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  3. "Now that's curious. Why do you think he didn't offer examples of DGUs which he could claim partial credit for? Obviously, because he doesn't know of any."

    That's a doozy even for you Mike. Why would he offer such examples Mike? Why would he need to? Couldn't it be that, like most normal folks, he believes that the person who commits an act is ultimately responsible for the consequences?

    Honestly I think he does too much. He damn well doesn't need to apologize. Not for one damn thing. If a hardware store sells you a chainsaw or shovel and a year later you use it to kill your wife should that in any way, shape, or form be the stores problem? HELL NO.

    He sold firearms ACCESSORIES to 2 of the shooters. Sodini and the N. Illinois shooter. Magazines and holsters Mike, that's it. The guy is the leading supplier of Glock magazines. His company & subsidiaries are the top 3 or 4 google hits if you search for "Glock 19 Magazine"

    Kaveman - Mike won't ever listen to evidence. We know that by now.

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  4. TGSCOM is a leading online retailer. I have bought stuff from him (15 round Glock 19 mag, at the height of the assault weapons ban, I might add). I would wager a large percentage of us have at one time or another. Do you think he's seeking out nutballs to do business with? How is he supposed to divine the intent of everyone he sells a magazine to? There's no reasonable restriction that would have helped here. Both Cho and this latest whakjob had clean records, and passed background checks. Cho probably shouldn't have, but that's the state's fault, not the retailers.

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  5. What should Eric Thompson's company have done differently?

    What do you consider a defensive gun use?

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  6. MikeB,

    Should we check to see if they wore the same shoes? drove the same car? eat the same frozen T.V. dinners?

    How many hundreds of thousands of people have bought from TGSCOM and not committed a crime?

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  7. This guy is a pig, pure and simple.

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  8. What should Eric Thompson's company have done differently?

    That's the six million dollar question, isn't it?

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  9. I hear you guys. The six million dollar question is tough to answer. But from the impression I had after the VA Tech shooting, I tend to agree with Daisy. Thompson displayed a nonchalance and that shoulder-shrugging "I didn't do anything wrong" bullshit to the point of earning Daisy's colorful epithet.

    I guess my answer to the big question is, if my guns were found to have armed three major shooters, and from that I could safely assume many others, I'd close up shop and start selling lawn furniture.

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  10. Sometimes I think you're that rare animal I almost never see: an intellectual anti-gun person. Then your throw out statistics like this. 200:1 for criminal killings to DGU? I put that past the sanity test.

    There are about 12,000 gun homicides a year. According to the FBI Uniform Crime statitstics there are asomewhere around 250 Justifiable homicides per year: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_14.html

    Do the math on that, and the highest POSSIBL ratio is about 60:1 depending upon year. But ... apply a little elementary analysis to that ... the vast majority of shootings in this country are between people in the drug trade. They are the result of a criminal act, so no matter who wins the exchange of gunfire it's a legal imposibility to have a "justifiable homicide" because both sides are criminals. But these are also the people who don't care about gun laws, and will get their guns the same way they get their drugs.

    I personally don't know anybody who has shot someone in self defense, but I know quite a few people that at some point in their life have confronted a "bad guy" with a gun and taken charge of a situation where they were at risk. Whether or not they saved a life is impossible to say ... but they definitely took charge of a bad situation, and I'm thankful they had a gun available so they weren't at the mercy of a criminal.

    If you want to read multiple stories per day of people using guns for self defense, take a look here: http://www.claytoncramer.com/gundefenseblog/blogger.html

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  11. "Thompson displayed a nonchalance and that shoulder-shrugging "I didn't do anything wrong" bullshit to the point of earning Daisy's colorful epithet."

    Well... He didn't do anything wrong.

    If people should feel guilty about how their legal products end up being used, then car salesmen and pool installers should have closed up shop decades ago.

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  12. "This guy is a pig, pure and simple."

    Wow. The logic and eloquence of your argument is truly astounding.

    I yield to your superiour reasoning.

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  13. "if my guns were found to have armed three major shooters"

    Do you even bother reading the other comments?

    "He sold firearms ACCESSORIES to 2 of the shooters. Sodini and the N. Illinois shooter. Magazines and holsters Mike, that's it."

    Are lies and conjecture all you have?

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  14. Little Steve:

    Part of the problem is, the goal in a defensive gun use is to stop the attack. Most of the time, you can do that without firing a shot.

    My anecdotal experience plays that out. I know several people who have used their guns in self-defense. None of them ended up shooting anyone. I'm not talking about "I heard something go bump and grabbed my gun" stuff either. This is people who were actually being attacked, drew the firearm, causing their attackers to decide discretion is the better part of valor and beat a hasty retreat.

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  15. Well put, Sebastian.

    I also have friends who have shown a firearm for self defense without using it. There's no way to tell how dangerous the situation would have been.

    Was the guy in the act of pulling your window open about to attack somebody inside? Why was he opening the window to come in the back bedroom when it was clear somebody was home? We'll never know -- at the sight of my friend and his rifle the guy ran like a scared rabbit. The police never pursued it very far because it was only attempted breaking and entering and nothing damaged.

    But no matter how badly you try to twist the facts to be anti-gun, there are no numbers to support 200:1 or even 100:1. Not even close.

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  16. "This guy is a pig, pure and simple."

    Boy Daisy, thanks for being such a shining example of what we so often see from anti-gunners.

    Such a classy, intelligent statement from you. I am in awe....

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  17. Mike W., Daisy is perfectly capable of defending herself if she decides to do so, but I had the impression she's not anti-gun at all. I've never read anything from her to indicate that. In fact she's had very little to say over here on posts about gun control.

    If I had to guess, I'd say she opposes a profiteering entrepreneur who nonchalantly shirks all responsibility for these incidents and clearly benefits from them by increased exposure. He and his business are practically household words now thanks to these bloody incidents.

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  18. If I had to guess, I'd say she opposes a profiteering entrepreneur who nonchalantly shirks all responsibility for these incidents and clearly benefits from them by increased exposure.

    Shirks all responsibility for what? He sells a legal product. All his transactions were in compliance with the law. He has no responsibility for those incidents any more than a car dealer would have for selling a car to someone who would later kill a family in a drunk driving incident. You can't hold people responsible for selling a legal product that someone, at a later time, goes and misuses, short of the guy showing up at the store and say "Hey, what would you recommend for a spree killer? Got anything in Glock?"

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  19. Sebastian, I have to admit you make a good point, one that's been made by a number of commenters, practically all the pro-gun guys.

    My real problem with Thompson, as I said, is his attitude, but I agree it would be a bit difficult to seriously hold him responsible for any shooting.

    There is that other argument, though. The lawsuit against Glock which was found wanting, I felt had some merit. Gun sellers who know some of their products are going to end up in the wrong hands, and who profit from that fact, to me seem tainted with some guilt, if not legally then at least morally.

    I'm also not totally convinced by the comparison to car sellers or swimming pool sellers, who know full well some of their products will end up involved in tragedies. I never agreed with the popular contention that the gun is just another tool. The fact that it's a weapon, unlike the other tools, which are not primarily weapons, makes a difference to me.

    These are just some of my thoughts, but on the major question of Thompson's responsibility, I pretty-much acquiesce to your argument.

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  20. Man--the anti-gun crybabies are going to force me to go broke. When they started whining about sales to the VA Tech shooter, I went shopping at TGSCOM, in order to show my support for Thompson (and to annoy the crybabies), and bought some very nice magazines for my 1911s. After the Northern Illinois University shooting, I ordered a Taurus Judge (3" magnum)--very fun gun. With the crybabies whining again, about the health club goon, I just had to go shopping again. Money is a bit tight, so I just got a bit of ammo (can never have enough ammo, of course).

    Eric Thompson should thank the self-proclaimed "anti-violence" bed wetters--they provide excellent advertising.

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  21. Says Mike B:

    . . . but on the major question of Thompson's responsibility, I pretty-much acquiesce to your argument.

    So, what the hell does "pretty much acquiesce" mean? Are you acknowledging that you were utterly wrong and morally deficient in impugning and attacking the character of a man who has done absolutely nothing wrong (not to mention your role as a defender of someone else's similarly vicious personal attack), or not?

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  22. Pretty much acquiesce is the best I can do, 45. Because he was within the letter of the law doesn't make him some moral paragon of virtue.

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