It's The Man, Not The Weapon

75-year-old James Vernon stopped an attempted mass murder attack by a pedophile last week, but you probably didn’t hear about it because the pervert was armed with a knife.

The story you are about to read is, of course, impossible.  You see, if there were no guns, mass murder attempts couldn’t possibly happen:

A former Army vet is recovering from stab wounds after putting himself between 16 terrified children and a knife-wielding teen determined to kill at an Illinois public library this week.

‘He actually ran into the room yelling, ‘I’m going to kill some people!’ James Vernon told the Pekin Daily Times Thursday.

Vernon, 75—a retired Caterpillar technology worker and Army vet—is recovering from surgery at his home in Morton, Illinois. He was leading a chess club meeting with local kids at the Morton library Tuesday afternoon when _____*, 19, burst into the room holding a knife in each hand and threatening the children.

‘I failed my mission to kill everyone,’ _____ told police Thursday, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit that accompanied formal charges, including attempted murder.

Vernon described the two knives as ‘hunting types’ with ‘fixed blades about 5 inches’ long.

Oh, but if the attacker had a gun, everyone would have been killed! Unfortunately for the gun control mindset, actual experience suggests otherwise. Guns are potentially more deadly, particularly if employed from beyond grappling distance, but a great many people have been seriously injured and killed by knife-wielding attackers in incidents around the globe. The important factor in this attack was the presence of Vernon and his cool, collected actions and willingness to sacrifice himself for others.


The 16 frightened children–ranging in age from 7 to 13—scurried under tables in the library’s conference room as Vernon stood in front of _____.

_____ appeared angry as he focused his attention on the children. Vernon kept his cool and distracted _____ to give the kids a chance to escape.

‘I tried to talk to him. I tried to settle him down,’ Vernon told the Pekin Daily Times. ‘I didn’t, but I did deflect his attention’ from the kids ‘and calmed him a bit. I asked him if he was from Morton, did he go to high school. I asked what his problem was. He said his life sucks. That’s a quote.’

As Vernon spoke, he inched closer to _____. ‘He backed away when I’d get closer.’ With a few steps, Vernon put himself between _____ and the conference room door.

‘I gave them the cue to get the heck out of there, and, boy, they did that! Quick, like rabbits,’ Vernon said.

After all the children fled, the knife-fight training Vernon learned in the Army five decades ago kicked in. _____ slashed from the right towards Vernon, who blocked the blade with his left hand.

‘I should have hit his wrist. That’s how you’re trained, but it’s been half a century,’ Vernon recalled. ‘First rule of combat: Be fast and vigorous,’ said Vernon, who never served in combat.

The veteran’s medium build was enough to overcome _____. ‘I grabbed him and threw… Somehow he wound up on a table’ with the knife in his left hand pinned under his body, Vernon said. ‘I hit him on the (right) collarbone with my closed hand’ until Brown dropped that knife.

Vernon said he was ‘bleeding pretty good,’ but managed to hold _____ until a library employee removed the knives and helped to keep _____ pinned until police and paramedics arrived.


Vernon also notes that if the would-be killer had a gun, things might have been worse. While the story does not speak to whether the library is a gun-free zone, libraries often are. It’s indisputable that if Vernon had been armed, he, and everyone else, may very well have escaped without injury and the attacker would not be publicly supported for the rest of his life. Here’s one additional bit of irony:

At the time of the incident, _____ was free on bond while facing prosecution charges of possessing child pornography. He told police he’d been planning for two weeks to kill people and then himself, according to an affidavit.

Yet, if we could only get rid of all the guns, this sort of thing could not possibly happen…unless such things are motivated by human nature—by evil—rather than the existence of inanimate objects.

* Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass or spree killers, even when they fail.

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