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Shooting Victim Threatens Tucson Tea Party Leader

Jim Burroway

January 16th, 2011

James Eric Fuller, 63, a naval air veteran who was shot in the knee and had bullet fragments in his back as a the result of last week’s shooting at Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s meet-and-greet at a Tucson Safeway, was involuntarily committed for a mental-health evaluation after allegedly threatening a Tucson Tea Party leader during a local town hall meeting:

The theme of the event was “An American Conversation Continued” —  the idea being to continue the conversation that a madman’s brutal rampage had interrupted.  So it was inevitable that the conversation would eventually turn to politics. It did, toward the end, with (ABC News Anchor Christiane) Amanpour leading a discussion on a very touchy but obvious topic:  gun control.

That’s where the atmosphere turned tense. When Tucson Tea Party founder Trent Humphries rose to suggest that any conversation about gun control should be put off until after the funerals for all the victims, witnesses say Fuller became agitated.  Two told KGUN9 News that finally, Fuller took a picture of Humphries, and said, “You’re dead.”

When State Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson) rose to explain and clarify current and proposed gun legislation in the state, several people groaned or booed her.  One of those booing, according to several witnesses, was Fuller. Witnesses sitting near Fuller told KGUN9 News that Fuller was making them feel very uncomfortable.

The event wrapped up a short time later.  Deputies then escorted Fuller from the room. As he was being led off, Fuller shouted loudly to the room at large. Several witnesses said that what they thought they heard him shout was, “You’re all whores!”

Sheriffs deputies detained Fuller and charged him with one count of threats and intimidation, and said they plan to charge him with at least one count of disorderly conduct.  Humphries said that he plans to press those charges. The Associated Press reports that Fuller was taken to a local mental health facility for evaluation.

The town hall meeting at St. Odilia Catholic Church was organized by ABC-TV to discuss the shooting which killed six people and wounded thirteen, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Many Tucsonans were outraged when Humphries tried to blame the shooting on Gabrielle Giffords for not providing security at the event held at a Safeway parking lot. He also tried to cast the Tea Party as an additional victim in the tragedy.

St. Odilia had been the host of a community memorial service on January 11. Two of the six killed were Catholic, including nine-year-old Christina Taylor-Green who attended St. Odilia and sang in the parish’s children’s choir. Meanwhile, the Safeway where the shooting took place reopened yesterday morning following a moment of silence. Across town, a gun show opened at the Pima County Fairgrounds as originally planned and with nary a peep of protest. Things really are starting to get back to normal around here.

Update: Fuller apologizes:

Fuller apologized through his girlfriend, Dorothy Deruyter. He has been in a hospital since being involuntarily committed Saturday for a mental health evaluation but wrote a statement and called Deruyter.

Fuller apologized for his “misplaced outrage.” Deruyter said Fuller has no family or children, and was coping with the shooting almost entirely on his own and lost his temper.

Fuller is still undergoing psychological evaluation and treatment. Based on this New York Times profile, it looks like Fuller was combative before the shooting.

Comments

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Lost Choi
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Question: Why is this Box Turtle news? Am I missing the connection to our community?

Tony P
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Ok, this one REALLY makes my head spin. A victim insults a Tea Partier and tells him he’s dead and is now involuntarily committed?

[This comment was edited to remove inappropriate language in accordance with our Comments Policy.]

Emily K
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Lost Choi, Jim was personally affected greatly by the Tuscon shootings because of his proximity to the tragedy.

Michael M.
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Here’s what I don’t understand: Throughout this ordeal, I’ve seen it repeated over and over how shocked that residents are about this happening in Tuscon. You’ve expressed similar sentiments. And yet, AZ has about the laxest restrictions on gun ownership (including the types of guns and ammo available) in the country.

I’m not saying that this should make us all reflexively pro-gun-control. Personally, I favor more stringent regulation than currently exists in AZ. But I understand that it is a trade-off — it is a compromise of freedom for increased security. That is a fundamental trade-off that runs through so many of our more contentious debates, from free speech to TSA searches to Federal tracking databases to freedom of information. It’s never easy arriving at the right level of compromise, and everybody will feel more or less comfortable at different levels.

But so much of what I’ve heard out of AZ lately, at least from the anti-gun-control crowd, seems to deny that such a trade-off even exists. We know there are Jared Loughners out there — we’ve seen them before and we will see them again. When the Loughners of the world can walk into a Walmart and buy an assault weapon that is designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible, then there is always a risk one will. I can understand the shock and sorrow that such a thing has happened, but I can’t understand the shock that such a thing can happen when you create the conditions that enable it, as AZ has done.

L. Junius Brutus
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Since gun control doesn’t demonstrably lower gun crime, I think the “anti-gun-control crowd” is right about that.

andrewdb
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

The Arizona gun control laws are very similar to those in Vermont, not exactly famous for it’s right wing approach to, well, much of anything.

Tone
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

“Humphries said that he plans to press those charges.”

Which is his right I guess. I know very little about how things work way down there. Nevertheless Humphries is showing all the understanding and compassion of a viper about to strike its prey.

That’s the main thing that I find so revolting about this whole teabagger movement. All I see is them doing their best to cause pain and hardship to other people. They don’t seem satisfied until they destroy.

WMDKitty
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

@L. Junius Brutus — Wrong. Just look at Canada and the UK. No guns, DEMONSTRABLY LOWER RATE OF GUN CRIMES.

Priya Lynn
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

Japan as well WMDKitty.

L. Junius Brutus
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

WMDKitty: “@L. Junius Brutus — Wrong. Just look at Canada and the UK. No guns, DEMONSTRABLY LOWER RATE OF GUN CRIMES.”

Canadians as well as Swedes and the Swiss can legally own guns. Therefore, since both Canada and the UK have lower rates of gun crimes, this lower rate can’t be the result of gun control, which you (falsely) attribute it to.

In fact, gun violence in England has actually increased markedly since it banned handguns. No kidding, legally banning guns did nothing to stop people who don’t care about what’s legal from gtting guns. But… at least they prohibited law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, so I guess the gun control lobby is happy.

L. Junius Brutus
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

THE government was accused yesterday of covering up the full extent of the gun crime epidemic sweeping Britain, after official figures showed that gun-related killings and injuries had risen more than fourfold since 1998.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article2328368.ece

The UK banned handguns in 1997. I rest my case.

Priya Lynn
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

Junius said “Canadians as well as Swedes and the Swiss can legally own guns. Therefore, since both Canada and the UK have lower rates of gun crimes, this lower rate can’t be the result of gun control, which you (falsely) attribute it to.”.

Hand guns are very tightly controlled in Canada, unlike in the U.S. Its very difficult to get one and can only be used on a gun range. A permit is required to transport it to and from the gun range and it must be locked up at all other times. Gun crimes in Canada are a great deal lower in the U.S.

Junius said “THE government was accused yesterday of covering up the full extent of the gun crime epidemic sweeping Britain, after official figures showed that gun-related killings and injuries had risen more than fourfold since 1998. The UK banned handguns in 1997. I rest my case.”.

Some form of gun control has been in place in Britain since 1908. The rate of gun crime although it has increased fourfold since 1998 is still OVERWHELMINGLY lower than in the United States. The number of homicides per year committed in England and Wales with firearms has remained between a range of 49 and 97 in the 8 years to 2006 compared to 9,326 gun homicides reported in the U.S. in 2004. Four times virtually nothing is still virtually nothing. Its obvious that less guns means less gun crime.

Justice Minister Mr Jack Straw told the BBC, “We are concerned that within the overall record, which is a good one, of crime going down in the last 10-11 years, the number of gun-related incidents has gone up. But it has now started to fall.”[39]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_the_United_Kingdom

Junius said ” I rest my case.”.

LOL, I doubt that very much.

L. Junius Brutus
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

“Hand guns are very tightly controlled in Canada, unlike in the U.S. Its very difficult to get one and can only be used on a gun range. A permit is required to transport it to and from the gun range and it must be locked up at all other times. Gun crimes in Canada are a great deal lower in the U.S.”

Well, you’re the expert on Canada. Still, the other examples stand. Switzerland has lots of guns, and gun crime rates are lower than Canada’s: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1566715.stm

“Some form of gun control has been in place in Britain since 1908.”

Wow, no kidding! Every country has some form of gun control. Or do you imagine that you could own nuclear weapons, heavy machine guns and howitzers in Texas?

“The rate of gun crime although it has increased fourfold since 1998 is still OVERWHELMINGLY lower than in the United States. ”

I couldn’t find the statistics on gun crimes, I did find statistics that there is more per capita crima in the UK than in the US, but they’re irrelevant to the larger point: if gun control indeed lowers gun crime rates, then gun crimes would not increase fourfold after banning handguns. But apparently, the UK was as successful in combating gun crime as DC.

“Four times virtually nothing is still virtually nothing. Its obvious that less guns means less gun crime.”

You can try to minimize it, but you can’t obliterate the fact that gun violence increased fourfold after banning handguns – which refutes your point that gun control decreases gun crime. I guess criminals did not get the message that they were not supposed to use handguns. For shame.

Priya Lynn
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

Junius said “I couldn’t find the statistics on gun crimes”.

You didn’t look very hard, which is not at all surprising. It is in the link I gave you.

Junius said “You can try to minimize it, but you can’t obliterate the fact that gun violence increased fourfold after banning handguns – which refutes your point that gun control decreases gun crime.”.

I don’t have to “try” to minimize it, it IS minimal compared to the States. When the number of gun related homicides in England and Wales increases fourfold from 24 to 97 per year it is a tiny, tiny, drop in in the bucket compared to the 9,326 gun homicides reported in the U.S. in 2004.
Four times virtually nothing, is still virtually nothing. Obviously compared to the States, British gun control has resulted in an overwhelmingly lower rate of gun crime. Countries like Canada, the U.K. and Japan that tightly control guns in general, and hand guns in particular have practically no gun crime at all compared to the U.S.

Your “It increased fourfold!” hysteria is exactly the sort of dishonest argumentation anti-gays used to smear gays:

“Anal cancer is 10 times more prevalent in gays than in heterosexuals, gayness is an absolute disaster” when anal cancer is in .01 percent of gays and .oo1 percent of heterosexuals

P.S., what happened to “I rest my case.” smart*ss, LOL.

Now I will actually rest my case – you can’t BS your way out of this one although I know you’ll try.

L. Junius Brutus
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

“Obviously compared to the States, British gun control has resulted in an overwhelmingly lower rate of gun crime. ”

You are rather Americanocentric. The US is not the center of the world, and it’s hardly the only country that allows private gun ownership. You can’t compare the UK to the US, as they are completely different. Rather, a proper comparison is a comparison between likes, not between unlikes. In this case, we see that gun crime jumps by 400% when handguns are banned. You can try to weasel your way out by claiming that it is “nothing”, but that still does not explain the 400% increase. And aliens don’t explain it either, just so you know.

Oh, and if gun control explains low British crime rates, then you (of course) forget that gun crime was actually 80% lower when handguns were allowed. Apparently, private gun ownership can co-exist with low gun crimes, to your great shock and dismay, I’m sure. Try explaining that. Too bad you won’t respond, because I’m literally dying to see how you would spin that.

And the US, UK and Canada are not the only countries in the world, although you spend all your time talking about them. You forgot Switzerland with its 2 million hand guns and assault rifles in private hands. Despite (or maybe because of) that, almost no gun crime. Apparently, you couldn’t explain it, so you decided to ignore it, in the hope that it would go away.

“Now I will actually rest my case – you can’t BS your way out of this one although I know you’ll try.”

Funny how the great weakness of a case is often correlated with the absolute ferocity with which it is asserted.

Mihangel apYrs
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

L. Junius Brutus
correlation isn’t causation.

The majority of gun crime is inner-city, mainly (young) balck on black men feuding over drug-turf. Vanishingly rarely is a “civilian” involved.

While I agree the numbers have risen it has nothing to do with gun control and a lot to do with societal fracture in our ghettoes (“fatherless” families, poor scholastic performance from black (and white) boys, rising unemployment caused by a degree of racism giving black men reduced scope for work.

I speak as a fairly well educated and well informed Brit

Mihangel apYrs
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

oh
and gun ownership was highly regulated even before the ban on hand guns.

It involved and still involves police checks on criminal records and visits to the property where the gun is stored (my father had a locked safe in his attic) and then the licence is issued by a magistrate. This licence can be withdraw at any time.

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

How fascinating.

Fuller turned around, faced Humphries, took his picture and told him, “You’re dead!” in a tone that appeared to those around him to be serious and a legitimate threat.

Yet some here seem to be finding sympathy for Fuller and hostility towards Humphries. I guess for some the objectionable nature of violent rhetoric is dependent upon who makes it and who is the target.

Sad. I would hope that BTB readers and commenters would be more principled.

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

Jim,

I think you may have left something essential out our your commentary, the last half of a sentence:

Humphries told KGUN9 News that he does plan to press those charges, at the recommendation of sheriff’s department investigators.

Because this essential information was lacking, Humphries appears to some (who chose not to read the article) as lacking in compassion.

Jim Burroway
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

To add to Timothy’s comment, this looks as though Fuller has some serious anger issues. He was also combative before the shooting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/us/13survivors.html

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

It may very well be that the sheriff’s department wishes charges to be pressed because that is the only way that they can legally force Fuller to get psychological evaluation. In a way, Humphries may be doing Fuller a favor by pressing charges.

Tone
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

Fully issued an apology today for his behaviour so that’s a start.

Tone
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

Fuller I meant. Everyone here speaks typo I think anyway.

MIhangel apYrs
January 18th, 2011 | LINK

Tim
“PTSD” maybe?

The chap had had a rather trying time and possibly behaved out of character.

Big time.

Ben Mathis
January 18th, 2011 | LINK

While the lower gun crime in Canada and the UK, and the rest of the EU might be attributed to tighter gun control laws, and I have nothing against them, I personally believe it has far more to do with the lower wealth inequality, higher social mobility, and lower unemployment. Happy, employed, medically insured people who can buy food and make rent don’t commit gun crimes. Disenfranchised youth in the urban wastelands allowed to grow in the inner city through lack of school funding, erosion of worker’s rights, social mobility, and jobs through deregulation and outsourcing; do commit gun crimes. Oh and let’s not forget the incredibly racist judicial system.

By all means, make guns harder to get, but please put a higher priority on decreasing the reasons to commit violence in the first place.

MIhangel apYrs
January 19th, 2011 | LINK

Ben Mathis

agree, but would emphasise that it’s not an either/or between gun control and re-civilisation

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