Op-Ed; Gary Ridgway didn’t use a gun

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003

Gun control laws didn’t stop Gary Ridgway. Background checks did not prevent his killing spree. Waiting periods never interrupted his schedule

The infamous “Green River Killer” has now confessed to unmercifully murdering 48 girls and young women over the past 20 years. He may have killed many more during what he grotesquely called his “career.”

He killed women for sexual pleasure, and ultimately he killed women because he simply liked it. In chilling detail, he told detectives how he “hunted” his victims, how he sometimes had to convince them that he would release them in order for them to stop struggling, and then he killed them, anyway.

In all of these killings, there was one striking common denominator: Ridgway never used a gun. In shocking court documents, this fiend detailed how he lured his victims and strangled them. It is a disturbing, terrifying peek inside the mind of true evil.

“Ridgway denied ever using a firearm to kill his victims,” one document significantly notes. “When asked why he chose to choke his victims, Ridgway replied: ‘Cause that was more personal and more rewarding than to shoot her’.” Later, in the same document, Ridgway explained: “Choking is what I did, and I was pretty good at it.”

Ridgway will spend the rest of his unnatural life rotting in a prison cell. Yet today, in communities all over the nation, convicted sex predators are being routinely placed in so-called “halfway houses,” often without the knowledge of neighbors, and other times against the overwhelming objection of local residents and businesses.

Ironically, at the same time social do-gooders are laboring to place rapists and pedophiles in your neighborhood, they are also supporting efforts to restrict your right to own and carry a firearm for your protection, and the protection of your family. Fortunately, they haven’t always been successful.

Take the case of Fernandez A. Perez , 20, of Dallas, TX, which was covered by the Dallas Morning News. Perez was apprehended at gunpoint the night of Jan. 15, 2002 by the father of a 15-year-old girl, in whose bedroom Perez was discovered with his pants down. William Hazlewood handcuffed Perez until police arrived, and an investigation linked Perez to another incident the previous October in which he entered a home nearby, and sexually molested a 12-year-old girl.

In October of this year, Maurice F. Burge, 24, was charged in the abduction of a 28-year-old Gary, IN woman at gunpoint, but the woman turned the tables on him and shot Burge in the face with her own 9mm handgun. According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, the woman had been carrying the gun because Burge allegedly had been harassing her for several months.

Oklahoman Scott Denton became a good Samaritan this past January when he shot and killed a man identified by KTUL News in Tulsa as Arville Lee Jordan, after Jordan reportedly raped a woman, then tried to run over Denton when he intervened. Denton had heard the woman screaming and rushed to help.

In Ridgway’s own Washington State, registered sex offender Richard E. Lyons was killed July 4, 1991 when he broke into a West Seattle home and attempted to rape a woman, after tying up the woman’s mother and her 24-year-old son. He had been paroled the previous February after serving a prison sentence on a 1985 rape conviction, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The son broke free, grabbed his own gun, and shot Lyons.

And memories still linger in Lynnwood, WA, a community north of Seattle, where a serial rapist named Allan Ray Chesnutt was shot by one of his victims in May 1993, after committing a series of rapes. The cool thinking of his final victim may have saved her life, and certainly saved other women in the area from sexual assault.

Gary Ridgway is behind bars, but other sexual psychopaths still lurk our communities, hunting and stalking more victims. Restrictive anti-gun laws, disguised as “sensible safety measures” that would impair or prohibit honest citizens from having the means to defend themselves and their children from such monsters continue to be promoted.

The social apologists who pander such foolish legislation would argue that there is “something wrong” with a society that can produce a Gary Ridgway. There is something even more dreadfully wrong with those who would leave us defenseless against him.