Jeff Knox does his best to create an unfortunate victim in his Jan. 8 WorldNetDaily column:
Just days after the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a 23-year-old college student in Connecticut was a victim of another gun-related tragedy. No guns were fired, no one was physically injured, but even so, a life was ruined. William Dong was licensed in Connecticut to carry a concealed handgun. He worked for an armored-car company and, along with being a good student and hard worker, he was a budding firearm enthusiast. Unable to afford an expensive gun safe, Dong secured his small collection of firearms and ammunition in his locked bedroom in his parents’ home.
Being human, Dong was deeply disturbed by the atrocity in Newtown and the subsequent media hype surrounding that tragic event. Like many people, especially those near the event, he developed a fear of something like that happening again and being helpless to do anything about it. He was reassured by his own ability to carry and effectively use a handgun, but also wanted to have a good personal-defense carbine. That’s when William Dong made his first mistake; on a trip to Pennsylvania he purchased a Bushmaster AR-style rifle from a private seller. It’s not illegal to purchase a long gun in another state in a face-to-face transaction, but out-of-state purchases should be made through a licensed dealer. Since the rifle he purchased had a collapsible stock and other “military” features, it was subsequently banned in Connecticut, compounding Dong’s mistake.
Dong’s third mistake was deciding he was going to take a trip to the range after class one day. He put his rifle and some ammo in his car in preparation for that range session. He parked the car off campus and made a point of placing the rifle out of view behind the driver’s seat before walking to class.
A homeless woman saw the rifle when Dong transferred it to the back seat of his SUV. She then noted that he was headed toward the university campus and, with visions of Sandy Hook dancing in her head, she called the police to report a man with a gun headed toward the campus of UNH. Police and SWAT teams mobilized as Dong hurried to biology class, where he was in the middle of a test when the school went into lockdown. Dong was peacefully taken into custody a few minutes later.
There was never any indication that William Dong planned to harm anyone. He made no threats, had no history of any sort of mental illness, or even reports of odd behavior. By all indications, William Dong was just a guy who enjoyed guns and shooting who had the misfortune of living in the wrong part of the country.
Certainly William Dong made mistakes. His biggest mistake was believing that because he was a “good guy” and had no malicious intent, others would recognize that as well. Being a “good guy” is no defense against public panic.
Actually, Dong is not quite the "good guy" Knox wants you to believe he is. As the Hartford Courant reported -- and Knox failed to mention -- Dong's behavior was highly suspicious, and he made no effort to clarify it at his sentencing:
Standing before the judge, shackled and dressed in an ill-fitting orange prison jumpsuit with a gallery of onlookers listening, Dong did not solve the mystery.
"I have nothing for the court, your honor," Dong, 23, replied minutes before Judge Frank A. Iannotti sent him to prison for two years for illegally purchasing an assault weapon banned in Connecticut and other weapons charges stemming from the December 2013 scare that prompted a four-hour lockdown on the UNH campus and at schools near the university in West Haven.
It was an answer that the prosecutor, Kevin D. Lawlor, appeared to have anticipated. Before Dong spoke at the hearing at Superior Court in Milford, Lawlor called Dong "an enigma" who gave police contradictory statements as to why he had the firearms that day.
Lawlor said police discovered that Dong had repeatedly researched Connecticut's gun laws on his iPad in the weeks leading up to the incident and looked to purchase a so-called bump fire device that can turn a regular rifle into a machine gun. Two days before the lockdown, he was researching the Sandy Hook massacre, Lawlor said. Police also found newspaper clippings of the Colorado theater shooting at his home.
When questioned by police, Dong gave "conflicting" reasons for having the guns, answers that failed to tell investigators whether it was a misunderstanding or if they had just averted a major tragedy, Lawlor said.
"Those glimpses into his state of mind at the time concern me to this day and have never really been clarified," Lawlor said.
Still, Knox wants you to think Dong is a victim of anti-gun hysteria:
Media, prosecutors, and politicians went into a frenzy, declaring that a tragedy had been averted and referring to Dong as a “gunman,” with blazing headlines calling him a “Gun-Wielding UNH Student,” even though he never “wielded” a gun in the incident. Press accounts made much of the fact that police found 2,700 rounds of ammunition in Dong’s bedroom (which isn’t a lot to an avid shooter) along with newspaper clippings about the Batman movie massacre in Colorado, even pointing to the lock on his bedroom door as an indication of evil intent. Gov. Dannel Malloy quickly claimed Dong’s arrest was proof that the new firearm restrictions he had helped push through the state legislature – on top of laws that were already among the most restrictive in the nation – had worked, never mind that the new laws had little bearing on Dong’s case.
Gun control laws don’t stop lunatic killers, but tragically, they do ruin people’s lives.
While admitting he doesn't "know what was in William Dong’s heart" -- and refusing to admit Dong's own behavior and shifting statements to authorities could very well be an indication of what was in his heart -- Knox somehow knows Dong is a victim. Funny, that.