Jeff Pearlman

  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon

A little more on Lynne Russell

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 1.12.47 AM

Because the news cycle travels at lightning speed, we often hear a story, process it for eight or nine seconds, than let it forever leave our psyche.

But I want to talk a little more about Lynne Russell; about guns.

In case you missed it (and you likely did miss it), a few days ago I wrote two posts about Russell, the respected former CNN anchor who penned a column for Fox News’ website on how the Second Amendment saved her life. Literally, the title of the piece was ‘NOTHING TO DEBATE’: SECOND AMENDMENT, LEGAL GUN IN MY PURSE SAVED OUR LIVES. Take a few minutes and read it. And, if you’re feeling lazy, here’s the synopsis: Lynne and her husband Chuck are driving late at night. They’re tired, so they stop at a Motel 6 along Route 66 in New Mexico. After checking in, Chuck took a shower and Lynne ran out to get food. She returned, prepared to enter her hotel room—and was pushed through the door by a man armed with a semi-automatic weapon.

Wrote Lynne:: “He shoved me into the room. I was airborne and landed on the bed. He shut the door and stood behind it, gun on me, debating his next move. He didn’t expect Chuck to open the bathroom door. My husband  (Air Force Academy, U.S. Army Special Forces), said ‘What’s going on here?’ and advanced into the room. Stark naked and dripping wet, he maneuvered himself in front of the small table between the beds, concealing two small .380 legal handguns we’d brought in from the car. I moved around, we spoke to the assailant, kept him busy, offered him things, kept him from focusing. We felt he’d shoot when he’d gotten what he wanted. He was comfortable with the situation, had been there before. I walked my purse to Chuck, talking about finding something inside. I reached behind Chuck and slipped a gun in, then handed it to him, asking if he could see anything that we might give the man. He said yes, wrapping his hand around the gun. The assailant grew agitated as I again walked across the room, splitting his concentration. He was making wild passes with his gun. Finally he lunged at the briefcase in front of me, and headed for the door. For a second, I thought he’d leave. Instead, he opened fire on my husband. Chuck returned fire, emptying his gun even as he was bleeding profusely.”

OK, so first, I have no problem with Lynne and Chuck possessing guns. None. They both seem to know what they’re doing; both are experienced; both surely passed whatever background checks were required. Again, I’ve got no beef there. What keeps bugging me, however, is the narrative. Here I go …

A. The guy pushes Russell into the room and he has a gun out. Now, what does he want? Did he enter the room because he loves killing people? Certainly a possibility, but unlikely considering …

B. Tomorio Walton, the culprit, had a lengthy criminal record. Super lengthy. But none of it violent. Here, take a look:

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 12.52.04 AMIn fact, it turns out Walton was a “street slave”—one who commits crimes in exchange for drugs. He was an addict, clearly. One who robbed, then surrendered the goods to someone who could get him high.

C. Walton enters the room, and Russell fucks around. She doesn’t say, “I have $100 and two rings.” She doesn’t say, “Here are my car keys—take the Toyota in the parking lot.” No, read her words again: “I moved around, we spoke to the assailant, kept him busy, offered him things, kept him from focusing. We felt he’d shoot when he’d gotten what he wanted. He was comfortable with the situation, had been there before. I walked my purse to Chuck, talking about finding something inside. I reached behind Chuck and slipped a gun in, then handed it to him, asking if he could see anything that we might give the man. He said yes, wrapping his hand around the gun. The assailant grew agitated as I again walked across the room, splitting his concentration. He was making wild passes with his gun. Finally he lunged at the briefcase in front of me, and headed for the door.”

D. Instead of leaving, Walton opens fire on Chuck—and Chuck returns the fire. Chuck is hit three times and lives, Walton dies. This, to me, is the REALLY bewildering part: Did Walton fire just because, like some cinematic bad guy, he thought, “I’m Tomorio Walton, and I’m a cold-blooded killer, motherfucker!” Or did he fire because: A. He was frazzled and confused by the shiftiness going on before him? or B. Chuck was pointing a gun at him?

•••

It’s all a weird and messy thing. And, truly, what bothers me most isn’t (oddly) Lynne Russell or Chuck the husband or Tomorio Walton. Nope, it was the interview Russell did with Megyn Kelly, the Fox News superstar who failed to ask any good questions. Because when someone says—boldly—the Second Amendment saved her life, there have to be follows ups. And here they are: Follow-up 1: Your husband easily could have been killed here. Is it possible—even remotely possible—that by pulling out a gun, you worsened the situation? Follow-up 2: Tomorio Walton had a long criminal record—but never one where he shot someone. You wrote, “We felt he’d shoot when he’d gotten what he wanted.” What made you think that—beyond him holding a gun? Follow-up 3: You stalled and stalled and stalled as a guy pointed a gun at you. Is it possible this was merely unwise thinking? Follow-up 4: Can an argument be made that, perhaps, people are best served in an armed robbery by letting the gunman take what he’s after and presume he doesn’t want to kill, just steal?

Now, that last question REALLY seems to irk Second Amendment folks, and I understand why. It goes against a certain genre of thought; like, “How in the world can you just let someone rob you without putting up a fight?” The thing is, statistics (and they’re all over the place) seem to suggest the vast majority of armed robberies (when people are home) do not result in the firing of shots. Criminals mostly want in, they want to take, they want to leave. Not all, obviously. But, statistically, most.

So what happens when you add a gun to the mix? Are you defending yourself, or quickening your doom?

PS: One last thing: Kelly mocked me on Fox News, and took delight doing so. But she missed the fucking point. I have no problem with these people shooting Walton. He robbed them, it was their right to defend themselves. No doubt. My question is: Did they defend themselves, or did they make a bad situation 1,000 times worse? Did the Second Amendment save them, or did pulling out a gun lead to the near-death of Chuck?

  • Cd1515

    not sure I buy the whole “I slipped my husband a gun while he was dripping wet, naked” part.
    how big is this hotel room?
    how would the intruder not have noticed that?
    got a feeling there’s more to the story.

  • rwhisk

    Jeff……wondering why you are devoting so much attention to this? From your comments it appears that you have opinions, but may lack subject matter expertise.

    • rjupback

      What precisely is “subject matter expertise?”

  • JOregon

    Jeff it’s a cult.
    The gun cult can never see another option.

    • trevor Taylor

      In this case, the ONLY other option was for the couple to end up raped, robbed, and MURDERED! Funny how you Marxist LOONS consider that to be preferable to the robber getting what he deserved, as he did.

  • Jim Briggs

    “Walton enters the room, and Russell fucks around.”

    Russell and her husband are the ones who sound like they’re “comfortable with the situation, had been there before.”

    I’m not buying the story.

  • trevor Taylor

    Pull your empty head out of your lying commie ass for the first time in your pathetically ignorant excuse for a life you brain dead subhuman Marxist POS!! It’s not like the robbing scumbag had his record tattooed on his forehead RETARD! It’s not like he handed them a laptop and gave them the chance to look him up either MORON!! An armed CRIMINAL FORCED his way into their room and you ignorant commie LOONS act as if they’re somehow the problem because they expected the worst from him?!?! I’d ask what planet you vermin are from, but it’s obviously Bizarro world. The idea that the limp-wristed FAGGOT Pearlwoman insists on condemning this couple because they chose their lives over a career criminal is DISGUSTING!

    • mrtapeguy

      You’re a big help. LOL. Did some liberal beat you up and take your lunch money or something? Are you aware that being gay and being a Marxist and being anti-gun have ZERO to do with each other? You should know, right?

      • trevor Taylor

        Quit slurping commie cock MORON!

    • Dagnabbit_42

      This is obviously a caricature offered up, “in blackface” as it were, by a leftist who actually believes that right-of-center commenters in the U.S. talk this way.

      Don’t feed the trolls.

      • trevor Taylor

        WRONG COMMIE!!

      • taochiapet

        no, you guys own this one.

  • Asherdan

    Let’s tear this down a little bit…

    Error 1: traveling with a weapon for self defense, didn’t have weapon on person in an unsecured environment.

    Error 2: In an unsecured room, no weapon within reach, in a defenseless position.

    Error 3: In an unsecured environment, weapon not on person, lack of awareness let’s unknown male get within closing distance without challenge or defensive action.

    This situation is an example of why having a carry weapon is not what makes you secure, It is the mindset and awareness you are supposed to carry along with it. The only reason the situation went so badly is the victim’s became mentally lazy.

    I hope they both learn from this experience as next time they may not be so full of ‘dumb-luck’.

  • Dagnabbit_42

    Be aware:

    One of the biggest problems with a robbery in which the robber threatens innocent persons with deadly force and gets away with it is: He got away with it.

    We must treat every crime which succeeds as a failure for society: We like societies to be “law-abiding” and a place where there are a lot of successful crimes committed is a less-good society as a result.

    My guess is that for every one time it happens that an armed robber “gets away with it,” two or more future attempts will be made by the perpetrator or by others. Human beings, after all, like to stick with what works.

    But, for every one time the robber gets shot dead, not only will his own future attempts be very effectively thwarted, but those of other persons will be deterred. My guess is that maybe four or five other attempts will never be made, depending on how well-publicized the event is.

    Now of course I’m pulling “two or more” and “four or five” from where the sun don’t shine! Neither I nor anyone else can possibly have an accurate measurement of those numbers. But I think it’s a reasonable guesstimate.

    Furthermore, when a robber is going through all the belongings of a couple held at gunpoint, it is not unlikely he will ask to go through a purse. If there is a firearm in that purse, it is not unlikely he will take it and use it in a criminal way later on, or sell it to someone else to be used in a criminal way. He may even be suddenly frightened and angered by its presence.

    Given that, we do not want armed innocent persons to submit to having their belongings — likely including their guns — taken by a criminal.

    Quite the contrary: We want the attempted robbery to fail, because that is good for society. And we want it to fail in a way that is catastrophic for the robber and well-publicized. This is an even better outcome for society.

    So by shooting the robber, this couple did succeed in making a bad situation better than it would have been, had the robbery completely succeeded.

    NOTE: Please be aware: This is how we should understand the dynamics of such situations As A Society. But the training of lawful firearms-carriers should not encourage them to thinking this way in an actual emergency. In an actual emergency, the goal is (a.) stay alive, (b.) stop the attacker’s attack, (c.) especially prevent the attacker from obtaining your weapon.

  • Robert Mech

    Got news for you Jeffy. It’s ALWAYS A GOOD THING WHEN A CRIMINAL DIES!!!!!!!

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life