William Patrick Williams, 19, of Texas, needs to be a test subject for local law enforcement, ATF and the FBI. Who is this young man you may ask? Well, thanks to his grandmother, we know.

William told his grandmother that he planned to “shoot up” a hotel. He had bought a gun, bought ammo, bought black clothing and rented a hotel room. His plan was to attack innocent people and then to kill himself. Taking him seriously, she convinced him to go to the hospital with her where he confessed his plans and law enforcement were called in. This is an opportunity for the professionals to learn from someone, to find out what makes them want to commit such a crime and then end their own life. This young man needs to be studied, recorded and studied some more. Where did the disconnect with humanity come from? Why would someone want to commit such a crime? What started the person on such a path? Was it depression? Bullying? Lack of human contact? Glorifying movies and video games? Maybe, just maybe, some common denominators will be discovered that can be used to let us, as a society, focus on stopping these terrible acts way before the planning process takes place.

Perhaps there is hope. Thank goodness the grandmother was proactive and not dismissive.

A frequent term being misused by the media is “fully automatic.” A fully automatic firearm is one where the trigger is pulled only once and bullets are projected. A semi-automatic weapon (which is the majority of all firearms including pistols, rifles and shotguns) is one pull of the trigger, one bullet is fired.

Hollywood has done a wonderful job misleading viewers on the reality of firearms. I am always amazed when during any action scene in a Bruce Willis movie (like Die Hard), bad guys never reload a weapon and can fire continually for several minutes without the barrels getting red hot, without any form of eye or hearing protection — guns are very loud — and when the weapon jams or eventually runs out of the 1,000 plus rounds of ammo, they just drop the weapon and grab another. None of that is real.

Thanks again to Hollywood, people believe that silencers are only owned by hitmen and used for assassination purposes. Did you know that in Great Britain, a country with very strict gun laws you can simply walk into a hardware store and without any documentation purchase a silencer? Why? Simple. Noise is bad and silencers, enough though they only limit the amount of noise, protect people from hearing damage. Hearing damage — not hit men.

The one thing I have yet to hear out of Hollywood or any famous actor/actress is that Hollywood needs to stop making violent movies that glorify the killers. Where is that outcry from the actors and actresses? Why aren’t they protesting outside the gates of movie studios? Just a thought.

In a time of despair it is easy to see why people seek out a quick and fast answer to explain something horrific, but unfortunately, those answers (or solutions) are usually wrong and based on emotion and not facts.

If we are really going to work together to prevent mass encounters of violence, we need to find the source of the illness and work toward preventing it and encouraging proactive behavior like that of William Williams grandmother. She is a hero.

Remember knowledge is power, law abiding gun owners are not the enemy, and the media can twist and shape things so that sometime the truth gets a bit clouded. Be educated, ask questions and be part of a solution, not the problem.


Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.