Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Armed Citizen

I took down most of my Armed Citizen posts following the NDAA scare.  I've been debating putting them back up.  I think I will over time.  Here was the first I posted on 04/11/2009.

Last weekend there were widely reported shootings. Today there was another shooting incident. Gun control advocates are delighted at the opportunity to showcase the evil of firearms.

The only problem is that firearms aren't evil. I've been thinking about doing this for some time, and these recent tragedies have convinced me that it's time to showcase the appropriate use of guns by lawful citizens, and how they save more lives daily than are ever lost to criminals misusing guns. That often happens with the simple defensive presentation of a firearm with no shots fired and no life lost.

These stories come from American Rifleman magazine. Don't worry, there's no copyright violation. In each installment of The Armed Citizen, they print the following: "If you have a firsthand 'Armed Citizen' experience, call NRA-ILA PR/Communications at (703) 267-1193. Studies indicate that firearms are used over 2 million times a year for personal protection, and that the presence of a firearm, without a shot being fired, prevents crime in many instances. Shooting usually can be justified only where crime constitutes an immediate, imminent threat to life, limb, or in some cases, property. Anyone is free to quote or reproduce these accounts. Send clippings to: 'The Armed Citizen,' 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030-9400."

Without further ado, the accounts of personal protection:

Employees at Texas Components were stunned when the daughter of an employee entered the business armed with archery tackle and a realistic-looking toy gun. Police say the crazed woman drew her bow and fired an arrow into an employee's chest, then pointed the fake pistol at others. Fearful for their lives, two employees, both of whom had concealed-carry licenses, drew pistols and shot the woman several times. She fled to an office and police were called. When the woman pointed an arrow at a responding officer, he shot her once more. The suspect and injured worker were both listed in stable condition at the hospital. (The Houston Chronicle, Houston, TX 01/20/2009)

Police say two suspected burglars have already been dealt a great deal of punishment. First, a homeowner caught the suspects rifling through his garage. "I asked him what the hell he was doing and he said, 'Cleaning the garage," the homeowner recalls. The homeowner ran inside to get a gun, and the suspects fled. Police caught one of the men hiding under a nearby vehicle. His accomplice was arrested after he brazenly broke into a second home. In that incident, the homeowner shot the suspect with a shotgun and held him for police. (The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK, 12/20/2008)

Ninety-year-old Berlie Mae Johnson was watching the evening news with her husband when two men burst through the back door. "Be quiet. Don't say a word. Don't move!" demanded one of the intruders as he put a gun to her head. "It's terrible. You expect at any moment..." she said, her voice cracking. "My nerves are shot. He'd probably have killed me." But her husband, Charles, age 91, came to the rescue. He grabbed his .38-caliber revolver from under a sofa cushion. One of the intruders fled immediately. "He saw the gun and, boy, he was gone," Mr. Johnson recalls. The other intruder was still threatening his wife, but a single shot from Johnson's revolver sen thim running. Johnson said he has a message for others: "Be prepared. Keep your doors locked. And be alert." His wife added, "And have a gun ready." (Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, FL 12/25/2008)

Note: It has been noted that the gun is the great equalizer. The aged, infirm and physically disabled have as much ability to defend themselves from harm as the young, fit and strong, so long as they have access to a firearm.

The owner of Midwest Grillz and Jewelry, Andre McKesson, let two men into his store while a third man waited outside. The men expressed interest in purchasing a decorative mouthpiece known as a grill, but an argument ensued. The man outside recalls hearing, "Why you playing games with us, man? Where's our teeth? Can you give a refund? Then give me my teeth!" Police say one of the men pulled a gun and fired two shots into the wall where McKesson had been standing. McKesson grabbed a semi-automatic rifle from behind the counter and killed both assailants. (Omaha World-Herald, Omaha, NE, 01/17/2009)

Note: Pistol vs. rifle usually has a predictable outcome.
2nd Note: They have grill shops in Omaha Nebraska?!

While fetching wood from her garage one evening, a 70-year-old woman heard what sounded like people fighting. "I looked over into the road to see what was going on, and about that time a guy comes running around the house," she explained. The woman ran inside, got her gun and dialed 9-1-1. The man circled the house, pounding on all the windows. He broke through the living room window and knocked over the television. The woman can be heard on the 9-1-1 tape yelling at the man, "You stay right where you're at!" Police say she aimed her gun at the intruder and told him, "If you come any closer, you're going to be dead." She then ordered him to the floor and he obeyed, collapsing into a fetal position. He remained that way until police arrested him. (South Bend Tribune, South Bend, IN, 01/06/2009)

A frequent customer at a convenience store noticed a man looking aroudn the store as if casing it. Suspicious, eh decied to go to his vehicle and call for help. "As soon as I touched my cell phone, I heard [the store clerk] screaming, "Help, help, help!" the customer explained. The 5-foot-4 man grabbed his Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol from the vehicle and bravely ran back inside the store. Surveillance video shows the suspect hitting the female clerk with a beer bottle and wrestling her to the ground. The customer fired two shots, killing the suspect. Police found a knife and wad of cash on the attacker. (Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, FL, 01/08/2009)

I'd add to the statement in American Rifleman a few thoughts. Gun ownership is absolutely not for everyone. That's fine. Those of us who do own them request that you recognize we who own them only desire to keep ourselves, our families and you safe. There are simply not enough police to be everywhere at once, but there are enough armed, lawful citizens. You should never present a firearm defensively unless you are ready to squeeze the trigger. Being unwilling to do so makes the presence of the gun more of a hazard to you than a protection. Some people will say, "You must not draw a gun without firing or being willing to kill." That's not true. In fact, if you ever have to draw a gun in self-defense, it must be only with the intent to defend your life or the life of someone nearby. If you intend to kill someone with it, you will very likely be charged with a crime.

Drawing a firearm and squeezing the trigger sets in motion a complex legal process that can end with you incarcerated. Even in completely justifiable self-defense shootings, the assailant or his family may sue in civil court.

With all these caveats, is it worth owning a gun? Not for everyone, but I contend these risks are better than the risk of being helpless as a criminal does whatever he likes to you and your family as you wait for police to show up, assuming you even had time to dial 9-1-1.

I do everything in my power to make sure I never have an "Armed Citizen" story of my own. That's because while I'm willing to defend myself, aside from becoming a victim, I can think of nothing more abhorrent than harming another person deliberately. I hope all lawful gun owners see it the same way.

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