By Rob Morse
Islam declared war on unarmed civilians. It is the muslim way, after all. We've watched our politician dither. What should ordinary citizens like us do? Despite their heartfelt desire, Police and Sheriff’s Deputies cannot be everywhere to protect us. Law enforcement does their best, but we need to protect ourselves until help arrives. We have. Armed citizens stopped mass murder. Ordinary people like you and me saved lives time after time.
Sure, President Obama wants us disarmed. He is wrong. Ordinary citizens like us are the secret weapon in the defense against terrorism and mass violence. The average man or woman in the United States can be armed and effective. We have been.
That isn't speculation on my part. We have proof. Here are a few of the many examples.
Armed civilians stopped mass murders in ordinary settings.
-John Hendricks was driving his car for Uber in Chicago, Illinois. Mister Hendricks had just dropped off a passenger when he saw a man yell, draw a gun, and start shooting at the crowd standing nearby. One of the attacker’s bullets actually hit Hendricks’ car. Mister Hendricks shot the armed attacker and called 911. Hendricks walked up to police with his arms raised and his concealed carry license in hand. The attacker lived. Mister Hendricks saved many lives.
-A man was turned away from a Portland, Oregon nightclub. The man came back wearing a mask and carrying a gun. He shot one of the club’s bouncers and two other people in the club. Jonathan Baer was also working as a bouncer at the club. Baer had a concealed carry license and was carrying that night. He shot and killed the attacker. We will never know how many people in the club or outside might have also been shot in the minutes it took for the police to arrive.
-Aaron Guyton saw a man pull a shotgun from his car and walk towards the nearby church. Gayton is a concealed carry holder and was working in another church building not far away. He quickly slipped into the main church building and locked the doors.. even though a church service was in session. He called police and sounded the alarm. Parishioners stood ready as the attacker kicked in the church’s side door. Aaron Gayton held the attacker at gunpoint as other parishioners grabbed his shotgun. They held the attacker until Spartanburg, South Caroline sheriff’s deputies arrived. The deputies confirmed that the shotgun was loaded.
-Two men started arguing in a crowded Philadelphia barber shop. The barber asked them to calm down since they were disturbing other customers. Instead, one of the two men pulled a gun from his clothing and started shooting at customers and the barbers. An armed citizen happened to be walking down the street at that time. He heard the gunshots, stepped into the shop, and shot the gunman once. He saved at least a half-dozen lives including four adults and children. Quoting Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Llewellyn. “The person who responded was a legal gun permit carrier.”
“He responded and I guess he saved a lot of people in there.”
-Dr. Lee Silverman is a Pennsylvania psychiatrist. He was treating a mental patient at a hospital when the patient became violent. The mental patient pulled a gun from his bag. The patient then shot and killed his case worker before he turned the gun on his doctor. The doctor moved and the bullet grazed the doctor’s head. The doctor then retrieved his own firearm from his desk and shot the attacker. The patient lived. The patient had 39 more cartridges in his bag when he was stopped. The doctor saved perhaps dozens of victims, including both hospital staff and patients. 10 percent of all workplace violence occurs in medical facilities. These facilities are often called gun-free zones.
-Sean Barner went to a birthday party in Atlanta, Georgia. He wondered why the 9 other people at the party were sitting on the floor so quietly as he walked in. That was when two robbers put a gun against Mister Barner’s back. The robbers took their valuables before separating the men and women. Barner heard the armed robbers mention raping the women, and heard them say they had enough bullets to finish everyone at the party. When he had a chance, Barner retrieved his own firearm rather than escape. The first criminal ran. The second robber was shot. The attacker died on the front lawn. All 10 of the victims lived. The first attacker was arrested and convicted of felony murder.
An ordinary citizen stopped mass murder at a birthday party.
-There was a long standing feud between two families in Winnemucca, Nevada. A member of one family walked up and fatally shot two members of the other family. Two other people were injured. A bystander saw the murder take place and shot the attacker. The bystander was briefly detained by police before being released. This happened at the Players Bar and Grill filled with about 300 people.
-Two gunmen armed with recently stolen handguns robbed the Shoney’s restaurant in Anniston, Alabama. At least they tried. The robbers herded the 20 customers and staff into the walk-in freezer. They held the store manager at gunpoint and continued to rob the cash register. One customer had escaped the robbery. This customer tried to sneak out the restaurant’s back door, but the back door was chained shut. One of the robbers saw the customer and pointed his gun at him. This lone customer, Thomas Glenn Terry, was also carrying a licensed pistol. Mister Terry pulled his firearm and shot the robber 5 times striking him in the chest and abdomen. The second thief shot at Mister Terry. Mister Terry shot the thief several times and caused critical injuries. Thomas Glenn Terry then released the hostages from the freezer and called police.
We usually think of “mass public murders” happening in crowded malls, schools or churches. They do. I also reported that concealed carriers also stop mass murder in those crowded settings. The eight examples above are far more frequent and generally involve fewer people at risk. They are important as well. Each example demonstrated the threat of lethal force by the attacker. In addition, there were at least 4 people who could have been killed if the citizen gun owner had not intervened. Would every one of these events turned into a mass public shootings? We will never know because a legally armed citizen stopped them.
You seldom see examples of civilian self-defense covered in the news. The reasons are easy to understand. Most self-defense incidents end without gunshots. In the rare instance when the gun is fired, the number of people injured is usually confined to the attacker. That isn’t sensational news. In short, it is easy to report when many lives are lost. It is hard to report when many lives are saved. I report on citizen self-defense every week. Armed citizens defend themselves every day. They save lives in private.. and when they are out in public. You always suspected that was true. Now you know.
It is easy to report when many lives are lost. It is hard to report when many lives are saved.
President Obama never noticed. You did. You set firearms sales records on Black Friday. Thank you.
About Rob Morse: Rob writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily and on his SlowFacts blog. He co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. He is also an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.