Saved by a Good Person with a Gun



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By Rob Morse, October 26th, 2013
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We hear about crazy people who murder for status and notoriety. That story fills the news for days, yet we seldom hear about the ordinary person who stopped a public assault before many people were killed or injured. These silent citizens never wanted notoriety. Wanted or not, these individuals are so important that we must remember what they did. Their actions changed history. We distort reality if we forget them or ignore them. Heaven knows we want more good guys with a gun to protect us because they save so many lives.

We seldom see a middle ground in public violence. In one case, the murderer kills at will until police finally arrive to stop him. In the other case, the murderer's attack is cut short by a good man on the scene who has a gun. There is a difference between this and simple self-defense. The key distinctions are that there were many potential victims, and a good man with a gun stopped the event before many were injured. Sometimes the good man was an ordinary civilian who happened to have a firearm nearby. Sometimes the good men are former military or off duty police who happen to be at the scene by chance. Let's not forget that sometimes the good man with a gun is a woman. 80 percent more people will live if a good man with a gun is on the scene of the attack. This is what these brave men and women accomplished.

Pearl High School, Pearl Mississippi, 1997 Assistant principal, Joel Myrick, heard shots. He ran to his truck and retrieved his handgun. He then ran to the murderer, dragged him from his car and held the murderer at gunpoint until police arrived. The murderer was a student who killed his mother minutes before he came to school. The murderer killed two students at school before he was stopped. Myrick saved many lives because he had a gun stored in his truck. The school was a gun-free zone in name only since there was no physical security to keep firearms off campus.

Parker Middle School dance, Edinboro, Pennsylvania,1998 Restaurant owner James Strand grabbed the shotgun he kept at the restaurant and held the murderer until police arrived. The murderer left a suicide note at his home. He then went to the middle school dance and murdered a science teacher who was acting as a chaperone. Another adult and two other students were wounded before the restaurant owner held the murderer at gunpoint. Thank god he had a gun.

Appalachian School of Law, Grundy, Virginia, 2002 A suspended student returned to the law school and murdered the dean, a professor, and a student. Two other students were wounded. Two out-of-state law enforcement officers were on campus. They ran and retrieved handguns from their vehicles when they heard shots. They approached and held the murderer at gun point. The murderer dropped his gun and the officers did not shoot the murderer.

One account says a fellow student grabbed the murderer before he was cornered by the officers. One thing is clear. The murderer killed unarmed people at will. Also, the murderer could not kill anyone once he was confronted by good men with guns. The critical time period is once violence starts until the good guys arrive.

New Life Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2007 The murderer shot up one religious institution hours before he went to New Life Church. The murderer then killed two people and wounded three more in the church parking lot. The murderer entered the church building and was approached by three armed church members coming from different directions. The murderer took his own life after he was wounded by church security member Jeanne Assam. The armed person at the right place and the right time was a woman. Hundreds of people were at risk and there is no doubt they were saved by the actions of these armed church members.

Trolley Square Mall, Salt Lake City, Utah 2007 The murderer was an 18 year old Muslim and self-declared jihadist. He murdered 5 people and wounded four more as he moved from the parking garage into the mall shouting "Alluah Akbar". He was armed with a shotgun, a handgun, and a backpack full of ammunition.

Off duty police officer Kenneth Hammond was eating at the mall with his wife. After hearing gunfire, he moved towards the sound of the shots. He fired at the murderer. He and Sgt. Andrew Oblad contained the murderer. These officers and an armed SWAT team shot the murder to the ground. The murderer fired 39 shots in six minute and could have killed many more people if he was not confronted and contained by Officer Hammond. The mall was a gun-free zone at the time of the shooting but has since changed its licensed carry policy.

Makor Haim High School, Jerusalem, Israel, 2008 Two Palestinian terrorists wore Israeli military uniforms to enter Makor Haim High School. The terrorists ordered students in the library/study hall to line up against the wall with their hands raised. The terrorists began stabbing the students until two Israeli school counselors drew their personal handguns and killed the terrorists. More than 200 students were at risk. Because the murderers were stopped quickly, only three students were injured, with two of the injuries being moderate in severity.

Golden Market, Richmond, Virginia, 2009 A robber ordered everyone in the store to lie on the floor. The robber then shot the store owner twice. In the process the robber narrowly missed shooting a teenager in the head. The robber shot at other customers and said he would kill them all. An armed patron then shot the robber and wrestled the robber's gun away. The robber fled and collapsed outside. Some of the store customers shouted for the armed citizen to shoot the robber again and kill him. He did not, though the robber later died of his injuries. The armed customer, a friend of the store owner, saved the lives of the ten people in the store. He wishes to remain anonymous. The store owner recovered from his wounds.

The Golden Market had been robbed at gun point a month earlier. During the month another shop owner was shot and killed nearby. This time a good man with a gun saved innocent lives.

AT&T store, New York Mills, New York, 2010 A gunman with a grudge walked into the AT&T store and shot the clerk behind the counter. The gunman turned with the gun and was shot by off-duty police officer Donald Moore who was waiting in the store as a customer. The gunman had a list of six store employees by name that he wanted to kill.

The gunman died. The clerk recovered from the gunshot to his stomach but remains disabled.

Clackamas Town Center Mall in Clackamas, Oregon, 2012 The murderer ran into the center of the mall with a loaded rifle. The mall is posted as a gun-free zone, but there was no screening or physical security to keep weapons out of the mall. The mall contained 8 to 10 thousand customers and employees at the time of the shooting. The murderer had 145 rounds of ammunition. He killed two people in the food court and wounded one other.

Nick Meli was in the food court area. Meli had a license to carry a weapon and had a handgun on him. He pointed his handgun at the murderer, but did not fire due to innocent people standing behind the murderer. The murderer saw Meli and fled the food court area. The murderer went down a flight of stairs and took his own life before police arrived. Toxicology reports found that the murderer had used marijuana and cocaine. We will never know how many lives Nick Meli saved. We know the murderer did not kill again after meeting armed resistance.

Mayan 14 Theater shooting, San Antonio, Texas 2012 The gunman shot up the China Garden Restaurant where his ex-girl friend worked. Patrons fled the restaurant, and the gunman chased the running crowd into the Mayan 14 Theater. The gunman continued to fire. Off duty policewoman Sergeant Lisa Castellano chased the gunman and shot him four times as he came out of the theater's bathroom. The gunman lived, and fortunately only two others were wounded. The theater is posted as a gun-free zone but lacks physical security to stop weapons carried into the theater.

These 11 events show the effectiveness of a good man with a gun and the ineffectiveness of "gun-free" zones. I could give you more examples, but how much evidence does it take to convince you that good people with a gun save lives? Both civilians and off duty law enforcement officers are vitally effective. We need more of both, though there are seven times more civilians licensed to carry than there are sworn law enforcement officers in the US. As a peace officer told me, "You call a cop because he's a good guy with a gun. I need you to protect yourself until I arrive."

The officer lived through that situation, and I have not, but it makes sense to me.


I gave you 1500 words, but we had a lot of history to cover. What say you?


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