Good Guy with a Gun?
I am sooo tired of hearing the lie: “A good guy with a gun is the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun.”
This morning I was listening to the radio and heard this same mantra repeated yet again. It’s amazing, though nevertheless a fact, that no one ever seems to challenge that assumption with the unarguable truth. And then I thought, well, maybe I should stop complaining and do it myself. I did some research. It didn’t take long! The stories that follow, below, are true, factual. Four high-profile cases, each involving a, “… good guy with a gun.” What you are about to read may surprise you, especially as the endings are not always what you might expect!
Chattanooga Recruiting Center Shootings July 16, 2015
On July 16, 2015, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez drove himself to an Armed Forces Recruiting Center. There he fired 50 rounds into the bullet-proof glass. Whether or not he knew the bullets were ineffective is not known, though it seems unlikely that he wouldn’t have quickly realized it. What is known is that he got back into his rental car and drove 15 minutes across town before crashing the car into a gate. He then opened fire on a second recruiting station.
Abdulazeez’s motives were unclear. He had an approaching court date having been cited for driving under the influence. According to his own family, his behavior had become manic, and, it was discovered, after the attacks, that he had been researching Jihad on his computer. In layman’s terms, his life was a mess, but not for much longer. It was very nearly over.
The second recruiting center was not fitted with bullet-proof glass. His merciless attack killed four Marines with another one dying from his wounds a few days later. Abdulazeez was killed, by law enforcement officers, while still at the scene of the second attack.
There was an immediate, angry, and understandable reaction. Second Amendment fanatics raged about, “Gun Free Zones,” and rhetorically asked, “Why can’t soldiers protect themselves?”
Answers came in a slightly oblique way. A report distributed among senior Navy leaders in the aftermath of the shootings asserted that Lieutenant Commander Timothy White, commanding officer of the second recruiting station, was actually armed that day. He was carrying, and he used his personal firearm to engage with Abdulazeez and return fire. That he did so was later confirmed by the Navy Times from four separate sources.
And, it emerged, Lieutenant Commander White wasn’t the only member of the military packing a firearm that day. It was reported in the Washington Post that a Navy official, who was one of the slain Marines, may have been carrying a 9mm Glock, and possibly also returned fire on the gunman.
The gunman had entered the recruiting station wearing a vest, with extra ammunition, and was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun.
The bottom line here is that the Marines were anything but helpless that day. They were armed, and they fought back. But they were surprised by Abdulazeez, and completely out-gunned. http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/2015/07/21/sources-navy-officer-marine-shot-chattanooga-gunman/30426817/
Wal-Mart Las Vegas shooting 6/8/20
On June 8, 2014, Joseph Robert Wilcox, 31, together with a few friends, was standing at a checkout in a Las Vegas Wal-Mart when he heard a commotion. A man, later identified as Jerad Miller, had fired a gun into the ceiling. He announced, “Get out. This is a revolution. The police are on the way.”
Wilcox told his friends he was going to confront the guy. Wilcox happened to be carrying a firearm that day, though his mother says he was not always armed and might only have his gun on him only one in every ten times he left the house. However, that day he was carrying, and he was in the right place to do something about the situation that was developing around the actions of Jerad Miller.
Wilcox courageously confronted Jerad Miller. What he had no way of knowing, though, was that Miller was not alone. Amanda Miller shot Wilcox in the chest.
In fact, it was later established that Miller and his wife, Amanda had just crossed the street from Cici’s Pizza where they had gunned down two Metro Police Officers, one of whom had returned fire before he died.
On that fateful, and fatal, day, Joseph Robert Wilcox was a Good Guy with a Gun. He was brave. He tried to stop a dangerous man. But he hadn’t fully understood the situation, and he needlessly died.
Texas Clock Tower Sniper August 1, 1966
Alan Crum noticed it was close to the time he normally took his lunch hour when he looked out the window of the UT bookstore in Austin, where he worked. He saw a group of kids pulling another kid around on the grass and figured a fight had started. He made his way out of the store to see what was happening and, if necessary, stop a kid from getting beaten up. When he arrived at the scene, Alan quickly ascertained that the boy lying on the grass had been shot. Alan immediately went to work and tried to compress the gunshot wound. More shots rang out. Alan was no stranger to the sound of gunfire, he had only recently retired from the Air Force after 22 years as a tail gunner, but this was different. This was suburban Austin. He was a bookstore manager in the middle of University Campus, and the sound of shots being fired was entirely alien in this usually quiet setting. Bullets were raining down, audibly striking the ground all around him.
Alan Crum didn’t do much thinking right then. His actions became almost automatic. He immediately shouted warnings for people to stay inside. He ran to the end of the block where he was able to stop traffic and prevent any cars from moving into the line of fire. When he felt he had accomplished all he could for the moment, his thoughts turned to his wife. He knew she would be expecting him to call home. The sniper, later identified as Charles Whitman, had been firing down from one side of the Clock Tower, but now he moved to the other side. This gave Alan the opportunity to get inside the base of the tower where there was a telephone.
He tried to call home, but the line was busy. The way events then unfolded meant Alan didn’t get another chance to check-in with his wife for some hours. Police arrived. Then more police, crowding the base of the Tower. Alan met a Trooper, named W.A. Cowan, who had a Remington 30 Caliber rifle and a handgun. Alan was dressed in a short-sleeved, white shirt and was sporting a pocket protector. Thinking he was a detective was an easy mistake to make. Alan asked if he could borrow the rifle, and Cowan handed it to him.
Later, when Alan was asked why he got involved, he cited the recent high profile murder of Kitty Genovese. 38 people had witnessed or heard the crime, yet no one had gone to her aid. Alan said he simply had to do something.
Alan joined the police officers who had decided to scale the tower to stop the gunman, Charles Joseph Whitman. Whitman would, that day, shoot 49 innocent people, 16 of them fatally. As they ascended the tower, Alan suggested to Officer Ramiro Martinez, that if they were going to shoot someone, he should be deputized. This somewhat surprised Martinez, but he told Alan he was accordingly deputized, and they proceeded up towards the gunman's perch. Martinez and Crum walked out onto the landing followed by two other police officers. An Officer named Jerry Day and Alan turned to go west, while Martinez and the other officer went north.
Alan Crum heard footsteps on the gravel roof and accidentally discharged his rifle. The sniper was now aware they were on the roof. Whitman turned quickly, ready for a gun fight, but Officer Martinez surprised him from the opposite direction and emptied his revolver into the gunman, thus ending the siege.
Alan Crum died in 2001. His son says he was never the same after the incident. He maintains that Alan deliberately fired his gun that day and that his dad wasn’t, “an idiot.” Clearly, Crum never got over the what happened. His son says that after the shootings, his father always seemed to have a “thousand-yard stare”. A few years later, Alan Crum clocked out from work, got in his car and drove west. When he reached El Paso he called his wife and said he would never return to Texas. He never did. His wife joined him in Las Vegas.
On that day, in August 1966, in Austin Texas, though he was not physically injured, Alan Crum became another of Charles Joseph Whitman’s victims.
Alan Crum was a Good Guy with a Gun.
Congressman Gabrielle Gifford’s 2011 Shooting
On January 8, 2011, Joseph Zamudio was in his neighborhood Safeway. He was a concealed weapon carrier, but he never really thought about using his gun. Joseph was a good guy with a gun. He was prepared, but not obsessed.
Out in the supermarket’s parking lot, a man named Jared Lee Loughner had approached Congresswoman Gabby Gifford. He shot her in the forehead and then proceeded to shoot 18 other people, killing six of them.
In an interview on the morning show, Fox and Friends, Joseph related what happened next. "I came out of that store,” he said. “I clicked the safety off, and I was ready. I had my hand on my gun in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this." As he was describing his actions, Zamudio also demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. "And that's who I, at first, thought was the shooter," Zamudio recalled. "I told him to 'Drop it! Drop it!'"
But the man with the gun wasn't the shooter. He had wrestled the gun away from the real shooter. After Loughner’s clip was empty, survivors of the shooting had tackled and disarmed him. By the time Joseph rounded the corner, Loughner was already pinned to the ground.
Joseph’s gun never came out of his pocket. Even after challenging the man he had suspected of being the shooter, he grabbed him by the arm and pushed him into a wall. Joseph did not take his weapon out of his pocket, partly because, as he later admitted, he was worried that others might have mistakenly identified him as a second gunman.
With the benefit of hindsight, He is the first to admit things could have gone terribly wrong. “I could have very easily done the wrong thing and hurt a lot more people,” said Zamudio, who had then helped subdue the suspect
Though others died or were injured in the tragedy, Joseph could have caused much more harm. By his own admission, he was very lucky. Joseph Zamudio was a Good Guy with a Gun.
There is no substitute for a trained Police Officer.