Recently, the major media outlets have had a field day splashing school shootings across their newspapers and TV screens. However, when someone uses a gun to stop an attacker, they generally give it as little coverage as possible, and then only when the defender turns out to be an off-duty cop.
But over the last week or so, I noted a couple of incidents occurred involving good Samaritans who were not law enforcement officers. One was in Oklahoma, and the other was in Florida, where I live. In the first case, armed civilians came to the aid of strangers; in the second, a man was defending himself.
In the Oklahoma City case, according to KTLA News reports, “a man walked into Louie’s Grill & Bar and opened fire, hitting two people.” Then, as the gunman was fleeing the scene, two bystanders ran to their respective cars to grab their guns. They yelled at the shooter to drop his gun. He refused, and when he pointed his weapon at the two men, they fatally shot him.
The woman and her daughter who were wounded had been at a birthday party celebration. They were taken to a local hospital, where they were listed in good condition and expected to recover completely. Police detained several witnesses.
Oklahoma City Police Captain Bo Mathews told reporters that the two good Samaritans have been identified by police as Juan Carlos Nazario, 35, and Bryan Whittle, 39. Whittle’s family told ABC News that he served in Afghanistan and has been in the National Guard for almost 20 years. “You can say they’re heroes, which is a very good thing to say,” Matthews added.
Note especially that police did not even bother with the usual statement about “investigating whether charges might be filed” against the two good Samaritans involved. Clearly, given the circumstances and the testimony of numerous witnesses, even the cops believed the two men acted reasonably and responsibly.
The Florida incident occurred in the town of Holly Hill, just North of Daytona Beach and not far from where I live. According to News13, “Police responded to shots fired at the Little Caesars restaurant located at 158 Ridgewood Avenue just after midnight.” A store employee told police he had exited the store after closing when he was attacked by someone wearing a clown mask.
Police said the suspect “struck the employee with a wooden weapon [actually a rather large fencepost] and then pulled out a pair of scissors during the attack, injuring the employee.” At that point during the struggle, the employee pulled his gun and fired multiple shots at the assailant. The male suspect was found wounded in the parking lot behind the building, police said. He was transported to Halifax Medical Center, where he died.
Luckily for the employee, surveillance cameras both inside and outside the store clearly show the assailant waiting outside and then violently attacking the employee. This is important because whenever there is a lethal outcome, there will always be more intense investigative scrutiny, even more so when there were no other witnesses.
Honest coverage of such incidents helps everyone who regularly carries a firearm for personal protection. The more the general public understands how often civilian men and women use firearms to legitimately defend themselves, the better all of us can defend and protect our rights.