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Another Thug Done Gone
by Robert Waters

On November 17, 1998, at 3:00 a.m., Adrian Rodricka Cathey jimmied open the back door of an apartment near the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He made his way through the house until he reached the bedroom where the co-ed he'd been stalking was asleep. But as Cathey attempted to rape her, the woman reached into a nightstand, retrieved a handgun, and blasted her assailant dead. DNA tests revealed he was the serial rapist who had terrorized the university community for nearly a year.

Police quickly ruled the shooting justified, and a spokesman for UNCC stated the university was glad "the menace is relieved."

Cathey, who had a history of arrests for sexual violence as well as attempted murder, had raped at least four other UNCC co-eds. Because serial rapists are notoriously difficult to capture, they average committing more than twenty rapes before being caught. The co-ed, whose name was never reported, undoubtedly saved not only herself but many others from the humiliation of sexual assault.

While no law enforcement agency keeps records on self-defenses with firearms, numerous studies have determined that large numbers of Americans use guns each year for that purpose. Thirteen surveys conducted between 1976 and 1994 estimated anywhere from 770,000 to 3.6 million self-defense cases each year involving the use of a firearm.

In every investigation into the issue, self-defense with firearms out-numbered deaths with firearms by wide margins.

Other studies have shown that many criminal attacks are never committed because the assailant suspects that an intended victim might be armed. In a 1985 study by the National Institute for Justice, seventy-four percent of felons reported that "one reason burglars avoid houses when people are home is that they fear being shot by the victim."

Yet those who would ban or severely restrict access to firearms will never address the subject of armed self-defense.

When several victims who had successfully defended their own lives with firearms testified at a Congressional hearing in 1997, Rep. Charles Schumer, New York, dismissed their stories as "anecdotes."

When Dr. Gary Kleck, criminologist at Florida State University, published the results of more than twenty years of research indicating two-and-a-half-million self-defenses with firearms each year, anti-gunners claimed his figures were "exaggerated."

When University of Chicago professor Dr. John Lott, Jr. presented the most detailed study ever done on the effects of concealed carry laws in America, his work was dismissed as "flawed." Why? Because his research concluded that when citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons, it helped reduce violent crime.

Why are the anti-gunners quick to try to deflect the subject of armed self-defense?

Because they know the issue is a loser for them. If Americans knew the number of lives that are saved with guns, they would overwhelmingly reject the arguments of the gun-banners.

But the following questions beg to be answered about the UNCC case, and, by extension, every other case in which a citizen uses a gun in self-defense.

Would the UNCC co-ed who killed the serial rapist have been better off without a firearm?

Would society have benefited had she not had a weapon with which to defend herself?

Should she have waited on the police to come to her aid, as most anti-gunners claim is the proper procedure when threatened?

Would she have been able to defend herself if she'd been required to keep a trigger lock on her gun?

How many future victims were saved by the armed co-ed?

Is self-protection an inalienable, unalterable right, or is it a privilege granted by government?

The last question is what dooms the gun-banners. Millions of citizens believe self-defense is a God-granted right and will not voluntarily give up the best defense available to them. Indeed, they consider it criminal to demand that they do so.

The co-ed at UNCC may have sat through political science seminars in which liberal professors weighed in on the dangers of guns. She may have watched with interest as President Clinton pontificated on his resolve to ultimately ban handguns. Had they known about the evil weapon lurking in the co-ed's drawer, anti-gun feminists on the UNCC campus may have attempted to brainwash her into getting rid of it.

But, in the end, the co-ed made a decision to protect herself.

Will anyone argue that she made the wrong decision? That her personal safety was less important than the politically correct opinion of the day?

That is the question Charles Schumer and President Clinton and the gun-banners refuse to answer.


Because to answer it would affirm the right and wisdom of Americans to keep and bear arms.

Mr. Waters is the author of The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a Firearm, a collection of detailed, descriptive accounts of real life Guns Save Lives stories.