Weighing the Risks
by Robert Waters
I ain't making this stuff up, folks!
The gun-banners' arguments against armed self-defense are so weak as to be
caricatures of lunacy.
Three examples will suffice.
After Sandra Suter, a Florida permit holder, used her handgun to stop a
knife-wielding assailant at a local Walmart, Kim Mariani, Spokesperson for
Handgun Control, Inc., weighed in.
"God forbid something went wrong," she said. "It just escalates
the situation, and a lot of times it's unnecessary."
The assailant had already slashed two employees, and was rampaging about the
store threatening others. Suter drew her pistol and ordered the madman to stop.
Looking down the barrel of a .40-caliber semiautomatic gave him a quick burst of
sanity. He quietly surrendered to the grandmother.
HCI's prescription for dealing with violence leaves out armed self-defense.
They'd have Sandra Suter stand by and watch while the thug kills or maims a few
Not only should we watch and do nothing if we see someone else being attacked,
according to the gun-banners, we should meekly comply with every demand if we
On a muggy summer night, Jacksonville, Florida resident Susan
Gonzalez sat on her couch watching television. Suddenly, two masked home
invaders burst through her front door. Terrified, she ran into her bedroom and
slammed the door shut. But one of the intruders fired through the door, striking
Rodriguez in the chest.
As her husband fought the intruders, Susan Gonzalez retrieved a .22-caliber
revolver and shot one of the men dead.
Susan and Mike Gonzalez were hospitalized with gunshot wounds, but eventually
Law enforcement officials and the local media credited the actions of the
homeowner with saving her own life and the life of her husband.
So it was interesting to note the response of Nancy Hwa, Spokesperson for the
Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, when asked if Mrs. Rodriguez's actions were
After acknowledging that fighting for her life was an appropriate response, Hwa
added this caveat. "Incidences like Mrs. Gonzalez's are very rare,"
she proclaimed. "People have to weigh the risk of losing a TV, jewelry, or
whatever vs. losing their life."
Hwa's comments, typical of those from the anti-gun lobby, deserve scrutiny.
In an attempt to minimize the pro-gun position, she dragged out the old lie that
Gonzalez's defense of her home was an isolated case. This is so blatantly false
that it's hard to understand how people can maintain that position with a
straight face. Twenty years of studies have shown that anywhere from several
hundred thousand to more than two million people use guns each year to defend
their lives and the lives of others.
On a personal note, my own case files consist of thousands of newspaper
clippings of such cases. And each week I add more.
Hwa's final conclusion reeks with arrogance. "People have to weigh the risk
of losing a TV, jewelry, or whatever vs. losing their life."
Maintaining a passive-aggressive posture, the spokesperson implies that if Susan
Gonzalez had just given up her television set to the invaders, things would have
turned out nifty.
Whatever you do, don't resist.
That's the lie the Wendy's victims bought in the recent New York City slayings.
Indications are that the employees didn't fight back, that they handed over the
money. But the robbers weren't the least bit grateful--they executed the entire
staff. Only two of seven employees survived.
And it's the same lie sold to a Charlotte, North Carolina cab-driver who was
recently held up at gunpoint. Robbed of $ 30.00, he was locked in the trunk of
his cab. As they were leaving, just for fun the robbers pumped five slugs into
the closed trunk, nearly killing the compliant cabbie.
To many of us, it makes sense to conclude that an armed assailant is dangerous,
and that he may try to kill you. Otherwise, why would he be armed?
There's no doubt that Sandra Suter and Susan Gonzalez weighed the risks and made
the right decision. There's no doubt that thousands of Americans weigh the risks
and use guns to save lives
each year. And there's no doubt the gun-banners want to take the right of armed
self-defense from us.
They know better than you and I how to stop the violence.
Instead of bullets, use words.
Jessica Flag, of the eighty thousand Million Moms, framed their argument so that
we can understand it. "The best way to deal with a person with a gun,"
she said, "is to say, 'I know you're upset.' Compassion is the answer. They
are human beings and want the same things I do. Try to be compassionate with
them and relate to them."
Mr. Waters is the author of The
Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a