“A Des Moines man is facing murder charges in connection to the murder of a 97-year-old man Wednesday night,” cbs2iowa.com reports. “19-year-old Ngor Makuey is charged with both first degree murder and attempted murder after he broke into the home of Rupert and Harriet Anderson and beat them. Rupert Anderson would die from his injuries. Harriet Anderson remains in stable condition at a Des Moines hospital.” When considering whether or not a story qualifies as a potential defensive gun use, we have to weigh the odds. Can a 97-year-old man (or an elderly woman) with a firearm successfully defend himself against a 19-year-old thug? Unfortunately . . .
the odds weren’t really in his favor.
The “speed” part of the speed, surprise and violence of action combat recipe wasn’t available to Mr. Anderson. Nonagenarians can be plenty sprightly, but not sprightly enough to out-run a 19-year-old. If Mr. Anderson didn’t have a firearm immediately available and Mr. Makuey broke into his home without warning (as thugs do), Mr. Anderson wasn’t going to win a race to his gun no matter how much adrenalin was coursing through his bloodstream.
Surprise? I’m sure Mr. Makuet would have been surprised to be staring down the business end of a firearm with a 97-year-old man on the other end. But again, that assumes Mr. Anderson had practical access to a gun and all his facilities intact. At his age, identifying a threat, positioning himself appropriately and aiming his gun – any gun – would have been a huge challenge, with little chance of success.
Violence of action. This. Even if Mr. Anderson had brought a .22 to bear on his attacker, he could have generated enough lethal force to stop the 19-year-old. Yes, I know; handgun calibers are pretty pathetic in the “man-stopping” category. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, a firearm is a lousy force equalizer – except for all the rest. Other than a firearm, how could Mr. Anderson have generated enough violence to save his life, and the life of his wife?
By calling the cops. That’s it. That was his only alternative. Our pro-gun readers will no doubt recall the expression “When seconds count the police are only minutes away.” That’s provided they’re coming. If bringing a gun to bear on a bad guy is hard for a 97-year-old, calling the cops and giving them the right information to respond whilst under attack isn’t easy, either.
This isn’t a clear-cut case where a firearm would have prevented a loss of life and injury. Perhaps Mr. Anderson wasn’t sound enough mentally to have access to a gun. Perhaps it would have done him no good whatsoever. Perhaps his attacker would have used it against him (as happened here). But it must be said: all of us have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. That right doesn’t disappear with age.
In fact, it grows in importance. To the point where it may become impractical to own or use a gun. At that point, other security measures must be taken. Or not. Thanks to the Second Amendment, we live in a free country. Mr. Anderson was free to take care of himself and his wife (or vice versa) with or without personal protection. Just as Mr. Makuet was not free to assault them. And should not be free to do so to someone else for the rest of his life.