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Over at the forumistas debated whether or not an armed citizen should have shot New York City subway pusher Naeem Davis after he killed Ki Suk Han. Huh? Generally speaking, you can only shoot another human being if he or she places you or other innocent life in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm (including kidnapping). If an armed citizen saw Davis in the act of pushing Han into the path of an oncoming train, he or she would have had more, uh, leeway . . .

Provided they were a cop. Or their name was Robert DeNiro or Donald Trump, [just about] the only civilians “allowed” to exercise their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms on the mean streets of Manhattan. Or below them. And provided the armed citizen knew, for a fact, that Davis was trying to kill Han.

Otherwise, there’s no way an armed non-LEO could have stopped this murder. Or is there? If a concealed carry license holder had seen the two men arguing with each other perhaps he or she could have intervened to defuse the situation.

At the risk of giving aid and comfort to gun control advocates who see concealed carry licensees as violence-escalating Wild West gunslingers waiting to happen, intervention in this situation might have gone the wrong way. Who’s to say Davis wouldn’t have pushed the peacemaker in front of the train instead?

The best course of action for an armed American in this scenario: observe and call the cops. Especially as you don’t know the players, the situation and what’s likely to happen. Do you really want to risk your life, potentially orphaning your children, for a stranger? IMHO no, YMMV.

That said, there is another way of looking at this tragedy: what if Han was armed?

I’m not suggesting that Han could have drawn his [hypothetical] gun in those fateful moments when Davis decided to give him the old heave ho. I’m thinking that Han wouldn’t have argued with Davis if he’d been armed. No argument, no murder.


There is no scientific data to back this up (grant money please?) but concealed carry licensees (such as your humble scribe) report that carrying a gun increases their situational awareness and makes them less confrontational.

Why wouldn’t it? People who carry a gun are aware that it’s there. (D’uh.) They know that any interpersonal conflict could, potentially, lead to a defensive gun use. They know what that means: bloodshed, legal hassle, death. Their own death.

The downsides of using a gun—especially in New York City—are higher than Josh Peck in Red Dawn. The upside: a defensive gun use could save your life.

Despite gun control FUD on the subject of the general public’s mental stability (lately spewing from NBC sportcaster Bob Costas) the vast majority of gun owners in a confrontation are fully capable of following Lord Humongous’ advice to Mad Max’s mob: just walk away.

In fact, we do. Millions of us every day. This firearms-enhanced aversive behavior isn’t particularly newsworthy or quantifiable, but there it is.

Would Han have walked away from Davis if he’d had a gun, whatever the beef? It’s hard to say. New Yorkers are not exactly the back down types. Something to do with the lack of a gun culture perhaps? But one thing is for sure: Han is dead. We’ll never know.

Until and unless the voters discard Mayor Bloomberg’s fascist regime and its like-minded proponents we’ll never know if New York City could be both an armed society and a polite society.

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  1. “Generally speaking, you can only shoot another human being if he or she places you or other innocent life in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm (including kidnapping)”

    I always thought the police promise an armed thug that if he or she pulls the trigger murdering their hostage they would then be killed in a police hail of fire. I think its happened a bit though I don’t think the cops get prosecuted for follow-up shooting even if they and no one else faced harm at that point.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong – This seems to be a case where the difference between Force and Deadly Force might come into play. If you witnessed and argument and possible a struggle beginning near a train platform edge, might you not be legally able to brandish you firearm (Force) to end the escalation? And if the perp chooses to escalate by attacking or pushing the victim towards the track, does that then become a case for deadly force?

      Then again, sometimes S*** Happens, and there is nothing to do about – the only answer is to minimize your exposure to that potential – the aforementioned situational awareness.

      Its unfortunate that the use of Force seems grayer than the use of Deadly Force.

  2. You’d think some fencing would be installed prior to this. Not as suicide/murder prevention but just to cover the subway authorities’ behind if some kid/dog/senile old fella wandered out there and hit the magic third rail. I believe Austrian subways have this.

    • Newer subways built in places like Hong Kong have it… a sad lesson learned from Japan, where suicide via train used to be fairly common place.

  3. As a sometime rider of BART. 2 rules. Keep your head on a swivel and avoid, if need be run, from the less stable denizens of the mas transit system. 2 men arguing, I’m not getting involved other than to alert the appropriate authorities. And apparently this was an argument up to the moment of the shove.

    Now, a man attacking a woman or child I don’t think I could hold my Southern in if that happened. I don’t let that old boy out too often. He get’s a tad destructive.

  4. If you follow the article, you can see someone was about 15 feet from the victim and was able to get a great picture of him before he was struck instead of running over there and trying to pull him up. I can happily never step foot in NY for the rest of my life.

    • This. I don’t see any legal recourse against that asshole, but if he was dieing of thirst I wouldn’t piss to give him a drink.

  5. I think what really needs to be pointed out in this situation is that there wasn’t one cops or mta employee to help him or stop the train. People in NYC need to think about their own safety and realize that cops are not going to save them. Also disturbing is they are saying he was on the tracks for 60-90 seconds and not one person tried to help him out of there. Midtown subway station during rush-hour there had to be a ton of people there but there was enough time for someone to take a picture of him.

    • I’ve though about this before. It seems to me there could be a panic button at every platform that would alert the central train communication center. In fact I believe the location and speed of every train is fairly easily trackable, it would take the computing power of a calculator to know which trains to alert and how soon they need to start stopping, if not shut them down automatically. The panic button could also kill the rail for that section of track to avoid electrocution as well.
      I have worked around a lot of heavy-machinery, and all of it has an emergency kill switch – why the hell doesn’t a subway have something comparable?

      Short of barriers however, there is nothing to be don about being push in front of a nearby speeding train.

      • Haven taken the subway half my life until i was able to afford to drive into the city everyday there is no way you can have a kill switch outside of the train. Some kid or asshole is always going to press that thing. They have pulls in the trains for emergencies but if you are on it why would you want to stop it. I would never stand anywhere near the edge of the platform until the train was in the station and pretty much stopped. This is no different than any other situation where you just cant stop crazy. If some wacko wants to push someone onto the tracks, stab them, shoot them or even hit them over the head with a brick (that did happen years back in midtown) all you can do is try to avoid it as best you can. It sucks that an innocent guy died for no reason but this is a freak thing. How many people get pushed onto the tracks? its like a shark attack made out to be really scary when in reality it hardly ever happens.

  6. Mass transit systems are a scumbag’s paradise. I never rode the Chicago L system unless I didn’t have a choice, and when I did I sat with my back to a wall in the corner of the train car. This was when I was a liberal serf. Today I wouldn’t set foot in Chicago without an SMG. More people get shot there weekly then in Baghdad and Kabul combined.

  7. This is all the fault of Michael Bloomberg. If NYC slaves I mean residents cannot own and carry a handgun for SD then they are entitled to having a government paid (really taxpayer funded) bodyguard which is unrealistic.

  8. Good grief… why is it so hard for some people to understand that the law does not allow you to draw your weapon unless YOU or someone else is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death?

    Shooting this scumbag after he did his diabolical deed would have been an execution. He would have deserved it, but it would have been an execution nonetheless. And that is a no-no in the eyes of the law.

  9. Now one wonders what the author’s opinion would be if he had seen his wife pushed to her death. I’m sure he wouldn’t have shot the aggressor but have waited and called the police. Just like any good New Yorker of a certain mindset would have done.

    Mr. Han could not be reached for comment.

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