Want to see some nasty political fighting? Just head to Google or the search box on any social media platform and type in “good guy with gun.” You’ll find all sorts of reasons that guns can and allegedly should be banned, because the victim disarmament industrial complex have made it their job to convince people that good guys with guns either don’t exist or are extremely rare. That, of course, is a lie.
Sometimes, though, the results of that kind of search will turn up someone who almost had a good point. There have been instances where a number of armed individuals are nearby when a crime occurs, but none of them choose step in to save a stranger. There are many more cases where a mass shooting happens in a red state and they rhetorically ask, “Where were the good guys with guns?”
A recent incident in New York answers that question, but it’s not going to make these hoplophobes happy, because it’s largely their fault.
A few days ago in New York City, a homeless man mugged a woman at a subway station. Hearing his threats and her screaming, a bystander came to her rescue. He pulled a handgun out, fired several warning shots (note: TTAG’s writers generally do NOT recommend firing warning shots), and frightened the homeless attacker away from his victim.
What happened next was entirely predictable. The homeless man was charged with a crime, but so was the hero of the story. The charges agains the Good Samaritan? Criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a firearm, and menacing.
“I want to be clear: we don’t tolerate this kind of conduct in NYC Transit, period,” the city’s top transit official said after the arrests were made. “Once again cameras recorded a perpetrator, and we are grateful the NYPD made an arrest within hours. Thank goodness nobody was hurt here – but what occurred was outrageous, reckless, and unacceptable.”
What may surprise readers, though, is the reaction of the woman who was saved from a deadly threat (or worse). Instead of being grateful for being saved, she told the New York Post . . .
Of course, I am happy that that man tried to help me and that nobody was injured during this incident, but it’s scary to think that people are carrying guns around the city. I understand why people do it, they see it as their only means of protection. In this case the man risked a lot to protect me, his safety, and the safety of other people on the platform. Yes, I do think he is a hero, but I don’t know, I would likely think him a bigger hero if he tried to help me without the gun. In my eyes, the gun is a little extreme.
If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably heard the story of Bernhard Goetz. Back in 1984, he successfully defended himself from four attackers on a New York subway, injuring but not killing his assailants.
Goetz eventually beat charges of attempted murder, but served eight months for unlawful possession and ended up owing one of the assailants he’d shot tens of millions of dollars after he was paralyzed. Worse, his name is still well-known to this day, especially in New York.
Goetz was fortunate enough to have a sympathetic jury, though. Back in 1980s New York, violent crime, both in the city generally and the subway in particular, were very much out of control. If the shooting had happened a few years later when Giuliani was mayor, he probably would have been convicted of more than a misdemeanor weapon possession offense.
At the same time, both of these examples came out of New York. As anti-gunners continually tell us, in states with “wild west pimp-style” gun laws, basically anyone can shoot someon as long as they claim they were standing their ground. But people who are actually familiar with use of force laws know that it just doesn’t work that way. At all.
Even in a pro-gun state, a person who’s carrying lawfully and uses force against a reasonable threat of death or serious bodily harm can still have their lives destroyed. All it take is one short-sighted (or politically ambitious) blue city prosecutor to put a good person through an arrest and criminal trial. That can mean losing their job, their home, and even if prison is avoided, facing years of ruinous civil lawsuits.
With all of that in mind, you wonder why any good guys with guns decide to defend strangers. The stranger, even if they’re an ungrateful, anti-gun Karen, suffers no consequences in the aftermath, but the gun owner risks their freedom, their livelihood, and everything they own. That’s a pretty big ask.
What’s more sad and ironic is that the people asking ‘where are the good guys with guns’ tend to be the same people who are most responsible for the risks the good guy faces. They vote for anti-gun and anti-self-defense “progressive” prosecutors. They feel bad for criminals who get shot, and then serve on juries. They decry public policies aimed at protecting the law-abiding public as somehow “racist” or “fascist”. When possible, they support laws that would put the good guy in prison merely for possessing a gun and support violating people’s Fourth Amendment rights to conduct warrantless searches for weapons (this is actual fascism, BTW).
Then they run around on social media, showing how proud of all of that they are. All while having the audacity to wonder where the good guys with the guns are.