Events in recent days remind us that while the firearm is seen at law as a deadly weapon, it is also sometimes seen in logic as a tool of rescue.
CALIFORNIA: A drugged-up gang-banger who has flunked mental health treatment takes his mother hostage. When he points a gun at her head, two snipers from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team dispatch him with surgical rifle fire, saving her life. (Link)
AFGHANISTAN: Insurgents surround a British patrol. The situation looks hopeless until a British sniper – said to be firing from an incredible one and a half miles away – breaks the ambush by killing five of the insurgents with his rifle in less than half a minute. (Link)
TEXAS: Two deputies are making a seemingly routine arrest when the suspect goes suddenly hyper-violent. He gets one deputy down and attempts to rip the service pistol from the policeman’s holster. Moments later the perp is dead, justifiably slain by two police bullets. (Link)
FLORIDA: A police sergeant who went from 1994 to second quarter 2010 without having to discharge his weapon in the line of duty, is forced to shoot his second man in two months when, like the first, this one points a gun at him and other police personnel. (Link)
These are clear lessons, seen every day around the world. These happened to involve rescuers in uniform. Sometimes, the rescuers are ordinary citizens, whose guns extinguish the threat and protect innocent lives. Often, the mere drawing of the gun is enough to forestall danger, with no blood shed on either side.
The common thread is the presence of a gun in the hands of the good folks. Lesser means accomplish less. For instance…
VIRGINIA: Outraged at an armed robbery occurring in his presence at a service station/convenience store off the Interstate, a customer grabs a couple of bottles from the beverage case and smacks the gunman over the head. In the struggle that follows, the Good Samaritan is shot several times. Fortunately, his assailant is a poor marksman; doctors say the good guy will recover from his multiple gunshot wounds. (link)
There are lessons here. Do not point a gun at your mother. Do not surround well-meaning peace-keepers and try to kill them. Do not try to take the nice policeman’s gun. Do not point a gun of your own at the nice policeman.
And if you do have to get into a gunfight, bring a gun, not a bottle.