In medicine, grave circumstances sometimes require toxin-anti-toxin therapy: poison against poison.  Chemotherapy may make a cancer patient feel sick in different ways, but it can save the patient’s life; therapeutic radiation may have ugly side-effects and therapeutic amputation literally costs you a part of your body, but if it takes the cancer away and saves your life, it’s an acceptable price.  Having to kill another human being is a traumatic experience, but if it saves your life and/or that of another good person, it was worth the ordeal.

That’s something well understood by Dr. Richard Carmona.  Under President George W. Bush, he served four years as Surgeon General of the United States.  Prior to that, though, he had overcome being born poor by joining the Army, becoming a Green Beret medic and gaining combat experience in Vietnam, and thereafter working his way through medical school.  He went on to become a pioneer of the SWAT physician concept: a doctor capable of performing emergency surgery if necessary right there at “the sharp end” to save a life when someone took a bullet.  Dr. Carmona performed that function for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.

It was in that city when, in 1999, he was off-duty and came upon a vicious psycho with a gun who was about to murder a woman he was carjacking. Unknown to Dr. Carmona, that man had earlier murdered his own father.  Carmona instantly drew his department issue Colt .45 auto, and saved the innocent woman’s life. In the course of that gunfight, he was wounded by the killer, but his own accurate gunfire killed the gunman.

I met Dr. Carmona early in this century, when he was Surgeon General and a guest speaker at an annual conference of ASLET, the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers. Many years later, I was able to sit down with him in Tucson and interview him.

That interview is now available for you to download for free at the ProArms Podcast.

I respectfully submit that what he has to say is very much worth the time it will take you to listen to it, and I herewith publicly thank Dr. Carmona yet again for making it available to you.


  1. Thanks be to Mas, Pro Arms Podcast folk and of course Dr. Carmona for sharing this account of an intense and harrowing day!

  2. I finally had a chance to listen to this podcast. My reactions were as follows:

    1) Overall, I think that Officer Carmona is a brave man and a fine representative of both the law enforcement and medical professions.

    2) I also think that he was a lucky man. He did wait too long to engage the suspect and it almost cost his life. If the first shot had been two inches closer to the centerline of his head, the killer’s bullet would have perforated his brain rather than just grazed his temple. Office Carmona would be dead and I expect the killer would have started shooting every other witness in sight. It was not just Officer Carmona’s life that was on the line and he should not have hesitated.

    3) Despite his considerable experience, it is clear that Officer Carmona is not truly a “gun guy”. For example, he guessed that his service load was a 147 gr. JHP. That is a 9mm load not a .45 acp round. No gun guy would make that elementary of a mistake.

    4) It is somewhat disappointing that he kept his spare ammo “in the trunk” and did not have have a single spare magazine with his gun. He had to open his trunk to do a speed reload. His training kicked in and allowed him to do the reload automatically but it would of been better to have at least a couple of spare mags with the gun itself. Especially since a 1911 is not a high capacity weapon.

    Despite the above nitpicks, the fact is that Officer Carmona walked away from the incident on his own feet whereas the bad guy went out “flat on his back”. That is always the desired outcome.

  3. Is this the same Carmona who ran against Jeff Flake for Senator in 2012 as a super strong proponent for Obama Care, against Flake’s TOP 5 rating from the Taxpayers Union, and against Flake’s A rating from the NRA and B rating from GOA?

    Be careful of the bedfellows you seek!

Comments are closed.