The Invisible Victims of Gun Control

She’d always “felt safe in her neighborhood,” said an unnamed young woman in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  That is, until around midnight of October 25, 2008, when she heard a crash in her basement. 

A 47-year-old registered sex offender named Ronnie W. Preyer had broken into her home.  She “made a beeline to the back door, but Preyer was waiting for her,” writes Bridget DiCosmo of the Southeast Missourian.   She fought back, but was punched, “twice, she thinks.”  Before leaving, her rapist told her, “Don’t tell anybody, I know where you live.”

“I wasn’t going to tell, but the more I thought about it, the worse I felt,” she recalls.

The landlord fixed her window and installed security devices to the doors, and, “in a gesture that may have saved her life, purchased a shotgun for her” before teaching her how to load it.

At 2 A.M. on October 31st, the lights went out.  “She knew she’d paid the electric bill,” according to DiCosmo.  And she knew “something wasn’t right.”

DiCosmo continues, “She got her gun.  Growing nervous, she opened the blinds, sat down in a chair, and waited.”  When Preyer came crashing through the door, she fired, striking her assailant in the chest and killing him.

Police had been making rounds to her home after the first encounter with her rapist.  But they weren’t there in that fateful moment when she had to defend herself with a gun that had been purchased for her by her landlord.  The gun was the difference between her being raped again and/or killed and surviving unmolested.  The gun preserved her life and liberty in spite of another person who looked to rob her of one or both of those things.  Not the cops, and not the good intentions of lawmakers who wish violent sexual predators like Preyer did not exist.

What if she did not have a Second Amendment right to have such a weapon for self-defense, as former Justice John Paul Stevens recently argued in the New York Times should be repealed?

Well, okay, some gun control advocates may argue.  A shotgun is alright. 

Take sensible Joe Biden’s advice to other women like her.  “If you live in an area that’s wooded or somewhat secluded,” Joe says, just “walk out on the balcony” and fire two shots with a double-barreled shotgun to scare attackers away.

The only problem is that the woman in the aforementioned story from Missouri didn’t live in a “wooded” or “secluded” area with a “balcony” as Biden’s wife Jill apparently does.  She was “several feet away in her tiny kitchen” as she frightenedly awaited her assailant, as the report makes clear.  Several aspects of the story suggest that she a) likely lives alone, b) is not financially well-off (she remembered she “paid the electric bill”), and c) doesn’t have the logistical advantages Jill Biden might enjoy when invaders arrive, with a balcony to signal her deadliness while keeping a safe distance from invading attackers.

But an AR-15 is another story altogether, Biden says.  No one needs that for self-defense, he argues. 

Unless you happened to be in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 17, 2017.  The fifth-deadliest mass shooting in United States history occurred less than half a year ago, and for some reason, the very reason that it was assuredly not deadlier has been all but forgotten in the public discussion.  After a murderous madman had killed 26 people in a nearby church, NRA instructor Stephen Willeford retrieved his AR-15 from his gun safe, ran barefoot across the street, and opened fire on the murderer, striking him “with a precisely aimed bullet in a small gap in the perpetrator’s body armor.”  He proceeded to jump into “another man’s truck and the two pursued the gunman down the road to make sure he hurt no one else.”

“I’m no hero,” Willeford said afterward.  “I mean, I’m not.  I just thank my God, my Lord protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done.”

He’s most certainly a hero, though.  Contrast his actions to those of the Broward County Sherriff’s Department who, armed with firearms, refused to do their job and engage the shooter during the recent Parkland massacre.

Why did they not engage, similarly placing themselves at risk as Willeford did?  In an interesting turn of the narrative, it was because those representing the security offered by the State lacked not only the courage that Willeford possessed, but the firepower that he legally owned, thanks to our Second Amendment protections.

“A bullet fired from an AR-15 travels 3x faster than one from a handgun,” Lawrence O’Donnell tweeted.  Therefore, according to O’Donnell, it’s understandable that Broward officers did not engage the shooter. 

The point, however, is missed by O’Donnell.  As writer Streiff elaborates at RedState:

If a teacher emerges from a bypassed room (remember, [mass shooters] don’t waste time forcing doors open because most of them know they only have a short time before the cops arrive) and engages the shooter, win or lose, that means the shooter stops killing, he has to take cover and defend himself, and more people survive.

This logic is impenetrable.  Had the Broward County employees engaged the shooter, as is their job, fewer students would have died.  Brave school employees, unarmed, shielded other students from the attacker, saving the lives of students with names you will have never heard.  There is no leap of faith required to imagine that if those employees faced less daunting odds by having a handgun in their possession at the time of the attack, they would have chosen to do what the Broward County employees were too cowardly to do.

The police will not always be there in time, and even if they are, they may not protect Americans.  That is the primary lesson. 

Now, take this final example, because the left’s narrative around gun control logically leads here.

Curiously, handguns are less vilified in the gun control debate than the AR-15, despite the fact that the vast majority of gun murders are committed with handguns.  In 2015, for example, there were 252 murders committed with rifles, including those by the dreaded AR-15, versus 6,447 murders committed with handguns.  But, perhaps even more so, inconspicuously-carried handguns are the greater deterrent to violent crime.

Here’s an example.  In 2015, 22-year-old Evarardo Custodio “began firing into the crowd” at the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.  A nearby Uber driver, equipped with a legally carried concealed handgun, “fired six shots at Custodio, hitting him several times.”  No other injuries, beyond the would-be murderer’s, were reported that night.

Here’s the kicker.  This outcome was only achieved because Chicago’s previously “Draconian laws” had been erased by a 2010 ruling in McDonald v. Chicago.  “Under the previous regime in Chicago,” writes Adam Bates at Cato, “the driver would have had to choose between saving lives and avoiding a lengthy, potentially life-ruining prison sentence.”

You never hear these stories.  But how many lives were saved that night because our Second Amendment rights were firmly in place?  How many lives were saved in Sutherland Springs because a good American owned his AR-15?  The unnamed woman in Missouri; would she still be among the living, and would she have avoided being raped a second time if not for her Second Amendment right to self-defense, as the left now openly proclaims a desire to repeal?

These are questions which are never pondered by those who’ve resorted to trotting out children to present their case for gun control.  There is little political value in doing so, because you cannot specifically point to the names of the lives saved and build a concrete narrative around it, as can easily be done to fabricate a crisis meant to drive an impetus for gun control.

However, the state of facts remains unchanged.  A modern CDC study has concluded that guns are used in cases of individual self-defense anywhere between 500,000 and 3,000,000 times annually.  How many unidentified lives are saved in those instances?  Is the preservation of our Second Amendment rights a less worthy cause than the specific and horrific examples cited by the media to rob us of those very same rights?

As gun sales and concealed and open carry laws have expanded, violent crime rates have declined in America, including mass shootings.  This is an undeniable fact.  Yet in the U.K., to which leftists routinely point as an example for gun control, violent crime has been relentlessly climbing.

In the end, our Second Amendment right is about more than just data.  It is about the preservation of individual liberty, to which countless unnamed Americans saved by it might attest.  The data, however, prove that the media prefer to construct narratives which make good stories rather than preserve life and liberty for the larger number of Americans.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.

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