As news unfolded last week in this country, many things got splashed across our television screens and repeated over and over again. If the story is one of death or terror, it usually gets plenty of airtime and lots of print. A perfect example is the very newsworthy shooting at the Republican softball practice. A lunatic, left-wing-fringe ‘wanna-be killer’ tried to target unarmed and defenseless Congress members. It got the press time it deserved.
Two armed plainclothes police officers assigned as dignitary protection to one of the Congressmen present stopped the attempted murder. Even after being wounded, they continued to engage the gunman. They were both transported to the hospital, and the gunman later died from his injuries. The other legislators present were fortunate the police officers had been assigned as protection.
Then there is the story of the two corrections deputies who were murdered in cold blood by escaping felons in Georgia. The escapees killed the officers with the deputies’ own weapons. After getting away in the transport bus in which they’d been riding, they went on the run and committed other crimes. Carjacking, robbery — all the while armed and dangerous. A multi-state manhunt for them ensued.
After finally being located, a chase with police began and resulted in a crashed stolen car. During the crash, the perpetrators lost the firearms they had been using. What they were not expecting was a brave armed citizen defending his home. Patrick Hale was that citizen, and he is credited with holding the two prisoners until police arrived.
Now I know the police officers that saved the group of legislators were “doing their jobs,” but remember: We constantly hear that more guns are not the answer. Ask those two officers in Alexandria if they would have liked a couple of those present to be carrying at the time. The simple fact of the matter is that without those two armed law-enforcement officers, we would have to be making arrangements for the funerals of a lot of our elected officials.
And the armed citizen who caught the two murderers of the correctional deputies in Georgia? Well, even though the two escapees were not armed at the time, I think we can agree they had murdered already and probably wouldn’t think twice about doing it again. Mr. Hale was able to not only stop them, but prevent them from harming anyone else. Even without having to draw his firearm, its presence was enough.
So why is there not more coverage about this citizen’s actions? Two officers were murdered by these escapees, they were on the run — actively fleeing from the police. It’s because the idea, “it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,” is not popular with the press. It happens much more than you think or hear.
Stories of people saving themselves or others, or stopping felons from committing crimes, happen daily. They will not make national news unless it’s a Congressman being saved by a gun, and a police officer that has that gun. But remember, cops cannot be everywhere all the time.
Even though I am a former law-enforcement officer of over three decades, I will be the first to tell you the old joke is true, “I carry a gun because carrying a cop is too heavy.”
Law enforcement is reactionary by its very nature — remember, they come when you call, but you have to be able to call them. It takes time for them to get there. You have the rest of your life to think of what you wish you had while you waited for them to get there. If you’re not dead.
Chris Wagoner is a U.S. Army veteran and senior OpsLens contributor. He has been in law enforcement the last 35-plus years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction and is in charge of a large police academy in North Florida. This OpsLens article is used by permission.