As reported, Milwaukee, WI Mayor Tom Barrett was leaving the WI state fair on Saturday night when he heard a woman scream for help. Barrett began calling 911, at which point the suspect turned on Barrett and began beating him with a metal pipe. The suspect then fled, and Barrett was taken to a local hospital. Barrett was listed in stable condition at the hospital, and police are seeking the suspect. The woman was unharmed. My thoughts are below:
I would like to start by offering my best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mayor Barrett. His willingness to come to the aid of a stranger, and endanger his life in doing so, should be commended.
However, as this case shows, heroic intentions are not enough to stop a criminal. Criminals, who by definition don’t care about the law, are quite willing to illegally carry and use deadly weapons, such as metal pipes, guns, bats, knives, etc. Laws that restrict the carrying of guns for self defense just ensure that law abiding victims and Good Samaritans (like Mayor Barrett) are defenseless against the still-armed criminals. Indeed, even when criminals don’t happen to be armed, they still tend to be able to overpower those unarmed victims and Good Samaritans. That is because criminals tend to be strong young males, who intentionally target physically weaker victims. Even if Mayor Barrett had been able to complete his 911 call, it is unlikely that calling the police would have really helped. Under even the best circumstances, the police are likely minutes away, while a violent criminal can complete their attack in seconds. On top of that, the sad fact is that the police often fail to respond in a timely fashion, due to negligence or a lack of resources.
When citizens are armed, they are in the best position possible to defend themselves and other innocent people. This armed citizen stopped a bank robber. This armed Idaho woman defended her young children from 2 home invading prison escapees. This armed man saved the life of a store owner from attack by a violent armed robber. This armed homeowner saved 3 people from armed home invaders. This armed college student saved 9 other people from rape and murder at the hands of armed home invaders. I could go on giving more examples, but the point should be clear: armed self defense is a crime victim’s (and a Good Samaritan’s) best chance at surviving a violent attack.
Wisconsin and Illinois are the only 2 states without any provision to allow law abiding people to carry a gun for self defense. It seems to me that it is time for the residents of those to states to take a long hard look at whether they want to keep those victim-disarming laws on the books.