As reported, 38 year old Gary Bowers of Port Orchard, WA was camping with his wife and two young children along a remote bank of Wynooche Lake when a drunk man named Westin Wolff stumbled into their campsite, and began knocking over and throwing their camping gear. Bowers thought a wild animal was in the campsite,a and fired a shot into the air to scare it off. Emerging to find that it was in fact a drunk person, Bowers asked Wolff and a friend of Wolff to leave their campsite. Wolff refused and became aggressive, at which point Bowers fired a pair of warning shots, which finally prompted Wolff to leave the Bowers’ alone and return to his own campsite. For unknown reasons, Wolff later stripped off everything but his shorts and t-shirt, picked up a machete, left his own campsite, and went back to the Bowers’ campsite. Bowers saw Wolff emerging from the forest with the machete, and warned Wolff to stop his attack. Wolff refused, and tried to slash and stab Bowers several times. Fearing for his safety and the safety of his family, Bowers fired one shot in self defense, stopping Wolff’s attack. Bowers then sent his family to a pay phone to call the police and paramedics, while he remained behind to provide first aid to the injured attacker. Wolff died, Bowers and his family were unharmed, and Bowers has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Firstly, I would like to commend Mr. Bowers for protecting his family from an armed and dangerous criminal who could have killed or seriously injured them all. I believe that every parent has a moral obligation to protect their children from preventable harm, and Mr. Bowers clearly fulfilled that obligation.
Secondly, I would note the great restraint that Mr. Bowers showed by waiting so long to shoot in self defense, and the compassion he showed to the violent attacker by trying to provide first aid and sending the rest of his family to call the paramedics. Those opposed to gun rights like to suggest that armed citizens who fire in self defense are blood thirsty killers just looking for an excuse to take a life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, such armed citizens fire as a last resort, in order to protect themselves and their families from an imminent threat. As another example, this disabled veteran, who had a concealed carry permit, decided to comply with a robber’s demands for his wallet instead of shooting in self defense. It was only when the robber continued to advance on him while brandishing a metal pipe that the citizen fired in self defense. Similarly, this pizza delivery driver handed over his money and tried to back away, and only fired in self defense after the violent robber followed him and continued to threaten his life. In the current case, as well as those two examples, armed citizens risked their lives by hesitating, in an attempt to avoid having to shooting a violent attacker. Note that I’m not suggesting that citizens should or must hesitate the way that these citizens did; instead, my only point is that concealed carry permit holders are not the violence-prone individuals that anti gun groups suggest them to be.