Near the end of January 2010, a 26 year old woman was walking down the street in Toledo, Ohio. She was going from a friend’s house to the library, in broad daylight, when an assailant reportedly came up behind her, threatened her with scissors, forced her to the ground, and raped her in plain view of numerous passersby. During the attack, multiple cars drove by but none of motorists stopped to help. After the attack, the woman reportedly asked to borrow a pedestrian’s cell phone to call police (since the assailant stole her cell phone), but was ignored. Police said several drivers called 911, but were unsure if the public sex acts they witnessed were consensual. A 15 year old reportedly confessed to the rape, and a hearing is scheduled for March 2010 to determine whether he will be charged as an adult or juvenile. The victim and her mother both expressed outrage that none of the motorists or pedestrians came to her aid, with the mother stating “I’m ticked off because people were doing nothing. Just driving by. What kind of humans are we becoming?”
The attack which this woman suffered is truly terrible – as is the fact that no one came to her aid. However, in tragedy, there is often a lesson to be learned, in the hope that future victims can be saved.
- The first lesson that I see here is that none of us can rely upon others to save us from criminals. Whether it be apathy, fear for their own safety, or bystander effect, random citizens who witness crimes are often of no assistance. Indeed, as this case shows, sometimes passersby may not even be sure they are witnessing a crime, further reducing the likelihood that they will intervene.
- The second lesson is that by the time police respond to a 911 call, the crime in question may very well have been completed. Even the best circumstances, the police are minutes away, while a rape, murder, robbery, home invasion, or other violent crime can take place in just seconds. Here, despite 911 calls, the police did not arrive until well after the rape had been completed and the attacker had fled.
Taken together, the above points lead to the conclusion that armed self defense is a crime victim’s best chance at avoiding harm. Some self defense examples underscore that point: This armed woman was able to defend herself against a rapist who came back to rape her for a second time in a week. This armed woman used her handgun to save herself and her young children from a home invading attacker who broke in before the police could answer her 911 call. This armed woman used her gun to stop violent ex who broke into her home and cornered her in her bedroom. This armed woman allegedly used her handgun to stop her violent husband from killing her and the other members of her family. This 85 year old armed woman held a young burglar at gunpoint and made him call the police on himself. This armed woman stopped an attacker who tried to ambush her. This armed pregnant woman used a shotgun to scare away two home invaders. Although there are many more examples I could cite, in the interest of brevity I’ll provide just one more: this armed female school teacher used a gun to save herself from a convicted felon who broke into her home, while this armed woman saved herself and her family from a pair of armed, kidnappers.
It is also notable that citizens who are armed for self defense are also in the best position possible to come to the aid of another citizen who is being attacked: This concealed carry permit holder used his handgun to save a store manager from a vehicular attack, while this armed pharmacist used his gun to stop an armed robber who was threatening the lives of employees. This armed pet shop clerk used his gun to save a coworker from a knife wielding robber, just as this armed restaurant manager fired in defense of his employee. Similarly, this armed man rushed over to his mother-in-law’s house and saved her from a home invader, after 911 failed to answer.
Finally I would note that by stopping career criminals, armed citizens save others from ever being attacked by a criminal in the first place.