Armed Robber Shoots a Fleeing Victim

A recent robbery attempt from Cleveland, Ohio, in which the victim tried to flee but was shot by the robber, reinforces the benefits of armed self defense and the problem with trying to flee from a robber:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A 35-year-old Cleveland man was shot during a robbery. . . Howard Portis went to the Cleveland Clinic with a gunshot wound to his left lower leg and police were called just after midnight. He told officers that he was shot about 9 p.m. Saturday, when he was walking near East 70th Street and Hough Avenue. He said a man pulled out a gun and said “give it up,” street slang for robbery. Portis ran and the robber fired.

I’ve seen some anti gun rights people suggest that instead of being armed for self defense, a citizen can just run from a criminal.  As this shooting shows, running is not necessarily a good choice.  Simply put, humans just don’t have the speed to outrun an armed criminal who is intent upon shooting them.  Even the fastest human sprinters, under ideal conditions, can only manage to run at about 29 MPH for a very short period time, while bullets are (obviously) much faster.  It takes just an instant for a criminal to aim and fire their gun, while a human trying to run away must first overcome inertia and then avoid obstacles, all while trying to avoid being shot.  Given the fact that robberies often happen in enclosed spaces with limited escape routes, a criminal will have a good idea of the victim’s potential escape route, making it easier to shoot the fleeing victim.  Or as the NFL’s Brandon Jacobs explained while defending Plaxico Burress‘ decision to carry a gun: no one is fast enough to outrun a bullet.

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Relying upon the criminal not shooting, on the theory that the criminal will not want to make the crime more serious by discharging a gun, is not a wise decision either.  Remember, criminals are unpredictable, and often mentally unstable.  As such, they cannot be counted upon to think rationally and act reasonably.

Similarly, it is worth noting that complying with a criminal’s demands won’t necessarily prevent the criminal from inflicting harm.  As an example, despite fully cooperating with the robbers’ demands, this deli owner was shot 3 times in the chest for not having enough money in his cash register.  Similarly, this home invasion victim was shot for not having belongings that were valuable enough to be worth stealing.  This family suffered robbery and rape after offering no resistance to a home invader.

Relying upon the police for protection is also a choice that I find to be unwise.  The police owe a citizen no duty of protection and are not liable, even when they fail to arrive for 14 hours after being called multiple times.  Even if the 911 operator doesn’t fall asleep and dispatches police in less than 48 minutes, a criminal can complete their attack in seconds, while the police will take minutes to get there.

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On the other hand, armed citizens are in the best possible position to defend themselves and their loved ones.  This armed barber shot an armed criminal who threatened his young child.  This armed pet shop clerk shot an armed robber who threatened a fellow employee’s life.  This armed pizza delivery man defended himself against a trio of robbers.  This armed citizen stopped a bank robber, while this armed Israeli stopped a terrorist.  This armed woman shot a rapist, while this armed woman shot a stalker that broke into her home.  Even citizens who are illegally carrying guns have stopped bat-wielding racists and armed robbers.  While it is true that not every crime could be prevented by an armed citizen, a great many crimes could be – and that is why I support the right of citizens to be armed for self defense purposes.