Common Valor: An Everyday Citizen Gives All
Russ Chastain 06.16.14
Guns, guns, guns. They can be beautiful, delightful things. They can also be used for very ugly purposes.
Right now, the mass media and government are working together, yet again, to tell Americans that guns are bad and that we must give control of them over to our masters, that power-hungry bunch in Washington DC who run our country.
I’m not on board.
Like most Americans, I realize that the USA was founded on distrust of government. The very existence of government was acknowledged to be nothing better than a necessary evil. And those who founded our nation took great pains to ensure that people retained enough power to counter that of their government.
Not only that, but there are a lot of wackos out there, and we deserve the right to defend ourselves against them.
So why do the wackos seem to get most of the press?
A Good Guy
I’m thinking of a man named Joseph Wilcox. A young man of 31, Joseph was minding his own business, standing in a checkout line in Wal-Mart, when a pair of murderers entered the store. It was a man and woman who had just coldly killed a pair of police officers in a nearby restaurant. The man fired a gun and shouted for people to get out of the store.
Joseph did not. Instead, he chose to approach the criminal.
You see, Joseph Wilcox carried a legal concealed handgun. We don’t know his reasons for doing so, though there are many good reasons to carry. What we do know is that Joseph could easily have retreated, could have cowered in a corner, gun in hand, thinking of only protecting himself. Instead, he chose to confront the bad guy.
Details are scarce because most “news” sources concentrate on evil rather than good, but we do know that Joseph boldly confronted the man, failing to realize that he had an accomplice. The woman went unnoticed by Joseph, who walked past her as he concentrated on her husband.
Then she murdered Joseph Wilcox by shooting him in the back.
Those bare facts were reported on hundreds of pages across the internet. Longer articles filled in many more details about everything except Mr. Wilcox’s attempt to intervene and save lives, which resulted in his ultimate sacrifice.
I agree with the “police official” who named Joseph Wilcox a hero. As Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said, “Joseph died attempting to protect others.” No greater gift exists.
My heart goes out to the family of Joseph Wilcox, an everyday hero who died working for the welfare of others rather than living for his own safety.
Opponents of gun rights will claim that guns caused this and other crimes. I counter by asking this: What if Joseph Wilcox had had backup? What if he wasn’t the only law-abiding person there with a gun and some guts? What if another armed citizen had backed him up, spotted the woman as she prepared to shoot Joseph in the back, and prevented his murder?
What if two or three responsible, everyday people with guns had been there, instead of just one? In my opinion, that would have changed things radically for the better.
Imagine another scenario, in which Las Vegas citizens in the restaurant where these killers began their grim work responded to the brutality by drawing concealed handguns and ending the spate of crime right then and there.
Wouldn’t that have been so much better?
Let’s Raise Public Awareness
Instead of being used as propaganda to further restrict the rights of people to defend themselves, violent events such as this should be used to gain public awareness of the need for good people to go armed for the good of public safety.
Before I became licensed to carry, I sometimes wondered what I would do if, like Joseph Wilcox, I found myself near a violent criminal. My familiarity with guns makes me a good candidate to go armed, but I neglected to do so for many years–even though I had once found myself unarmed and helplessly looking into a gun’s barrel.
When I realized how I would feel if I, a person with the ability to do something about it, failed to attempt to stop a violent crime–well, I don’t know if I could live with that. For that reason, I often carry a gun. I sincerely hope I never have to use it, but if I ever do, I sure hope someone like you will be nearby, jaw set and teeth clenched, covering my back, or I yours.
Rest in peace, Joseph Wilcox. May your sacrifice serve to spur more people to become responsibly armed.