Thank God I Had A Gun by Chris Bird (Hardcover, 2007)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, armed survivor.
If you believe your government should assist deranged criminals in carrying out rape, robbery, and homicide against law-abiding citizens, then this book isn't for you. If you believe your government should not force innocent people to become helpless victims of such terrible things, then read on.
Some people believe that criminals should be protected from law-abiding citizens, instead of the other way around. These 14 case histories, as good as they are, probably won't pull such people back from the dark side. If you aren't one of those people, you will find these 14 case histories well worth reading. If you agree that rendering potential victims helpless is a bad idea, this book has valuable information for you.
Thank God I Had a Gun provides 14 gripping accounts of how ordinary people stopped dangerous criminals. For example, 72-year old Zelda Hunt confronted an intruder who surely would have killed her. She held him at gunpoint until the police arrived in response to her 911 call. Ms. Hunt successfully defended her life and property without discharging her firearm or killing anybody.
It's hard to imagine that a 72-year old widow would safely stop a large, strong, young male attacker by using her bare hands. Assuming she's an accomplished martial artist and a fitness fanatic, one could argue this is possible. But do you know any 72-year old widows with rippling muscles and a black belt?
Unfortunately, this "she beat him up" scenario is one of the two possible outcomes that the citizen disarmament nuts ("gun control advocates") would leave us with. The other, far more likely, outcome is this: the unarmed woman is raped, killed, and robbed before the police arrive. People who value life obviously prefer the outcome Ms. Hunt experienced. It happened only because, thank God, she had a gun.
Reviewer's note: In the vast majority of such confrontations, the armed citizen never fires the weapon. The mere presence of an armed citizen induces most criminals to suddenly change their minds. That's why thousands of aborted crimes go unreported each year. Those crimes simply never happen, because armed citizens prevent them.
How do we know this number is thousands and not merely dozens? We can compare "criminal protection zones" such as the UK to citizen protection places such as Florida and note the difference. The UK is suffering from a huge increase in violent crime, while Florida saw violent crime drop 90% in the first year of RTC (Right To Carry). Or we can look at "before" and "after" the passing of citizen disarmament laws in Australia. "Before" was much safer for law-abiding citizens. "After" is much safer for criminals..
More than hardware
This book describes true accounts in vivid detail, and provides an expert analysis of each account. The accounts and their analyses show there's much more to responsible and effective self-defense than merely buying a piece of hardware. For example, in one analysis, the author discussed what was wrong with the bullets used. That led into a discussion of understanding what's behind the target.
Review's note: Self-defense expert John Deshotel says to use hollow point bullets in your self-defense pistols. Police have intense training in this very aspect of weapons use, to reduce the chances of hitting an innocent bystander or other unintended target. A couple of the accounts provide especially good cases for teaching how to use firearms more safely. Mr. Deshotel also says a pistol is a puny weapon. This book mentions an adage many instructors are fond of--use your pistol to shoot your way to your shotgun or rifle.
On any shooting range, the concept of safety permeates the air. People wear safety glasses. People wear hearing protection. People observe many rules of safety. A person who is trained in firearm use and who practices with the weapon is immersed in safety so much that the concept is "front of mind." The accounts in this book show how people used firearms for their personal safety. In the case of Mark Wilson, he made the ultimate sacrifice so that others could be safe. This book talks about safely using firearms in real-life situations, rather than just on the range.
Just as guns don't kill people, guns don't protect people. Well-trained people protect people. We do that by using guns we have been trained to use, when and where the situation requires. Guns are tools, and have no will of their own. If you visit an automotive garage, you'll see many tools. But the tools don't solve any problems by themselves (they don't cause any problems by themselves, either). The mechanic's training and experience make all the difference. It is the same for the armed citizen.
Some people believe it's debatable whether government should respect the basic human right of self-defense. In fact, they use language to the effect that government gives that right and can take it away. These people continually tout victim helplessness as a necessary solution to crime. They have not demonstrated how making crime easier to commit will reduce the number (or severity) of crimes committed. Logic dictates otherwise, which is why such policies have always caused violent crime to skyrocket.
It's worth noting that the most outspoken proponents of pro-criminal, anti-victim laws exempt themselves from the consequences. Ted Kennedy has armed guards, and so does Rosie O'Donnell. Nobody has ever proven that disarming citizens somehow protects them from violent criminals. Logic dictates otherwise, which is why the survival rates are so much better for armed citizens than unarmed ones.
I think this book will motivate people to stay current with their firearms training and other aspects of crime prevention and self-defense. These 14 accounts clearly show that ordinary people can, with the right tools and training, face death down and defeat it.
Thank you, Chris Bird, for doing the nation a great service with the research and thoughtfulness that went into this excellent book.