Gun control: armed defenders save lives

I’d heard about this story soon after it happened, but was reminded of it by Howard Nemerov’s article today at PJM.  An angry ex-boyfriend gets upset with his ex-girlfriend over their break up, so, logically, he decides to shoot up his workplace.

Fortunately, someone in the area also had a gun:

Jesus Manuel Garcia, 19, an employee at a China Garden restaurant next to the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater, apparently became upset Sunday night after his girlfriend broke up with him.

He lashed out by sending her a message saying he planned to go to the restaurant and “shoot somebody,” said Bexar County sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Pollard.

Pollard said the woman called to warn restaurant employees, but by the time she saw his message, Garcia was already outside the China Garden firing a Glock 23 at the front door about 9:25 p.m.

Garcia went inside, chased people out the back door, and followed one employee as he ran toward the theater, apparently because he was the easiest target, Pollard said.

“He was chasing him, shooting in the air and at other cars,” Pollard said.

He said that when a San Antonio police officer heard the gunshots and pulled into the theater’s parking lot, Garcia shot out his patrol car’s windshield.

Garcia then pursued the employee into the theater, firing more shots when he reached the lobby, Pollard said.

One of the shots struck a patron in the back, but the bullet did not strike any vital organs and the man was released from San Antonio Military Medical Center later Sunday night.

Bexar County sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Castellano, who was working off-duty as a security guard at the Mayan Palace, chased the gunman toward the back of the theater. The 13-year department veteran cornered him after he ran into a men’s restroom, shooting him several times and taking his gun, Pollard said.

Now, an opponent of individual gun rights under the second amendment (and thus going against a top liberal constitutional scholar) will point out with some justice that Sgt. Castellano, while undoubtedly heroic and deserving of the medal of valor she received, was nonetheless a highly trained, experienced police officer, not an armed civilian. But to argue that shows we don’t need armed civilians would be to miss the key lesson of the incident:

“When seconds count, help via 911 is minutes away.”

The police officer (1) who had his windshield shot out only happened to be in the area by chance, as part of his patrol.  He apparently was not part of the take-down in the theater, where people were being shot. Sergeant Castellano was there only because she was working a second job as an armed security guard. That showed wisdom on management’s part. But, had that not been true, had the people running for their lives in the restaurant and theater been forced to rely on urgent calls to 911 –when time is not on your side– well, we can all imagine what might have been the result.

To me, this incident again shows the value of having armed defenders on the spot. The police can’t always (or even often) be there, but a trained, armed civilian can also be effective by distracting for the criminal and buying time for others to escape. (And here’s some more about that armed civilian at the Clackamas mall)

Time and again, armed, law-abiding civilians have prevented or limited potentially horrific mass shootings. To deny this and pretend that gun-free zones make us safer is delusional.

Footnote:
(1) The article doesn’t mention what became of the officer. I hope he or she is okay.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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One Response to Gun control: armed defenders save lives

  1. Interestingly, that theater is relatively near my home, and I have been there several times. Good thing Sgt. Castellano was there, because the lobby is like a giant pen with no real place to hide. Also, as you point out, anyone wth a gun would have done, too.

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