Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”     John Adams

April 24, 2007

A Gun Owner Defends Himself

by Doug Mataconis

On the streets of Cleveland Ohio, a gun owner stops a crime:

Damon Wells is the man gun supporters imagined when they fought for the right to carry concealed weapons.

He had a permit to carry his gun, and he had the gun on him when a pair of teenage thieves approached him Saturday night on his front porch.

When one of the youths pulled a gun, Wells whipped out his and shot one of the boys multiple times in the chest, police said.

Arthur Buford, 15, died after stumbling away and collapsing on a sidewalk near East 134th Street and Kinsman Road.

City prosecutors decided Monday that Wells, 25, was justified and would not be charged for what appears to be the first time a concealed-carry permit holder has shot and killed an attacker.

Is it tragic that a 15 year old died ? Yes, it is, but what might have happened if Wells hadn’t had a gun ? At the very least he would have been robbed and perhaps beaten, at worst he would have been shot and killed himself. In that split second when Buford and his accomplice pulled the gun on him, Wells had no way of knowing and he reacted the way anyone should’ve reacted in that situation…….he defended himself.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped a debate from being ignited:

Gun supporters said the weapon saved Wells’ life. Opponents said it took Buford’s – that the 15-year-old might be alive if a citizen had not been armed.

(…)
His cousin, Tameka Foster, 21, questioned why police refused to punish Buford’s shooter. “They let that man run out freely,” Foster said. “My cousin is dead.”

(…)

Toby Hoover, of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said she had not heard of any other fatal shooting involving a concealed-carry permit holder.

“This is one of the few where they actually used it to stop a crime,” Hoover said.

But, she said, “there’s still a dead kid here.”

I’m sorry, but if he hadn’t been out on the streets of Cleveland robbing people at gunpoint, then he’d still be alive today. Mr. Wells is not getting charged because he didn’t do anything wrong.

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23 Comments

  1. Someone horrible enough to rub a stranger at gunpoint at night getting killed is so not a tragedy worth shedding any tears over.

    Comment by Sean — April 24, 2007 @ 2:45 pm
  2. The only way to completely control guns is to uninvent them, so we must instead deter illegal ownership. I think an illegally held gun should carry a mandatory prison sentence and be considered a felony. We must make it not worth it to carry a gun illegally.

    Also, it should be at least as difficult to get a gun as it is to get a liscence. In fact, you should have to get all kinds of liscenses to own guns. And different guns and carry liscenses should be used.

    But in this story, I don’t really feel too bad for the kid, although he was just a kid.

    Comment by Adam — April 24, 2007 @ 3:54 pm
  3. Gun supporters said the weapon saved Wells’ life. Opponents said it took Buford’s – that the 15-year-old might be alive if a citizen had not been armed.

    Yeah, and an unarmed citizen may NOT be alive because gun laws did nothing to stop a criminal from obtaining and using one anyway. If Buford didn’t want to be shot, he should’ve considered that before he pointed a gun at someone with intent to harm them or rob them.

    Why do gun opponents insist upon making the criminal into the victim. Buford was the aggressor. Wells was the victim.

    Comment by trav.is — April 24, 2007 @ 3:57 pm
  4. Also, it should be at least as difficult to get a gun as it is to get a liscence. In fact, you should have to get all kinds of liscenses to own guns. And different guns and carry liscenses should be used

    This sentence is the actual problem. If licenses for legal guns are so difficult to obtain, there will be more benefit for people to sell illegal guns while at the same time there will be a decrease in the number of people who will be able to go through the effort of getting a legal gun. Thus, there would be more nutjobs with illegal guns and fewer non-criminals with legal guns. As others have pointed out, if someone is willing to ignore the law and murder someone, what does a puny little gun law mean to them?

    Comment by trumpetbob15 — April 24, 2007 @ 4:12 pm
  5. Does it bother anyone that a 15 year old can get a gun in the first place? It is not hard, they don’t have to travel and they are two degrees in knowing someone who knows where to get one. That kid could have been 10. Age is not a criteria when purchasing out of the trunk of a car or having it personally delivered. I wonder why illegal guns can so easily be gotten. I don’t believe that it is so difficult to get a legal gun that it encourages illegal sales. They sell illegal guns for the money.
    Kids carry, because it cool and some kids carry for the same reasons you all say.

    Comment by VRB — April 24, 2007 @ 4:42 pm
  6. “some kids carry for the same reasons you all say.”

    I highly doubt there are that many “kids” out there carrying for self defense because the people who carry in self defense are the ones most likely to obey the law in the first place. I would like to carry for self defense, but I don’t. Why? I’m not 21, so I’d be breaking the law.

    Regardless, “kids” carrying in self defense aren’t the ones we’re worried about here. They don’t walk around city streets threatening people with their gun.

    The kid was a thug, and as far as I’m concerned Mr. Wells did the city of Cleveland a favor.

    Comment by mike — April 24, 2007 @ 4:55 pm
  7. He had a permit to carry his gun, and he had the gun on him when a pair of teenage thieves approached him Saturday night on his front porch.

    The fact that he had his permit was irrelevant, if you’re on your own private property and someone threatens your life and you act in self defense you cant be charged with a crime. You may be required to prove your act was in self-defense, but if you can it’s all fair game.

    The fact that these gun control nuts want to claim the child is the victim outrages me. The 2nd amendment is not negotiable, and a 15 year old robbing people on their front porch deserves everything he gets.

    Comment by whizack — April 24, 2007 @ 5:04 pm
  8. An excellent story, and once again the anti-gun zealots have everything wrong.

    Tameka should have worked harder to keep her cousin out of criminal activity then.

    Comment by Bob — April 24, 2007 @ 7:56 pm
  9. Is it tragic that a 15 year old died ?

    No, not this one. Congratulations on starting your worm farm, shithead.

    - Josh

    Comment by Wild Pegasus — April 24, 2007 @ 8:15 pm
  10. [...] like this comment. I’m sorry, but if he hadn’t been out on the streets of Cleveland robbing people at gunpoint, then he’d still be alive today. Mr. Wells is not getting [...]

    Pingback by Conservative Culture » Poor Youth Killed by Carry Conceal Permit Holder — April 24, 2007 @ 8:16 pm
  11. Why do gun opponents insist upon making the criminal into the victim. Buford was the aggressor. Wells was the victim.

    The fact that these gun control nuts want to claim the child is the victim outrages me. The 2nd amendment is not negotiable, and a 15 year old robbing people on their front porch deserves everything he gets.

    I agree with these two statements whole-heartedly. They tried to rob him with a gun. Was he supposed to just cave in? I thought the US constitution allowed for self-defense within the bounds of the law. And gee, what do you know, he did just that.

    Yeah, you’re going to get problems with guns, however in this case the problem person was the 15-year old with illegal possession of a firearm, who was attempting an illegal act with it. One less scum in Cleveland.

    While I’m all for gun-control laws if they are sane, if you take away legal ownership of guns only criminals and cops will have guns. And you’ll probably find that stabbings, etc go up or something.

    Comment by David — April 25, 2007 @ 12:53 am
  12. I’m a peace-loving gun owner who opposed both Iraq Wars from the outset. I have only two things to say about this:

    1. The little punk got exactly what he deserved.

    2. As for his age, when you pull a gun on someone it makes you look a lot older.

    Comment by Bob Weber — April 25, 2007 @ 1:24 pm
  13. I’m gonna pull a Rosie O’ on Tameka Foster,

    Bite Me! Yo cuzin d zurv 2 b kilt.

    The liberal left media thought Rosie was awesome for the same remark made at that women’s forum meeting; must be okay to use it now.

    Comment by T F Stern — April 25, 2007 @ 2:20 pm
  14. Mike, I guess you do not know or live where a kid might think they need a gun for self defense.

    I guess the story is about the kid getting what he deserves is more important than him having the gun in the first place. He can’t drive(in some places), smoke, drink, or join the military, but… Not y’all’s problem.

    Comment by VRB — April 25, 2007 @ 6:12 pm
  15. VRB,

    This “kid” you refer to was using the gun to commit a crime.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — April 25, 2007 @ 6:22 pm
  16. Once again, people like VRB want to make this about the weapon of choice of the criminal. If the kid had pulled a knife, Mr. Wells would still have been justified in shooting the kid. This kid is not a victim of anything other than his own crimes. It’s almost like you want there to be no consequences in life. The consequence in this case was death. Gun, knife, baseball bat, it doesn’t matter, the minute the kid pulled a weapon and demanded something that wasn’t his, udner threat of bodily harm, his life was forfeit.

    Nick

    Comment by Nick M. — April 25, 2007 @ 6:40 pm
  17. The “kid” could have just as easily used a knife, baseball bat, or his fists to threaten Mr. Wells. So no, it’s really not about him having the gun in the first place. It’s about a punk threatening a law abiding citizen; fortunately, in this case, the law abiding citizen was armed and able to defend himself.

    Comment by mike — April 25, 2007 @ 6:45 pm
  18. Once again people are putting words in my mouth.
    A gun does make a difference in child’s hands.
    But a grown man shooting a 15 year old with a knife, I think would be cowardly. He would have been able to scare the 15 year old. You think the 15 year old is mature enough when he robs with a gun, but not mature enough to stop if he’s confronted with a gun if he robbed with a knife. The gun is a far superior weapon.
    I am pretty sure if your 15 year olds did something like that, they would not be as deserving as that 15 year old.

    Comment by VRB — April 25, 2007 @ 11:55 pm
  19. VRB,
    Seriously, what the hell was this guy supposed to do, ask him his age before he shot? Come on! The coward is the 15 year old, not the guy defending himself and his home. When you are about to be robbed, you don’t have time to worry about if they have another weapon on them. You do what you have to do to protect yourself and your property. Or wait, should he have just let him in, “here take what you want.” If this guy hadn’t stopped him, I bet he would have just ended up another street gang statistic anyway. Wells may have ended up saving several peoples lives because I would bet this wasn’t Buford’s first robbery and wouldn’t have been his last. Would you feel better if it wasn’t a 15 yr old ‘kid’ and instead a 30 year old who was shot and killed?

    Comment by Aimee — April 26, 2007 @ 12:19 am
  20. VRB,

    Let’s take a look at your proposed scenario.

    Kid has knife and intends to rob. A weapon is never brandish to inspire fear of injury, but rather fear of death. As far as I am concerned, when a weapon is brandished, they intend to kill me. It was how my father trained me.

    So, taking the situation against what my father taught me, let us assume that the “kid” did not want to kill, but rather to injure or merely threaten injury or death.

    What options are available?

    1. The kid has a knife. The owner does not have a gun. The man, being bigger, attempts to resist. Maybe he is stabbed, maybe not. Maybe he dies, maybe not. Maybe the kid is injured, a suit begins, the kid wins. Maybe the man just gives his money and is violated.

    In this case, everyone wins. The man is either dead, injured, or violated, or the kid is injured and sues. /sarcasm

    2. The kid has a knife, and the man has a gun. The man, only seeing a brandished weapon, and a threat to his life, shoots the kid. The kid is dead, a waste of life, but he threatened to take anothers life and property. The man has to live with the burden of a life taken, but it was not his choice to attack and steal, merely to defend.

    Consider it in context of a larger scale. An attack on a country is met with defense. The attackers are killed, before any damage is done, or maybe a little or a lot is done. Few people have qualms about this. When defense turns to attack is where a lot of people begin to have a difference of opinion.

    Also, as a note, when I was 15, I was damned invincible. I could take on an army with a knife. Or so I thought.

    My father had taught me how to kill an attacking dog with my bare hands. He taught me to shoot. He taught me to use a knife. He taught me some hand to hand.

    He also taught me to defend, not to attack.

    I also know that one of my foster brothers was a Blood. When we took him in, he was proud of the fact that he was legally dead at 13. His uncle had stabbed him over 20 times when he caught Arthur in the liquor cabinet. He was proud that he had also been grazed by some bullets.

    Later, he changed a lot. He dropped out of the gang life… or he had when I last saw him. He realized he had the choice.

    This kid also had a choice.

    As was said, paraphrased, in Indy 3.

    “He chose… Poorly.”

    Comment by Ted — April 26, 2007 @ 1:13 am
  21. Sorry, the kid brandished a weapon. Why should Mr. Wells sacrifice his property, possibly his life, so that some punk can continue to be a punk. Guns, knives, and clubs are only used to instill fear of death. If that is not the message the kid intended to send, he should not have pulled a gun. One of the rules of gun handling is “Never point a gun at something you do not intend to kill or destroy.” This kid pointed a gun at Mr. Wells, he obviously intended to kill him. While this kid may not have had any formal firearms training, this rule is pretty self evident. Though, the kid may have known the rule as something like: “If I point my gun at someone, they give me what I want, because they are afraid of me killing them.” Well, everyone is not afraid to defend themselves.

    As to the point about my kids. I don’t have any right now. But, I will tell you this, they will know about guns. They will know how they work, they will know how to use them. They will know the rules of gun handling. They will also know, that they will suffer the consequences of breaking the rules. They will know that one of the consequences of breaking the rules is death, of them or someone else.

    Nick

    Comment by Nick M. — April 26, 2007 @ 9:16 am
  22. Nick,
    You may do all those things and as a mother of a once 15 year old, you can count on them being stupid at times. I not assuming that would play out with a gun.

    Comment by VRB — April 27, 2007 @ 5:56 am
  23. It is sad that a life was lost. However, the “kid” was committing adult crimes – felonies of the first degree with a gun spec – man4F

    Comment by MH — May 1, 2007 @ 10:52 am

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