With all of the debate over the now defunct illegal immigration bill in the Senate and the efforts of liberals to relaunch the so-called Fairness Doctrine – a clear assault on conservative speech on our nation’s air waves – it is easy to lose focus on the many other battles going on to preserve the civil rights for all Americans. One such right is the moral and constitutional right to self-defense.
Last week, a story in Jacksonville, FL, was ignored by the national media, but it should not have been. The story concerns the heroism of Colin Bruley, who came to his neighbor’s rescue after she fell victim to a gun shot during a domestic brawl. Those who advocate gun control seem oblivious to the fact that their wishes, if granted, would prevent people like Bruley from showing the kind of effective courage he showed, but would do nothing to stop attackers from attacking and even killing their victims. For Bruley may have saved Tonetta Lee by brandishing his own firearm – a 12-gauge shotgun – in her defense.
This story would not be so notable if that was all that happened. The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey reports that guns are used defensively at least 80,000 times a year (other surveys indicate much higher frequencies). And, according to economist John R. Lott, Jr., national surveys indicate that 98 percent of the time the mere brandishing of the weapon is enough – no shots are fired. Such was the case in this story. Bruley arrived at Ms. Lee’s side, stood in defense in case her attacker came again, and then saved her life by applying a tourniquet to her heavily-bleeding leg (the bullet damaged an artery).
What makes this story remarkable is the fact that Bruley was fired by his employer as a result of his heroism. What?! you ask? That’s the same question the beneficiary of his bravery is asking: “I told him, ‘I thought you were going to go back to work as a hero and here you’re fired,'” said Lee. “That’s really crazy.”
It sure is. Bruley’s employer is legally “in the rights” to fire him, as he was in technical violation of company policy for brandishing a weapon on company property. But the notion that someone should wait for the police, as the company requires, while their neighbor is screaming for her life is both irresponsible and absurd.
If the national media would report the much more frequent heroic uses of gun-wielding Americans as zealously as they report the far fewer tragedies that often are made worse by bans on lawful gun possession, perhaps the anti-gun bias that led to Bruley’s unjust dismissal would be replaced by reason – and applause.