- - Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I refuse to be a victim. So do scores of other Americans who own rifles, shotguns, handguns and other defensive weapons in order to protect themselves and their families.

So, it appears, did a man in Oklahoma City.

As reported here, an armed citizen shot to death a man who had walked into a restaurant and opened fire on customers. According to the Oklahoma City Police, the bystander with a pistol confronted the shooter outside of the restaurant and fatally shot him.

As the saying goes, it takes a good man with a gun to take out a bad man with a gun. Even the very best police departments take minutes to respond to a crime scene, so in case after case, legally armed citizens have defended themselves and others in those precious minutes against an armed criminal.

But this thinking is lost on those who continue to believe that guns, and not the criminals and mentally unstable people who wield them, are the cause of all of our violent incidents. The knee-jerk reaction to every criminal shooting is a call to control or ban firearms,

And yet, as we have seen in incidents around the world, criminals, madmen and terrorists use the means at hand, rather than a firearm, to commit acts of violence. A British comedian in his car with his 10-year-old son was attacked by a gang of thieves armed with hammers who stole his Rolex watch.

This past April a man in Toronto used his van to murder 10 people and injury 14. Earlier this month, a man inspired by ISIS used a knife to kill one person and injure seven others in a vicious street attack in Paris. Someone obsessed with committing murder, mass or otherwise, clearly does need a firearm to do so when various edged weapons, poison, explosives, arson and other choices are readily available.

The United Kingdom, which has the sort of gun control that the American left cries out for, is overwhelmed with knife attacks. Is knife control next?

After a series of stabbings this past April, London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “No Excuses; there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”

Never a reason to carry a knife?

Well, ask the Detroit teenage girl who used her pocketknife to fend off a fully grown man who attempted to abduct her. He grabbed her on a street near her school but she fought back, eventually taking out her pocketknife and stabbing the man in the side. He released her, fell to the ground, and then got up and ran away.

And one may ask a 78-year-old retired man in Kent, England. This past April a 37-year-old career criminal broke into the elderly man’s home armed with a screwdriver at three in the morning. The 78-year-old homeowner scuffled with the younger burglar and stabbed him. A second burglar carried his wounded cohort out, but dropped him in the street and ran off. The burglar later died. Both men, it was later discovered, were wanted for other burglaries in Kent.

The elderly homeowner was initially arrested, but after a public outcry, he was released, He now lives in fear of reprisal from the burglars’ fellow criminals, and both he and his wife are under police protection.

A government like Britain’s can prevent honest citizens from being armed, but it can’t stop criminals from arming themselves. After knife control, do we go onto hammer, screwdriver, broken bottle, stick and motor vehicle control?

We not only need to arm ourselves against common criminals, we also need to be concerned about terrorists. ISIS sent out instructions to fanatical followers, misfits and the mentally insane to use any instrument of crime to inflict death and destruction, “Kill him in any manner or way, however it may be,” an ISIS spokesperson said. “Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car.”

And there were those who have heeded the call. In November 2017, a 29-year-old man drove a truck down a New York street and murdered eight people and injured many others.

“Consumed by hate and a twisted ideology, Sayfullo Saipov allegedly barreled down a pedestrian walkway and bicycle path on a sunny afternoon on the West Side of Manhattan, killing eight innocent people and injuring a dozen others,” said Jooh H. Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York at the time of the indictment. “As the scores of videos and images on his cellphone showed, Saipov’s depraved use of a rental truck as a weapon of terror was allegedly in support of the terrorist organization ISIS.”

With the threat from armed criminals, terrorists and assorted crackpots, those who refuse to be a victim will fight back. The right to carry a firearm gives a person safety, security and dignity. Don’t let anyone take that right away.

• Paul Davis is a writer who covers crime, espionage and terrorism.

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