It has been said that a good guy with a gun is the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun.
I recall some years ago when Mark Tartaglia, then a Philadelphia detective, told me that criminals fear private citizens with a legal gun far more than they fear armed cops. While I was on a ride-along with him, he told me that most crooks think that an armed private citizen would be quicker to shoot than a cop.
“A lot of criminals say they fear citizens with a gun more than a cop with a gun, because they believe the citizen won’t hesitate to shoot to protect themselves, their families and their property,” Tartaglia said. “But that knowledge and fear doesn’t stop criminals from keep on committing muggings, burglaries and carjackings.
“Because bad guys don’t think it through. They know regular citizens carry legal guns nowadays, but they don’t think they will get caught, let alone get shot by a regular guy who is armed and willing to shoot them.”
Tartaglia chuckled and shook his head as we drove through the city’s 3rd Police District, not far from the detective’s South Philly home.
“Most criminals are stupid, and they are surprised when they learn the hard way that some folks will defend themselves and refuse to be a willing victim.”
Most police commissioners and chiefs share the view of the liberal mayors who appointed them to their positions. They tend to be for government gun control, which liberals have rebranded as “gun safety,” as it sounds less sinister.
But Tartaglia, a veteran detective, was all for private citizens arming themselves. An avid hunter, he said he knows many hunters who are proficient with firearms.
“And a lot of them shoot better than most cops I know,” he said with a laugh.
Mark Tartaglia also noted that even if the police respond in record speed, the criminal has probably already done his worst to the victim.
Tartaglia said that he believed citizens ought to arm themselves and defend themselves, as long as they obey the law. He added that if they are not avid hunters, military vets or former cops, then they should get some firearm proficiency training.
“I just love hearing stories about a bad guy who is shot by an armed good guy,” Tartaglia said.
A recent case in point is when a would-be carjacking victim shot and wounded a would-be carjacker dressed in a black ski mask and in black clothing on a late Saturday evening in Kensington.
The Philadelphia Police stated that a seventeen-year-old suspect tried to steal a car from a would-be carjacking victim who was sitting in the car with another man. One of the men in the car, who possessed a license to carry a firearm, shot the suspect.
The wounded suspect, no doubt surprised to have been shot, ran to Frankford Avenue, where he collapsed. The suspect was picked up and taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition. He was later charged with a variety of crimes.
This was only one incident of a legally armed citizen thwarting a robbery. There are many other reported incidents of armed private citizens thwarting robberies and other crimes, as well as saving themselves and the lives of others.
While more and more citizens across the country are applying for and receiving licenses to carry firearms in an effort to defend themselves, many liberal politicians and Hollywood celebrities are quite vocal in opposition to the idea of the right to carry firearms.
Of course, the politicians from President Biden on down who are against legally armed private citizens, are themselves protected by armed Secret Service agents, armed police officers, or hired armed private security. And the Hollywood celebrities and entertainers who go on ad nauseum about the danger of guns in the hands of regular people, live in secure gated communities which are guarded by armed private security. And these celebrities never venture out without their personal armed bodyguards.
More and more these days, private citizens will leave their homes with their phone, their wallet, their car and house keys, and their gun. More and more women will place their legally owned and carried guns in their coat pocket or in their purse.
So criminals beware.
Another recent carjacking was thwarted by a private citizen in Philadelphia. But he used something a bit bigger than a handgun. A SEPTA bus driver used his bus to stop a carjacking by pulling in front of the car the criminals were trying to carjack.
Good for him.
So unless you have access to a bus, the best way to defend yourself and refuse to be a victim is to legally carry a firearm.
Paul Davis is a Philadelphia writer who covers crime.