WTVM Editorial 12-18-19: Armed self-defense

WTVM Editorial 12-18-19: Armed self-defense

(WTVM) - While doing your holiday shopping at Walmart, no one expects to see someone waving a knife around. But last weekend, a man armed with a knife threatened shoppers at the Columbus Walmart on Whittlesey Blvd.

It was a dangerous situation and anything could have happened. Luckily, Columbus Police and two alert, and legally armed, citizens responded quickly, leading to the suspect’s capture.

The armed citizens spotted the suspect as he fled the store. Customers saw him pulling on car door handles in the parking lot, looking for a quick getaway. One of the armed citizens pointed his firearm at the suspect in an attempt to stop him.

The armed citizens did the right thing in not firing on the suspect. In both cases, the citizens’ lives, at least at that point, were not in danger.

But they had every right to defend themselves.

Every year, statistics show that legal gun owners assert their right to self-defense by pulling out their weapon at least half a million times.

Often, there’s little publicity about those situations, except for the higher-profile cases, like the 79-year-old Commerce, Georgia, homeowner who called 911 to report a burglary in progress.

The homeowner shot at the burglar, who was so scared that he hid inside a closet until the police arrived.

Also, in Georgia, a homeowner in Jackson County heard someone trying to break into her house through a window and warned him to stop. Nevertheless, the suspect entered the home putting the woman in fear for her life, so she fired her weapon.

Firearms are not the only answer to every dangerous situation, but it’s a simple fact that a disarmed victim is an easier target for an armed criminal.

In the recent incident at Walmart, it was a brave Columbus police officer who quickly captured the suspect after ordering him to drop the knife.

That’s the best-case scenario for every dangerous confrontation.

We want to be able to rely on our professionally trained officers, but the police can not be everywhere all the time.

That’s why trained and responsible gun owners are often all that stand between us and an unpredictable, sometimes desperate criminal, even if police are on the way.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings an editorial a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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