By Lewis Wagoner:
Leaving a late night Florida Panther Hockey Game, I walked towards an off street parking lot. As I entered the parking lot, two men approached from two different directions. One carried a baseball bat, and one a golf club. Directly behind me was a couple walking to the same parking lot. I heard the man behind me swear, and the woman gasp seeing the men approaching. I carry a concealed firearm at all times. I drew my firearm and pointed it at the man with the baseball bat. I ordered the man to stop and told him “If you take another step, I will shoot you.” He spun around and ran. I turned to the other, but he was also running off into the night. I turned to the couple behind me who were looking at me with horror, like I was the one that was going to attack them. The woman pointed at my firearm and cried “You have a gun!” I had just stopped a possible mugging, assault, rape, or even murder. Yet this woman was more afraid that I was armed with a firearm.
I’m an ex-Navy Seal. Retired, thirty year plus law enforcement officer, Certified FBI Self Defense and Arrest Techniques Instructor, and Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. I know about self-defense. I’ve seen people unable or unwilling to defend themselves numerous times. I’ve handled the cases, been to the crime scenes, and interviewed the people from their hospital beds. I don’t understand what reality they are living in. But in today’s world one must be prepared to defend one’s self or others, at all times.
It has occurred to me that for some reason people have come to believe that they don’t need the right to defend themselves, and tell others they don’t either. The government or police will protect them, and tell them what they can and can’t use in the defense of themselves or others. Even businesses or institutions now tell you that you must be a victim, or don’t have the right to defend yourself and others. Unnamed coffee shops, retail stores, night clubs, and movie theaters, all have signs that state you’re not allowed to enter with a firearm. Think of the Colorado Movie Theater and Orlando night club. How has that worked out for us?
Let’s deal in reality. The news is full of attacks that have occurred in places where firearms are not allowed. The people that do these horrible assaults look for places where they know no one is armed. They attack the places that will have the lowest resistance or weakest defense. Every one of those attack locations have been “gun free zones” or places with signs stating “NO Firearms.” Even places covered under state laws where firearms are not allowed, like schools and universities.
There was an attack at a college just recently. The bad guy crashed his car into a crowd of people and then got out with a butcher knife, and proceeded to attack them. Not one person in the crowd was able to defend themselves. Just by sheer luck, there was a police officer there on another call, and was able to defend those in the “gun free zone,” where they aren’t even allowed to be prepared to defend themselves.
This isn’t about guns, honest. It’s about the right and ability to defend one’s self and others. No one has the right to restrict a tool that allows you to defend yourself. If you take my firearm, you limit me in that ability. What is next, swords, baseball bats, and knives? Where will the restrictions end? England is already considering the restriction on knives, as they have already restricted firearms.
I refuse to be a victim, or let anyone in my family be a victim, if I can prevent it. If you want to be vulnerable and unprepared to defend yourself, then go ahead, become a possible victim. That’s your right. But do not tell me that I must become one also. I have the inalienable right to self-defense.
Lewis Wagoner is an OpsLens Contributor and former Navy SEAL. Following his career in the Navy, Lewis served as a police office for more than 30 years, which included time in SWAT. He now is a Certified FBI Self Defense and Arrest Techniques Instructor. He is also a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.