Sunday, September 4, 2016

Army Veteran John Hendricks Stopped a Mass Shooting
Victims' Lives Matter
by Robert A. Waters

The lives of innocent victims matter. That's why almost 13 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons. Many would-be victims, going about their day-to-day activities, have used guns to successfully defend their own lives as well as the lives of others. Here a few of their stories.

In Chicago, an Uber driver with a permit to carry a concealed weapon stopped a mass shooting. At approximately 11:30 p.m., Everardo Custodio opened fire into a crowd of pedestrians. John Hendricks, the Uber driver, who just happened to be at the scene where the shooting took place, pulled out his own gun and fired six rounds at Custodio. Hit in the shin, thigh, and abdomen, the shooter collapsed on the street. He was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening wounds. No one in the crowd was hit by gunfire. Hendricks, an army veteran who has a concealed carry permit and valid firearms identification card, was not charged. Custodio, however, will be indicted on numerous counts, including attempted murder.

In Augusta, Georgia, two long-time crooks attempted to hold up the Subway restaurant on Gordon Highway. Howard Maurice Harris and Cornelius Lamar Harrison allegedly entered the sandwich shop armed with crow bars. One of the suspects ordered a 14-year-old customer to go to the back of the business. The suspect then struck the teen in the back of the head with the metal bar, injuring him. The boy's mother, an employee, retrieved a handgun from her purse and fired at the assailant. The robbers fled, but the employee ran outside and fired again. At some point, Harrison was struck in the abdomen. He died a few hours later. Police were soon summoned to a local hospital where they found Harris and arrested him. The injured teen received numerous stitches to close his wounds. Both suspects were wanted in North Carolina for various crimes. Police told reporters that the employee, who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, will not be charged.

A 91-year-old Eastpointe, Michigan man parked his car in a Rite Aid store parking lot. As soon as he stepped out, he was approached by Richard Ashford who, according to the intended victim, was acting “erratically.” When the victim attempted to retreat back into his car, Ashford approached in a threatening manner, carrying a “piece of metal fashioned as a weapon.” After shouting several warnings, the intended victim opened fire. Prosecutor Eric Smith told reporters that “this elderly man’s self-defense is an entirely appropriate use of force. Facing imminent assault, he announced that he was armed, made attempts to withdraw, warned again that he held a weapon, and fired only when completely necessary.” The intended victim had a concealed carry permit and was not charged. “This is a textbook case for why concealed pistol licenses are issued in the first place,” Smith said. “American citizens have the right to protect themselves in the face of clear assault.” Ashford faces several charges.

In South King County, Washington, Steven Blacktongue, wearing a mask, entered a 7-11 store and attacked a customer with a hatchet. He then moved behind the counter and struck the clerk in the abdomen with the deadly weapon. The customer, who had a permit to carry a gun, shot Blacktongue dead before he could cause serious injury to the clerk. Blacktongue had a long criminal history of felonious assaults, and had served time in prison for assault and drug offenses. The customer who stopped what could have been a brutal murder will not be charged.

And so it goes. Day after day, law-abiding citizens who have permits to carry concealed weapons stop violent criminals. And day after day, the New York Times and other major news organizations refuse to carry their stories.

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