We typically write about defensive gun uses in our “Guns Saving Lives” section here on Bearing Arms, but today we’re going to talk about whether a defensive gun use should have taken place in Raleigh, North Carolina this past weekend.
For reasons still unexplained, a man named Remy Blaisdell Gagon began repeatedly ramming a motorist in Raleigh who had just picked his daughter up from the movie theater. Part of the terror was captured on a 911 call.
Dispatcher: 911 “What’s the location of your emergency?”
Caller: “I’ve got a guy that’s following me, and he’s rear-ended me and now he’s following me again.”
Dispatcher: “And what is your name?”
Caller: “He hit us again! Oh my God!”
Dispatcher: “And what is your name?”
Caller: “He’s just hit us twice!”
Out of nowhere, and for no apparent reason, police say Remy Gagnon starting attacking a father and his daughter on their way home from the movies.
Caller: (screaming) “He just hit us again!”
Not knowing what else to do, the father pulled into a parking lot to wait for police.
Caller: “He’s hit me three times now, and here he comes again.”
Dispatcher: “OK and you’re like circling the Whole Foods parking lot?”
Caller: “I’m trying to figure out what his plate is. (screaming) “He just hit me four times now!”
The father and daughter were eventually able to escape into a nearby Whole Foods, where Gagnon pursued the father on foot and continued his attack. Luckily, Gagnon did not have any sort of weapon. The enraged and apparently unhinged man was eventually subdued after attacking first responders, and has been charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of simple assault, and careless and reckless driving. They’ll transfer him to jail once the men in white coats deem him fit for transfer, though that could be a while.
The father in this incident, Christopher Jost Jr., had his car rammed no less than four times by a man that attacked him for no known reason, seemingly at random. His response?
He screamed and called 911, and no doubt prayed that the police would arrive in time to save him. He then ran inside a crowded store and hoped others would put their own safety at risk to help him. That is not a critique of Mr. Yost, just a simple reflection of what he did when he seemingly had no other options.
He should have had other options. In my opinion, he should have had a handgun and the training to use it effectively in self-defense.
While it was completely unacceptable for Gagnon to attack, it is equally unacceptable for parents to be completely unarmed in this day and age where criminals of all kinds can attack out of nowhere, sometimes in numbers, for no reason other than the thrill of hurting others.
Having a firearm would have given Jost better options to defend his life and the life of his daughter than just calling 911 and hoping that first responders would arrive in time to prevent his killing or maiming, risking their lives to protect his.
It is the responsibility of every law-abiding citizen to train for self defense and to be armed. The police have no duty to protect you. That is a matter of established law. They cannot and will not be prosecuted for failing to save your life when you are under attack. They cannot and will not be held responsible if they do not respond to someone attacking your children with a gun, axe, club, or car.
I suspect that over the past few days that the Jost family has been rattled and sobered by the random violence that has visited their lives. It happens to far too many Americans, but at least he and his daughter have survived the incident and have an opportunity to learn from it.
What should he do? What should any unarmed citizen do?
The axiom is that the first rule of gunfighting is to have a gun, but that is entirely Jost’s option. As Bearing Arms contributor Mike McDaniel—a military and police veteran with considerable firsthand experience dealing with violent offenders—noted in his headlining story this morning, stun guns, pepper sprays, martial arts training, and other non-lethal defensive measures are an option… just horrible and unrealistic ones for most people in most situations.
Arm yourself with knowledge, training, situational awareness, and a firearm. Make sure you carry all four with you at all times.
If you are unfamiliar with firearms, consider our own Tom McHale’s The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition,which is both informative and fun to read, just like his posts here. If you want a crappy, poorly edited slapdash collection of blog posts thrown into a eBook that cover the basics, consider So You Want to Own A Gun.
Find a knowledgeable firearms training center or range in your area. Take the NRA’s FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation course if you are completely unfamiliar with handguns, then find a range or instructor who will let you try out handguns to get an idea of what feels comfortable for you and meets your needs.
Then take the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting course (which I recommend for everyone), before progressing to more advanced courses (again, the NRA’s courses and Personal Protection Outside the Home and Personal Protection Inside the Home) and obtain your concealed carry permit. From there, I’d strongly encourage finding the time to take at least one tactical handgun course from a reputable professional a year, and make range trips to practice what you’ve learned as often as you can to keep your newfound skills current and sharp.
Buying a gun and sticking it in a drawer, or a car console, or simply getting your concealed carry permit and never continuing your training and education, isn’t viable self-defense.
Continue your training, be aware, and always be armed.
Criminals and the dangerously insane are rarely considerate enough to give you advance warning.