We’re beginning to learn a little more about the last moments of Joseph Robert Wilcox, the 31-year-old concealed carrier and Las Vegas native who lost his life attempting to stop the murderous couple who had just assassinated two police officers and then stormed into Walmart.
Joseph Robert Wilcox wasn’t one for the limelight.
And yet the 31-year-old Las Vegan is being heralded as a hero for giving his life while trying to stop J**** and A***** M***** in the midst of their shooting spree in the east valley late Sunday morning.
After executing two Las Vegas police officers at CiCi’s Pizza, J**** M***** entered a nearby Wal-Mart, at Nellis Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, fired a round in the air and ordered everyone to leave, setting off a panic. It was at that point, instead of running, Wilcox approached J***** M***** from behind.
Law enforcement sources said Wilcox, who had a concealed weapons permit and carried a handgun, was ready to “end it” when A***** M*****, who was behind Wilcox, shot and killed him.
Standing outside her home in the Sunrise Oaks mobile home park off of Lamb Boulevard near Washington Avenue on Monday afternoon, Debra Wilcox took phone calls from reporters, accepted a 3-foot tall teddy bear from a neighbor and lamented that her son was not there to see it all.
“I wish Joseph could see this. That everybody was grateful for what he tried to do,” said Debra Wilcox, fighting back tears.*
Mr. Wilcox was a web designer and was between jobs when the incident took place. Unfortunately, since Mr. Wilcox was between jobs he did not have an insurance to help with funeral expenses.
While dealing with their grief, Wilson said family members have the added burden of trying to find the financial means to provide a proper burial for Joseph Wilcox.
Debra Wilcox said she has no money to pay for her son’s funeral expenses.
“I’m just having a hard time accepting that he’s gone,” she said, before retreating inside her home.
Local Las Vegas businesses are holding memorial fundraisers for the families of Officers Beck and Soldo and Mr. Wilcox.
Officers Beck and Soldo were family men who each had small children.
* * *
There have been a number of (frankly, pathetic) anti-gun individuals who have gleefully attempted to use this event to claim that it “proves” concealed carry in specific and the right to bear arms in general doesn’t work. It’s an absurd belief, offered by individuals full of hate and cowardice with very skewed morals.
The reality of the matter is that nothing in this world works 100% of the time. That does not mean we should abandon principles that have served us since well before our nation’s official founding. The right to keep and bear armed saves lives, again and again and again. Firearms are used more times in self-defense every year—estimates range from 500,000 to more than 3 million—dwarfing the number of times they are used in crimes. Furthermore, as our society more widely embraces firearms for self-defense and sport, and concealed carry laws have liberalized and spread over recent decades, both violent crime and gun accidents alike have plummeted.
An armed society keeps both criminals and tyrants at bay, just as the Founders intended. They never expected armed civilians to be bulletproof or invincible. They merely recognized that for the nation that they founded to remain free, the right to keep and bear arms as individual members of the militia must always been protected.
Joseph Wilcox is one of many Americans who willingly embraced that right and the responsibility that came with it.
“He was very protective of other people. The reason he got that gun was because he got tired of people like that,” people who would pick on others, Debra Wilcox said.
Joseph Wilcox’s uncle John Wilson, during a phone interview, described his nephew as someone who wasn’t political. “But he definitely believed in the right to bear arms and the right to defend yourself and others,” Wilson said.
Wilson choked back tears and emotion — “It comes and goes,” he said — while speaking about his nephew.
“He basically… he heard the threat to everyone and he was trying to stop it,” Wilson said. “He wasn’t trying to be a hero. He was trying to do what he thought should be done.”
That is all that we can ask of anyone.