The record-setting levels of violent crime in Philadelphia that were seen in 2021 have spilled over into the new year. On average, there’s been more than one murder a day since January 1st, and on Monday night in Philadelphia four more people were fatally shot, bringing the total number of homicides to 17 in the first 10 days of the year.
With the chaos on city streets, it’s no surprise that more people are choosing to carry a firearm in self-defense, and one man is alive today thanks to the fact that he had a gun of his own when he was targeted by an armed robber just before midnight.
Officers say the victim was getting ready to take care of a patient when a man walked up to his car, pulled out a gun, and pointed it at him.
Police say that’s when the victim pulled out his own gun and shot at the suspect.
“While investigating the scene, we were notified that a shooting victim showed up at Presbyterian Hospital by private auto,” Chief Inspector Scott Small said. “And that shooting victim was shot in the face and upper chest area. He is in stable condition.”
The healthcare worker appears to be unharmed, and the local CBS affiliate reports that he does have a valid carry license, so he isn’t expected to face any charges. The 18-year old suspect, on the other hand, could very well face serious charges, but given D.A. Larry Krasner’s soft-on-crime approach to prosecutions, there’s no guarantee.
The district attorney, who’s been blasted by even his fellow Democrats for his handling of violent criminal cases, was in front of the cameras on Monday and bemoaning the lack of witness cooperation, which he says is hindering his office’s ability to prosecute violent offenders.
Pointing at the faulty relationship between police and the community, Krasner talked about the low prosecution rate of perpetrators of gun violence. He said the past practice of aggressively using “stop-and-frisk” is a reason for the relationship.
“Police go to every door, knock on the doors, ask if there are any witnesses,” Krasner said. “No witnesses come forward, or there are no witnesses. Sometimes you even have a shooting victim who is not providing information, so we have to use what we have.”
While I’m not a fan of stop-and-frisk, I don’t think you can blame the lack of witness cooperation solely on that practice. Part of the problem is the fact that many witnesses are worried about retaliation if they speak out, and they don’t trust the city to keep them safe. Krasner’s local budget for witness protection services was $260,000 last year, and he says his office spent almost half that in just July and August. However, his office also has access to $500,000 in state funds that are supposed to be used for relocation, but one of Krasner’s deputies claims that the state money comes with more strings attached and can’t be spent as freely (take that claim with as much skepticism as you’d like).
I don’t think the real issue is a lack of funds here, but an ideology that elevates the wishes of criminals above their victims. Sadly, with the entrenched one-party rule in Philadelphia that ideological bent isn’t going to change anytime soon, which is all the more reason for the good folks living and working in not-so-great neighborhoods to exercise their right of armed self-defense.
On a related note, Rob Morse from Slow Facts has a great piece on the right to carry that’s worth a read. As Rob notes, for every story like this that makes headlines there are dozens of defensive gun uses every day that go completely unreported.
Concealed carry is common. The number of concealed carriers is comparable to the number of office and administrative support workers. There are more concealed carriers in public than there are healthcare, education, and library workers combined. On average, one-out-of-a-dozen adults in public is legally carrying every day.
Their guns may be hidden, but with that many armed citizens on the streets we would already know if gun owners were a problem. In fact, they are a solution; they stop a dangerous threat until the police arrive. That isn’t everything, but to 1.7 million of us a year, it was desperately important to be armed.
The tally for 2022 will most certainly include one home healthcare worker from Philadelphia who made it home safely last night instead of ending up in the hospital or the morgue, and just like his life, your life is worth protecting too. Most of us will never become the victim of a violent crime, but it’s not up to us to decide if we’re the target of criminals. Instead, we get to decide how we would respond in that situation, and I’m thankful that more of us are waking up to the fact that our personal safety is an individual responsibility, and not something that can simply be entrusted to the state.