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He's very lucky...

The new poster boy for this agenda is Joe Zamudio, a hero in the Tucson incident. Zamudio was in a nearby drug store when the shooting began, and he was armed. He ran to the scene and helped subdue the killer. Television interviewers are celebrating his courage, and pro-gun blogs are touting his equipment. "Bystander Says Carrying Gun Prompted Him to Help," says the headline in the Wall Street Journal.
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But before we embrace Zamudio's brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let's hear the whole story. "I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready," he explained on Fox and Friends. "I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this." Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. "And that's who I at first thought was the shooter," Zamudio recalled. "I told him to 'Drop it, drop it!' "

But the man with the gun wasn't the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. "Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess," the interviewer pointed out.

Zamudio agreed:

I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. Two, maybe three seconds between when I came through the doorway and when I was laying on top of [the real shooter], holding him down. So, I mean, in that short amount of time I made a lot of really big decisions really fast. … I was really lucky.

When Zamudio was asked what kind of weapons training he'd had, he answered: "My father raised me around guns … so I'm really comfortable with them. But I've never been in the military or had any professional training. I just reacted."

The Arizona Daily Star, based on its interview with Zamudio, adds two details to the story. First, upon seeing the man with the gun, Zamudio "grabbed his arm and shoved him into a wall" before realizing he wasn't the shooter. And second, one reason why Zamudio didn't pull out his own weapon was that "he didn't want to be confused as a second gunman."

This is a much more dangerous picture than has generally been reported. Zamudio had released his safety and was poised to fire when he saw what he thought was the killer still holding his weapon. Zamudio had a split second to decide whether to shoot. He was sufficiently convinced of the killer's identity to shove the man into a wall. But Zamudio didn't use his gun. That's how close he came to killing an innocent man. He was, as he acknowledges, "very lucky."

That's what happens when you run with a firearm to a scene of bloody havoc. In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person—a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you're dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd. It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater.

We're enormously lucky that Zamudio, without formal training, made the right split-second decisions. We can't count on that the next time some nut job starts shooting. I hope Arizona does train lawmakers and their aides in the proper use of firearms. I hope they remember this training if they bring guns to constituent meetings. But mostly, I hope they don't bring them.


How an armed hero nearly shot the wrong man

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Do you think more guns would decrease or increase crime? What's your stance on gun control in general? Do you interpret the 2nd Amendment to include individuals or militia only? Are you for it, against it, for it for certain types of weapons only, etc.?

I'll keep my opinion to myself other than to say that I'm not really at either extreme of the interpretations. I'm just curious how others see the debate over gun control, and was really amazed at how lucky everyone was that this guy made the right decision in a matter of seconds and how easily it could have gone the other way and been an even bigger tragedy. I'm so glad he was lucky!

 
pam19

Asked by pam19 at 12:23 PM on Jan. 14, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

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This question is closed.
Answers (23)
  • Pam, I'm glad you posted this story to add a rational component to the discussion.


    My opinion is that having more guns available isn't necessarily a guarantee that more people will be safe. Having assault weapons available is a dangerous proposition. As Mr. Zamudio himself said, it was lucky that he didn't start shooting, for the sake of the man who wrestled the gun from the actual shooter, and for his own sake--he might have been mistaken as the killer.


    I'm not arguing for or against gun-control.  I'm arguing in favor of injecting a little sanity into the debate.  Mud-slinging has no place in the discussion.  I wish more people could debate this rationally. 

    jsbenkert

    Answer by jsbenkert at 1:47 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  • "Leave it to the left lol,..take a good story and trash it ..all and all this guy was legally carrying his fire arm and he showed restraint..imo it proves that not ALL gun owners are crazed and just waiting to blow some bullets into someone. "

    Of course they aren't. But I agree with Pam.. he was lucky because it wouldn't have taken much to shoot the wrong person or to be shot himself by an officer who is trained to KILL, not wound.

    While I have no problem with people being able to carry guns (provided they've passed a background check and gone through some training... it should be like driving a car)... I do sometimes think that packing heat can make you think you're capable of doing more than you really can and might lead SOME people into situations where they should have kept their heads down.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:00 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  • Leave it to the left lol,..take a good story and trash it ..all and all this guy was legally carrying his fire arm and he showed restraint..imo it proves that not ALL gun owners are crazed and just waiting to blow some bullets into someone.
    tnmomofive

    Answer by tnmomofive at 12:40 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  •  

    Leave it to the left lol,..take a good story and trash it ..all and all this guy was legally carrying his fire arm and he showed restraint..imo it proves that not ALL gun owners are crazed and just waiting to blow some bullets into someone.

    What trash it? HE SAID HE WAS LUCKY he didnt shoot the guy...you mean leave it to the left to look at the ENTIRED situation and not just pretend half the story is the TRUTH

    sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 12:52 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  • yea, how dare that damn HERO talk about WHAT IF HE OWULD HAVE SHOT SOMEONE AND HOW LUCKY HE WAS

    As usual, sweetie poo, you over look the point and see what you want to see. The post I make was not about the Hero, it was about all the posts interjecting their own "whatifs" to support their ideas about gun control. I pointed out the other side of your "whatifs" theories and you are stuck for an answer so you deflect!
    goodwitch399

    Answer by goodwitch399 at 3:41 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  • I think criminals will think twice if they know you are a harder target. They'll go for the pacifist neighbor. Yes, I think every citizen has the right to have arms. We can't expect the gov or local police to be every where in a moments time. My family is protected by my good friends, Smith and Wesson ;)... actually I have no idea what brand they are...lol
    Jambo4

    Answer by Jambo4 at 12:37 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  • I agree with gdia and Pam.

    NP, often times guns and alcohol attend the same events.
    Sisteract

    Answer by Sisteract at 1:38 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  • goodI'm not arguing for or against gun-control. I'm arguing in favor of injecting a little sanity into the debate. Mud-slinging has no place in the discussion. I wish more people could debate this rationally.

    Sisteract

    Answer by Sisteract at 1:53 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  • Yes, he did make the right decision in a matter of seconds. I also think that women who kicked the clip away from the shooter is pretty amazing as well!
    parrishsky

    Answer by parrishsky at 1:57 PM on Jan. 14, 2011

  • The OP is about the HERO..he's more important than your post


    Do you think more guns would decrease or increase crime? What's your stance on gun control in general? Do you interpret the 2nd Amendment to include individuals or militia only? Are you for it, against it, for it for certain types of weapons only, etc.?

    Again, you are wrong sweetie poo! The Hero is indeed more important than me or my post but, the post is about gun control, the Hero is just used to support how evil guns can be in a WHATIF theory! Another example of you seeing only what supports your ideas and spinning where ever you need to. Nice try though!
    goodwitch399

    Answer by goodwitch399 at 4:42 PM on Jan. 14, 2011