The difference a lawfully armed citizen can make

Century 21 theater in Aurora, Colorado is a “gun-free” zone. Lawfully armed citizens with a concealed handgun permit may not bring their gun into the theater. Would it have made any difference if one or more such CCW permit holders had been present when James Holmes came into the theater to carry out his vicious attack on innocent life, perpetrating the worst mass shooting in U.S. history? Well, it sure made a difference in an internet cafe in Florida last week when armed robbers entered and started pointing a gun at people and ordering them around. Senior citizen Samuel Williams was a patron and lawfully carrying a concealed .380 semi-auto pistol and he wasn’t in the mood to be robbed by two 19-year thugs with a gun.

Watch what happened:

A local news account of the incident was posted on Youtube:

Samuel Williams could soon become a poster child for concealed carry. Or rather a poster senior citizen.

Williams is being hailed as a hero this week after he sprung into action on Friday to thwart an armed robbery at an internet cafe. Williams was present when two masked thugs walked into the Palms Internet Cafe in Marion County, Florida. One of the men was brandishing a gun while the other had a bat. They started ordering patrons around and one smashes a computer screen. That’s when Williams took action.
Williams was seated toward the back of the cafe dressed in a white shirt, shorts and baseball cap.

One of the masked men, identified as Duwayne Henderson, 19, comes in pointing a handgun at customers. The second man, Davis Dawkins, 19, is seen swinging a bat at something off screen, which was later identified as a $1,200 computer screen.
As Henderson turns his back, Williams pulls out a .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun, stands from his chair, takes two steps, nearly drops to one knee, and fires two shots at Henderson, who bolts for the front door.

Williams takes several more steps toward the door and continues firing as Henderson and Dawkins fall over one another trying to exit the building. The two eventually run off screen.

Surveillance video captured it all…

Both of the crooks suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds and were later captured. And according to police, Williams — a licensed concealed carry gun owner — won’t face any repercussions.

“Based on what I have seen and what I know at this time, I don’t anticipate filing any charges,” Bill Gladson of the State Attorney’s Office, told

But he’s not the only one talking. Some of the customers are. And they’re grateful for what Williams did.

“I think he is wonderful. If he wouldn’t have been there, there could have been some innocent people shot,” said Mary Beach.

I applaud Mr. Williams for what he did, but there is one little nitpick that I have. The video shows that he fired at the robbers after they were out the door of the internet cafe and were scrambling to get away. It appears this will not have any adverse effects for Mr. Williams and he will not be charged with any crime. That’s good, but I think this occurred in or near Ocala, Florida. If it had been in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale the state’s attorney in those cities are not as sympathetic to the right of self defense [ask George Zimmerman] and might have charged Mr. Williams with a crime.

Ordinarily, the right of self defense ends when the threat ends, except under those special circumstances outlined by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985). That case is a 4th Amendment case about cops shooting a fleeing felon, but the substance of the law (albeit under different analysis) is the same for citizens.  The threat has not ended if there are grounds to believe the fleeing felon is such a vicious person that his continued freedom poses an unreasonable and ongoing threat to innocent human life.  That argument would be easy to make against the Batman shooter, maybe not the Florida internet cafe robbers.

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