In Defense of the Colombian Doctor Who Shot His Attackers
It is entirely understandable that society celebrates a victim killing his assailants in the act of self-defense
A man who dedicates himself daily to healing the sick and saving lives kills in less than a minute, with extraordinary skill, three criminals who tried to assault him. On Thursday, January 30th, the hero without a cape, whose name we still do not know, possibly saved the life of some good Colombians with his actions, as he is accustomed to doing, and saved who knows how many potential victims from moments of terrible anguish.
The car which the criminals were driving was reportedly stolen hours before they tried to assault the doctor, and according to the Bogotá Secretary of Security, all three dead men had criminal records.
Free men have guns; slaves don’t. These three robbers were clearly not inexperienced. They had criminal records, but that day, they faced a free man, not a slave to crime, as most of us Latin Americans are.
The doctor, of course, acted in self-defense, protecting his life that day from three armed men who attacked him. But we also don’t know how many lives he might have saved. In most cases, it’s just a matter of time before these professional robbers kill someone.
Many citizens have become accustomed to the fact that in a robbery, “you have to give up everything.” Lawmakers are at fault for normalizing this mindset. We have no weapons because we are forbidden to possess them, and if we had them and acted on them, we could get into legal trouble.
The tremendous support this doctor has received from Colombian society is understandable. The vast majority of Colombians who walk, take buses, and often have to walk in places that are not very safe have had to endure, at least once in their lives, being robbed or someone close to them has been robbed. And there are many stories of those who survive these attacks by sheer miracle.
There is always a sense of helplessness for what could not be done, a sense of anger that one could not defend oneself. Because well, getting robbed is not fair! So when we see the story of this doctor, even though many people don’t want to say it because it is not politically correct, we think about how many innocent lives were saved. We applaud the fact that this man did not let them rob his belongings and that he was able to defend himself like many of us could not.
A couple of months ago, a criminal snatched an elderly man’s cell phone in a Transmilenio. My friend who saw what happened went after the thief. A second thief stabbed my friend in the neck at the door of the coach. He miraculously survived; for a few inches, the delinquent missed a fatal wound in his throat.
On the night of Friday, January 31, when the media was just beginning to report on the doctor’s case, another friend of mine was stabbed in the face by a delinquent who got angry when they wouldn’t hand over what he asked for. This time, my friend almost lost an eye. Thanks to Divine Providence, I don’t have a dead friend and a friend without an eye because of crime.
We must understand that we are talking about criminals who put the lives of honest, hard-working citizens at real risk every day. This does not mean that we have to go around killing thieves, but it is entirely understandable that society celebrates the fact that in the act of self-defense, a victim kills their assailants.
And it would be great if we honest citizens could easily arm ourselves and be free to defend ourselves, just like the doctor, when someone is trying to assault us.
In Colombia, as in most Latin American countries, thieves are used to doing what they want. The police do not act appropriately; they are always late, and in cases where the robbers are caught, the justice system ends up being so inefficient that most of the time, within a few hours, the thieves are back on the streets.
Moreover, given that in most countries in the region, it is tough for honest citizens to obtain legal permission to be armed, what we have is the perfect environment for more and more criminals to commit their offenses with astonishing peace of mind.
The thieves know that the people are unarmed (because the free carrying of weapons is prohibited), and they also know that the police are not efficient and that, in any case, if they are arrested, they will be released and can return to their misdeeds.
But what if good citizens could easily arm themselves without breaking the law? What would happen if in our countries in Latin America, as is the case in Texas, people put up signs that say “We do not call 911,” telling thieves that they have guns and that they will use them to protect their private property, understanding life as the first and most important property that we have?
Imagine that there are two houses. One in one hangs a sign that says “no weapons,” and the other one says, “we do not call the police, we are armed.” Which one do you think a burglar is more likely to enter?
When will politicians understand that thieves will not stop having guns because they are illegal? We are talking about people living their lives in illegality! Never, anywhere in the world, has a criminal said: I was going to steal and kill, but since guns are illegal, I won’t do it anymore.
The ones who abide by the rules are the good citizens who don’t go around stealing. That is why the ban on carrying weapons only succeeds in leaving the good ones, those who do not commit crimes, unarmed, while the criminals remain armed.
I can’t have a cop in my wallet, but I can have a gun. However, the same people who are incapable of providing security and justice forbid me to defend myself.
And those who live safe and comfortable lives seem to direct so much rage at those who defend themselves. “If I were robbed, I would hand over everything,” said a prominent Colombian journalist this week. Well, that is not easy for those who are living hand to mouth and would be left without food for a month for themselves and their children if their wallet was robbed.
Another very famous Colombian journalist said, “They were not murderers, but neighborhood thugs. You can’t go around shooting everyone who is going to rob you.”
I would like to know if this influential journalist has any way of knowing that the murdered thieves would not harm the doctor. Of course, he doesn’t. Self-defense is also about acting at the right time. It is ridiculous to ask an assault victim to wait for the thief to stab him before defending himself.
Moreover, the journalist seems to suggest that one should let oneself be robbed out of consideration for the thieves. “You can’t go around shooting everyone who’s going to rob you.” No. In fact, what can’t happen is that criminals can’t around stealing; the good people should be able to defend themselves. You want the good people not to protect themselves out of concern that the poor criminals will get hurt?
The countries of the region should follow the example of Brazil, where Bolsonaro has worked to make it easier for ordinary citizens to have legal weapons, and also to give legal protection to those who make use of the right to self-defense.
In Brazil, all types of violent deaths were reduced, except for the deaths of criminals. The fact that more criminals are dying in itself does not seem to me to be a reason for joy. The ideal scenario would be that people do not steal and do not die. But if that is the price that has to be paid so that fewer innocent people die and humble people are not robbed of their property, go ahead. If I am put to choose between the life of an innocent and that of a thief, I think the choice is clear.
What we cannot do is tell the good guys: let yourselves be killed and robbed because you have to take care of the lives of criminals.
The process of obtaining a weapon legally should simply be a matter of demonstrating that you do not have a psychological or psychiatric problem that prevents you from making good use of the firearm and that you have sufficient training to know how to use it without endangering the lives of innocent people.
I do not want a country where people have to give up everything so that they are not killed. I want a country where good people are free and can defend themselves, where the life of the innocent is valued and cared for first. The ones who should be afraid are the bad ones, not the good ones. That is why millions of us Colombians support the doctor who defended himself, and we ask politicians to make it easier for us to carry weapons legally.