Tucson shooting fires up gun debateJoe Zamudio, a very typical CHL and American Man- but no matter what happens, no matter the outcome, no matter how heroic, tyrants and hoplophobes will ALWAYS demand that Freeman be debarred the use of arms- it is the only way they can put you in chains.
A bystander with a Ruger intent on ending the violence almost shot the wrong guy. But he made a split-second decision to keep the weapon in his pocket.
By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
January 14, 2011, 5:29 p.m.
Reporting from Tucson and Washington — Joe Zamudio was out buying cigarettes last Saturday when he heard what sounded like fireworks but quickly realized were gunshots. He reached into his coat pocket for the 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol he carried, clicking the safety off.
He heard yelling around him: "Shooter, shooter, get down!"
Zamudio saw a young man squirming on the ground and an older man standing above him, waving a gun.
Zamudio, 24, had his finger on the trigger and seconds to decide.
He lifted his finger from the trigger and ran toward the struggling men.
As he grabbed the older man's wrist to wrestle the gun away, bystanders yelled that he had the wrong man — it was the man on the ground who they said had attacked them and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). The gun the older man was holding had been wrestled away from the shooter. Police later identified 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner as the suspect.
"I could have very easily done the wrong thing and hurt a lot more people," said Zamudio, who helped subdue the suspect until authorities arrived.
The fact that Zamudio was carrying a gun, and his split-second decision to keep it in his pocket, has come to encapsulate the complexity of the national gun debate.
Gun rights advocates say his quick action showed that a well-armed — and well-trained — person could protect himself and the public.
But gun control advocates see Zamudio's story as an example of how Arizona's gun-friendly culture and lax gun laws have not only failed to make the streets safer, but also have potentially endangered lives.
"They always say, 'What if someone with a concealed weapon was there and could stop this,' " said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Washington-based Violence Policy Center. "Well there was, and he almost shot the wrong person."
As for Zamudio, he said he was glad he had his gun that day and knows he did the right thing, even if he was not able to stop the shooting.
"I wish I had stopped him sooner," Zamudio said. "We're all responsible to help."
Again, I salute you Joe Zamudio and your fellow Arizonians who stood and did the right thing.