A liberal activist said that a woman who defended herself against a man who was threatening her with a gun should have let the man rob her as opposed to shooting him dead.
Zack Ford, a writer for the radical Think Progress blog, made the argument on Twitter on Jan. 14, triggering an avalanche of negative reactions.
The article Ford cited, by the Daily Caller, describes a situation in Chicago that unfolded recently. Police in the city said that an armed 19-year-old man approached a 25-year-old woman at a bus stop and attempted to rob her.
Instead, the woman, who has a concealed carry license, brought out her firearm and shot him dead.
“It’s tragic that he did die, but the lady had to do what she had to do,” Bianca Daniel, a local resident, said about the bus stop incident. “I’m kind of proud that, like, that’s what she did because she stuck up for herself.”
Ford didn’t agree, writing in his critique: “Conservatives are thrilled a woman with a concealed-carry permit shot and killed a 19-year-old would-be mugger. That’s not how justice works. The penalty for theft is not death, nor do we want it to be.”
The post reached a vaunted ratio, a term referring to highly controversial posts that receive many more comments than “likes” or “retweets” (shares).
“Zack seems to think that said criminal only had a gun to ‘warn’ the victim lol … I’d say pointing a gun at someone is definitely reason to defend yourself,” one user wrote.
“If this were your Mom/Sister/Spouse/Daughter … would you willing to wait and see what an armed robbery turns into, then make a justice decision?” another user said.
“The penalty for the would-be mugger is self-imposed. If he’d prefer not to be shot, choose a safer non-criminal vocation,” said another.
“A mugger isn’t just stealing. He’s attacking his victims with intent to do harm. His motive—to steal from her or rape her or kill her or all of those things is tangential to the act itself. She has a right to defend herself from attack. Self-defense is fundamental to freedom,” said yet another.
Ford reacted to the criticism by trying to explain his position.
“The kid was 19! I just feel like we’re being way too disposable with his life. A gun death is a gun death, and the fact she was able to protect herself in no way motivates me to change my belief that she should not have had a gun in the first place,” he said in another post, replying to a critic.
He continued doubling down, saying: “The punishment for armed robbery is not death, though. Of course, I don’t think he should have had a gun either, but if she had let him rob her, even at gunpoint, both likely would have survived. It’s the praise for her gun ownership that bothers me.”
Replying to the latter post, one user said: “How could she possibly assume he only wanted to ‘rob’ her? If he was going to rape her, should she still have ‘let it happen’ because they would likely both survive? Insane. People don’t have to just ‘accept’ crimes being committed upon them.”