Law-abiding Americans protecting themselves and their families with firearms isn’t a fact of life that just began in the past 10 or 20 years.
Following are 10 such episodes, selected from literally thousands that occurred during the decade of the 1970s.
When George Maciel emerged from the back room of his Providence, R.I., liquor store, he saw two masked men coming at him, one carrying a can of mace, the other a gun. Immediately Maciel reached for his pistol and fired several shots, which sent the robbers fleeing. (The Free Press, Burlington, Va., 1979)
“Shoot him, shoot him,” one bandit yelled to the other who was struggling with Robert Pittard, a liquor store owner in Little Rock, Ark. Pittard released his hold on the hoodlum’s gun and dropped to the floor behind the counter. A bullet struck the display case near Pittard, who jumped up, ran to a rear room and retrieved a 20-ga. shotgun. The bandit who didn’t leave by the time the store owner returned received a blast of shot, which sent him fleeing. (The Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Ark., 1978)
Two South Bend, Ind., holdup artists made their final mistake when they picked John Burkhart’s pharmacy as their target. The pair entered and one ordered Burkhart to the rear of the store while the other tied James Senior, an off-duty security policeman. But the thug apparently failed to notice Senior was armed. The guard quickly freed his hands and fired, killing one crook. As the other rushed to his partner’s aid, Burkhart drew a pistol from under his counter and shot him dead. (The Tribune, South Bend, Ind., 1977)
Though in his 70s, Louis Willett of Fairfield, Maine, proved more than an equal match for three youths who approached his parked car, threatened him with a rock and demanded money. Willett grabbed a revolver and pointed it at the would-be thieves. They quickly fled. (The Bangor Daily News, Bangor, Maine, 1976)
After his Anchorage, Ala., home had been burglarized repeatedly, former state Sen. C.R. Lewis began to stake out the house. The third night six youths showed up, and when one kicked in the door, Lewis jumped out of hiding and at gunpoint forced all six to lie face down on the floor while he phoned the troopers. Lewis said he intends to “take all measures possible” to prevent future break-ins. Those measures will include “the citizen’s right to bear arms,” he stated. (The Anchorage Daily Times, Anchorage, Ala., 1975)
Awakened in his Gillette, Wyo., home at 3 a.m. in time to see his automobile being driven away, Clayton Conrad charged to his pick-up truck and pursued the thieves. Following his car to an underpass, Conrad, seeing the two bandits using his vehicle to pull another car out of mud, confronted the thieves with his hunting rifle. Police quickly arrived and arrested the pair. (The News-Record, Gillette, Wyo., 1974)
Russell Merrill, alerted that someone was in his Hampton Falls, N.H., store after closing hours, picked up his hunting rifle, and headed to the store. Directed by his brother-in-law who lives across the street from the store, Merrill was able to apprehend two men and deliver them to police for arrest. (Manchester Union Leader, Manchester, N.H., 1973)
As John Michael Souter, his wife and two friends were leaving the Souter’s tavern in Kansas City, Mo., two men armed with pistols ordered them back inside. In the darkness of the tavern, Souter managed to get a .38 revolver and empty it at the bandits, killing one and wounding the other. (The Kansas City Times, Kansas City, Mo., 1972)
On learning that two suspicious men were prowling around a neighbor’s home, Elgin Lester of Roseburg, Ore., grabbed a pistol and went to investigate. He knew the neighbor was out of town at the time, yet there was a light burning in one window. Hiding outside, Lester waited until one of the prowlers came out. When Lester yelled “Halt,” the man fled. Both suspects were soon apprehended by police. (The News Review, Roseburg, Ore., 1971)
Hearing the owner of a clothing store next door yell for help, Charles W. Parker, a Jackson Heights, N.Y., realtor, grabbed his .38 revolver and responded. He found the storeowner struggling with a robber, whom he ordered to “put your hands on top of your head and stand back against the wall,” keeping him there until police arrived. (Long Island Press, Long Island, N.Y., 1970)