On Wednesday, gun control supporter and Fox News contributor Juan Williams appeared on the Lars Larson radio show and shared with listeners a personal incident that will hopefully have him questioning his long-held anti-gun positions. Williams told Larson, "My wife went to the gas station, and while she's trying to put the credit card in some guy rushes by her, gets in the car, and drives off with the damn car." Williams then noted that his wife's response to the situation was, "I wish I had a gun."
This reaction by his wife is a sharp contrast to Williams' own usual take on firearms. Following the shooting at Fort Hood in early April, Williams responded to a question by Fox News' Eric Bolling, regarding the efficacy of gun-free zones, by stating, "I think we need America to be a gun free zone." This isn't the first time Williams expressed anti-gun sentiments.
During the June 29, 2008, Fox News Sunday Roundtable, Juan Williams expressed his displeasure with the Supreme Court's decision that week in District of Columbia v. Heller, affirming an individual right to keep and bear arms. Williams told his fellow panelists, "I mean, the idea that the court would act as if the Constitution is not a living document and act as if the Constitution is written to apply to a time when we have, you know, these automatic firearms… well, of course, the court's like out of touch with the realities." Later on, Williams remarked, "Guns do not make me feel secure. Guns scare me. And it seems to me that we have an invitation here to have more guns." A January 17, 2000, Boston Globe opinion piece reported Williams as having stated, "I don't understand why we're piddling around. We should talk about getting rid of guns in this country."
It's only natural that Williams' wife would want a gun during her encounter with the criminal. The work of Florida State Professor of Criminology Gary Kleck determined that "[r]obbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all." Further, in recent months, top law enforcement officials in both Milwaukee and Detroit have spoken out about the importance of privately held firearms as a means of deterring crime and protecting law-abiding citizens from violent criminals.
Williams' wife's experience with grand theft auto is unfortunate, and we are glad she apparently was not harmed during the incident. Yet having experienced victimization first hand, she instinctively understood the value of being armed. Needless to say, many criminals are not content simply to abscond with property or are desperate and determined enough to hurt others to get what they want.
Some gun control proponents simply lack the prudence or empathy to imagine themselves at the mercy of a violent criminal. This is often especially true of the rich and famous, epitomized by Michael Bloomberg, who live in fortified compounds and are attended by private security guards paid to confront whatever danger might present itself. These elites consider facing physical risk to be someone else's job, just like the servants who take out their garbage or clean their toilets. Most Americans, however, are not so fortunate. If they and their loved ones are going to be protected at all from violent crime, they must see to it themselves.
A close encounter with crime can be an eye-opening experience; one that drives home the very practical value of the rights protected by the Second Amendment. Only time will tell if the frightening experience his wife suffered will change Juan Williams' outlook on firearms. In the meantime, more and more Americans – and women in particular – are choosing not to wait for their first run-in with a desperate criminal before experiencing the benefit of being armed for self-protection. Even if that encounter never arrives, the peace of mind that comes from being prepared for it is, for many, reason enough to exercise their right to bear arms.