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During the summer of love, as riots and other, unrelated crimewaves were on the rise in Philadelphia, people began applying for permits to purchase and carry firearms at rates previously unseen. In 2020, there was a 600% increase in permit applications, creating a backlog that didn’t end up being (mostly) cleared until this winter. As a result, even as criminal shootings have continued to rise, another statistic has been seeing an increase as well. The number of justifiable homicides by people who were attacked by criminals has more than doubled in the past year. And is that really such a surprise? With more people taking steps to be able to defend themselves, more aspiring attackers are going to wind up facing an unpleasant and sometimes lethal surprise when their victim turns out to be armed. (Inquirer)
Justified homicides jumped 67% from 2020 to 2021 ― from 12 to 20 according to the Philadelphia Police Department. Another six have been ruled justified by the department but are awaiting the District Attorney’s office to sign off. In 2019, there were 10 justified killings, six in 2018 and eight in 2017, the department said.
So far in 2022, victims have shot at least eight armed assailants to death, with more than seven months remaining in the year.
“The total number of shootings and the climate of gun violence has gotten more severe,” said District Attorney Larry Krasner. “So I would expect that there would be more situations involving self-defense.”
The Inquirer profiles a number of people who wound up finding themselves in such unfortunate situations. One homeowner was standing outside his house smoking a cigarette when a mugger rode up on a bike, holding a gun and demanding money. Rather than grabbing his wallet, the homeowner pulled out his registered handgun and shot the mugger fatally in the head.
An assistant manager at a Dollar General store was confronted by a man in a ski mask brandishing a pistol and demanding money. That robber also failed to survive after the manager shot him. (The thief’s pistol turned out to be fake, but that didn’t matter.) A third person at a food market shot an armed robber dead in March when the thief attempted to rob him while he was playing a video game.
All three of these cases have one thing in common. Each of the would-be victims was not charged for the deaths of their assailants. And they’re not alone. Last year alone, the number of justified homicides rose to 20, with more than half a dozen other cases waiting for final adjudication. This year is on track to potentially break those records.
I found it surprising that soft-on-crime DA Larry Krasner decided to weigh in on this trend and admit that shootings and gun violence have been “more severe.” So he’s not surprised to see more cases of self-defense. What he fails to mention is that his own (lack of) enforcement policies have led to the crime surge and the corresponding rise in self-defense shootings.
It would be nice if none of this was necessary and the police were allowed to do their jobs. If you want to cut down on the number of self-defense shootings, put away more criminals and get the illegal guns off of the streets. If you can manage that, people won’t be compelled to take matters into their own hands.