Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bernard Goetz - Hero or Villain

Bernard Goetz

Huffington Post

Thirty years ago today the inviolate right to self-defense and the battle over firearm civil liberties were joined in one of the unlikeliest of battle zones -- New York City. Riding a southbound express train in lower Manhattan, a slight of build navy contractor rode that subway car into gun lore history -- his name was Bernard Goetz dubbed -- "the subway gunman" -- defending himself and every other scared New Yorker to ride the underground. (Ironically, at the time Mr. Goetz's naval contract was to protect all of humanity by creating a safeguard against terrorists stealing nuclear weapons.)
In a scene eerily reminiscent of Charles Bronson in the Hollywood hit "Death Wish" four punks threatened and attempted to rob their victim, but enclosed within that graffiti encrusted rail car the "hare turned around and bit the hound" he fired his Smith and Wesson 5 shot 38-caliber revolver into his would-be muggers. The bumper stickers were everywhere in NYC - "Ride with Bernie -- he Goetz 'em"! The crime rate in the dangerous subways plunged dramatically -- so much so the authorities even held back the numbers -- the truth hurt too much.
Bernie Goetz wasn't caught immediately. It was a brief hiatus allowing the incident to grow into an international media sensation. During a White House press conference in early January Sam Donaldson asked President Reagan his position on the "Goetz shooting." The next day a young NRA political director held a news conference at the Park Terrace Hotel on 7th Avenue with Roy Innis, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and State Senator Chris Mega from Brooklyn declaring, "A government which cannot protect its citizens has no right denying them the means to protect themselves"! The famed journalist Murray Kempton asked if he was urging vigilantism? His retort, "when will Mayor Koch provide the same level of protection to the citizens who ride the subways and pay their taxes that he enjoys surrounded by a phalanx of New York's finest, oh with guns at the ready"? It was a good question then and an even better one today - thirty years later!


  1. It's interesting that they say that one incident caused an immediate drop in subway crime.

    1. And it's particularly interesting to see that asserted in the Huff 'n' Puff Post, of all places.

    2. Actually, it was an op-ed written by a biased gun rights fanatic. Maybe that had something to do with it.

      I was surprised HuffPo published such nonsense.

    3. Actually, it was an op-ed written by a biased gun rights fanatic

      Feldman's reputation among gun rights advocates is far from unsullied. I'd call him a "moderate" advocate of "gun control," and one who has trouble making up his mind.

    4. What's the sullied part? Does one have to be born into the gun world to qualify? I know you set a high standard for gun rights fanaticism, but where does Feldman come up short, in your opinion?

  2. Totally a hero. Who could possibly disagree? He more or less defined the entire DGU concept in the latter twentieth century. Remember the attackers were carrying at lease one sharpened screwdriver, a shiv. Four guys against one. In a subway car.

    The only problem is that all of these dumbfuck, twenty-first century wannabe Charles Bronsons nowadays mostly just fantasize about being able to kill an attacker while simultaneously supporting the NRA and the arms industry. Nobody knew Goetz had a gun until he actually had a need for one.

    Merry Christmas you lunatics!