Detroit Police Chief James Craig shocked liberal sensibilities earlier this year when he recommended law-abiding citizens in his crime-ridden city arm themselves for protection.
Had David Utash of Clinton Township, Mich., taken the advice, he might not have spent several days in a medically induced coma recovering from a savage beating on a Detroit street corner.
The 54-year-old tree trimmer was attacked by a mob earlier this month after stopping to check on a 10-year-old he accidentally hit with his truck while on his way home from work.
Utash was not at fault in the accident – police say the boy stepped from a curb into the vehicle’s path – but more than a dozen men and teenagers on the street began beating him.
The mob stopped only after Deborah Hughes intervened after seeing the incident unfold from the window of her home.
The 56-year-old retired nurse had a .38-caliber pistol with her.
“I got over there and I told them, ‘Don’t nobody hit him anymore,’ ” Hughes told Detroit’s WXYZ-TV. “I had a gun in my pocket, I was ready to do some damage if I had to. Somebody had to stand up. It was maybe 100 people out here. I was the only one (who stood up).”
Though it’s a sad commentary on American cities that law-abiding citizens should feel the need to carry a gun to safely go about their daily business, we have to agree with Craig, who heads up a chronically understaffed police department in a city desperate for protection.
The outcome for Utash would have likely been much different had he been armed and able to defend himself.
His relatives have started a fund-raising website to help pay his medical costs because he was self-employed and without health coverage. They say they have raised more than $120,000 to help pay for the bill, which is growing at a rate of $17,000 a day.
The boy Utash hit suffered minor injuries and is recovering.
Meanwhile, the mayhem continues.
Less than two weeks ago, a 43-year-old Detroit man shot two people breaking into his home. The male suspect was pronounced dead at a city hospital; his female accomplice was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg.
“We fully support our good Detroiters, good Americans (who) are legally in possession of weapons defending their homes,” Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody told The Detroit News. “We will support our citizens in that matter.”
Police officers put their lives on the line to keep us safe. But they’re not always there when some people need them. That’s why citizens have to modify their actions and behavior to stay safer. Being responsibly armed is one way to do that.