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What’s worse, having a gun and not needing it, or needing it and not having it?

Better to have one and not need it, than to need one and not have it.
Better to have one and not need it, than to need one and not have it.
Dave Workman

Today’s Seattle Times reported that a man wanted in connection with a double homicide in the Jet City back on June 1 was arrested in West Orange, N.J. yesterday, and he was also wanted in connection with an armed robbery in the Garden State, which is where he hails from.

There may be nothing surprising about that, but it is ironic that the same neighborhood was in the "bad news" the other night, courtesy of a chilling ABC News report about a couple who were robbed and beaten in their own apartment, in neighboring East Orange. The incident made them not only re-think their attitude about guns, they also packed up and went back home, to a state where having a gun isn’t treated like a heavily-regulated privilege.

By no small coincidence, robbery and murder suspect Ali Muhammed Brown, 30, actually is from East Orange, according to an earlier Seattle Times report. And it was there that, a year ago, the lives of James Dittrich and Meredith Duffy took a significant turn when two armed thugs forced their way into the couple’s apartment in Lenox on the Park late one night.

One of the two robbers assaulted Duffy, and Dittrich, fearing the worst, did an incredibly brave thing, fighting back against an armed criminal, as detailed in the ABC report. They have moved back to Ohio, but during the interview with ABC, Dittrich said an interesting thing.

“I didn’t want a gun,” he told ABC’s Juju Chang during a Nightline segment. “I specifically didn’t want one. I was very much opposed to hav(ing) one, and I guess I got the realization that the police really can’t protect you. They can respond, and they can protect you once they get there. But, you’re on your own.”

Now they keep a handgun in the bedroom, in a state where it is less burdensome owning a handgun. In Ohio, it is far easier to get a concealed carry permit.

Meanwhile, Brown was wanted for crimes that, in his hometown, are evidently far easier to commit. He did time in jail for communication with a minor for immoral purposes, the Times reported, but failed to register as a sex offender. But that’s small potatoes to being the prime suspect in the murders of Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young back on June 1 in Seattle. If Brown is the perpetrator of those killings, it's a safe bet he didn't get the gun in a way that would have involved a background check.

Indeed, according to the Seattle Times, Brown may have acquired the 9mm handgun allegedly used in the crime from the mother of his children. She told police the gun was missing, and that Brown had access to the gun.

New Jersey has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, yet the body count back there suggests that those laws don’t work too well. Or perhaps, as in the case of Dittrich and Duffy, they simply leave the wrong people unarmed.

Fortunately, Dittrich survived the brutal robbery, which became a learning experience. Having a firearm may not be everyone’s first choice, but wishing you had one should not be your last thought on earth.

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