April 29, 2011

Squirrel Avenger! From the "Where Are They Now" File


Now: Bernie Goetz, who became a household name after shooting four young men in New York City in 1984, holds two young squirrels in Union Square Park. Goetz, who said the men had tried to rob him, was later convicted for illegal possession of a firearm. The incident sparked a national dialogue on American’s perception of race and the legal limits of self defense. Goetz, now 63, has undertaken squirrel rescue as a cause. -- WSJ

Then: "I decided to shoot as many as I could as quickly as I could. I did a fast draw, and shot with one hand (my right), pulling the trigger prior to the gun being aligned on the targets. All actual shots plus my draw time occurred easily within 1.6 seconds or less. This is not as difficult to do as some might think, and occasionally I give a description of the technique along with a re-enactment.

The first shot hit Canty in the center of the chest. After the first shot my vision changed and I lost my sense of hearing. The second shot hit lightning fast Barry Allen in the upper rear shoulder as he was ducking (later the bullet was removed from his arm). The third shot hit the subway wall just in front of Cabey; the fourth shot hit Cabey in the left side (severing his spinal cord and rendering him paraplegic). The fifth shot hit Ramseur's arm on the way into his left side. I immediately looked at the first two to make sure they were "taken care of", and then attempted to shoot Cabey again in the stomach, but the gun was empty. I thought Cabey was shot twice after reading a media account no shots missed; I had lost count of the shots and while under adrenaline I didn't even hear the shots or feel the kick of the gun. 'You don't look too bad, here's another', is a phrase I came up with later when trying to explain the shooting while I was under the impression that Cabey was shot twice. Cabey, who was briefly standing prior to the shooting, was sitting on the subway bench during all attempted shots. The others were standing. Shortly after the shooting my vision and hearing returned to normal. -- La Wik

Posted by Vanderleun at April 29, 2011 8:14 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Only in NY would 4 guys attacking a single man with sharpened screw drivers be declared the victims

Posted by: serfer62 at April 29, 2011 8:55 PM

God Bless Bernie Goetz he was a great American. He gave us all heart to survive the dark years in NYC before Rudy.

Posted by: Fat Man at April 29, 2011 10:29 PM

How much time did he serve on the illegal possession charge?
(Whatever it was was too much.)

Posted by: Grizzly at April 29, 2011 11:01 PM

I was just thinking about that stuff the other day. I was just a kid when it happened but was pulling for Goetz all the way.

Posted by: Ashen at April 30, 2011 5:06 AM

The NYS Sullivan Law passed purportedly to keep politicians from being shot, allows criminals, politicians and lawyers to carry arms.

The law makes it impossible or nearly so in many jurisdictions to obtain a CCP, NYC being one such place.

So much for the law abiding citizens chances in the State of Iniquity.

Posted by: Peccable at April 30, 2011 5:15 AM

Bernie made a fundamental error. He left the 4 scumbags alive to testify against him. As a Michigan State Trooper told me years ago when we were discussing security for my elderly mother's house, which was in a fairly isolated area, "Make sure there's only one story: yours." Improvements in the law since then, like the Castle Doctrine, have helped, but that still doesn't apply in NYC.

Posted by: waltj at April 30, 2011 11:13 PM

I remember this quite well as I was in my twenties at the time and living in Connecticut. I can't remember anyone I knew who didn't think he was a hero, or at the very least, that he did the right thing.

@Grizzly - According to Wikipedia he appears to have served 2/3 of a one year sentence, which is 2/3s too much.

The Wikipedia article also has this fascinating bit of background info I don't recall hearing about at the time. It seems like Mr. Goetz had been assaulted before and was able to see how the law "protects and serves" honest law-abiding citizens.

I've edited the following quote only to remove footnote numbers. Please search Wikipedia for "Bernard Goetz" and you'll go straight to this article.

"While transporting electronic equipment in 1981, Goetz was attacked in the Canal Street subway station by three youths in an attempted robbery. They smashed him into a plate-glass door and threw him to the ground, causing permanent chest and knee injuries. Goetz assisted an off-duty officer in arresting one of them, but was angered after his attacker spent less than half the time in the police station than Goetz himself; subsequently, he was further angered when his attacker was charged only with criminal mischief, for ripping his jacket. Goetz subsequently applied for a permit to carry a handgun, on the basis of routinely carrying valuable equipment and large sums of cash, but his application was denied for insufficient need. Bitter, he bought a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver anyway during a trip to Florida."

Posted by: Tom at May 1, 2011 2:40 AM

He went rather easy on him, don't you think?

Posted by: RedCarolina at May 1, 2011 10:15 AM

He went easy on them, rather...

Posted by: RedCarolina at May 1, 2011 10:19 AM

I sure hope one of those squirrels doesn't bite him.

Posted by: Hannon at May 1, 2011 4:13 PM

"Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six."

I'm glad to see you're still around to care for the little squirrels, Bernie, and so are they.

I love a happy ending....

Posted by: Gray at May 1, 2011 10:10 PM

The worst part is that he was successfully sued by at least one of his attackers. I think he's still paying that one (wheelcahir-bound) off as best he can.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at May 2, 2011 2:47 PM

Actually, I think he's on record as saying, "I don't think I've paid a cent on that."

Posted by: Vanderleun at May 2, 2011 3:36 PM

"I don't think I've paid a cent on that."

Well that gladens my heart. Is the guy in the wheelchair dead yet?

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at May 4, 2011 9:58 AM

They got what they deserved. It sickens me that some people wake up each day with the intent to
steal as some get up with the intent to work.

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