Gun Violence and the Wild West by Miguel A. Faria, MD

There is actually a real misconception of the Old West that truly needs correcting. That is the notion of an uncivilized Wild West, where antisocial and violent behavior was the norm, and where citizens were afraid to leave their homes, afraid of rampant crime and in fear for their lives. This savage perspective turns out to be incorrect—false assumptions of the Old West based on sensationalist press, the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show of the 1880s and ‘90s, and subsequently cowboy shows and Hollywood movies. Bands of working cowboys and good citizens did not go about town in their leisure time challenging, outdrawing, and shooting each other in a systematized orgy of violence and gunfights as portrayed in the movies.

Bad men and violent outlaws did kill each other, but almost always left the good people of the towns alone. The famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona, in which Wyatt Earp, and his brothers, Virgil and Morgan, with Doc Holliday, killed three of the outlaw “Cowboys,” became a celebrated incident not only because of the unique circumstances but also because brother lawmen killed brother outlaws in a historic shootout. Even then it was newsworthy and certainly not a daily occurrence.

Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier by historian Roger D. McGrath

In his book, Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier, historian Roger D. McGrath has corrected the historic record with substantive scholarship. After studying the Sierra Nevada frontier towns of Aurora and Bodie, McGrath found that those mining towns, where audacious young men and gunmen roamed freely packing either Colt Navy .36 six shot pistols in Aurora or Colt double action “lightning” or “peacekeeper” revolvers in Bodie, were peaceful towns, except for the quarrels in the carousing and gambling saloons. Otherwise, both towns carried on well, and everyone not interested in whoring, drinking, and gun fighting were left alone.

True, the homicide rate was high among those carousing and looking for fights in the saloons, but in the rest of the populace, the old, the ladies, and those not willing to pick fights, homicides were rare. Likewise, robbery, burglary, and rape were rare. Murder was confined to the “drunkards upholding their honor.” The homicide rate for Aurora and Bodie were 64 and 116 per 100,000, respectively, compared to Washington, D.C., at 72 per year in the 1990s. Likewise, the burglary and robbery rates were 6 and 84 per 100,000, respectively, for Bodie; compared to 2,661 and 1,140, respectively, for New York City in 1980. The townspeople, although they might have carried guns, respected each other, and townspeople did not even bother to lock their doors at night. Similar observations have been made by other researchers studying the supposedly violent and crime-ridden Lincoln County, New Mexico; the Kansas towns of Dodge City and Wichita in the 1870s; and the Texas frontier towns from 1875 to 1890.

Returning to the issue of the possible confiscation of American firearms in the current era, consider the practical obstacles, not to mention the constitutional protection. Trying to blame, register, ban, and confiscate (one step usually follows the other) over 300 million firearms owned by Americans would bring about a tinder box situation, at least an order of magnitude worse than Prohibition, for Americans obey just and moral laws but not capricious or tyrannical laws, and a veritable police state would be required to enforce the draconian gun laws that would be necessary to carry that out.

Thus, politicians who sadly continue to use the latest tragedy (and the emotionalism and the passions elicited in its wake) to push for the usual round of gun control—while ignoring the accumulated objective research published in the social sciences and the criminologic literature—are not sincerely lamenting the deaths of the innocent or sympathizing with their families, but attempting to score political points, political points at the expense of the victims or good citizens. They are also further polarizing America and tearing apart the fabric of this great nation by using emotionalism rather than common sense to bolster their unwise, political actions. Let’s stop demonizing guns and end the shootings by incarcerating the criminals and identifying and healing the mentally ill, for much work needs to be done in the psychiatric and mental health arenas and in the task of reducing violence. Sensationalization of violence day after day by the press, the electronic media and the internet—heaped upon impressionable individuals subject to our increasingly dumbed down, popular culture and public education—is having a malevolent effect that needs to stop.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, Jr, MD is a retired professor of Neurosurgery and  Medical History at Mercer University School of Medicine. He founded Hacienda Publishing and is Associate Editor in Chief in Neuropsychiatry and World Affairs of Surgical Neurology International. He served on the CDC’s Injury Research Grant Review Committee. This article is excerpted, updated, and edited from his book, America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Gun Violence and the Wild West., February 28, 2022. Available from:

An edited version of this article titled “Review: ‘Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier’ by Roger D. McGrath” was published on Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership on March 15, 2022 and is available at:

Copyright ©2022 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D

Criminals, Guns, and the Right to Self-Defense by Miguel A. Faria, MD

Darrell Brooks, the 39-year-old criminal who plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, had been arrested on November 2, 2021 for assaulting and running over the mother of his child. By November 16, Brooks had been released on a mere $1,000 bail, and less than a week later he plowed through the Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens of others.

Like many other repeat offenders, who are continuously being released, Brooks is a sex offender with a long criminal record stretching back two decades. Brooks’ release allowed him to perpetrate this heinous act.

As a result of our permissive criminal justice system, citizens nationwide now live in fear because of the thousands of criminals with lengthy rap sheets who have been released back into society and who soon after commit atrocious crimes.

The CDC and the Public Health Establishment

The public health establishment, that should have been protecting the public from contagious diseases, instead has contributed to the permissiveness of the criminal justice system and has even shifted the blame for “gun violence” from criminals to law-abiding citizens, who seek to own firearms to protect themselves and their families.

A favorite view of the public health establishment (PHE) has been the myth propounded by Dr. Mark Rosenberg, former head of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) of the CDC, who wrote, “Most of the perpetrators of violence are not criminals by trade or profession. Indeed, in the area of domestic violence, most of the perpetrators are never accused of any crime. The victims and perpetrators are ourselves — ordinary citizens, students, professionals, and even public health workers.”

That statement is contradicted by available data, government data. FBI statistics reveal that 75 percent of all violent crimes for any locality are committed by six percent of hardened criminals and repeat offenders; and the typical murderer has had a prior criminal history of at least six years with four felony arrests in his record before he finally commits murder. Less than one to two percent of crimes committed with firearms are carried out by licensed (e.g., concealed carry permit holders) law-abiding citizens.

Criminology — True Data on Crime

Criminologists point out that criminals do make quick “risk‑versus‑benefit” assessments about the looming, potential threat of a concealed carrier possibly being nearby. Thus, criminological studies consistently reveal that just the knowledge that one in five or six citizens in a public place could very well be armed can deter crimes and could very well avert massacres.

According to government data, including the FBI Supplementary Homicide Report, there are approximately 400 felons killed by police officers or justifiable homicides yearly in the U.S. In 2012, for example, there were 426 such justifiable homicides. Yearly, armed citizens shoot and kill more criminals than police, at least twice as many. Professor Gary Kleck found that good citizens kill between 606 to 1527 attackers and violent criminals in self-defense (or in justifiable homicides) every year. Citizens in fact have a better track record than the police in shooting the bad guys: “Only two percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The ‘error rate’ for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high.”

The reason citizens do a better job than the police is because they are already on the scene. They witnessed what happened or were the actual victims, so they know who the bad guys are, while the police enter a scene in progress and must make judgments that occasionally turn out to be wrong.

As to how citizens can protect themselves from criminal assailants when the police, more often than not, are not immediately there to protect them: The National Victims Data suggests that, “while victims resisting with knives, clubs, or bare hands are about twice as likely to be injured as those who submit, victims who resist with a gun are only half as likely to be injured as those who put up no defense.”

Of particular interest to women and self‑defense, “among those victims using handguns in self‑defense, 66 percent were successful in warding off the attack and keeping their property. Among those victims using non‑gun weapons, only 40 percent were successful.” The gun is a great equalizer for law‑abiding citizens in self and family protection, particularly women, when they are accosted in the street or when they are defending themselves and their children at home.

Acts of Self-Defense are Morally Just & Undeniable in a Free State

In Macon, Georgia, we had the dramatic case of a businesswoman and grandmother, who was attacked by two thugs bent on robbing her and perhaps even raping and killing her. They followed the woman home at 1:30 a.m. as she left her convenience store business. The thugs pulled guns on her and demanded cash as she sat in her car. However, the grandmother was armed. Shots were exchanged. The woman wounded one assailant, who was later apprehended as he rushed to a local hospital. The other criminal also fired shots at her, but escaped. She was safe and sound. “I carry a gun all the time,” she told a local newspaper reporter!

Of course in the southern United States this grandmother is a heroine and no one would consider prosecuting her. That is not necessarily the usual course of events in other states or countries. For example, in England, the British subject Tony Martin, a farmer, defended his home and possibly his life. He shot a burglar, who was a known dangerous criminal, and for this act of self-protection in his own home, Martin spent time in prison. Thereafter, fearing for his life and losing all his worldly possession, he was forced to live in his car!

We must preserve our Constitution, the Second Amendment, and the right to self and family protection from the hardened criminals who have been released onto the streets by the same government that cannot protect us and yet, seeks to disarm us and deny our rights to life, liberty, and the right to keep and bear arms!

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is Associate Editor in Chief in neuropsychiatry; socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). Author of Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). This article is excerpted, updated, and edited from his book, America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

This article was originally published on on December 9, 2021.

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Criminals, Guns, and the Right to Self-Defense., December 9, 2021. Available from:

Copyright ©2021 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

Let’s Open SCOTUS For Second Amendment Business — Part 2 by Miguel A. Faria, MD

Some readers were surprised to learn from my previous article on this subject that the Supreme Court of the United States has not made it clear that the right to keep and bear arms is protected outside the home. “How can that be?” they asked. Further perplexed they wondered, “But what about the SCOTUS decisions in the previous decade that supported the Second Amendment as an individual right to keep and bear arms?”

Well, yes, in a 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban, and in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) in a very similar 5-4 decision, it struck down Chicago’s draconian handgun ban.

But these 5-4 decisions have been hanging by threads. Chief Justice John Roberts has become an unpredictable liberal and unreliable as a constitutionalist. Moreover, the liberal justices’ dissent at the time provided a clear warning: “The Supreme Court is just one vote away from totally reversing District of Columbia v. Heller (the federal ban) and McDonald v. Chicago (the state ban).”

Even with these decisions standing, the courts and Congress seem to have acquiesced in vigorously interpreting the Second Amendment’s right “to keep and bear arms” in light of these two affirming decisions. Incredible as it may seem, some courts have interpreted them as protecting the right to firearm ownership in the home, but not in the street, or during transportation from one’s home to a shooting club or anywhere else depending on the state!

And yet, when we look at the other Natural or God-given rights supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution, we see that all of them apply to individuals both in and outside the home, including the prohibition against the quartering of soldiers in people’s home, a right enumerated in the Third Amendment. And when it comes to the First Amendment — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” — we have to admit that we have also moved in an authoritarian direction.

We can go to churches, although this right has been curtailed by the farce of the COVID-19 lockdowns. We have also been guaranteed freedom of speech, although this right has been curtailed by insidious political correctness and the mere accusation of hate speech, as determined by the Thought Police of the Democrats, Marxist academicians, and the liberal media. As for peaceful assemblies and the redress of grievances, anarchists and communists infiltrating Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa have been given a go-ahead for not-so-peaceful assemblies — or rather riots with violent looting and burning! Thus, as in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, some animals are more equal than others.

But ignoring these recent inconsistencies brought about by political correctness, and not by judicial precedents, the Supreme Court has held that when the phrase “the people” is used in the context of the Second Amendment, it means “individuals,” meaning “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” (U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 1990). And these are the same “people” and individuals empowered in the other Amendments, including the 1st, 4th, 9th, and 10th Amendments of the Bill of Rights. The question should then be asked, “Why can’t the Second Amendment be a full right, like all the others in the Bill of Rights?”

We need to proceed with filling the vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and let SCOTUS get back to the business of the judiciary branch of government, particularly bringing the Second Amendment a la par with the rest of the Bill of Rights. And there is a lot of business that needs to be transacted.

For example, the Supreme Court has turned down several attempts to challenge the various Circuit Court decisions upholding restrictive concealed carry legislation in Maryland, New Jersey, and California. In California, the Ninth Circuit Court denied that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry concealed weapons in public. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch expressed regret that the Supreme Court failed to take up the challenge of the California case and believed it was high time SCOTUS ruled on the issue of concealed carry legislation and affirm the Second Amendment right outside the home. In the words of Justice Thomas, “The Court’s decision to deny certiorari in this case reflects a distressing trend: the treatment of the Second Amendment as a disfavored right.” Thomas further wrote in his dissent, “For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous. But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense.”

Open carry is another issue that hasn’t been settled to the satisfaction of gun owners, and the topic came to the forefront in Florida, the state that interestingly enough in 1987 passed the landmark concealed carry legislation. The case was that of Dale Norman, a Floridian with a concealed carry permit who in 2012 was arrested in Fort Pierce openly carrying a gun in a holster. He was fined and convicted of a misdemeanor. He appealed on constitutional grounds. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case and effectively let stand a Florida Supreme Court ruling in March 2017 stating that the open-carry ban of the state did not violate the constitutional right of citizens to bear arms. Attorneys for the state successfully argued that lawful citizens may already carry concealed weapons legally by obtaining permits without undue burden. They also cited the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule that the Second Amendment protects open carry in public.

Also the issue of the constitutionality of “assault weapons” has not been settled. These beneficial semi-automatic firearms with paramilitary-style looks have been under attack on both the federal and state levels. Despite their usefulness for sports shooting as well as life-saving tools during natural catastrophes, urban unrest, and self-defense against multiple criminal assailants, these firearms have been so maligned that some courts are yet to rule favorably on their constitutionality. On November 27, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up Maryland’s assault weapons ban. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013, banning the AR-15 “and other military-style rifles and shotguns.” Apparently, semi-automatic “assault weapons” were confused with fully automatic “assault rifles” and characterized as military weapons, and thus excluded from Second Amendment protection. Interestingly, the judge who wrote the majority decision stated, “Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage.” Curiously, it was precisely in Miller v. U.S. (1938), the last major federal ruling on the Second Amendment until the Heller decision in 2008, that ownership of military-style weapons were specifically protected as a pre-existent individual right by the Second Amendment.

With a new Trump-appointed conservative Justice, SCOTUS should finally be able to allow the Second Amendment to sit in the front of the bus with the rest of the Bill of Rights!

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria  

Miguel A. Faria, M.D., is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). He was appointed and served at the behest of President George W. Bush as member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2002-2005. His recently released book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

This article appeared on on September 25, 2020 and an edited version was posted on The Truth About Guns (TTAG) on September 25, 2020 under the title “Why We Need the Supreme Court Back in the Second Amendment Business.”

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Let’s Open SCOTUS For Second Amendment Business – Part 2., September 27, 2020. Available from:

Copyright ©2020 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

Let’s Open SCOTUS For Second Amendment Business! by Miguel A. Faria, MD

In an article earlier this summer Dan Zimmerman, editor of The Truth About Guns (TTAG), opined that the Supreme Court had been neither denying nor granting certiorari in Second Amendment cases. He wrote:

“Ten gun rights-related cases are still awaiting a determination by the Supreme Court. The cases involve everything from ‘may issue’ carry permits to banning ‘assault weapons’ to the interstate sales of handguns. After the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association case was declared moot by the Court, gun rights supporters have had high hopes that the Justices would grant cert to one or more of these for consideration next term. But that hasn’t happened.”

Many of us agreed at the time with the four conservative justices judgment of holding off on the SCOTUS making any Second Amendment rulings — very likely because of the unreliability and unpredictability of Chief Justice John Roberts, who has transformed himself into a flip-flopping liberal in an attempt to keep the Supreme Court “apolitical.”

But this may change sooner than we expect with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Trump has vowed to proceed with the nomination of a new justice, a woman; and Senator Mitch McConnell has likewise vowed to proceed with a vote on the Senate floor as soon as possible. Two fantastic women with incredible legal credentials are said to be at the top of the list of nominees, Judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa.

I think conservatives and constitutionalists in general and Second Amendment proponents in particular would be happy to see either one of those women on the high court.

Trump and the GOP leadership want to move toward nominating and confirming the nominee without delay, before Election Day on November 3 or during the lame-duck session.

But as I write these words, a great brouhaha has ensued as the Democrats with their allies in the mainstream media want to hold off on filling the vacancy until after the election. Obviously, they have shown that is not what they would do if they themselves held the Presidency and the Senate. It was Democrat Senate leader Harry Reid who changed the rules to allow for speedy confirmation of judges by allowing simple majority vote for Circuit Court nominees. Of course, at that time the rule favored the Democrats. Justice Ginsburg herself was nominated and confirmed within 42 days. So there is no reason why this process should not proceed without delay.

Democrats and their minions have responded with their usual tactics, intimidation and even the threat of violence. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has threatened to recommence impeachment proceedings against Trump, if he moves forward with the nomination. Radicals have threatened to shut down the country and presumably recommence rioting, looting, and burning.

But I think radicals have worn out the patience of the American people, who have had enough of “mostly peaceful” protests that by in-large have turned out to be not so peaceful, but rather violent and destructive.

More than 5 million guns have been purchased since the inception of the George Floyd riots, mostly by new gun owners who want to protect their homes  and their families — since the Democrats, who run most of the major cities where a lot of the crimes have been committed, have failed to protect local citizens and their businesses.

With either Barrett or Lagoa, SCOTUS should be able to deal with the outstanding Second Amendment issues that have been disturbingly ignored. It is time SCOTUS rules that the right to keep and bear arm is valid outside the home — in the streets, whether concealed or open carry — as well as the constitutionality of so-called “assault weapons,” which are semiautomatic firearms that only look paramilitary. These firearms are used for sport shooting, hunting, as well as self-defense, not to mention the primary reason the founders inserted the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights — namely, to provide a most important obstacle to tyrannical government. I say, let’s move full steam ahead with the SCOTUS nomination and confirmation process!

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria  

Miguel A. Faria, M.D., is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). He was appointed and served at the behest of President George W. Bush as member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2002-2005. His recently released book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

This article appeared on on September 22, 2020 and an edited version was posted on The Truth About Guns (TTAG) on September 22, 2020 under the title “The Supreme Court Needs to Re-Open for Second Amendment Business.”

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Let’s Open SCOTUS For Second Amendment Business!, September 22, 2020. Available from:

Copyright ©2020 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

Tales of Human Survival with Firearms by Miguel A. Faria, MD

Guns and Self-Defense: 23 inspirational true crime stories of survival with firearms (2019) by Robert A. and Sims Waters appropriately begins with a quotation from a Washington Post writer expressing the erroneous view and, at the same time, contempt that elitist liberal journalists hold for the average American, and for any citizen who dares to conceive the idea of protecting his or her home and family with a firearm. Reading this fascinating book, the reader soon learns how mistaken the arrogant intelligentsia is holding to such misinformed and thoroughly hoplophobic views.

If Professor Gary Kleck and scholar John Lott have gathered the facts and provided the accurate statistics, then authors Robert A. and Sim Waters have provided the human-interest stories that animate these statistics, bringing the facts to life.

In their most recent book, the authors recount “23 inspirational true crime stories of survival with firearms.”  And once again, the reader won’t be disappointed. Highly entertaining, these thrilling stories provide lessons in sociology and survival:

1. Convenience store work is inherently dangerous, second only to cab drivers, and especially so for clerks working at night. Yet most chain convenience store businesses forbid employees to carry weapons, making them sitting ducks for robbers and other dangerous criminals. This is testified to by two dramatic cases, one in Toledo, Ohio; another one in Naples, Florida.

2. Carjackings can be deadly and a determined citizen can play a pivotal role, even if not intended to do so. In one case, a valiant and determined nurse defended herself with a firearm and “single handedly” stopped a vicious carjacking ring in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

3. Armed citizens have assisted cops who are in danger by coming to their aid during life or death situations,  as in two cases: One case in the Arizona desert, and another near Ocala, Florida.

4. Many of those cases also illustrate the axiom that criminals prefer to prey on the elderly and the more vulnerable in society — even the blind and paralytic confined to wheelchairs. They deem these individuals weaker and less likely or incapable of mounting any defense. In several cases, feisty senior citizens successfully defended themselves with firearms against much stronger, younger, and even armed assailants. To illustrate that point, the authors relate a case that occurred in an Internet Café on the outskirts of Ocala, Florida. In another case a Macon, Georgia, grandmother found herself  “ducking bullets and throwing lead,” as she described it. And a couple who fought back put an end to the “Cutthroat Committee,”  a criminal gang of felons operating in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

5. Poorly treated or unrecognized mental illness is a contributing factor in many cases of assault and battery.  Unwary citizens may suddenly be forced to defend themselves, and the firearm remains the only tool that can reliably be used to protect oneself from such deranged madmen — disturbed individuals that have fallen through the cracks of society and the mental health system has failed to institutionalize and treat effectively. In one such case in Pocatello, Idaho, a deranged madman violently attacks his neighbors with a machete.

6. Other cases cited illustrate the problem of revolving prison doors in America’s criminal justice system, whereby criminals are thrown back onto the streets before the ink has dried on the arrest papers! Moreover, many criminals commit additional crimes while out on parole and carry stolen guns to commit various crimes even though the law prohibits them from carrying or possessing weapons. Specifically in “How does thirty years in prison become five?” the authors write, “The question still remains: how did a long-term career criminal with multiple violent sex crime convictions get released after only five years? Had he served his full thirty-year sentence, he would not have been able to cause a reign of terror in the small, normally peaceful community of Lake City, Florida” (p. 96).

7. The police cannot be there in time to save you. “Dial 9-1-1 and Pray” illustrates the point that the 5 to 15 minutes before the police arrive at a crime in progress may seem like an eternity, and may, in fact, mean the difference between life and death. The firearm in the hands of the intended victim makes the difference.

8. One cannot trust criminals with any pronouncement they might make during a robbery or violent confrontation. The case where the malefactor says, “Please don’t shoot. It’s a fake gun,” drives home the point to not necessarily believe what thugs may claim! The St. Petersburg, Florida, case illustrates the necessity for individuals to always be aware of their surroundings, be adept with their firearms, and keep their distance from the criminals. Another case demonstrated that one or more armed men violently entering your home, claiming they are “police,” in reality  may be predators bent on robbing you. These assailants in many case would not hesitate to kill you, whether they get their way or not — fearing identification later, they will eliminate witnesses so they won’t get caught.

Lastly, I’m touched by the human generosity of citizens who, despite having undergone horrendous ordeals defending themselves from wanton criminals, still express their humanity. Almost all of them expressed tremendous fear for their lives and had no other way out of danger but by having to pull the trigger. Consider the lady who was left “financially ruined, physically shattered, and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder… She had black eyes, a large gash on her nose, several teeth knocked loose, and bruises everywhere… chronic disabling nerve damage to her back and spent more than a year in a wheelchair.” And yet her thought after she shot the criminal was, “ ‘what did I do?’ She couldn’t believe she had just shot someone… It took police more than 6 minutes to arrive” (p. 130-131). Contrast this lady to the criminals who uniformly express no remorse for their intended victims or the crimes they perpetrated, except that they got caught!  
Guns and Self-Defense will help you formulate a plan for self, family, and home defense. But you must consider your state laws. Has your state enacted “Stand Your Ground” and Castle Doctrine” legislation? Know your state laws and reconcile them to your moral code, whether inside your home or in the street. Back away and escape if possible, but only if it will not endanger your life or those of others. If you are not familiar with firearms, take a gun training and safety course, and follow the rules.

At home, when sensing imminent danger, call 911, and get your gun. You may have less than one minute to get ready and repel a home invasion. Take the safety off, but keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Shoot only when your life or the lives of others are in imminent danger. Fire at the main body mass until the threat is no longer present. Do not shoot when the predator is down or has turned to run. After the danger has passed, put down the gun, render assistance to your family, and await the police. Be wary of wounded thugs. They may have another weapon.

In short, this is an excellent little tome that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The knowledge imparted can definitely save your life and the lives of those you love. Get this book and read it!

Reviewed by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, M.D., is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). He was appointed and served at the behest of President George W. Bush as member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2002-2005. His recently released book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Tales of Human Survival With Firearms. A Book Review of Guns and Self-Defense., August 25, 2020. Available from:

Copyright ©2020 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.      

The US ‘Gun Culture’ That Saved Europe Does Not Occur In A Vacuum by Miguel A. Faria, MD

Europeans like to decry violence in America, calling it “America’s gun culture” while forgetting their share of political mayhem in their own house, including violence perpetrated by Jihadists as well as their own left-wing terrorists. But I enjoy reminding them that it was America’s “gun culture” that liberated Western Europeans from the Nazis during World War II and subsequently also protected all of free Europe from the Red Army and the rolling Soviet tanks during the Cold War. Moreover, I also like to remind them that as pusillanimous Europeans they may require further protection from the U.S. “gun culture” in the future!

I also like to explain to them that it has been because of the protection afforded by the American “gun culture” that Europeans have been able to create and sustain in peace the social and economic “safety nets” of which they are so proud.

I don’t put them down to offend them. I proceed with a little history and another concept that progressive gun prohibitionists are unable to grasp about America’s “gun culture,” and that is that while it’s true that many Americans, particularly in rural areas and most of the South, grow up around guns and hunting that salutary tradition of the outdoors reinforces Americans inherent patriotism, a patriotism and outlook that Americans inherited along with a legacy of freedom.

Sergeant Alvin York

The story of Sergeant Alvin York is illustrative of how America’s experience in the outdoors, self-sufficiency, hunting, individualism, and cultivation of the “gun culture” can forge character. York grew up in a large and poor family in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. Because they depended on hunting for food, York got very adept in shooting wild animals, such as turkeys and squirrels, with precise shots to the head as to save the rest of the animal for eating.

At age 27 to gain the heart of his sweetheart, a deeply religious girl, York joined a fundamentalist-Methodist sect and made a pacifist commitment to Jesus. In 1917, as World War I raged, York was drafted and because his church was not officially pacifist, he was denied conscientious objector status. He went through basic training but continued to object to war. Because of his obvious sincerity, the major general in command of his unit, George E. Buxton, spoke with him, cited Scripture, and pointed out that Jesus commanded his apostles to carry swords, reminding York that “earthly kingdoms do fight wars and that Christians should render to government the things that are Caesars.” Buxton also cited Ezekiel 33:1-6 in which God exhorted the Prophets to command the people to listen to the watchman’s trumpet warning of an approaching enemy.

Medal of Honor awarded to Sergeant Alvin York, WWI

After much soul searching and not completely convinced, Alvin York was sent to France in October 1918. Promptly, his division, already separated from the rest of the army, was sent to rescue a Lost Battalion (the 1st battalion of the 308 Infantry Regiment) that was surrounded by German units. Pvt. York, leading a patrol, surprised the enemy camp, killed one German, and the rest surrendered. Another German unit opened machine gun fire from a nearby hill, killing or wounding nine Americans. With his Enfield rifle, York picked off the German gunners one by one. Before he could reload the rest of the Germans, out of ammunition, attacked with a bayonet charge. York stopped them with the lethal fire of his .45 caliber pistol, ordering them to surrender, which they did. York, with the seven Americans still alive, rounded up several dozen German prisoners. On the way back to American lines, he captured two other groups of Germans, who he “bluffed into surrendering.” In all, Alvin York had captured 132 Germans, including four officers.

In his book, The Morality of Self-Defense and Military Action: The Judeo-Christian Tradition (2017), David B. Kopel summarized York’s additional personal achievements: “Almost single handed, York with his one rifle and one pistol, had killed 25 Germans, and knocked 35 German machine guns out of action. The next day, he returned to the site of the battle, to pray for the soul of the slain Germans. Pvt. York was promoted to sergeant. The French commander Marshall Foch called York’s feat the greatest accomplishment of any soldier in Europe.” From the Great War, Sergeant York returned to the U.S. an American hero, “representing the simple, honest, and faithful ideas of the old America.”

Many Americans in the 21st century still cling to their guns and their Bibles, and it stands to reason that the alleged “gun culture” mentality and patriotic outlook may not be gained solely by an 8-week army basic training boot camp. Life experience, patriotism and the attitude to fight along your fellow soldiers in a just cause — such as freedom and a country’s way of life — do not appear in a vacuum. If that were the case, European democrats would have been a more formidable force against Hitler and Nazi Germany and would not have been so easily conquered in World War II. Belgians, Danes, Dutchmen and even Frenchmen, may have had weapons and adequate training, but the Germans in World War II had no difficulty in conquering and taming them. The Swiss with a similar outlook as Americans and with their own gun culture were left alone.

America’s gun culture gave the Allies the edge, just as Stalin’s “Patriotic War” stimulated Russians to fight for their motherland, and to make sure they did so the NKVD’s SMERCH units (Soviet military police and counter-intelligence units) were everywhere behind the front lines to stiffen Soviet fighting resolve if their morale lapsed. Americans did not need such units to make sure they fought.

And yet progressive anti-gun zealots want to disarm Americans and turn us into vacillating pusillanimous Europeans, like the Dutch and the Belgians. The fact is Europeans need to stop criticizing our “gun culture” and seriously beef up their own security via NATO. Americans are getting tired of paying taxes to protect Europe, maintaining bases, and sending our boys there, especially when the European Union (EU) continues to globalize and socialize, while criticizing our nation and unique culture — all the time ignoring the mess in their own backyard.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, M.D., is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). This article is excerpted, updated, and edited from his book, America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. The US ‘Gun Culture’ That Saved Europe Does Not Occur In A Vacuum., August 1, 2020. Available from:

This article was posted on on July 31, 2020 and the images contained in this article also appeared on

Copyright ©2020 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.