‘He Shot My Arm Off’

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

“Don’t mess with Norco.”

That was a headline of a story on my local Southern California news website KTLA, as it described one reaction to video of liquor store owner Craig Cope shooting an armed robber with a shotgun.

Now, this incident, as well as the very clear, high-definition video with sound that documented it, has gone viral and national. And if you haven’t seen it, then you should right now.

Oh, and if you are wondering why I chose this story as this week’s lead in The Deep Woods, well, it’s because this incident took place in my hometown of Norco, California, with this store located approximately 1.5 miles from my home.

It’s also because this is an example of why it’s so important to defend gun rights of law-abiding citizens. And yes, I am a passionate defender of the Second Amendment.

The reason this incident has become so popular is because the video shows the 80-year-old Cope taking action with a firearm to protect himself and his property. And in this case, the assailant and his accomplices were sent away running like scared rabbits.

The video shows a man armed with an assault-style rifle walk into the Norco Market at 816 Sixth Street around 2:45 a.m. this past Sunday. The man pointed the weapon at Cope and ordered him to put his “hands in the air.”

Seconds later, Cope stepped behind a glass display and fired a shotgun at the suspect, hitting him. The would-be robber immediately ran out of the store screaming and shouting, “He shot my arm off!”

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A camera pointed at the store parking lot showed the suspect jump into a dark-colored SUV with at least several accomplices before driving away. The four suspects were later found at a hospital, with one of the men “suffering from a gunshot wound consistent with a shotgun blast,” according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Ah, yes, justice served up from Cope’s shotgun blast — I must admit, I love it.

What I also love is the response from local law enforcement about this incident. Here’s the response as reported in the KTLA story from the Riverside Country Sheriff’s Department: “In this case, a lawfully armed member of our community prevented a violent crime and ensured their own safety, while being confronted with multiple armed suspects.”

Contrast that rational response to last month’s incident in New York City where a convenience store worker, Jose Alba, was charged with murder after he fatally stabbed a man who had gone behind the counter and attacked him in an attempted robbery.

The contrast here makes me glad that I no longer live in New York City, and that I now live in Norco, where police and the justice system recognize a person’s right to his own physical autonomy and his right to defend himself using a firearm.

Understandably, the horrific mass shootings that occur in the United States rightly capture the headlines. But there are far more incidents of citizens using firearms to protect themselves from would-be assailants than there are cases of mass murder using firearms.

A clear voice on this issue is Dr. John Lott, an economist and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. In a recent Fox News interview, Lott said, “Having a gun is by far the safest course of action when people are facing a criminal by themselves.”

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Lott also went on to describe that, in a typical year, the media reports about 2,000 defensive gun use stories. However, he says, “that is a dramatic undercount, because the vast majority of successful self-defense cases don’t make the news.” Lott says there are about 2 million defensive gun uses per year, according to the average of 18 national surveys.

The think tank The Heritage Foundation maintains a database that tracks how often guns are used in self-defense cases. The numbers here indicate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at various studies and found “that Americans use their firearms defensively between 500,000 and 3 million times each year.”

The facts are the facts. “A is A.” And the fact is that the best way to prevent someone from violating your rights by force is to employ a greater amount of force against them in your own defense.

That’s exactly what the brave Norco store owner Craig Cope did, and that’s why I and others have the utmost respect and admiration for him. It is also why he’s come to embody the description, “Don’t mess with Norco,” which, if you know me, you also know makes me smile.

Now, unfortunately there is one negative to this story. After calling 911 and reporting the crime, Cope was taken to the hospital as he suffered a heart attack. Happily, Cope is not only out of the hospital, but after doctors inserted three stents, he’s already back to work at the store. This is one tough mudder!

In closing, I will leave you with my favorite quote from this incident, which was given by Cope’s wife to CBS News. This sentiment pretty much sums up why I am proud to have chosen Norco as my residence:

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“Stay out of Norco, because everybody in Norco has a gun.”

Mic drop!


On Preparation

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

–Alexander Graham Bell

Have you noticed that those who fail to achieve are often those who fail to prepare? Conversely, when you prepare, i.e., when you do the hard work, hard thinking and burn that lean tissue studying and striving for more, success is often right where you thought it would be. Of course, luck, fate and circumstances play a major role in all our lives. Yet if you are prepared to succeed, luck, fate and circumstance have a funny way of smiling your way.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

In the name of the best within us,

Jim Woods

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