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Joseph Wilcox should be at work or at home this morning. Instead, his family is mourning his death.

Joseph had the misfortune of strapping on his concealed handgun two days ago and heading off to Wal Mart with a friend. Even though Joseph had a concealed carry permit, his mother said he had recently stopped carrying his weapon, or had been carrying it only occasionally:

Debra Wilcox said her son in recent months had stopped carrying his handgun with him. “Only 10 out of 100 times he would take it with him. I don’t know why he took it with him yesterday,” she said.
When Jerad and Amanda Miller entered the store, Jerad fired a shot into the ceiling, announced that this was the start of the revolution and that he had just killed two cops. He also told customers and employees to leave:
After executing two Las Vegas police officers at CiCi’s Pizza, Jerad Miller entered a nearby Wal-Mart, at Nellis Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, fired a round in the air and ordered everyone to leave, setting off a panic.
Joseph's friend left the store, along with most customers and employees. Joseph, however, had other ideas:
Wilcox, 31, was near the cash registers when he saw events unfolding. He was armed with gun of his own, and told a friend he was going to do something.
Joseph thought he was sneaking up on Jerad Miller:
It was at that point, instead of running, Wilcox approached Jerad Miller from behind.
It didn't work out the way Joseph thought it would:
As he moved to confront Jerad Miller, Wilcox passed Amanda, not realizing the two were together. She slipped behind Wilcox and shot him at close range.
Now, I'm sure the proponents of concealed and/or open carry here (and elsewhere) will argue that he should have known better, that he should have done more training, that he lacked "situational awareness," that...

Well, you get the point.

I have read many comments here over the years from gun rights advocates, particularly those who are proponents of concealed and/or open carry, that they carry so that they are prepared for when the "shit hits the fan" (or "SHTF" in macho gun toter parlance). Of course, when you ask them if they've ever drawn their guns in such a situation, they say "No," and often add for dramatic effect, "And I hope to god I never have to."

Well, Joseph, in his mind, apparently "had to."

Joseph, like many who argue for the "right" to carry a gun, really believed in the NRA and gun maker propaganda Second Amendment, according to his uncle:

Joseph Wilcox’s uncle John Wilson, during a phone interview, described his nephew as someone who wasn’t political. “But he definitely believed in the right to bear arms and the right to defend yourself and others,” Wilson said.
Yes, "the-only-way-to-stop-a-bad-guy-with-a-gun-is-a-good-guy-with-a-gun" all wrapped in the flag and the "Second Amendment" and "freedoms" and "liberties" and "patriots" and "tyranny" and god knows what else.

The NRA and the gun makers peddle their "guns-as-self-defense" marketing, advertising and sales efforts (and, yes, that's all that rhetoric is) through a combination of fear-mongering and racism to a white male audience that laps it up.

Here is Wayne LaPierre "delivering the goods" at the recent NRA convention:

We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car jackers and knock out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road rage killers and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all.

I ask you. Do you trust this government to protect you?

We are on our own.

Joseph, and many more like him, have internalized these marketing messages. They believe them. They seemingly also believe that carrying a gun is all about the Second Amendment and "rights."

Well, I doubt that even Wayne LaPierre believes the rubbish he spews. He is merely doing his job. And that job is selling guns for his true masters, the gun makers.

(As has been noted many times, in the late 1970s, the NRA switched abruptly from an organization that promoted firearms for hunting, collecting and competitive shooting to an organization that primarily promoted "guns-as-self-defense." This change in emphasis occurred, not surprisingly, at a time when hunting was in decline. The population shift from rural to urban was depressing gun industry profits.)

Joseph Wilcox is dead today because he strapped on his gun before he left for Wal Mart two days ago. Sadly, his family doesn't have the money to pay for his burial:

While dealing with their grief, Wilson said family members have the added burden of trying to find the financial means to provide a proper burial for Joseph Wilcox.

Debra Wilcox said she has no money to pay for her son’s funeral expenses.

If you want to help the family out, here is the info to make a donation:
Wilcox Memorial Fund

A memorial fund has been set up for Joseph Wilcox at Wells Fargo. Those who wish to contribute to the Joseph R. Wilcox Memorial Fund can do so using account number 8485852688.

I am sorry that Joseph Wilcox lost his life. I am also sorry that he believed the propaganda that told him he needed to carry a gun in order to be safe in an urban environment.

It ended up costing him his life.

9:04 PM PT: Found this excellent piece on Joseph Wilcox and carrying a weapon at Gawker, written by Adam Weinstein:

It's Really Hard to Be a Good Guy With a Gun


Originally posted to Bob Johnson on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 08:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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