There are times when you need a gun and then there are times when you really need a gun. Mark LaVelle found himself in a situation that would fall under the latter category:
ABOUT 11 P.M. on Sept. 9, dozens of youths with bats and pipes descended on a tidy residential area of Port Richmond looking for white teens who allegedly had attacked an African-American kid at Stokely Playground a couple of hours earlier.
Two fearful white teens spotted Mark LaVelle on Indiana Avenue near Belgrade Street and asked for help. Suddenly, the mob appeared. LaVelle, who said that he didn’t know the two kids, who looked to be 13 or 14, ran with them into his nearby house.
With the two teens hiding in the house, LaVelle, 5 feet 10, 220 pounds, a well-known sports-league organizer and coach in the community, went outside to try to calm the angry mob.
They were standing on his steps. One shouted, ” ‘Something’s going to happen now!’ ” LaVelle recalled in an interview Friday at his house. LaVelle got nervous and went back inside, locking his door with a deadbolt.
But the attackers pounded on his front windows and kicked his wooden door so hard, it flew open and some of them entered his house.
“The first guy hits me with a pipe. The second guy knocks me in the face. All I’m hearing is my wife and kids screaming,” said LaVelle, who feared that the next time they saw him, he would be in a casket.
Mob situations are examples of scenarios where your physical strength will likely count for nothing. If one very strong man is outnumbered by scrawny children with pipes by ten to one there is little hope of that one man surviving if those kids mean to kill him. This is one of those cases where a firearm can even the odds as it allows a single individual to engage multiple assailants.
This case also demonstrates that it’s very possible to get caught up in a bad situation without intending as such. Mr. LaVelle saw two teens being chased by a mob and let them into his home so they wouldn’t get beaten to death. For that act I commend him as his actions may very well have saved the teens lives. Another thing to note is that Mr. LaVelle was fortunate that the police arrived when they did as it seems he was entirely unarmed while is assailants were not:
He said that he was able to push the attackers out the door, but then a third man – who had a gun – tried to extend his arm. LaVelle grabbed onto the gunman’s lower arm and shoulder so he couldn’t raise the weapon. Then, police sirens screamed in the neighborhood, and the mob turned and ran.
Had the police been two minutes later Mr. LaVelle could have been shot dead. Having a gun at hand to protect you and your’s isn’t paranoid or even slightly over the top. Situations like this can happen and usually happen at the most unexpected times. Consider having a gun for self-defense like a spare tire on your car, except for the fact that the gun could save your life and the lives of your family while the spare tire will usually only save you form slight inconvenience.