Op-Ed: When Being a Good Guy Isn't Enough

A Tactical Analysis of the Tyler Courthouse Shooting and the Tacoma Mall Shooting

By Syd

For the second time this year, a legally armed citizen armed with a pistol faced a crazed gunman armed with a rifle and did not prevail. In February 2005, Mark Wilson engaged David Arroyo on the steps of the courthouse in Tyler, Texas. Arroyo was wearing body armor and was armed with a Mak-90 7.62x39mm rifle. While Wilson was able to land hits from his .45 pistol on Arroyo, Arroyo's body armor stopped them and Arroyo was able to kill Wilson. On the 20th of November, at a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington, Dominick Maldonado opened fire on shoppers with a Norinco Mak-90 rifle. Maldonado, who at the age of 20 already had an extensive arrest record, had been taking methamphetamine for five days. He decided to take out his "rage" against the world by shooting complete strangers. A legally armed citizen, Brendan McKown, chose to intervene. He drew his 9mm pistol but did not fire. Instead, he verbally ordered Maldonado to put down his gun. Maldonado responded by firing four rounds into McKown's torso. McKown survived his wounds but was grievously injured including a hit to the spine which may leave him unable to walk. Both Mark Wilson and Brendan McKown are the finest kind of people, heroes in truest sense. I would be proud to call either man my friend. Nevertheless, both men were shot and did not succeed in stopping the bad guy in their engagement. The good guys got shot and the bad guys walked away.

These incidents raise troubling questions. This is not the way things are supposed to go. The good guys are supposed to come out on top, or at least they shouldn’t lose their lives or become paralyzed. Were these outcomes simply fate, or could things have been done differently and a different outcome obtained? How do our ethics and religious principles affect our tactical decisions? And most importantly, are there lessons which can be learned from these incidents that could improve the outcome of a similar encounter in the future?

Analysis of these two fights runs the risk of criticizing two brave men who I consider to be heroes, and it's my hope to avoid "Monday morning quarterbacking" although some of that will be necessary. Everything said here is in the context of deepest respect and appreciation for the sacrifices these men made.

Click here for the entire op-ed.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.