New York City's Government Despises Self-Defense

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

At this point, it would not be unreasonable for us to conclude that New York City’s government abhors the idea of self-defense. On several occasions, the city’s leadership has demonstrated its fervent belief that it is solely the government’s responsibility to keep people safe from violent criminals – even though it has clearly failed in this endeavor.

A store owner is currently facing prosecution for using a firearm during an encounter with two would-be robbers. This story is reminiscent of what happened to bodega worker Jose Alba in 2022, and further highlights the local government's aversion to armed self-defense.

RedState’s Margaret Clark on Saturday reported that 53-year-old Francisco Valerio could be looking at up to seven years in prison for protecting himself and his property from two violent criminals:

In the video caught by security cameras, two suspects, Edwin Poaquiza and 20-year-old Kevin Pullatasi, are seen in a liquor store and Poaquiza is shown trying to smuggle a bottle of alcohol. The owner forces the two out of the store and Pullatasi rushes back at a store worker to punch him. Words are exchanged, then the assailant drops his backpack and again rushes at the worker, kicking and punching.

At this moment Valerio, a licensed conceal carry owner, pushes the man out of the store and attempts to pistol whip him. In the process, Pullatasi was accidentally shot. He recovered from his injuries.

Poaquiza and Pullatisi were charged with petit larceny and store owner Valerio has been charged with assault in the second and third degrees, reckless endangerment in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

Even though the video footage of the incident clearly shows the store owner acting in self-defense and not intentionally firing the weapon, he is being charged just like the other criminals.

Members of the community have rallied to support Valerio, whose actions occurred against the backdrop of heightened crime rates in the city. The story is eerily similar to that of Jose Alba, who also faced prosecution after stabbing an assailant to death after being assaulted. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office sought to prosecute the bodega worker and kept him in Rikers Island for a period of time before community backlash brought about his release.

In June 2023, former U.S. Marine Daniel Penny was indicted for the death of Jordan Neely on a subway train. The deceased had made a series of threats and was behaving erratically when Neely placed him in a chokehold. Supporters argued that Penny’s actions were a valid example of self-defense. Others argued that he held Neely in the chokehold much longer than necessary. Still, the fact remains that he is being prosecuted for trying to defend himself and his fellow passengers.

Not only does New York City’s government have a problem with people defending themselves, it is also bent on preventing law-abiding people from keeping and bearing arms for their own defense. After the Supreme Court’s ruling on New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, New York passed a slew of additional gun restrictions intended to subvert the impact of the ruling. While these laws may be on borrowed time because of pending legal challenges, it is still having a pernicious impact on those seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The case of Dexter Taylor is a prime example of how these laws are devastating people who only want to enjoy exercising their natural rights.

The motivation behind New York City’s crusade against self-defense is evident: Those in power want the populace dependent on them for their safety. The last thing these people want for the public to realize is that their protection is their own responsibility instead of outsourcing their safety to bureaucrats who care nothing for them.

If the powers that be could have their way, only government officials with badges would be allowed to carry firearms and use violence to defend themselves against bad actors. It is all part of the effort to keep people reliant on the state. The more dependent people are on the government, the more powerful the government becomes. As conservative commentator Dennis Prager said: “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.”


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