A Washington Examiner columnist told the Washington Free Beacon on Friday he planned to purchase a gun and obtain a Washington, D.C., gun-carry permit in the wake of being robbed.
Tim Young, who hosts the No Things Considered show for the paper, said he was accosted by two young black men wearing parkas and winter gear that covered their faces around 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday. He was walking near the intersection of 6th and M streets near the city's Wharf district when one of the men grabbed him from behind and the other threatened to shoot him if he didn't hand over his phone.
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"When they came up behind me, of course, I fought it," Young said. "Then they threatened me and I said ‘take the cellphone.' Whatever. I'm not going to be a hero. As soon as they got it from me they ran."
As the robbers made off with Young's Galaxy S7, bystanders at the well-lit intersection in the newly rejuvenated waterfront neighborhood called the police. Of the half dozen or so people nearby, Young said an elderly couple walking their dogs were the only ones who tried to help him after the robbers fled. That couple called 911 and handed Young their phone so he could talk to police.
"They handed me the phone and I'm like, ‘okay, thanks guys.' I mean, it's like a weird moment," Young said. "There were like two other guys that were standing there and the old couple were like ‘you saw that, right' and they were like, ‘yeah' and the guys just walked off like nothing happened."
Young said he felt completely powerless during the robbery.
"When you're initially grabbed, you want to fight back, but when you're threatened and you have nothing to defend yourself with? You're powerless," he said. "Honestly, I've never felt like that before. All of the ‘be a hero' stuff that you dream would happen where you could do roundhouse kicks and things goes right out the window as soon as you're threatened with a weapon."
Young said he doesn't currently own a gun and never has, but the attack has changed everything.
"I would've been able to defend myself. I know that." he said. "I'm certain that they would have run had I been able to concealed carry and was armed. I am 100 percent certain that had I been concealed carrying I would have been able to protect myself."
His robbery, a few blocks from the first district police station at a time of night when many people are on the streets and in a newly refreshed neighborhood the city is hoping will attract diners and entertainment-seekers, is proof to Young that robbers can strike throughout any part of the city.
"Anyone can be robbed anywhere in town and you should, as a citizen, have the right to defend yourself, but it's going to be damn near impossible to be able to obtain a weapon to do so," he said.
Young now plans to navigate the process of legally obtaining a handgun and gun-carry permit in D.C. A recent federal court ruling striking down a clause in the city's law that allowed officials to deny permits to anybody they felt didn't have a good enough reason to carry a gun will make Young's task easier. The gun-carry permitting process, however, remains among the longest and most expensive in the nation with costs likely totaling more than $350.
He said he hopes others will learn from his ordeal in the same way he has.
"It's scary as shit, and I hope nobody else has to go through it," Young said. "I think my big point to a lot of people is, people who are anti-Second Amendment and anti-concealed carry probably have never been held up with a gun or had their life threatened. I took a lot for granted, but once you're in a situation like that you turn around and go, ‘Wow, was I stupid.' My career is based off of calling people stupid and laughing at them, and then I look at this and I think, ‘This is the time I was really stupid,' and I don't want other people to be as dumb as I was in this instance."