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Philly cop, shot 5 years ago, now advocates for gun control
#1
Quote:Philly cop, shot 5 years ago, now advocates for gun control

IT FELT as if someone had slugged him in the belly with a sledgehammer.

Shot just below his bulletproof vest, Philadelphia Police Officer Rick Bowes collapsed on Colorado Street in North Philly. He lay dazed and bleeding, trying to get his bearings.

Suddenly, Daniel Giddings loomed into view. Standing over the downed cop, Giddings dropped the spent magazine from his illegal gun and dug into his pocket for more ammunition.

Bowes didn't know that Giddings already had shot and killed Officer Patrick McDonald a block away. He didn't know that Giddings was a violent criminal and convicted carjacker with a history of assaulting cops, prison guards and fellow inmates. He didn't know that Giddings was a parole violator wanted for escaping a halfway house just weeks earlier.

But he knew that he didn't want to die. With a surge of adrenaline, he rolled over, got up on one knee, drew his gun and aimed. Giddings took off running. Bowes opened fire.

That was five years ago next Monday. Today, hospital equipment crowds the living room of Bowes' Somerton house, proof that the married father of three still lives with the consequences of the shooting. He's had eight surgeries since he and Giddings crossed paths, and he remains on injured-on-duty leave from the Police Department.

But his days are not idle: He has become an advocate for gun control, calling for tougher penalties for straw purchasers and parole violators.

"I'm lucky, very lucky. I was standing within six inches of a male with a .45[-caliber handgun] when I had no weapon in my hands, and he started firing, and I'm here to talk about it. I'm lucky," said Bowes, 40, who has advocated on behalf of CeaseFirePA - a coalition of survivors and advocates against gun violence.

Persuading lawmakers to tighten gun control in a state known for its gun-friendliness, though, is a tough task.

"We have to convince them, hopefully through victim-impact statements, that we need stricter gun laws," Bowes said. "I understand that out there [rural areas where lawmakers have resisted gun control], you don't have the problems that we have in the city. But we need help with this. We need help in the city."

Bowes' perspective as a cop who nearly was killed by an armed career criminal makes him uniquely persuasive, said Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA's executive director.

"I'm glad he's brave enough to share his story, because [experiences like Bowes'] are what make it real to people, and what will motivate lawmakers to act," Goodman said. "Even if the lawmakers are numb to these stories, we know that the public is not numb to them. And we know lawmakers are not numb to what happens at the polls. That's the next step - getting the public to vote on this issue."

Last month, Bowes spoke at a Harcum College continuing-education workshop, and in July he wrote an email for CeaseFirePA advocating gun control.

"My name is Rick Bowes and I was on the Philadelphia Police Force for 12 years," he wrote. "In 2008 my fellow officer was killed during a traffic stop by a gunman recently released from prison after serving time for aggravated assault with a gun. I was shot during the same incident and was not able to continue work in the same capacity with the force.

"I know first hand the tragedy that gun violence causes. And I know we need a comprehensive background check for every sale of every gun, every time. Can you sign our petition and stand with me?"

In the email, Bowes wrote that lawmakers in Harrisburg need to hear that "we won't stand for loopholes" in Pennsylvania's background-check system "that put guns in the hands of criminals."

"Thanks for joining me and CeaseFirePA in calling for a comprehensive background-check system here in Pennsylvania," he wrote.

Cop-killer

The call that took Bowes to Colorado Street on Sept. 23, 2008, was like countless others he'd heard in his 12 years on the job: An officer requested backup to nab a suspect fleeing a car stop.

McDonald caught up with Giddings at Colorado near Susquehanna Avenue, before backup officers arrived. The two men fought violently until Giddings pulled out a handgun and shot McDonald several times - blasting even more bullets into him after the 30-year-old officer fell.

Giddings, 27, then stole a bicycle and pedaled away - but within seconds he encountered Bowes, then assigned along with McDonald to highway patrol. He hurled the bike at Bowes and began to fire. One bullet hit Bowes' police radio, but the other caught him just under his vest, shattering his pelvis and traveling down his leg.

Giddings died after Bowes returned fire and hit him five times.

Bowes later was hailed as a hero, earning a medal of valor, the highest honor the Police Department bestows for bravery. (McDonald was posthumously promoted to sergeant.)

Inspector Mike Cochrane, the commander of the Northeast Police Division who was Bowes' boss in highway patrol, said Bowes "is an excellent officer. He went up against a gunman that just killed an officer in his squad, and his training kicked in."

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, agreed: "He did his job that day and saved the [McDonald] family from a trial."

Most cops remain on injured-on-duty status no longer than about two years, before either returning to police work or being declared permanently disabled, McNesby said. But Bowes has been back to work a few times, on limited duty - only to be sidelined with each additional surgery.

His first surgery, months after the shootout with Giddings, was just to remove the bullet that still rested against his femoral artery. Two surgeries followed to repair his pelvis. The subsequent surgeries have focused on his knee, which deteriorated from disuse, Bowes said.

He walks with crutches as he recovers from his most recent - "and hopefully last" - knee surgery, done in late July. At 6 feet 5 inches, he's a former baseball and basketball player, in high school and college, and he coached baseball until giving it up recently because of his continuing health problems.

"It robbed me of being able to raise my children the way I wanted to," Bowes said. "I used to run around and play with my kids. My son is playing basketball now, and I would love to be out there playing with him, showing him things. This injury cost me that."

He still aims to return to police work, a prospect that worries his family.

"When I say I'm going back to work, the kids get emotionally distraught," Bowes said. "They think I'm not strong enough to fight bad guys anymore. They want to know who's going to protect me."

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#2
Something tells me that being a Philly Cop, he ALREADY was an advocate for gun control.

I wish he was an advocate for making sure the system didn't allow violent offenders out to re-offend, but you know...we're not dealing with common sense despite the anti-gunner's desire for it.
Vampire pig man since September 2012
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#3
A gun saved his life, yet he does not want anyone else to have one but him.
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#4
Not every philly cop is for gun control. There are those who know they are stuck and tired of repeat arrests only to have the judges let them out again. I know a few who have been vocal about the repeat issues in philly.

We all would like to see straw purchasers do actual time.

As for universal background checks well, there are issues with this proposal.

I would expect this man is dealing with a hell of a lot and is probably being exploited. But he is on record with his opinions.

We all know ceasefire is a terrible org.

I really wished they focused on the criminals rap sheet and ten year sentence and how long he was missing from the halfway house.

The jails need to be cleared through capital punishment and then these evil criminals need to go in and stay in or die in jail.

We a
Have become too soft on criminals.
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#5
Yeah... really bad criminals on the street. Let's have severe punishment for violent crime and I bet you that recidivism rate drops right quick.
tolerance for failure meter... LOW
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#6
Is there such thing as a person who is shot, that becomes a 2A advocate?

Because it seems like we have more "Gabby Giffords" out there (someone who liked guns fine before she got shot) than those who get shot and still believe in the 2A.

I mean, after all, people get hit by cars and nobody seems to believe we should outlaw cars. My mom died in a car wreck with a flatbed tractor trailer, and I haven't petitioned anyone to get them off the roads.....
Error 396: Signature cannot be found.
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#7
RugerGirl;119007 Wrote:Is there such thing as a person who is shot, that becomes a 2A advocate?

BigDawgBeav Big Grin
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#8
The vast majority of Philly cops think it's OK for you to own a gun, but only small caliber revolvers and single action pistols and only a small number (like 1) or a shotgun.

Where that "OK" drops to no support at all is when it comes to rifles (any kind), anything that shoots 9mm or larger, etc. Many of them thing the same thing... if the gun is for self defense then why do you need a rifle with a scope on it? Is your house that big?



Of course NOBODY gives a shit that Vincent Fumo (who went to FEDERAL PRISON) had a shooting range installed in his mansion in Spring Garden, and he didn't go to zoning for it either. And of course there's not a single cop in town who had a problem with a civillian living in a dense neighborhood having a basement shooting range.

Now that he's an ex-con former Senator Fumo can't own anything so I'm curious to see if his ego will make him want to get his huge gun collection back. Fumo used to have a gigantic gun collection in his house. I guess when FOP5 needed him for 3 decades to message people so FOP would get smooth sailing on police union contracts, Fumo could do whatever he wanted, own whatever he wanted and nary a cop would give a shit or ever give him shit like they would give you or me.



Then of course those of us who like to shoot .45 get the "cop killer" treatment. "Oh you shoot cop killer bullets" etc., that nonsense. There's a lot of people in PPD who do not appreciate guns at all and they shoot what they're required to at the police range and that's that [and among that group are the idiots who misfire weapons while handling them].


I should have reposted some stuff I saw on Twitter (there's quite a number of PPD on twitter now) where a cop was posting some photos of nighttime SWAT training, which you hold dummy pistols while practicing enterings, and one photo he's actually sweeping his fellow comrades with the dummy pistol.

I had to tweet back to that I couldn't let that one go. Yes I'm not a cop, but even when you hold a fakey gun you STILL DO NOT SWEEP PEOPLE WITH IT ESPECIALLY YOUR BUDDIES.
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#9
RugerGirl;119007 Wrote:Is there such thing as a person who is shot, that becomes a 2A advocate?

Because it seems like we have more "Gabby Giffords" out there (someone who liked guns fine before she got shot) than those who get shot and still believe in the 2A.

I mean, after all, people get hit by cars and nobody seems to believe we should outlaw cars. My mom died in a car wreck with a flatbed tractor trailer, and I haven't petitioned anyone to get them off the roads.....

First one I can think of is Suzanna Hupp: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanna_Hupp

She watched her parents get murdered during the Luby's Cafeteria shooting. She was a gun owner before it happened, but afterwards she kind of became one of the faces of a stronger 2nd amendment.
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#10
(09-18-2013, 08:11 PM)RugerGirl Wrote: Is there such thing as a person who is shot, that becomes a 2A advocate?

Because it seems like we have more "Gabby Giffords" out there (someone who liked guns fine before she got shot) than those who get shot and still believe in the 2A.

I mean, after all, people get hit by cars and nobody seems to believe we should outlaw cars. My mom died in a car wreck with a flatbed tractor trailer, and I haven't petitioned anyone to get them off the roads.....

One of the Ft. Hood victims was on the Mark Levin show advocating against fun control a few months ago. Cant remember his name at the moment.

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Armor Snail, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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