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In Praise of Robert A. Waters – Scholar, Defender of Freedom, and Chronicler of Armed Self-Defense

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By Miguel Faria, Jr., MD

Robert A. Waters is author of several eloquent and brilliant books chronicling true crime stories that demonstrate how citizens have protected themselves — friends, family, and innocent people, not to mention police officers — with firearms. He’s been a defender of freedom and the right to self-defense, par excellence. As a fellow researcher in this endeavor, I feel he deserves a tribute for this labor of love that has comprised many years of painstakingly documenting cases of self defense throughout the United States. 

Waters has published six books, including his latest entitled Guns and Self-Defense co-written with his son Sim Waters. His first book, The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended who defend themselves with firearms, in addition to recounting fascinating human interest stories, contains heroic tales of individuals who defended themselves with firearms; shop owners, bankers, jewelers. etc., all of whom defended themselves in the workplace  It also recounts cliffhanging stories of citizens defending themselves and their families against serial killers and sundry predators, stalkers, and more at home or on the streets of America.

These stories make it clear that the police simply cannot be there to protect every citizen every time a crime occurs. The valuable lessons that Waters illustrates include . . .

  1. Why a parent must be capable of defending their home and family
  2. Why private citizen may need a firearm with a “high capacity” magazines to protect not only themselves and even to assist police in times of crisis
  3. Why a woman defending herself against a robber in her own home may need a gun to protect herself from a much larger and determined attacker
  4. How a couple doing business in a thriving community and tourist city like Orlando, Florida, was unexpectedly attacked by thugs and had to defend themselves to protect their lives, thei business, and even their customers
  5. Why national concealed carry reciprocity should be a national priority
  6. Why proper gun training and safety is a basic lifesaving skill

In Guns Save Lives, Waters established several additional axioms that are valuable not only in the annals of armed self-defense, but also in the field of criminology. Among these we find that when a criminal assailant is stopped by an armed citizen — countless additional downstream people — neighbors, acquaintances, and even people with no current connection to the attacker — are saved from injury, robbery, rape, or murder without even knowing they were beneficiaries. 

Waters recounts several cliffhangers that illustrate that point.

In one case a serial rapist was shot and killed by a college student who he had attempted to rape her in her own bed. The predator had  been terrorizing the community and had even been arrested and released several times. His death through lawful self-defense brought an end to his terrorism.

After the rapist was killed, DNA results linked the assailant to four other rapes in the area. As Waters notes, serial rapists typically commit 20 rapes or sexual assaults before being captured, which means that statistically speaking, this armed victim who fought back and turned the table on her assailant, saved more than a dozen other women from being raped or murdered.

In another case, a mass shooter was found to possess a list of victims he intended to target and kill, but he was prevented from carrying out mass murder by an armed citizen. The lives of those fellow citizens were saved because an armed person fought back and stopped the serial killer. Those good citizens and neighbors, some who may well have been anti-gun, never knew their lives were saved because of an armed good Samaritan.

In his last book, Guns and Self-Defense: 23 inspirational true crime stories of survival with firearms (2019), which was co-authored with Sims Waters, the authors lay out 23 inspirational, true crime stories of survival with firearms. Once again, the reader won’t be disappointed. Highly entertaining, these thrilling, true-life stories provide invaluable lessons in sociology and survival . . .

1. As most of us know, convenience store work is inherently dangerous, second only to cab drivers. It’s especially so for clerks working at night. Yet most chain convenience store businesses forbid employees to carry weapons, making them sitting ducks for robbers and other dangerous criminals. That’s the background for two dramatic cases, one in Toledo, Ohio and another in Naples, Florida.

2. Carjackings, which happen with increasing frequency in many cities, can turn deadly. A determined citizen can play a pivotal role, even when not intending to do so. In one case, a valiant and determined nurse defended herself with a firearm and single-handedly stopped a vicious carjacking ring in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

3. Armed citizens have frequently assisted cops who are in danger by coming to their aid during life-or-death situations. Waters describes two fascinating cases in the Arizona desert, and another near Ocala, Florida.

Kudos to Robert A. Waters for his years of dedication and scholarship in documenting these stories of braved individuals and changing perceptions of armed self-defense. You may want to visit his blog to keep up with these tales of survival as well as human interest stories, historical vignettes he’s researched and collected, and some magnificent book reviews.


Miguel A. Faria, M.D., is Associate Editor in Chief in neuropsychiatry; history of medicine; and socioeconomics, politics, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). Dr. Faria is a retired Board Certified Neurological Surgeon. He is the author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002), and America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019). His most recent books are Controversies in Medicine and Neuroscience: Through the Prism of History, Neurobiology, and Bioethics (2023) and Cuba’s Eternal Revolution through the Prism of Insurgency, Socialism, and Espionage (2023; in progress) both being published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. His Website is https://haciendapublishing.com


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