It’s been a few weeks since the Arvada shooting and it has taken some time to digest. So I thought it respectful to wait a bit before letting you know the connection between Independence Institute and Johnny Hurley, the man rightly being hailed as a hero.
As you’ll recall, a disturbed man ambushed and murdered a police officer on June 21 in Olde Town Arvada. However, the scene could’ve been much worse if it wasn’t for Johnny Hurley’s heroic actions, using his concealed weapon to kill the shooter before others could be harmed. Tragically, Hurley, likely mistaken for the suspect, was shot and killed by a responding officer.
After the incident, Arvada Police Chief Link Strate declared that by using his concealed gun (for which he had a permit), Hurley saved many lives. According to Strate, “[Hurley] is a true hero and likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life.” The story is the same for Jeanne Assam, who in 2007 put down a mass shooter at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.
So what does this have to do with Independence Institute?
First, these examples of good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns in Colorado would never have happened if Independence Institute’s David Kopel didn’t do the years and years of slow, difficult work to turn the idea of legalizing concealed carry, which once seemed unachievable, into reality here and around the nation.
Second, Johnny Hurley was a regular at the Denver chapter of Liberty on the Rocks, a drinking club for libertarians and conservatives that was founded and still meets regularly at Independence Institute. Hurley had spent ample time at our Freedom Embassy with like-minded, liberty-loving people.
Justin Longo, long-time Independence employee who ran the chapter, said, “Johnny Hurley was a valued part of the Liberty on the Rocks community. Johnny was smart, principled, and always willing to talk through his beliefs in a humble and understanding way. In a world where everyone is divided by the politics of the day, we should all do our best to be like Johnny in our humility and patience for others. Johnny was one of the best people we knew and he died a hero. He’s already missed.”
All of us at Independence want to thank Johnny for saving lives by rushing toward the danger. When people claim that libertarians and conservatives are selfish, please remind them of heroes like Johnny Hurley. He was not mandated to give his life in service to others, but he courageously and selflessly took that risk.
Colorado doesn’t lack heroes. Johnny Hurley and Jeanne Assam’s bravery was echoed in the case of young Kendrick Castillo who was killed rushing one of the perpetrators during the STEM School shooting in Highlands Ranch in 2019, again saving countless lives. In fact, I had the honor of talking with Kendrick’s father about his son a year and a half ago. You can see it HERE.
These people are Colorado. It’s for people like Johnny, Jeanne, and Kendrick that we at Independence continue to fight for Colorado. Like them, we won’t give up.