black metal gun on white surface
Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on

“But for the grace of God,” there goes anyone who encounters a person with a gun. The consequences are usually deadly but for Iris Bond Gill, an educator and public policy consultant, and Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders rookie running back, their lives were spared and they lived to tell their stories.

Bond Gill and Robinson’s separate encounters occurred last week on the streets of D.C. Both were approached by suspects armed with a gun during a brazen daytime attempted carjacking and robbery, respectively.  Bond Gill reported that she exited her car and began rummaging through her purse when a suspect approached her from behind. In an interview with FOX5, Bond Gills said the suspect told her “I’ll shoot you” and “give me your keys.” She knew she was in danger but having worked with many young people, she said she “went into almost a chastising mode with him.” With her hands raised, the video shows Bond Gill reacting fearlessly, refusing to hand over her keys, until the suspect quickly walked away. 

Robinson Jr. reportedly struggled with the two suspects he encountered on H Street NE. He wrestled a firearm away from one of the suspects but was shot twice in the leg by the other. Robinson, 23, believes his attackers were between 15 and 17. 

Robinson acknowledged that incidents like this don’t make people feel safe in their neighborhoods. Moreover, he believes the bad guys must be held accountable for their actions. In both cases, the bad guys are still on the loose. 

On the other hand, Bond Gill lamented over the power in communities lost by massive displacement, particularly of older residents. She told reporters, “Gone are the days of having older neighbors that sat on the porch all day and watched and waved to you when you got home from work. I think, in some ways, trying to think about how to preserve this intergenerational neighborhood is so valuable.” 

We agree. The models exist in the memories of those who often speak of how things were “back in the day.” Neighbors knew each other and knew each other’s children by name. They felt a sense of responsibility to look out for one another, which, in many ways, was a deterrent to the bad guys.

Neither Bond Gill nor Robinson nor law enforcement recommend anyone simulate their responses to their attackers. Yet, it appears that when they looked into the faces of children with guns, they believed a caring and daring adult could influence the bad decisions children make.  

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