Tuesday morning, a prison bus was transporting 31 Georgia state prisoners from a prison in Hancock County, GA, to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison near Jackson, GA. The name “Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison” is not as benign as it sounds. It is a maximum security prison which also holds Georgia’s death row. Not far from the start point, the two of the prisoners, Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, managed to open the prisoners’ compartment of the bus, enter the driver’s compartment and overpower the two guards, Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58.

Rowe, serving life without parole for multiple armed robberies, and Dubose, serving 20 years for armed robbery, took the guards’ pistols and shot them to death. They carjacked a passerby and fled. Tuesday night they abandoned the car they had taken and stole a pickup truck from a worksite.

Thursday, they forced their way into an apartment in Shelbyville, TN, tied up the occupants while they ate and pilfered the place. They took a Jeep belonging to the couple–this would be the fifth car they had stolen–and fled. For reasons that are unknown they left their prisoners unharmed. Within fifteen minutes the couple had freed themselves and called 911. A chase ensued that closed down Interstate 24 south of Murfreesboro. The escapees wrecked their car and exchanged shots with sheriff’s deputies before fleeing on foot.

Then the story gets interesting.

They ran for another 6 miles until they came to a home set back from the road by a long drive where they attempted to steal another car, [Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Bill] Miller said.

When the homeowner heard the men outside, he and a neighbor came out with weapons of their own. They held the fugitives at gunpoint until police arrived. Dubose and Rowe had left their weapons at the crash site, authorities said.

As they say, when every second counts the police are only minutes a way. This kind of thing underscores the wisdom of the founding fathers who recognized that an unarmed citizen was ultimately victim and subject, while an armed citizen was a free man.

Had the homeowner been in one of the anti-gun states or localities the best they could have done would have been to call the police and watch as two armed escaped convicts sped off into the night. With firearms, the manhunt was over and Rowe and Dubose headed back to Georgia and, most probably, death row.