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Perhaps you’re curious about self-defense, or maybe you’re already trained. I’m glad you found us. Welcome to episode 165 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. I’m Rob Morse. We’re joined this week by self-defense instructor David Cole.
David- Hi, Rob. I’ve been working and shooting uspsa..and training with my bow. Hunting season is coming up soon.
Rob- The number of downloads fell for the previous episode. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and give us a rating and leave a comment.
David- In this episode, we’ll look at four recent examples where gun owners were in life threatening situations. Were they lucky, or were they trained? What should we do if we were in their place? We give you the links back to the original news article in our show notes. Our first story took place last week in Flagstaff, Arizona.
It is after midnight and you’re asleep. You’re jolted awake by someone beating on your front door. You hear glass breaking a second later. Now, you’re up. You grab your gun. You see your roommate in the hallway and have him call 911. He steps back toward his room. You see an intruder move into your house through the front door. The intruder moves toward you and you shoot.
Now the intruder runs back out of the home. You stay inside and wait for police.
Police treat the intruder before EMTs arrive and take him to the hospital.
David- Our defender did a lot of things correctly. His door was locked. He had a gun accessible. He made sure his roommate was safe and he knew where he was. They started the call to 911. They stayed away from the door. They kept their distance from the intruder, and defended themselves when the intruder moved toward them. They stopped shooting when the intruder ran. They stayed in the safety of their home and didn’t chase the bad guy. They kept 911 on the phone and gave a statement to the police.
Rob- You make it sound easy.
David- There are a lot of ways this could have been much harder for our defenders.
- What if the front door was open and your first alarm is when a stranger is standing in your room?
- What if the roommate was on the other side of the house so can couldn’t shoot in that direction?
- What if you couldn’t identify your attacker because you didn’t have a flashlight?
- What if you were alone and had to handle a firearm AND call 911 at the same time?
Rob- What should we do first.
David- Get the tools you need. Phone, flashlight, firearm.
Get everyone to safety. That might mean crossing the house to be with your kids or your roommate.
Defend people, not things.
Call for help.
If you have to defend yourself, stay in a safe place and stop shooting when the threat stops.
Rob- I’m not sure if that is easy or really hard.
David- It is both. Tying your shoes was hard for you until you practiced. Now it is an unconscious habit.
Defending yourself and your family is too hard to invent in the middle of the night when you’re half asleep and under stress. It is easier if you practice ahead of time.
We say this in almost every episode, so all the instructors think it is important. If you’re new to the podcast, then back up and play that section again. Play it for your roommate so you are both on the same page. Now your house has an emergency plan.
Rob- What else should we do that wasn’t mentioned in the news story.
David- I’m a big fan of having a flashlight because I had to hunt bad guys in the dark for a living. A flashlight will help you too in your home..
Have that talk with your family or roommates. Your defense plan has to include everyone in the house.
Rob- Anything else?
David- That is enough for now. Our second story happened last week in Akron, Ohio.
You came home from a business trip to find that your house had been robbed. You called the police, but you didn’t feel safe downstairs where you usually sleep. That’s why you went to bed upstairs and had your gun in the room with you.
It was five in the morning when you heard someone pry open the front door and walk into your home. The last thief had taken some of your guns, so you assume this thief is armed. You tell him to stop and to turn away from you. Unfortunately, you left your phone back in your room. You go down stairs and march the robber up to your room and your phone. That is where you hold the robber until the police arrive.
The 51 year old robber has prior convictions for burglary and is wanted in connection with a number of nearby break ins during the last month.
(Note- no shots fired)
David- Again, this homeowner had a plan. Unfortunately, he forgot his phone and had to change plans to get it. How about slipping your phone, still on the charger, into the pocket of your robe and putting a flashlight in the other pocket. That way you know you’ll have them with you.
Rob- Your pink bathrobe and fuzzy slippers defensive kit?
Rob- What else did our defender do correctly?
David- Our defender didn’t want to shoot anyone. The thief had stolen firearms from this homeowner and from other houses. Even given that fact, the homeowner did not shoot because he did not see a weapon. That takes presence of mind.
Rob- Are homeowners allowed to shoot strangers breaking into their home?
David- The answer is different in different states. You don’t have to be attacked in order to defend yourself. If someone breaks into your house at night, the legal assumption is that they are there to do you harm.
Let me give you more to think about. You don’t want to shoot your drunk neighbor or your crazy neighbor even if that is justified by law. You want to call the cops while you hide in your locked bedroom or leave out the back door.
That sounds simple, doesn’t it.
David- Then let’s all another factor to the puzzle. If you have your niece and nephew staying with you for the weekend, you’re probably going to protect them in place. You’ll announce yourself and tell the intruder you’re armed and that the cops are on the way. You won’t show yourself because you can’t afford a fight.
Rob- Say more about that.
David- Sometimes a fight can’t be avoided, but wouldn’t you rather avoid one if possible? There are never any guaranteed outcomes. You might be a 250 pound weight lifter, but you can’t afford to go hands on against a 100 pound girl on meth who has a knife in her pocket. You have your two relatives to protect and you can not afford to get in a fight that you have even the slightest chance of losing.
Rob- A mom defending her kids.
David- While you’re busy thinking, let’s go on to our third story in Youngstown, Ohio.
Rob- Please support the Second Amendment Foundation at SAF.org
You own a small market and corner store. It is almost midnight when four men rush in. They are wearing hoodies and masks, and two of them have guns in their hands. You’re being robbed.
You’re armed. You carry concealed. You wait a moment, but then the armed men move toward your two employees who are working behind the counter. You watch the other customers move away from the robbers. Now you have your chance. You draw your gun and shoot your attackers until they drop their firearms. The other two robbers run from the store.
You check on your employees and your customers. No one is hurt. Now you call 911.
David- There is a lot going on here. Our defender waited until innocent people were out of the line of fire. He stopped the threat, and then did not shoot at the unarmed robbers as they ran away. He checked on everyone to see if they needed medical attention, and he got help on the way.
Rob- You’ve trained small business owners and people who work behind a counter. What should we think about?
David- There is a lot we don’t know about this encounter. What would you do if there were innocent people standing behind the bad guys?
What if you had been in the back of the store putting something away in the moment these robbers threatened your employees and your customers?
The easiest thing to do is have a plan so that several of your store employees are armed. That makes it much more likely that one of you will be in the right place at the right time.
Once you start shooting, the bad guys won’t stand still. Maybe another employee will have a shot as the bad guys move and try to shoot you.
Rob- The right place at the right time changes second to second.
A third comment, is that you want to move rather than stand still. The bad guys know you were to one side of them then the shooting started. Don’t be there when they shoot back. As soon as they point their guns at you, then that gives your other employees an opportunity to defend themselves without getting shot.
Rob- You’re telling me to avoid a gunfight where we’re both shooting at each other.
David- Yep. do everything you can to avoid a gunfight.
Give some consideration to reinforcing sales counters, whether by using the heavy clear Lexan windows seen in some convenience stores, to simply using thicker, sturdier materials in construction. That gives your employees a safe place to hide if they crouch down.
Rob- Is there something else you want to bring up before we go to our last story?
David- I like it that the owner and the employees asked the customers if they were all right. Asking them if they are alright or if they need anything puts you in the good-guy column. What kind of first aid kit do you have in your workplace? And what kind of first aid training? It is also a good idea to ask the customers to call 911 for you so the police have their cell phone number.
Rob- Let’s go on.
David- Our last story took place last week in Houston, Texas.
It is dark outside and you’re pulling up to the curb in front of your home. The next thing you know is that a man is reaching into your car through the partially open window. There are five men trying to get inside. One reaches for the door lock and another man reaches for your purse. You grab your purse and grab your gun that is inside. You shoot at the men outside, shattering the car windows on that side of your car. The men run away. You reach into your purse and grab your phone. Now you call 911 and wait for police.
Police find your wounded attacker on the other side of the apartment complex.
David- Our defender had the tools she needed to defend herself. She didn’t hesitate to act when she was attacked. She grabbed her purse and kept her gun. She shot her attackers. She didn’t chase them across the parking lot. She called the police and gave a statement.
Rob- She did a lot of things to save her life. What else do you see?
David- She probably did a lot more than save her purse. You don’t need five guys to snatch a purse. They may well have had plans to do much more. They were probably going to take her car or to take her.
These robbers were waiting for someone to come home in the dark. Five people standing in a group late at night near your home calls for extra attention. If you have a partner, spouse, or roommate who is at home, consider calling them and asking them to help you get inside. Consider calling the police if you need to and wait for them, but don’t walk into a situation where you can see trouble ahead.
Getting into and out of your car in the dark is a very vulnerable time. It is easy to become preoccupied with getting the car started or shut down, putting our coffee into the cupholder, or gathering our things before we get out.
The first thing I do when I get in my car is lock the doors and start it. Some people recommend putting it into gear with your foot on the brake, but I’d be cautious about that. I also never have the windows down when I’m parked or parking.. I don’t roll them down until I am moving. The bottom line is that when I am in that transition zone in my driveway (or anywhere else) my vehicle is as secure as I can make it, and I do whatever I can to minimize the time I’m just sitting in the car.
Rob- What else should we do if we were in a situation like this?
David- She almost lost her gun. A big problem with off-body carry, such as keeping your gun in your purse, is that your purse or bag is the first thing a robber will go for. She wasn’t just fighting for her purse, she was fighting for her gun. That is why I encourage on-body carry.
I get it that woman’s clothes don’t always fit a gun belt. Maybe you have to carry appendix style, put your gun in a belly band, or in a girdle or a thigh holster. Maybe you have to carry in a compression shirt that puts the gun under your shoulder. Those options are out there, and your local pawn shop gun salesman might not know about them. Explore those options.
I will bet you odds that this young woman is looking at ways to carry her gun so it isn’t in her purse.
Rob- I agree.
David- Let’s talk about getting to safety. You had to defend your life. You scream for help. If no one comes to help, then you might drive to a nearby store that is open and well lit so you can call for help from a safe location.
Rob- That sounds like a plan.
David- The other thing is that you have to control your mouth. You’ve just been scared out of your mind. Unfortunately, everything you say is being recorded or written down.
Tell the police you need their help. Say where you are. Say where you were attacked. They will tell you if they want you to stay there, or if you should wait until they make the crime scene safe so you can return.
This is what you say when you meet the police. Officer, a number of men reached inside my car and grabbed me and my purse. I defended myself. I called you. I’ll help with your investigation and answer all your questions when I’ve spoken to my lawyer.
Other than calling your lawyer, that is all you say about the attack for the next few days. I’ve been in fights like this and it is hard to be quiet.
Exit- Rob- David, thank you for talking with us today. That wraps up this episode so tell us where can we learn more about you?
Rob- Those links are in our show notes. After you look at David’s classes and his articles, then leave us a message on the Self-Defense Gun Stories facebook page or on the podcast webpage.
David- We share this podcast with you for free and we depend on you to share it with a friend. Give us a rating on I-Tunes and Stitcher. We’re also available on Google Play Music,Tunein, Spotify, and iHeart Radio.
Rob- This podcast is part of the Self-defense radio network at sdrn.us I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.
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Keywords: armed citizen, concealed-carry, self defense gun stories.