(21 minute audio)
Website- Self-Defense Gun Stories
I’m glad you found us. Welcome to episode 132 of Self-Defense Gun Stories.
This podcast is for people who are curious about a firearm for self-defense, and for those who already own one. I’m your host, Rob Morse. We’re joined this week by self-defense instructor David Cole. How have you been?
David- Hi, Rob. I’ve been working and shooting and hunting.**
Rob- Please introduce our podcast to our new listeners.
David- We study several examples where gun owners survived a life threatening situation. Were they lucky, or did they have a plan? What should we do if we were in their place? Our first story took place last week in Midlothian, Texas.
Rob- First story- Are you armed as you drive and go shopping?
You’re waiting in the car as your wife finishes her grocery shopping. You’re 58 years old. It is nine o’clock at night when two strangers walk by the car. The 21 year old man waves to you and says he hasn’t seen you in a while. The strange man jumps in the front seat and the 19 year old woman jumps in the back seat. That is when the man says “I’ve got a gun. I’ll blow your head off. The next words out of your mouth I’m going to send you to heaven.”
You are a concealed carry holder. You have your gun with you. You draw your firearm and point it at your attacker. Both of your attackers run from your car. You don’t fire as they run into the store. You call police. They arrest the pair after fighting with them. Both of your attackers are charged with aggravated robbery and resisting arrest.
Rob- You were a police officer. How often does this sort of robbery happen?
David- Every few minutes. Glad he had a gun.
Rob- I agree.
David- I’m also glad that he was able to defend himself without firing a shot.
Rob- How unusual is that?
David- Not unusual at all. Some studies estimate as many as 93% of the time, no shots are necessary in a defensive gun use. Good that he didn’t shoot as the robbers ran away. In any situation like this, once the attacker disengages and flees, it isn’t self-defense anymore.
Rob- What would you tell your students to do.
David- First of all…Lock Your Doors! No one should be able to just walk up and hop into your car with you!
Our defender had his permit, but probably could have benefitted from more training. He was carrying in a pouch rather than on-body, which is usually not optimal. It’s too easy to become separated from your gun. He drew but didn’t fire, though he believed he had an armed attacker in the car with him. I’m pretty confident that he would have been justified in shooting, though he decided not to. Of course, the decision whether or not to pull the trigger is up to the individual…I can’t make that decision for you. In this case, it turned out that the suspect was actually feigning that he had gun and was actually unarmed; it’s fortunate no one had to kill, and no one had to die. But fortune is another word for luck, and there are two kinds of luck. It could just as easily turned out that the bad guy was actually armed and prepared to shoot, and the victim’s hesitation (along with his choice of carry method) could have cost him his life.
Rob- Is it easy to present a firearm quickly, or does it take practice?
David- Everything takes practice.
Loading and unloading takes practice.
Safe storage takes practice.
Drawing and firing from concealment takes practice, especially seated in a car.
In this case, I want my students to get out of the car and stand up before they reholster their firearm. That is safer than trying to re-holster your gun as you’re sitting inside your car. Even better, get a blue gun for that type of practice.
I like our defender’s attitude. He said, “They could have gotten into an automobile with somebody other than me that they would have taken them. If they left this parking lot, we may have never seen them again.” That is important because some robbers want more than your stuff, they want you. They like you being afraid and being hurt or killed. It is good that he was confident and courageous, but it just as easily could have gone the other way. A little bit of training and practice could have bettered his odds.
Rob- Wow. That is a lot to understand. Is there anything else, or can we go on?
David- That is a lot, but it’s enough for now. Our second story happened last week in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Rob-Second Story- Are you armed at when you go to sell your motorcycle?
It is almost Christmas. Some of us need cash to buy presents. You decided to sell your motorcycle. You found a buyer on an online application. You agreed on a price and a place to meet. It is 8 at night when you arrive. They buyer looks at the bike. Then the buyer points a gun at you and says, give me the keys.
You’re a legal gun owner. You’re armed. You move, draw your firearm, and shoot your attacker in the chest. Your attacker drove away with his friend and was arrested at the local hospital. You stayed at the scene and called police.
David- I like this story because the victim defended himself. I’m glad he had his gun with him.
Rob- Was this the right thing to do, to shoot someone over a motorcycle?
David- This wasn’t a fight over a motorcycle. This was a proportional response to an immediate, unavoidable, threat to your life. You are allowed to defend yourself from an unlawful use of force, or the reasonable threat of it. The robber pointed a gun at his intended victim for the purpose of making the victim believe he would kill him for the bike. Unfortunately for the robber, his victim believed his threat and was prepared to do something about it. Our defender stopped when the robber ran away and the threat ended.
Rob- What do you tell your students to do?
David- First and foremost is avoidance. While the victim did the right thing in choosing an open, public space for the meet, he was alone. If you don’t have a friend who can go with you, consider going to your local police department. Many of them are happy to have you use their parking lots for these sorts of exchanges.
Second, if all your awareness and prevention fail, and you have to go to the gun, be decisive. Be trained in a proper presentation from concealment, and be able to execute it quickly. Remember that in this case, the robber already had his gun out, so time is critical. Movement may well have been a factor as well. You need to be able to do these things while moving to safety.
Rob- Where can they learn that?
David- Fortunately, more and more gun stores, commercial ranges, and clubs are offering good quality training. Another great avenue for honing these sorts of skills is competition. USPSA, IDPA, and even simple steel plate matches are great opportunities to work at least two of the three components of the “Combat Triad”…marksmanship, gunhandling, and mindset.
Rob- You’ve been studying martial arts for years. How long does it take to learn to defend yourself with a handgun. When are your students competent?
David- The short answer is that the learning never stops…at least it shouldn’t. And you know that I am a believer that even minimal training is often “enough”…but more training is better. And it’s really an odds game…there are no guarantees, but you can absolutely improve your odds. Any time spent in quality training and practice will help!
Rob- How long does it take to learn to present a firearm from concealment?
David- try a good one-day course. Our third story happened last week in Moss Point, Mississippi.**
It is 8 in the morning when you hear something happening in your garage. You get up and pull on your pants and your gun. You walk to the center of your home and hear someone at your front door. A stranger says, ‘No one’s home.’
Your front door is kicked open and two men rush inside. You shoot them. One runs away. You back up to your bedroom and call police.
The second criminal was arrested when he was dropped off at the hospital with life threatening injuries.
David- Daylight robberies become more common as the economy improves. The burglars thought the owner was at work.
Rob- So you’ve seen this sort of thing before?
David- This is the bread and butter of police work.
Rob- What did our defender do right?
David- Looks like he shot well. POGO. Defend yourself from the immediate threat. Stop shooting when the threat goes away. Retreat to a safe location, and call police.
Rob- What should we do that might be better?
David- Call the police before you go investigate. I don’t think it would have made a difference in this case, but often the criminals will enter the far end of the house. That lets you lock the bedroom door and let the police to toe-to-toe with your robbers.
David- Our forth story took place in Georgetown, South Carolina.
Here are two stories with two different results. In the first story, you’re getting in your car parked in a Walgreens parking lot. A woman points a gun at you and tells you to get out of your car. You jump out and the robber drives away.
The next day, a different person is working in a cell phone store. A man dressed as a woman comes in and points a gun at you and demands you open the cash register. You’re a legal gun owner and you’re carrying concealed. You draw your gun and shoot your attacker. He runs out of the store, firing his gun as he runs away. Your robber dumps his stolen getaway car. Both the man and the woman carjacker drive to nearby city. They are arrested as they drop the wounded man off at the hospital.
David- For the first situation, just like our first story today…Lock Your Car Doors!
Now in the second…Both victims faced a lethal threat, but one of them could defend themselves because they had a gun.
Rob- That made it moral to use lethal force in self-defense?
David- Moral and legal. If someone attacks with lethal force…or the reasonable and imminent threat of it…you can defend yourself.
Rob- Why didn’t the bad guy fall down and die when he was shot?
David- The attacker was shot in the stomach and that can be a lethal wound, but it won’t stop the attacker quickly. This was what we would refer to as a “psychological stop,” where the attacker decides he doesn’t want to leak anymore and leaves.
Rob- What do you recommend for your students?
David- There are really three ways a gun stops a violent attack. The psychological stop we discussed a moment ago, or through organ failure caused by blood loss (which also takes time), or through a hit to the central nervous system which “turns off the main breaker.” Learn to shoot a self-defense handgun. Shoot until the threat ends.
Rob- Did you see a lot of robberies like this as a police officer?
David- Fortunately, no. But that only means it was uncommon in my town. They do happen, and while the odds may be low, the stakes are high. And also fortunately, while it does take some effort to be personally prepared, it is doable!
Exit- Rob- that wraps up this episode. David, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Rob- Leave us a message on the podcast facebook page.
David- We share this podcast with you for free. All we ask is that you share the podcast with a friend and give us a rating** on I-Tunes and Stitcher. **We’re also available on Google Play Music and Spotify.
Rob- This podcast is part of the Self-defense radio network at sdrn.us