Episode 10 with Tony Simon

Introduction- Welcome to episode 10 of Self-Defense Gun Stories.  I’m Rob Morse back with self-defense instructor Tony Simon.  Hi Tony.  

Tony- We report and analyze examples of armed civilian defense each week.  Our first example is from Chicago.

First story-  Two men were unloading their car at the back of a Chicago alley late at night.  Both men were 23 years old.   They were interrupted by 28 year old William George who demanded their wallets and phones.  One of the young men handed over his cellphone and wallet, while the other 23-year-old pulled his licensed firearm and shot Mr. George.  The two men called for police and for medical help.  They also stayed at the scene until the police arrived.  Police said the attacker was out of jail on parole for a previous armed robbery conviction.  The young men were not charged.

Tony- Thank god the young men were in charge.  There’s been a change of thinking in Chicago about armed citizens.  I assumed when citizens in Chicago got the right to carry that there would be a lot of legal maneuvering to make it impossible any time you defend yourself.  That doesn’t seem to be the case.  In this particular case they were facing a hardened criminal.  Many people assume when someone comes to rob them that it’s just someone looking for drug money.  You know some harmless stick up kid.  Well this guy was already on parole for previous convictions.  And I’m sure that wasn’t the first time he’d robbed someone a gun point either.

Assume you’re facing a hardened criminal any time someone comes at you would have a weapon to harm you.

Rob- This criminal was a professional.

Tony- Yes some of these people are.  They’re professional criminals they want to rob you.  Some people just want to hurt other human beings.  They’re not even there to rob you.  they may want to just take your life because that’s what they do.  They pick random people and hurt them or kill them for their own entertainment.  Keep that in mind when you’re defending yourself in your home.

Rob- Tony, that’s not something that you’ve read.  You’re familiar with inmates.

Tony- I know that from firsthand experience talking to multiple inmates.  And the frightening part was the age they committed these crimes, but we’ll talk about that later.

Second Story-  Our second story is from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It happens everywhere, but a 30 year old man met a young woman online.  They met outside her apartment just after midnight.  The couple also met a 19 year old man with a gun.  The robber demanded their money and phones.  Instead, the 30 year old man presented his firearm and shot the robber.  The man called police and remained at the scene for police to arrive.  Police did not charge the shooter and said a couple had committed four similar robberies in the last year.

Tony-  This guy was very lucky, because if you have a concealed carry permit, or if you’ve chosen to carry, then always carry.  Always be ready to protect yourself even if it’s on the first date.  There’s no such thing as a safe time to not carry your firearm.

I like listening to another podcast you’re part of.  You guys have a saying, P.O.G.O. or Pants On Gun On.  That’s really the case that all of us conceal carriers should try to work for.

Rob- But the reason these criminals set up this particular operation was because they were preying on our innocence.  We’re thinking, “Hey this person sounds interesting.  What could be safer.  Sounds like a really nice person.”  Oops, and then you find out you’re being set up for a robbery precisely because being attacked was the furthest thing from your mind.

Tony- I’ll say something about single guys.  As a single man, in this world today, as a firearms owner, you don’t want to do anything to turn a first date off and of a lot of people are turned off by concealed carry holders, by firearms, or your second man rights.  Some guys would have chosen not to carry on the first date because they didn’t want the girl they just met to think they were a gun nut.

Smart move on this man’s part.  Pants on, gun on.

Rob- Now, I don’t know how they met online, but we’ve seen similar stories from online sites like craigslist and Back Page.  Sometimes they’re selling used electronics.. and the person gets robbed.  Now, they often choose to meet at a police station, or at a large bank’s ATM where there is constant video surveillance.

Tony- I think if this guy was buying electronic equipment then he would have been more suspicious.  I think maybe this is a new scam.  Excuse me, but it’s not even a new scam.  It’s an old scam done in a new way.  They warned us about this in the early nineties while i was in the military.  Back then, people that would invite you out on a date, tell you to come pick them up in their development, and then you would get robbed.

Rob- Right.  It is an old story.  Tony, do you to talk about this with your students?

Tony- I talk about a lot of things for my students.  It just depends on the student body and what they’re interested in.  But yes, I try to get them to think.  Always think!  It’s not being paranoid.  It’s just looking out for yourself, thinking ahead.

Again, I’m former military.  Every naval regulation is written in someone’s blood, so these experiences you don’t have to pay for.  They have already been paid for it.  You just should learn from it.

Rob- Learning from other people’s experiences the cheap way to learn.

Tony- They already paid.  You should benefit from it, if you can.

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Point Blank Range

Third story-  A store clerk walked up to his cash register as the 16 year old customer put a candybar on the counter.  The customer then pulled a firearm and pointed it at the clerk demanding the money from the cash register.  The store clerk drew a gun of his own, and the young robber fled.  Police looked at the surveillance video.  The police in Des Plaines, Illinois immediately recognized the criminal and his accomplice from earlier arrests.  Police then arrested the young criminals again.

Tony- Yeah.  A sixteen year old!  Being in Trenton, New Jersey and doing what I do, working in a prison, I’m familiar with young thugs.  As I was alluding to earlier in the first story, some people will hurt you, especially at a young age, because they have no appreciation of life itself and how valuable it is.  Two of the inmates I know were under the age of eighteen when they killed someone just because they felt like it.

You and I have no idea what our attacker will look like.  But, understand one thing.  A deadly threat is exactly that, a deadly threat, and you have to treat it as such, regardless of its image.

Rob- Tony in this case, this sixteen-year-old kid was using an Airsoft pistol.  He didn’t have a live firearm.  The clerk had no way to know that.  This kid is so lucky that he didn’t get killed.

Tony- Yes, this kid might as well avoid purchasing lottery tickets as an adult because he just used up all of his luck as a sixteen-year-old.  Wow.  Yeah.  That’s crazy.  The kid could have lost his life, but again, at sixteen, he probably has no appreciation of how lucky he actually is.

Rob- If this episode has a theme, it’s that we don’t know what a threat looks like.

Tony- We never know what a threat looks like.  We don’t know what our gun fight will be like.  We don’t know where it will take place.  So keep that in mind when you practice.  Use different scenarios, different distances, weak hand, strong hand.  Work on all of them with a goal in mind that you want to be really proficient with your firearm, no matter the circumstance.

Rob- How many classes would a student work with you before you could present a firearm from concealment?

Tony- Present a firearm concealment, we try to do that the first class.  If that’s why they’re carrying, if that’s why they’re taking the class, then that’s what we work on.  You take it in small steps and you do it from the beginning until the end.

Rob- The other thing that’s amazing about this is after the clerk presented the firearm and then stopped himself as the robber turned away.

Tony- That shows discipline on his part.  I assume that shows discipline on his part.  Maybe he wasn’t prepared to pull the trigger on someone that young.  But either way it turned out well for both of them that he didn’t pull the trigger.

The clerk in this last case did not fire his firearm after the threat no longer presented itself.  He continually thought about what was going on and he called the police.  And in all three stories tonight, everyone thought the situation through.  None of the victims had the incident happened and then took off.  They called the police and they waited for the police to arrive.  They spoke to the police and annunciated what happened.  They let it be known exactly what happened in the situation so they were seen as the good guy.  They weren’t seen as someone who brandished a weapon.  And then left the scene.

One of the good parts about practicing with your firearm, is that you’re not in panic mode.  You’ve done this before and thought your way through a similar situation.  One of the things you learn in defensive training is how to think your way through a problem.  That’s what I try to stress with my students.  Always think your way through.

Practice and rehearse this in your head.  Everything from the threat.. to the presentation.  And, if you have to fire, imagine firing your gun.  Rehearse calling of the police and keeping yourself safe and secure in the area.

Rob- I asked you about training to present a firearm.  Part of your answer was, ‘I need to train you what to do with a phone if you ever have to shoot.’

Tony- You have to communicate.  You have to get the police there.  And, you have to do it in such a way that you don’t say the wrong things.  You are going to be hyper.  You’re going to have an adrenaline dump.

You just have to state the facts.  You have to say who you are.  What you’re wearing.  And what happened that you need to get the police there or need an ambulance there.  I am wearing a gray shirt and blue pants.  I’m behind this building and beside this car.   Set your firearm down when the police present themselves.. and be prepared to be thrown to the ground and cuffed when they arrive.

Don’t take it personally.  They want to keep themselves safe too.  And you just have to keep that in mind and then get up and be able to tell them exactly what happened.

Rob- Tony, this story looks simple, but it’s really very demanding.  It includes presenting from concealment.. and not shooting after the threat turns away.  It includes talking to the police.  That’s very sophisticated.  Do you think your students would do this well?

Tony- Yes, all the ones I’ve had so far.  When you speak to your students, you try to get a feel for them.  You try to find out what they think and how they think.  The way Sean and I teach classes, it’s interactive.  We want to get your input.  We just don’t preach to you.  We want to see where you’re coming from mentally so we can find out exactly how fast to go with the class.  And exactly what to speak about while we’re in that class.

When you’re talking to a student about getting into a firefight, you have to stress that during the fight, it is a fight.  But once the other person is no longer a threat, it’s no longer a fight and you have to stop.  You cannot let your ego be invested into this.  You just have to win the fight.  But, once that threat is over, you stop.  Because if you don’t turn it off like a switch, it could go from a defensive shooting.. to murder.  You have to keep that in mind.

When we have training, we tell them it’s exactly that.  It’s training.  You have to take notes.  You have to go over this material again and keep it fresh.  And yes, we like our students to take multiple classes.  Come back to us for shotgun class.  Come back to us for rifle class.  Or, take a class with someone else!

The reason I tell people to continually take classes is because you’re not going to get everything the first time.  I’ve taking multiple courses and I’ve taken notes.  Then, I’ve taken another course and I was like, “wait a minute.”  I remembered that from the last time, but I forgot to write it down.

So the information you get in a course is like drinking from a garden hose and you’re just going to have to pick up what you can.  Take the class again if you have to.  I recommend you take at least two classes a year.

Exit- That wraps up this episode. Tony Simon, thank you for helping me today.  Where can our listeners find out more about you?

Tony- I teach firearms safety and armed-self defense courses in (what part of ) New Jersey.  Our listeners can contact me on Facebook at Simon Says Train or at The Second is for Everyone.

Rob- That reminds me.  Listeners can talk to us on our facebook page.  We post transcripts and links to these stories on our web page at self defense gun stories dot com.

I’m Rob Morse.  Please join us next week for more Self-Defense Gun Stories.

Please join the Second Amendment Societoy at SAF.org


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