Episode 200 with Ben Branam
Welcome to episode 200 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained and also if you’re new to self defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Ben Branam. Ben has recorded with me since March of 2016.
Ben- Hi, Rob. I’ve been training teams at a church. I’m ready to teach again after Covid-19.
Rob- I have some bad news. We didn’t receive a single new rating or review on iTunes this week. (164/96).
Rob- Nothing! And we had a record number of downloads in April and May.
Ben- Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new listeners know what you like about our podcast.
We’ll talk about recent examples where gun owners were in a life threatening situation. 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 Santa Monica, California.
You own a liquor store on Broadway. There was looting nearby last night, but your store is still standing. You ask your friends for help, and today you go to work armed. You stand in front of your store with a few of your friends. Each of you is carrying an AR slung across your chest and muzzle down.
You see the mob move down the street in broad daylight. The smash windows and loot stores at the end of the block. Their behavior changes when they see you and your friends. The mob moves to the other side of the street and keeps moving. They don’t throw anything at your store or at the stores next to you.
The city imposes a curfew starting after noon the next day. Other business owners ask you for help.
Deterrence, AR-15, Open carry, No shots fired.
Ben, how did one shop owner stop a crowd of people from breaking into his store?
Ben- This gun owner deserves a gold star. He was aware of what was happening in his community. That gave him time to react before there was broken glass, before the security alarms went off, before there were people swinging axe handles at the heads of his employees and his customers.
Since he had time, he asked for help. He had a network to reach out to for help. If you think you might have a problem, then get a bunch of people on your side. I also like the way they displayed their intention. They were heavily armed, but the firearms were carried muzzle down, and the armed men told people to keep their distance and not come too close. They did a really great job and from the news reports that handled the firearms safely and responsibly.
There were enough armed people in front of those storefronts that the crowd decided to loot someplace else. This is the same message we give to every homeowner about locking your doors and windows so robbers go to the house that left their door unlocked.
Rob- We don’t know if this store owner and his friends were experienced, or if this was their first riot.
Ben- True, we don’t but neither did the crowd of looters.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d want a business owner to do?
Ben- Board up your windows and doors. Have extra guys with thick gloves and fire extinguishers standing in front of the building and on the roof. They should carry concealed. Have lights so you can see the crowd at night. Have lights on the roof so you can see what is being thrown at you and where it lands.
Rob- You’ve thought about this.
Ben- This is what I do.
Ben- All of this has to be prepared in advance. You have to make friends, have fire extinguishers, boards, screws and nails, and gloves, along with ammo and guns. You won’t have time to get these things once the problem starts.
Rob- Anything else?
Ben- Don’t forget to get training as you are collecting all the other things you might need.
That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Your ex-boyfriend won’t leave you alone. He is texting you night and day. You leave work and are filling your company truck at a gas station when your stalker comes up to you. He hits you in the head with a rock. You fall, and your attacker punches you. Then, your attacker pours diesel fuel on you and threatens to set you on fire. You try to escape to your truck, but your attacker grabs you again.
You’re armed. You draw your firearm and shoot your attacker in the head. You crawl away. You come back and use your attackers cell phone to call 911.
EMTs take your attacker to the hospital. Your attacker is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, domestic assault, and first degree arson.
Domestic Abuse, Stalker, female-male, Concealed carry, escape to safety.
Ben- I’m glad our defender was armed. I haven’t seen pictures of both of them, but saying that men are stronger than women is true 9 out of 10 times, so it was probably true in this case as well. Having a gun probably saved the victim’s life.
I like that she tried to run away. When she couldn’t escape, she defended herself. She stopped shooting when the threat stopped. She called the police for help. I’m not sure why she wanted to grab the attacker’s cell phone.
Now we have to talk about the messy problem of domestic abuse and stalkers. I call it messy, because some of the victims want to ignore the problem and hope it will go away. Usually, it gets worse the longer you ignore it.
Rob- What do you suggest to victims of domestic abuse?
Ben- Block and stop all communication with them. Nothing good will come from it. Make a record of all previous communication. Get a restraining order. Then tell everyone that are your friends and neighbors what’s going on so they can help you.
Rob- If you’re reaching for your gun, then you can’t use that hand to stop the blows from your attacker. How did our defender use her firearm while she was being attacked?
Ben- Perseverance. There are a lot of techniques but you just have to keep fighting until you can get the gun out.
Rob- How hard is it to stop shooting once you start?
Ben- Sometimes really hard, sometimes easy. You have to think about it and plan it.
Ben- One thing we miss here, is how close she came to dying multiple times. We need to be prepared to fight back at the first problem. Awareness and readiness are the key.
Our third story happened in Fremont, CA
Rob- First this message from the second amendment foundation.
You get a message from your alarm company at 10 at night. You check the video systems and see someone trying to break into your gun store. You and your dad go to the store to investigate.
No one is inside the store and the doors seem secure. The police also come to check on the alarm. You’re getting ready to leave when you see the man on the security video walk by your store. You stop him and call the police. The police are back in minutes and arrest the man.
A short time earlier, several men ran a truck through the front of another gun store. The police found one of the guns in the seat of your robbers truck.
No shots fired. Video system. Teamwork.
Ben- I’m glad our store owner kept his guns from being stolen by criminals. He could have left it up to the police, but he put in the time and effort to make all of us safer. I like that he brought a partner. He investigated the alarm. He watched the video. He spoke to the police. Like our first story, this defender was aware of the world around him, so he noticed his suspect come back to the store. He held the suspect for police and called for help.
Rob- We usually wouldn’t suggest grabbing a robber.
Ben- True, but these aren’t usual times. Especially in big cities and the surrounding areas. If you can do it easily, do it, make sure there is no danger to you.
Rob- We say we shouldn’t use lethal force to stop theft of property.
Do you feel the same way when criminals try to rob a gun store?
Ben- There is a difference between theft and robbery. A thief picks your pocket. A robber uses force or the threat of force to take your wallet. You have a legal and moral justification to use force to stop a robber. Same difference between Burglary and Robbery.
Ben- Our forth story took place south of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
You hear the sound of breaking glass. It is a few minutes before midnight. You get up and go investigate the sound. You shout to your husband and to the two other people living in your home. They say they are unhurt. You hear someone in your basement. You shout that you’re armed and for him to go away. You shout that you’ll shoot. Your intruder is almost to the top of the stairs when you press the trigger. Your intruder falls backward down the stairs and you stop shooting. You retreat, and then you and your husband call 911.
EMTs declare your intruder dead at the scene. Police interview you, your husband, and everyone else in your house. The police tell you that your intruder lived a few blocks away, but you’ve never seen him before.
Tactical advantage, verbal warning, decision distance, female vs male, family defense
Ben- Again, we have a male attacking a female. He broke into her home. He advanced on our defender after she gave verbal warnings. She was in a good defensive position. She stopped her attacker before he got within arms reach of her. She also got him stuck in a disadvantaged position. She stopped shooting when the threat stopped, and she called the police.
Rob- That is a lot of things for her to do correctly. Why did she succeed?.
Ben- She had a defensive tool.
Defensive position at the top of the stairs.
Mental line in the sand.
Stopped shooting and didn’t chase. (Don’t turn a justified defense into an unjustified one.)
Called the police, and said little.
Rob- How will new gun owners learn to defend themselves as this woman did?
Ben- Study. Mental rehearsal. Physical practice. And of course training classes.
Rob- I notice that our defenders succeeded, but it wasn’t because they were particularly fast or accurate shots.
Ben- It usually takes more time making the decision about what to do than pressing the trigger. Knowing what you should do, and what you can do means you need very little attention for accuracy and speed. And this one she set up on him and had all day. Tactics can trump firearms skills when they are used correctly as this lady did.
Last thing, she checked on everyone else in the house before defending herself. She knew the person she was engaging wasn’t someone that lived in the house.
Exit- Rob- that wraps up this episode. Ben, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Ben- Contact for me at Modern Self Protection.com. I live in San Antonio, and most of my classes are in central Texas. I teach armed self-defense and church security. Listeners can see my class schedule at my website, and they can also listen to my weekly podcast Modern Self-Protection.
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I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.