Episode 223 with David Cole
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 223 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 your host Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by self-defense instructor David Cole. What have you been doing since we talked last?
David- Hi, Rob. I’ve been working and doing a little dry fire practice because ammunition is expensive.
Rob- We received three more ratings on iTunes (211/124). One of our commenters calls himself Binge Listener. He left a comment that he was listening for hours every day in December to catch all our old episodes. He said he found us by doing an internet search for self-defense podcasts. I’m glad he found us. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new listeners know what you like.
David- We defend ourselves with a firearm tens of thousands of times each week. Today, we’ll look at a few recent examples and talk about what we could do if this happened to us. The links back to the original news articles are in our show notes.
Our first story took place last week near Houston, Texas.
Rob- First story- Are you armed when you arrive home?
It is eight in the morning. You’re arriving back home from working a late shift. You are walking from your car to your front door when three men get out of their car parked across the street. They shout at you and start running toward you. You can see that they are armed. You run for your front door.
You make it inside your home and lock the door. You grab your gun from the closet. Seconds later, the three men break through your door. You shoot them. They shoot back. Your wife yells at them to stop shooting because there are children in the home. The intruders tell them to get on the floor. Eventually, the rest of your family escapes out the back door. The bad guys are now outside yelling at you. They say they are the police. You stop shooting and yell for them to stop shooting. You put down your gun and walk outside with your hands in the air.
The three strangers cuff you and then beat you, including hitting you on the head with their guns when you’re down on the ground. Seconds later, several Harris county sheriff’s deputies show up because the neighbors called after hearing gunshots. The deputies find out what is going on. Your three intruders are bounty hunters after a fugitive. One of the bounty hunters is wounded.
Police arrest the bounty hunters and take the cuffs off of you. EMTs take one of the bounty hunters to the hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening bullet wound. They treat you at the scene. The fugitive the bounty hunters were after lived at this address two years ago. You and your family lived at this address after the fugitive moved away. The bounty hunters are charged with home invasion and aggravated assault. I wonder why they were not charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer.
David- Wow. Bounty hunters are not law enforcement. In Texas, they are not allowed to enter a home without permission. They can’t claim to be law enforcement, and they can’t show or carry a badge to imitate law enforcement. In short, they are civilians. I have a sneaking feeling that some bail bondsman is about to lose his license.
But our defender stopped armed men from invading his home and shooting at his family. He stopped shooting at them when they identified themselves as the police. Thank god that someone called the cops. I hope it was his wife.
Rob- Gun owners, particularly concealed carriers, are a people who follow the rules. What should we do if someone says they are a police officer?
David- That’s a great question, since while situations like this are fortunately rare, it pays to think ahead. A good idea would be to call 911 immediately if you suspect someone claiming to be a police officer isn’t telling the truth. The dispatcher will know if that person is legitimate or not.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d want one of your students to do if they were in this situation?
David- I’d say that calling 911 is the single most important takeaway, based on what we know from the news story, but I’d be interested to know how this incident shakes out in the end. Bounty hunters simply opening fire? I’d definitely say that if you’re going to be a bounty hunter, don’t do that!
Rob- Anything else?
David- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Hesperia, California.
Rob- Second Story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?
You and your family are asleep in your beds. It is about 3:30 in the morning when you hear someone banging on your front door. The stranger shouts that you’re in his house and you should get out and let him in. You look at your video camera and see a man with a gun in his hand kicking your front door.
You grab your gun and wake your family. Your wife and children get in an inside closet and close the closet door. Your attacker starts shooting through the front door. You shoot back. Now your attacker runs away.
You call the police. You show the police the video footage. They identify a man they know who lives in your neighborhood. Police arrest him and charge him with attempted murder, shooting in an inhabited dwelling, armed robbery, felon in possession of ammunition and felon in possession of a firearm. No one in your family had ever met the man before.
David- We know our defender had a plan because we can see what he did. He did so many things right after someone woke him and his family in the middle of the night. If I wake you up from your sleep then it will be a while before you can think straight. Look at what he did. He got his gun. He got his family. He made them safe. He checked the security video and then called the police. He did that while he was suffering from sleep inertia. He gave a statement when the police arrived, but he was probably awake by then.
Rob- So a plan keeps us from wondering what to do in the middle of the night?
David- A plan you practiced lets you respond when your brain is still asleep or when you’re stressed. Mental and physical rehearsal can go a long way towards a positive outcome.
Rob- I wonder if the crazy neighbor was on drugs because the neighbor was shooting at other houses as he drove away.
David- Probably, but we don’t really care. We’re not out to provide therapy sessions for violent attackers at three in the morning. We need to stop the threat so our family is healthy when the police get there.
Rob- Is there anything else you noticed?
David- Shooting through a door is really risky, both in terms of the effect on your shot placement, and in terms of legality. Bullets can behave unpredictably after passing through a barricade, and it becomes much more difficult to be sure where they are going to end up…and every bullet you fire will hit something…like a neighbor’s house (or a neighbor).
The second problem is the legal question of threat identification. Unless you can positively identify a threat and be sure that their actions justify your use of deadly force, there is a chance you may shoot someone illegally. Just because bullets are coming through your door doesn’t necessarily mean you’re justified legally in sending bullets back out.
Rob- I can vouch for that, unless you have a steel sheathed hardwood door, then the 9mm and 45 bullets will probably sail right through the door.
Should we run out the back door?
David- I think the safest thing would be for the homeowner and his family to shelter in a place where they have good cover and call 911. That’s the other problem with returning fire through the door. He’s outside, you’re inside, and he hasn’t been able to get in. Get some cover and call police.
The video is also a great asset. Not only does it help in the moment, it can also be useful in court. The video in this case shows a pretty clear example of the bad guy as the initial aggressor. I recently added cameras to my own home, and they are not terribly expensive and can be a useful addition to your home security plan. (Also in this video is an example of why you should practice malfunction drills. Our bad guy appears to have had one, and looks to have a little difficulty clearing it.)
Rob- And no pet dinosaurs on the video.
David- Right. Give the police a copy of the video, but keep the original for your lawyer, and he needs the original in a hurry so there is no claim that you edited the video file. Sharing the full video with police and attorneys is a simple matter with the digital systems we have today.
Our third story happened in Kerrville, Texas.
Rob- First this message from Jews for the preservation of firearms ownership.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed when you buy a sandwich?
It has been a long day. You’re hungry, so you pull over to buy some food from a well known sandwich shop. A number of people are eating and ordering food. Two of the customers begin to argue. One of them pulls out a knife. That is when everyone leaves the shop..except you. You shout for the man to stop. You’re there when the man with the knife stabs the other customer. Now you run to your truck and grab your gun. You run back inside and order the attacker to stop. He stops the attack and retreats. You hold him at gunpoint until the police arrive.
Police disarm and then arrest the knife wielding attacker. EMTs take the wounded victim to the hospital. From there, the victim is flown by helicopter to University hospital. You have your Texas license to carry, and you show it to the police. You tell the police what you saw. The attacker had 29 prior arrests. This time he is charged with aggravated assault. The Kerrville police department called you to say thanks.
TAG- No shots fired
David- I would have thought the attacker would be charged with attempted murder, but I don’t know Texas law. Again, our defender tried verbal commands. He determined that the victim was innocent. Our defender identified a life threatening situation. He used a lethal tool to stop a lethal threat. Fortunately, he didn’t have to press the trigger, but that option was there. The good guy stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police.
Rob- Should we protect other people?
David- Defense of a third party is always tricky, because it opens us up to a whole world of legal risk, and often we don’t know the entire situation. However, in this situation it sounds like our defender was there the entire time, and was in a position to know that the victim was most likely a true victim. However, there’s another point I’d like to make here: It sounds like this was a case of a verbal argument which then later escalated into a physical fight. Might there have been missed opportunities to call police earlier in the dispute, before it got to the stabbing part?
Rob- What else should we do in a situation like this one?
David- Our defender lost a lot of time having to retrieve his gun from his vehicle. How long do you want to wait if it was your loved one being stabbed with a knife? Get your carry permit and keep that gun on your hip.
Now here is a hard part for everyone. There are people outside who could help. You stopped the attack, but the wounded victim is lying on the floor and he is dying because he can’t get help. Do you wait, or do you move forward to get the wounded to safety. In this case, the defender is holding the attacker at gunpoint, and his hands are literally full.
But most of us would want to move forward to treat a friend or a family member. Would you do that to treat an injured stranger? As a professional first responder, I can tell you that the first consideration of all emergency medical personnel is “scene safety.” They won’t enter until the scene is safe, and you shouldn’t, either. Please, think about it now, because you may not have the time to think about it when it happens.
Rob- Do we see situations like this one very often?
David- Yes, and no. (No shots fired. Unprovoked attack from a crazy person with a drug problem. Defense of a third person.)
Rob- You teach your students to present a firearm from a holster. Do you teach your students to present a firearm, but not to shoot?
David- Certainly. We want to pre-program mechanics, but not decision making…in fact, becoming more automatic in our mechanical movements frees up more brain space for assessing and deciding on a course of action.
David- Our last story took place in Houston, Texas.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home late at night?
It is the middle of the week and almost midnight. You get a frantic phone call from your daughter. Her ex-boyfriend is following her, so she’s driving to your house. She has a restraining order on her ex. When she gets to your house, sure enough, her ex boyfriend is following her in his truck. She pulls into your driveway, and he pulls in right behind her. She runs inside your home. You step outside and tell the young man he is not welcome and to go away. He walks toward you and then reaches for his back pocket. You think he has a gun. You shoot him in the hip. Now, he turns and runs back to his truck and drives away. You call 911.
The ex-boyfriend calls 911 a few blocks away. Police arrive and you and your daughter give a statement. The police said your daughter’s ex could face charges for violating the restraining order. EMTs take the ex-boyfriend to the hospital.
David- We are defending innocent third parties again. Dad and daughter had a plan. The daughter had a restraining order. Dad was armed. He stopped the abuser from closing the distance. He defended himself and called 911. He spoke to the police.
Rob- Have you had students who had to file restraining orders?
David- A few, but I have had plenty of experience with restraining orders.
Rob- Tell me more about what restraining orders do and why we should use them.
David- Gladly…there are a lot of misconceptions out there.
Rob- Why is domestic violence so hard for both citizens and the police?
David- Because we are usually dealing with family members or other people close to us, emotions are always running high, and most of us can look back to a time when we made a bad decision because of emotions.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do if we were being chased or if a loved one came home with a bad guy following them?
David- In this case, I’d obviously prefer for the young woman to be armed…what if Dad wasn’t home when she got there? Our best plan is to be our own first responder. Another option would be to call police and have them either intercept and stop her antagonist or have her drive to a police station. They’re always open.
Rob- This is our second story where we see armed citizens step in to help a third party. When do you talk to your students about that legal aspect of self-defense?
David- Concealed carry class.
Rob- What else do you see here?
David- Training is important because you can’t think if your daughter calls you in the middle of the night. Our good guy identified his target in the dark. Shooting accurately when someone just woke you up with a frantic phone call. Shooting in the dark, at a moving target. That is quite a test.
Rob- Let’s go through that list step by step.
David- (When do students learn those skills? Low light, moving target, )
Low light shooting takes a bit of training and practice to get used to. A quality light is a must, and then you need to learn methods of holding a light and a gun and using both together. These are more advanced skills which should come after basic safety and shooting competence is achieved. Moving target practice is tough to do at most ranges. I get to see movers from time to time in USPSA competition, but there are professional classes out there which offer moving target equipment… you just have to do a bit of looking.
Exit- Rob- David, you’ve given me more homework for next week. Thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
David- Look for my written articles at deltabravocharlie.com
Rob- After you look at David articles, then leave us a message on the podcast facebook page.
David- We share this podcast with you for free.
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I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.