Episode 225 with Tony Simon
Welcome to episode 225 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 Tony Simon.
Tony- Hi, Rob. I’ve been teaching and planning my classes for 2021.
Rob- A listener named Alex left us a message on our social media page. He has been listening for about six months. He started as a new gun owner and now has taken several classes.
Tony- Good work, Alex. I wonder what he learned in his class and what he learned from the podcast.
Rob- Bary left a welcome message for our new co-host, Heather Reeves.
Tony- Thank you both.
Rob- We received a rating and a review on iTunes (213/124). A listener said the show helps her imagine what might happen to her and her family. She has three young children so I think she’s used to surprises. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and leave your questions and comments.
Tony- We defend ourselves with a firearm tens of thousands of times each week. Today, we’ll look at a few recent examples and ask what we should do if these things happened to us. Our podcast webpage has the links back to the original news articles.
Our first story took place last week in Seattle, Washington.
Rob- First story- Are you armed in public?
You’re walking down the street. It is about 9 on a Sunday morning. A man crosses the street in front of you. As you pass him, he hits you in the head. You stumble, and he punches you again and again.
You have your Washington state concealed pistol license. You’re armed. You draw your gun and shoot your attacker. He stops hitting you and runs away. You stop shooting. Neighbors heard the shots and called the police. You give a brief statement when the police arrive. Police arrest your wounded attacker a few blocks away. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening wound.
Tony- Trouble can find us anytime and anywhere. I’m glad our defender went through the time and trouble to get his permit so he could be legally armed in public. He went through the inconvenience of dressing around his gun and carrying it with him. He did not give up even though he was hit and getting hit some more. He defended himself when he had to, and he stopped shooting when he could. He stayed at the scene and gave a report to the police?
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like your students to do?
Tony- Don’t wear your earphones when people are around? If you do wear earphones, understand that you are diminishing or completely cutting off one of your senses, the ability to hear someone approaching you. You may only realize a person is next to you when you see them walking by you or they touch you. Having awareness of your surroundings allows you to step aside so you don’t let crazy get next to you?
Imagining if this was a small female or older frail person who could have been concussed at the first punch. Walk with a friend?
Rob- Does an attack like this happen very often?
Tony- Yes, too often. This could’ve been a spontaneous attack of opportunity or the attacker could’ve been observing this area for a while and chose our victim because he thought he had an easy target. As Mas Ayoob says there was a glitch in his victim selection process.
Rob- You have a lot of practical experience. How do your students learn what you know?
Tony- Many of us have practical experience. It’s called a survival instinct or “keeping an eye out for troublemakers”. Sadly many people put themselves at risk because they don’t want to think of people in general as “bad people”. They don’t want to seem rude or standoffish to complete strangers. It’s up to us to change that way of thinking. In some of the classes we’ve hosted, we have scenarios in which students have to talk to “strangers” and make decisions whether they are a threat, learn to turn the threat away using their words and actions. It takes thinking ahead of time, having predetermined responses and reactions.
There’s no completely “safe” time or “safe” space. Just lower risk and higher risk places and times. Plan, train and live accordingly.
Rob- Anything else?
Tony- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Bellingham, Washington.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at work?
It is before noon. You are working behind the counter at a sporting goods store. You’re serving a customer when another man walks up to the case where you display handguns and ammunition. This man takes a hammer and starts beating the glass display case. Now, he climbs over the display case to get at the guns through the back of the display.
You have your Washington state concealed pistol license. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot the robber before he gets his hands on firearms and cartridges. Store employees run towards you, and all of you tackle the robber to the ground. Police arrest your robber and EMS takes him to the hospital.
Police identify the wounded robber as the person who threatened to shoot an employee during a liquor store robbery a few minutes earlier. Police also arrest the robber’s accomplice in the parking lot.
Tony- Is it crazy season? Lots of the employees at a gun counter are armed and this shows us why. John Dillinger said he robbed banks because that was where they keep the money. Criminals rob gun stores because that’s where they keep the guns. Our defender recognized a threat. He stopped the threat before it got much worse by the criminal getting a loaded firearm. He used his gun to reduce the threat. He stopped shooting when the attacker stopped his assault. It sounds like the defender called for help and his co-workers knew what to do. They sat on the attacker until the police arrived.
Rob- Is there anything you’d like your students to do if they work in a retail setting.
Tony- The store employees had a plan to help each other. That is more common in a gun store and less common in a sporting goods store. They can help stop the threat, to secure the store after an attack, to render aid if anyone is hurt, and to guide the police to the scene. Having your colleagues sit on the bad guy means you can put your gun away sooner, and that is a good thing.
Rob- Is there anything else you noticed?
Tony- Video cameras. I didn’t see them in the news report, but most stores have them to stop theft of merchandise. They also work to show that your actions were reasonable when someone tried to steal a gun. Also, this is the one of the few instances where open carry is a good deterrent. Like I said, most of the employees in a gun store are open carrying a firearm.
Our third story happened in Willard, Missouri.
Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Rob- Third story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?, and https://www.ky3.com/2021/02/01/investigators-identify-man-shot-and-killed-in-a-burglary-investigination-in-willard-mo/
You’re asleep in your bed when you hear a strange sound. You wonder if it is your family or something else? You hear it again and identify the sound of someone hitting your house and breaking glass. It is four in the morning. You get out of bed, grab your gun, and move to the center of the house. A stranger rushes toward you and hits you. You present your gun and shoot him. He stops attacking you. You back away and ask if anyone in your family is hurt and then shout for them to call 911.
Your family is shocked but not injured. You give a brief statement to the police. EMS says your attacker is dead. They transport you to the hospital to treat your injuries. You saw the front bedroom window your attacker smashed. Police say your attacker is from out of state. They believe he ran his truck into a ditch behind your house. Out of all the homes in the subdivision, no one knows why he chose yours. You are a veteran of the Vietnam war.
Tony- Our good guy had his doors locked. He defended his family, stopped shooting, called the police, and gave a statement.
Rob- Our defender went from asleep to defending his family in a few seconds.
Tony- I don’t own a firearm out of fear of the unknown, I own a firearm to protect those I love.
This defender was an older man if he was a vietnam veteran. The story says he defended his family, and you do that by getting between them and the threat. That takes help so you need a plan with your family about what to do.
Rob- Talk to me about that plan.
Tony- The time to make a defensive plan is before an emergency happens. It will take less communication at the time and there may be less confusion.
Your plan can be as simple as “if you hear someone breaking into the house lock your doors and I will come to you.” Or “run to mom and dad’s room and we will barricade in place. “. I’m not saying it’s foolproof but it’s better to have a plan because you are less likely to freeze up or panic.
Rob- When do your students learn about that?
Tony- We’ve talked about these in home defender classes we hosted. We tell students that their basic firearms classes should be the start of the martial art of self defense. There’s more to defensive firearms use than just the firearms.
Tony- Our forth story took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at the shooting range?
It is just after lunch and you are standing in the lobby area of the shooting range talking to friends. You hear a disturbance behind you. A stranger is reaching into people’s range bags and touching their guns and equipment. Everyone shouts for him to stop. Store employees confront the man and tell him to leave the store. The stranger isn’t acting normally, so the store employees also call the police. You follow your friends outside because the stranger stayed in the parking lot and you want to warn customers as they approach the door.
Police arrive and call the stranger over. He refuses to approach them. A female officer walks toward the stranger to talk to him. The stranger moves toward the officer, pulls a screwdriver from his pocket and stabs the female officer. You, the officer’s partner, and two of your friends shoot the attacker. Everyone rushes to help the wounded officer.
EMS transports the officer to the hospital. They also declare the attacker dead at the scene. You remain at the scene and give a statement to the other officers who arrive. Later, you heard on the news that the officer is expected to recover and that the police captain was grateful for your help.
Tony- Robert, explain yourself with these stories.
Rob- I report the stories as I find them. You decide if our world has gone crazy.
Tony- Some of the people who are in prison have an underlying mental disorder so they can’t control their impulsive behavior. They turn to drugs and alcohol, and that usually makes the problem worse. Sadly, you can be the”nice guy” and gently reason with crazy. Crazy can kill you, so you have to stop the crazy behavior before it is safe to have the conversation.
This wasn’t a gun problem until it became one. Our defender saw a potential threat. His physical presence was a deterrent until officers arrived. He backed up the officers so the crazy person couldn’t run back inside the shooting range. Our defenders recognized a lethal, immediate and unavoidable threat to an innocent person. He had his gun in his holster and used it to stop that threat. He put his gun away when the threat was over. He stayed at the scene and helped treat the innocent victim.
Rob- Talk to me about using your resources after an injury or an attack.
Tony- Every modern gun range I know of has emergency procedures in place. The range probably had an emergency medical kit. So did most of the instructors at the range. They know to call the police, have someone on the street to guide them to the store. They may have range employees with first aid training.
The police officers had first aid or trauma kits in their car. They might have had to put a chest seal on a thoracic wound, but the officer was probably wearing a ballistic vest. It is more likely that they packed an abdominal wound.
The officer had EMS on the way in seconds because he used the radio on his collar. Send someone to the street to guide other officers and medical personnel to the victim. Keep the crowd inside the store so that emergency personnel can work. Don’t let strangers turn into the parking lot.
Rob- So there is a lot to do after you defend yourself.
Tony- There can be. When EMS has left, then you can make a brief statement and call your lawyer.
Rob- Really? You helped defend a policeman and you need a lawyer?
Tony- Everybody can be sued for any reason.
Rob- that wraps up this episode. Tony, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Rob- After you look at Tony’s classes and listen to his podcast, then leave us a message on the podcast facebook page, on Mewe, or at Self Defense Gun Stories.com
Tony- You can leave a comment on your web page? Congratulations, you handsome dinosaur you. You’ve finally joined the 21st century.
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I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.