Episode 250 with Ben Branam
Welcome to episode 250 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and also if you are new to self defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by my friend and firearms instructor Ben Branam. What have you been doing, Ben?
Ben- Hi, Rob. I’ve been learning about a new gun. It has a red-dot sight and a flat trigger.
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Ben- Here in the United States, we defend ourselves with a firearm tens of thousands of times each week. We’ll look at a few recent examples and see what we can learn. We give you links back to the original news articles on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Dededo (DEH’·duh·dowh), Guam.
Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby when you’re in bed?
You’re asleep at home with your wife. You live behind your barbershop. You’re both startled awake by the sound of breaking glass at about 4:30 in the morning. You grab your firearm. You check that no one is in your home. Then you hear someone opening the cash register in your shop. A second later, the intruder walks into your home. You shout for him to stop. He moves toward you and raises his hand to hit you. You shoot him. Now he stops. You step back and call the police.
Police arrest your attacker. You give a brief statement to the police. Your attacker broke in through a window in your shop because your front door was locked and shuttered. The intruder also broke an outside light so he could work in the dark. Police tow away the intruder’s car. You are not charged with a crime.
Ben- Gun owner. Armed at home. Gun was accessible. Locked and shuttered his shop. Had outside lights. Reacted to the noise. Defended his family. Shot the attacker before the attacker reached him. Stopped shooting when the attacker turned away. Called 911. Gave a statement.
Rob- It might take a while for the police to arrive on Guam. I suspect that many of the shop owners have firearms. Where should our students learn to defend their family like this gun owner?
Ben- any good training class teaches you how, why, and when to use deadly force.
(A basic marksmanship class? A class on cleaning and storage?
Rob- Does this sort of crime happen very often?
Ben- Most violent attacks are at night. This was both the defender’s home and his place of business. I read the report, and I wonder if the attacker was intoxicated or high. Most of them are.
Rob- What should we do after we shoot?
Ben- Have a plan with your family. You want your wife to call the police while you defend your family. Have a plan/place to put your gun. Be sure and put it away as soon as it is safe to do so, and definitely before the police arrive.
Rob- Should my wife go out and meet the police while I watch the bad guy, or should I go and meet them?
Ben- Yes, no, maybe… if it is safe, the best thing for both of you to do is escape the area. But you might have to stay and watch the bad guy, if it is safe then have your wife meet the police and let them know what is going on and then guide them back in.
Rob- Anything else?
Ben- Think in depth like this person did. Lighting on the outside, doors locked in multiple places. This gives you different chances to stop the attack before it happens and takes a dedicated attacker time to break through your defenses alerting you and allowing you to get your tools and get ready.
Our second story happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at work?
It is between 5 and 6 am. You’re working in the back room at a subway sandwich shop preparing food for the day. The shop is near two major roads and open all night. You hear one of your co-workers yell from the front of the shop. You look through the doorway and see your co-worker with her arms in the air and a man pointing a pistol at her. You own a gun. You’re armed today. You present your firearm and shoot the attacker until he turns away. The attacker runs outside and drops his firearm. You and your co-worker step into the back room and call the police.
You speak to the police when they arrive. They find your attacker outside and say he died. You read in the news that the attacker’s gun was a pellet pistol. You’re not charged.
Ben- Armed at work. Shot with his co-worker near the attacker. Retreated with his co-worker. Called the police. Didn’t give the verbal warning we all see in the movies. Gave a statement.
Rob- What happens in the movies that you don’t want us to do in real life?
Ben- Don’t give a warning to a potential murderer.
Rob- What else would you like us to do that wasn’t mentioned in the news reports?
Ben- Take a realistic look at your business. This was a 24 hour fast food store right next to two large roads. It was going to be robbed, and the employees acted appropriately to ensure their safety by being armed at work. I have to ask why only one of them was armed rather than two of them.
Have you practiced shooting when the paper target of an innocent person is right next to the target of the bad guy. It is only paper, but it adds some stress. It adds some caution. You want to become familiar with those feelings of stress in a class or at a range. You want that to feel familiar before you run into those feelings at work or at church on a bad day.
In theory, you are in another room so you don’t have to show yourself to the bad guy. Have you practiced using cover so the bad guy won’t see you?
Rob- That isn’t what we see in the Hollywood westerns.
Ben- This is real life, and we’ll talk more about that in a later story.
Does your workplace have a security plan? Hit the ground when gun fire starts? Do you both know how to call 911, lock the doors, check on the other customers so you know if they need help, guard the back room so the innocent people are safe if the attacker gets up again. Talk through that and walk though that with your co-workers.
Rob- Should a store like this have video cameras?
Ben- Yes and a sign that says you are being recorded. Not a huge deterrent but sometimes it works, and helps after the shooting.
Rob- When do you talk to your students about using cover?
Ben- Day one. Anything you can put between you and a bad guy is a good thing. The more you can the better.
Rob- Is there more you want to say, or should we go on to our next story?
Ben- Our third took place in Festus, Missouri.
Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center
It is after midnight when you’re woken up by a knock at your door. You’re not expecting guests at this hour, so you bring your revolver with you. You ask who is there. You hear two men outside, but can’t understand what they are saying. They shake the knob and rattle the door. You open the door to tell them to stop. They spray you with mace. You shoot them. They run away and you close and lock the door. Then you call the police.
Police find one of your attackers dead on your porch. They put other patrol units in your area. They arrest two men nearby. One of them has blood on his shirt. They give conflicting stories. They are arrested for outstanding warrants. They are later charged with first-degree burglary, third-degree assault, and felony murder. Your robbers had over a dozen felony charges from prior crimes.
Ben- Our defender was armed. He defended himself even though he faced three very bad men and was pepper sprayed. He locked the door and called the police.
Rob- What do you want us to do in a situation like this one?
Ben- Have a gun and a phone. Call the police, don’t open the door. At midnight, the answer at the door is “What do you need?”, not “Who is it?” Offer to call AAA or the cops, but don’t open the door to strangers in the middle of the night.
Rob- That sounds obvious, but maybe we have not heard that advice since we were 10 years old. When do you remind your students about that?
Ben- Whenever I can and share stories like this.
Rob- How common are home invasion robberies at night?
Ben- Getting more and more. A third or assaults are in or near the home. More than half are at night.
Rob- Is there anything else you want to cover before we go on?
Ben- We assume that the people we meet are reasonable. As we’re going though the day, we usually find a way to help each other. Criminals are not like that. Most assailants, including professional criminals, are intoxicated when they commit these assaults.
Rob- We’re glad the homeowner brought his gun, but if the situation is that dangerous, then don’t open the door.
Ben- Also, talk to your local police so you know the type of crime in your area.
Rob- Where are we headed next?
Ben- Our fourth and last story comes from Kalispell, Montana.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed in public?
You’re getting out of your truck at the gym where you exercise. It is just before noon when you see two employees from the gym talking to a homeless man. The homeless man is upset and reaches into one of his bags. He shouts that they are going to die today. He pulls out a handgun and shoots one of the gym employees.
You own a gun. You take your gun from your gym bag and shoot the attacker. The attacker shoots back. You keep shooting. You’re hit, but the attacker is down. Store employees call 911.
Emergency Medical Services take you to the hospital for treatment. You’re expected to recover. You talk to the police. Later you find out that the attacker was a homeless man living in the parking lot. He wanted money back from his gym membership and was unhappy with his refund. He murdered the store manager in front of you. He is facing murder charges if he survives his injuries.
Ben- Our defender had a gun nearby even when he went to the gym. He believed what he saw happening in front of him, and he took action. The story says he was either a veteran or active duty military and that may have helped. He shot the murderer and kept shooting even when he was wounded.
Rob- That is a lot. Is there something else you’d like us to do?
Ben- This happened in a parking lot. Use cars for cover. That might be harder than you think because the good guys and the murderer were so close to each other. If you can move to cover while doing other things it will up your survivability and drop your odds of being shot. Stopping the threat is important, but so is not getting shot.
Rob- When can your students practice using cover?
Ben- Anytime at the range or when they are dry practicing at home. Everytime you draw the firearm when dry practicing do it while moving to cover. Make it a habit.
Rob- Is there anything else?
Ben- You carry a gun to save lives. Have a medical kit with you for the same reason. If our defender was military then he probably has medical training. Make medical care part of your family emergency plan.
Rob- Has your son learned to use a tourniquet yet?
Ben- Yes, I’ve taught him and other basics, but I need to do more to make it stick. These stories always give me something to work on.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Ben, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Ben- I live in San Antonio, and most of my classes are in central Texas where I teach armed self-defense and church security. Check my schedule and sign up for my classes at Modern Self Protection.com. You can also subscribe to my weekly podcast called Modern Self-Protection.
Ben- We share this podcast with you for free.
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Rob- Like Ben’s podcast, this show is part of the Self-Defense Radio Network. Find more pro-freedom podcasts at sdrn.us
I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.