Episode 252 with David Cole
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 252 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 firearms instructor David Cole. How have you been, David?
David- Hi, Rob. I’ve been wrapping up USPSA season and getting ready for hunting season. Hydro dipped my scout rifle, and putting together a new rifle setup in 6.5mm Creedmoor…and no, I am not growing a man bun.
How about you?
Rob- I spoke in Dallas at the alternative media conference about respecting your audience.
Speaking of our listeners, we received a new rating on iTunes (is 255,142). Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new listeners know what you like. Also, we were invited to post our podcast in a Facebook group called Self-Defense News. I thought their posts were interesting and I invite you to look at their wall. Dan Veldt posted us on his facebook wall because he thought most people don’t hear about armed defense. Thank you, Dan.
David- Here in the US, 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 the links back to the original news articles on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Anderson, Indiana.
Rob- First story- Do you have a gun nearby early in the morning?
It is 1 in the morning when you hear your front door kicked in. A man is yelling that he is the police, that you should come out, and that they are searching for the money. You step out of your bedroom and see an armed man wearing a mask at the bottom of the stairs. He is not wearing a police uniform. You run back to your bedroom and grab your gun. You shoot the intruder when he runs into your bedroom. That is when you run outside and go to your neighbor’s house. You ask your neighbors to let you in and for them to call 911.
You tell the police what happened. They find your armed attacker upstairs in your home. He died at the scene. Your neighbors have surveillance video that shows your attacker drive up and look into your windows before he kicks in your door.
David- defender owned a gun
Had her gun nearby
Stored it in a condition so she could use it immediately if she needed it.
She retreated to a safe location in her home.
She defended herself when the intruder entered her bedroom.
She again retreated to a safe location with the neighbors and asked them to call 911.
She gave a statement to the police.
Rob- Is there something else you’d like your students to do if they were in a situation like this one?
David- If you hear your front door being broken in, then move to a safe place and grab your gun. Lock the bedroom door and call 911. You really don’t care who is downstairs. If there are other family members upstairs, then you might have to get them into your bedroom or move to their room, or you might choose to guard the stairway so the upstairs is protected.
The defender mentioned she had children but none of them were in the home. If children are ever in your home then you need to have a way to safely store your firearm.
Rob- When do students learn about defending their home?
David- Legal aspects are taught in both of the concealed carry classes I teach, but practical considerations are often not covered until more advanced training.
Rob- How hard is it to defend a stairway? How do you practice that with your students?
David- Defending is ALWAYS going to be easier and safer than advancing. It is a heck of a lot easier to defend a stairway from the top than to try and work your way up the stairway from the bottom. So you get as far away from the stairway as you can, but be close enough that you can see down the stairway. That means you’re only showing part of your face to the attacker trying to go up the stairs. You can shoot at them but they can barely see you at all.
Rob- Anything else?
David- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Waukegan, Illinois.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at home in the middle of the morning?
You’re working from home today. You rent a basement apartment in a small house. You hear the female renter upstairs scream, and the sound frightens you. You also hear two men upstairs shouting at your female neighbor to put down the baby and to put her hands up..
You own a gun. You have your Illinois Firearms owners ID card. You grab your hand gun and move up the stairs. You see two strange men, and one of them has a gun pointed at your neighbor. You shoot him. You duck back downstairs and grab your rifle. You come back upstairs and the second robber shoots at you. You shoot back. Now one robber drags the second robber outside. You and your neighbor stay inside and call the police.
Your neighbor was babysitting an infant. She had the infant in her arms when the robbers claimed to be utility workers and pushed their way inside her home. Neither you, nor your neighbor, nor the infant are injured. You give a statement to the police when they arrive. The police find your dead attackers on the front lawn. Your attackers have a long record of arrests and convictions. You and your neighbor move to another home because of threats from local gangs. Both of you have your FOID cards, and of course, the robbers didn’t.
David- I see what you did there. The first story was self-defense, but now you’re asking us to defend our neighbor.
Our defender owned a firearm.
He kept the firearm accessible
He used cover so he wouldn’t get shot as he shot the bad guys
He stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police.
Rob- What else do you see here?
David- It sounds like the upstairs neighbor owned a gun too, but she didn’t have it on her or she didn’t have the opportunity to use it. The downstairs neighbor had an advantage because he was out of sight and the bad guys were not pointing their gun at him. That gave him time to prepare before he started shooting.
Rob- What is best practice if we have innocent people held at gunpoint.
David- I’m glad the defender also had a rifle, but good tactics beat hardware every time. You don’t know what is happening once you duck back down the stairway.
Normally, I don’t like to give up…and then have to re-take…ground I already hold. There may have been a good reason in this case, but we just don’t know. Our defender shot the bad guys, and then he retreated which let the attacker pick up the handgun they dropped. That puts us, and our neighbor the infant, at risk again.
We don’t have to give a verbal warning. Shoot the attacker who is holding the gun, and shoot the next attacker if he moves his hands toward his waist or if he reaches down toward the gun.
Rob- How can I tell if the attacker is reaching down to pick up the gun, or to grab his buddy that fell down?
David- You don’t have to tell that at all because we don’t care what his intentions are. The armed attacker threatened an innocent person. We don’t care if he wasn’t going to shoot, we only care that he could do so. The next attacker reached down toward the floor. That is consistent with a threat. We don’t care if it was to grab the gun or to grab his friend. He had a chance to run away and he made an aggressive movement, so he died. We won’t have, and we don’t need, perfect knowledge about the attacker’s intentions.
Rob- When do new gun owners learn about the laws of self-defense?
David- Basic legal concepts are typically covered in initial concealed carry training, but I would recommend that if you intend to go armed that you delve a bit more deeply. I highly recommend Andrew Branca’s “Law Of Self Defense” and Massad Ayoob’s “Deadly Force.” I am also a member of the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Fund, and in addition to legal defense assistance, they also include training materials as a benefit of membership. These aren’t ads…I personally pay for and use these resources.
Our third story happened in Port Arthur, Texas.
Rob- First this message from Doctors for responsible gun ownership.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed as you buy dinner?
You’re glad to be standing in line. The local fast-food chicken restaurant now lets customers walk inside and order at the counter so you don’t have to wait and work your way through the slow line at the drive-through window. You’re waiting for your order just before 9 at night. Two young men come inside and push to the front of the line. They are wearing masks. They also have guns in their hands. They threaten the kids behind the counter and they point their guns at the customers too.
You own a gun. You’re armed tonight. You wait until you have a clear shot and then shoot the two attackers. They run from the store. You stay at the scene and shout for everyone to call the police. You holster your gun and give a statement when the police arrive.
Police find your attackers nearby. Both are taken to the local hospital. One of them died and one is expected to recover. You are released and not charged with a crime.
David- You’re on a roll. We went from self-defense, to defending a neighbor and infant, and now we’re defending the kids who are working behind the counter at a fast food restaurant.
Our defender was armed. He recognized a lethal threat. He waited until the gun wasn’t pointed at him so he could present his firearm. He shot the attackers until the threat stopped. He stopped shooting when the threat ended. He stayed at the scene and gave a statement.
Rob- There is more you want us to do.
David- First of all, extreme caution is the rule when it comes to defense of a third party. There are a lot of pitfalls and complications that go with it, and it’s important to understand these. We are under no obligation to defend a third party, but if we choose to do so, we take on a lot of responsibility. In some locales, mistakes are not as readily forgiven than if we were simply defending ourselves or those in our immediate care. In a case like this…depending on the behavior of the robbers…compliance may be the best option. Let them have the money and leave, if that is all they want. Even better is if we can simply escape, if that is an option. (Do you know where the exits are?)
But if we choose to engage, better to move toward cover and a position of advantage. We need to be aware of our background and ensure that there are no innocents in the way. Consider which attacker is the greatest threat. In the previous story, that meant the attacker who was holding the gun. Both of the attackers were armed in this story, so you should shoot the attacker closest to you first.
Rob- What should we do after the bad guys run away?
David- Ask to see if anyone is injured. Ask everyone to call 911. Ask the store employees to lock the door and to move out of the front of the store.
Holster your firearm, move to safety, ask again if anyone is hurt, then call 911 yourself. Give them your address and describe what you look like. Open the door for the police when they arrive.
Rob- What should we tell the police when they arrive?
David- Let’s save that for the next story.
Rob- Where are we headed for our fourth story?
David- Our last story took place in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Rob- Fourth story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?
People have been burglarizing your house at night for the last week. You stay at home tonight. You’re woken up by a crashing sound after two in the morning. You’re armed. You move into your home and see two intruders, but the way they are talking there might be more of them outside. They move around your home. When they move toward you, you shoot the robber closest to you. Now, the robbers run. You call 911 and stay inside your home.
Agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation take your statement. Emergency medical services declare one robber dead at the scene. Police notice your property that the thieves dropped on your front lawn as they ran. You’re not charged with a crime.
Door was locked.
He gave a statement to the police when they arrived.
Rob- Should our defender have been there at all?
David- That is a good question. I want you to call the police every time someone breaks into your home. That creates a paper trail that separates you from the bad guys. I also want you to install outside lights. Motion detectors. Put up a security video system or even a trail camera. It sounds like our defender did not live there full time, so I’d be concerned that an overzealous prosecutor might argue that by waiting there with a gun, you were “setting an ambush” or “looking to kill” or “creating a violent situation.” Pulling a trigger should be the last resort.
Rob- Is there something else you want us to do?
David- Don’t shoot at shapes in the dark…use a light!
David- When the police arrive, don’t have your gun in your hand. Expect to be detained and handcuffed while the police figure out what is going on, so show them empty hands and cooperate.
Rob- What should we tell the police when they arrive?
David- Say as little as possible until you can consult with an attorney, but don’t withhold information which can be of immediate assistance to the police.
In this case, tell the officers something like this-
I called you. I’m the homeowner. Several people broke into my home tonight. A stranger moved toward me inside my home so I defended myself. I called you as soon as I could. I’ll press charges and be a witness against them. I’ll cooperate and answer all your questions once I’ve spoken to my lawyer.
Rob- Do you have self-defense insurance, and when would new gun owners learn about self-defense insurance or other pre-paid plans?
David- I do. I will typically mention it during a concealed carry class. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Fund, and one of their benefits is that they do provide training materials for continuing education.
Rob- that wraps up this episode. David, 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 Dave’s articles, then please leave us a message on the podcast facebook page. I notice that you wrote an article about flashlights we should put in our pocket.
David- That was actually more of a share (with some of my opinions just as a bonus) of an article written by our mutual friend Kevin Creighton, and it’s a great review of several flashlights. And…
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I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.