Episode 258 with Heather Reeves
Welcome to episode 258 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. And also if you’re still learning about armed defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Heather Reeves. How have you been, Heather?
Heather- Hi, Rob. I’ve been following the news closely. With the events in Oxford, MI and me teaching high school it has sparked a lot of conversation. It’s keeping me busy.
How about you?
Rob- I’ve been carrying every day, and teaching a friend some dry practice drills. That was fun.
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Heather- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times a day. We look at a few recent examples and see what we can learn. The links back to the original news articles on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Rob- First story- Are you armed as you arrive home?
You have a restraining order out against your ex-boyfriend after he shot at you. Now, he says he wants to get his things from your place. You said you’ll put them on the porch. You’re worried that your ex will be there when you arrive home, and he is. You shout for him to stay away from you. “Don’t come any closer.” Your ex grabs you. You present your firearm and shoot him. Now he lets go and moves away. You call 911 and ask for help.
The news article doesn’t say how far your ex ran. You holster your firearm and give a statement to the police. Your ex is arrested for three counts of felony bail jumping, with additional assessments as a domestic abuse repeater and habitual criminality repeater.
Because of his two convictions for domestic abuse and your restraining order, your ex was not supposed to be within 500 feet of you.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- I love the self-awareness here. She’s dealt with this volatile domestic situation for a while and allows herself to buy into her instinct which tells her that he might show up for his stuff.
Domestic abuse happens over a hundred thousand times a year and makes up 15% of all violent crime.
Over 40 percent of armed defense happens in the area immediately outside our home, so this story is more common than we might imagine.
Restraining order. Owned a gun. Carried a gun. Alert to danger. Recognized a physical threat. Defended herself. Called for help. Stayed on the scene. Gave a statement.
Rob- Talk to me about carrying in a purse, often called off-body carry, if someone is grabbing you.
Heather- Purse carry combined with someone grabbing at you can make it more difficult for you to retrieve the firearm, and potentially it can turn the firearm from being mine, to being ours or yours. Meaning that we could more easily end up in a tussle for the gun rather than me being able to retrieve and use the gun. Every method requires training. Grabs, and potential thefts of the purse are concerns when we start talking off-body carry.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like your students to do in a case like this one?
Heather- The victim was on the phone with a friend when she was attacked. In hindsight, you want to have your friend with you. You want lots of friends. Bring lots of very large and strong friends to stand in front of you. Bring a team of weight lifters, off duty police, and wrestlers who are all open carrying really big guns. Forget subtlety.
If you have to meet with your ex, meet in the lobby of the local police department.
Rob- That is good advice. Other than being disarmed inside the police station, that sounds like a good idea. I’d call the local police and ask for suggested places to meet. When would your students learn tips like this one?
Heather- Nuggets like this are sprinkled throughout (and often repeated throughout) all of our self-defense courses. Knowing your rights, as well as tips and information to up our awareness and self-preservation game are so important to anyone looking to stay safer.
Rob- Let’s say I have an abusive ex-partner. I’ve taken out a restraining order. I’ve had counseling. I want to feel safer and I’m considering physical security. What should I do? (What classes should I take?)
Heather- Seek out a basic handgun course and get comfortable with firearms. If you can afford a private lesson with a coach/instructor you’re comfortable with even better.
In working with DV survivors, we have found that more often than not, there is trauma to overcome when handling a pistol. Whether because the survivor has had a pistol used against them, or because of preconceived notions, learning to use a firearm in general before learning the specifics of self-defense with a firearm makes for a more successful concealed handgun or other more advanced learning session! Of course, nothing is one-size fits all, find a highly qualified instructor, and have a conversation or two with them before choosing what’s best for your situation.
Rob- Anything else?
Heather- We’ll talk about presenting a firearm from a holster, but that is in our next story. We’re headed to Dallas, Texas.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed as you drive?
It is 10:30 on a weeknight when you drive up to the address. You grab the pizza and carry it to the door. That is your job. You are a pizza delivery driver. Two young men run up to you. They are wearing masks. One of them has a gun pointed at you. He tells you to give him everything.
You have your Texas license to carry in your wallet. Your personal firearm is on your hip. The news article doesn’t say what you did with the pizza, but you present your firearm and shoot both of your attackers. Your armed attacker drops his gun so you stop shooting him. The other attacker runs away. You back away and call 911 for help.
You stay at the scene and holster your firearm. You call your store manager and tell her what happened. You give a brief statement to the police. They find the second robber nearby. Emergency medical services transport your robbers to the hospital. One robber was treated and released. He is arrested on charges of aggravated robbery. He faces charges of felony murder after his accomplice died in the hospital. The robbers are 15 and 17 years old.
Last week, another delivery driver in town was shot five times. You are not charged with a crime.
Heather, it seems I’m finding more stories like this one.
Heather- Lots of people are ordering food delivered to them. Lots of people lost their jobs or had their work hours cut back so they have taken delivery jobs. Half of violent crimes happen at night, but most are not on the public street like this. This event might sound unusual, but these circumstances are ordinary.
Armed. Licensed. Had a plan. Recognized a lethal, immediate and unavoidable threat. Defended himself. Stopped shooting. Stayed at the scene. Called for help.
Rob- I can’t think of much more our defender might have done.
Heather- Oh, Rob. We have to talk.
Did our defender create a diversion by throwing the pizza or his wallet in one direction, or by handing them to his attackers so their hands were filled. Did he move towards cover as he presented his firearm and shot?
He was shooting at night. Did any of his shots miss? We want him to move to safety once he thinks the threat is over, but we’d like him to be able to control the scene of the crime. Did he shout for help and ask everyone who can hear him to call 911?
If this happens to us, then we want you to call 911 yourself and stay on the call until the police arrive. Have legal defense insurance. Call your lawyer. Call your boss and say you’ll be busy for the next few days, and get some mental health counseling.
Rob- You’re right. There is a lot left to do.
Heather- So you own a gun. You want to learn how to present it efficiently. That takes time and repetitions.
Dominant hand goes to gun while it’s in the holster and established
(Talk to a new gun owner. Describe the many steps that end in presenting your firearm. We start with a basic firearms safety class.)
Rob- I don’t need to have my carry license to learn that, do I?
Heather- Much of it you don’t. Up to the point where you are actually drawing from concealment, or physically starting to conceal the gun, you are perfectly legal.
Rob- What steps do I have to take to get a carry permit in your state?
Heather- Let’s start before you buy your gun. Take a class so you’re safe when you rent guns at the shooting range. You want to shoot enough that you start to feel the difference. It is a story like goldilocks and the three bears. Some guns are too small, some are too big, and some fit you best. From there..
- -Basic firearms safety/introduction
- -Purchase and practice
- -Learn about holsters
- -Learn to draw from an open holster
- -Take a Concealed Carry Class (in MI called a Concealed Pistol License)
- -Learn about concealment and how to draw from concealment.
Rob- That is a great introduction.
Heather- Thank you. Our third story took place in Baxter, Kansas.
Rob- First this message from Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home?
You and your wife are home with your kids. It is after 8 on a weekday night when someone starts banging on your door. You don’t know who it is and you don’t open the door. You tell the stranger to go away. He keeps trying to get in so you call the police. You grab your gun. You back into your bedroom with your wife and children. Your attacker breaks down your front door and then comes toward you. You shoot your attacker until he stops advancing. Now you stop shooting. Your attacker runs outside.
Police detain your attacker outside and EMS takes him to the hospital. The 911 operator says that the police are outside your home and it is safe for you to come out. You put away your gun and all of you come out. You talk to the officers. So does your wife. Detectives arrive and ask you to give a statement at the police department.
Police charge your attacker with aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, and criminal damage to property. The police take your firearm as evidence.
You’re not charged.
Heather- Locked. Called. Retreated. Defended. Stayed inside.
I bet our defender and his family had a home security plan.
Rob- What would that look like?
Heather- talk w your family. Build a plan. Walk through the plan and fix the flaws you find. Practice it. From a knock at the door to being on the phone during defense. And reinforce your door locks.
Rob- It doesn’t say if the defender was carrying inside the home.
Heather- I want both of you to carry whenever you can. What would happen if you’re doing dishes and your unarmed partner is near the door when someone tries to kick their way inside. What if “the designated defender” is in the bathroom. Let’s both carry and both of us practice.
Rob- You don’t need a state permit to carry at home.
Heather- No, but it is nice to have one. (and tell me why)
Rob- This is different from defending yourself in a parking lot.
Heather- It really is. We spend a lot of time with our family at home. We can make general plans to defend our home. For example, we can have the kids on the floor behind the bed. Your spouse is on the phone. You are behind the bed too with your gun pointed ……..
Heather- Our last story took place in Durham, North Carolina.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at work?
You are selling jewelry at a small booth in the mall. It is the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving and there are lots of people around. Two men walk up to your display. One grabs your gold chains and the other points a gun at you. You’re being robbed.
You’re armed. You present your gun and shoot your armed attacker. He shoots back. You shoot until he drops his gun. Now you stop shooting. The unarmed robber runs away.
News reports don’t say how far your armed attacker ran. You shout for help, and two off-duty police officers who work as mall security arrive in a minute. Two people in the crowd were struck by bullet fragments that ricocheted. Emergency medical services transported them, and your attacker to the hospital. You are not injured, but your ears are ringing.
You give a statement to the police. The two bystanders are treated and released from the hospital. Your attacker is expected to survive. Police published the security video from the mall and are looking for his accomplice.
Heather- I’m not sure if this is categorized as being robbed at work, or being robbed in public, but we know crime goes up during the holidays.
Rob- What did our defender do correctly?
Heather- Armed. Stopped shooting when threat stopped.
Rob- Some instructors include presenting your firearm from the holster in the first lessons. Just because you showed it to me doesn’t mean I really know how to do it. How long does it take to become subconscious and smooth?
Heather- Automaticity is a funny thing, it usually takes thousands of reps in a variety of circumstances for us to really internalize something to that level.
Responsible for every shot we fire.
Rob- When do your students learn about the legal use of lethal force, and then learn what to say to the police when they arrive?
Heather- We cover this in our concealed handgun course because it is essential if someone is going to know how to stop a threat, they need to know when it is appropriate to use lethal force, and how to organize their thoughts for the aftermath. Your initial statement can make a difference in your defense.
It is important to put the gun away once we are safe.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Where can we learn more about what you’re doing?
Heather- We share this podcast with you for free.
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Rob- 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.
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