Episode 274 with Amanda Suffecool
Welcome to episode 274 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and if you’re still learning about armed defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Amanda Suffecool. Amanda, what is keeping you busy?
Amanda- Hey, Rob. I’m knee deep in planning a fashion show, the travel to Rick Ectors Detroit women’s shooting event and travel to the DC Project 3 gun match. Besides my hair is on fire, I need a new gun and I have two – make that three drivable trips to make in the short term future. The rest is all good.
How about you?
Rob- I carried every day and I’ve been writeing and exercising.
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Amanda- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times a day. We look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn. The links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rob- First story- Are you armed during the day?
You are at home with your young son. It is about 8 in the morning when you hear glass break from the front of your house. That is near your son’s room, so you grab your gun and open your bedroom door to see what is happening.
You see that your son’s door is open and there is a stranger standing in your hallway. You present your firearm and shoot until the man drops. You run to check on your son. He is looking around and wondering what broke his window, but he isn’t injured. You keep your son with you and call 911.
You have to leave your son for a minute to put your gun away and open the front door for the police. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital with life threatening injuries. You show the police your identification. You give them a brief statement and explain that you don’t know your attacker. The police recover 9 shell casings in your hallway. Your attacker was shot in the chest, neck, and head.
You’re not charged.
Amanda- I’m glad this homeowner had his doors and windows locked. I’m glad our defender owned a gun. I like that he paid attention and didn’t think to himself, that sound will go away if I ignore it.
He recognized a lethal threat of a burglar breaking in through his son’s room. He defended himself and his son, then he stopped shooting. He checked on his son and put his gun away. He called 911 and gave a statement to the police. That sounds simple, but he did it when his emotions were going crazy, so great job.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d want your students to do?
Amanda- I don’t know how large his son was, but it sounds like he was shooting past his son’s room as he shot down the hallway. If an adult comes out of that room then you’re going to shoot him accidentally. The lesson for us is to think through how we will defend our family.
Also, the defender missed his target with some of his shots, and those shots went through the walls and into the next door apartment. Think about the directions where you can and can’t shoot in your home.
Rob- Wow. When do you talk to your students about that?
Amanda- We start with the first firearms safety class, but we cover it again in greater detail in an armed defense in the home class.
Rob- Are home invasions very common?
Amanda- About one and a half million times a year, but that has changed with the Covid lockdowns. A burglary is when a criminal takes your things when you’re away. A home invasion robbery is when he tries to take your things when you’re there. We saw more robberies since more of us were at home rather than away at work.
Rob- Where are we going next?
Amanda- Our second story happened in Houston, Texas.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed in public?
It is just before midnight when your mom calls you. She says a stranger is trying to get into her home. You grab your firearm and drive the few blocks to your mom’s home. You walk up and see a stranger break through your mom’s front door. You follow him and tell him to stop. He keeps going and you shoot him several times. Now he stops, turns, and tries to leave. He falls at the front door.
You check on your mom and she is uninjured. The news stories aren’t clear if she called 911 or if you did. Your mom tells you that the stranger said he was a home healthcare nurse and was performing a checkup. She didn’t let him in and the stranger broke down her door.
You give a brief statement to the police. So does your mom. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene.
You are not charged with a crime.
Amanda- I am so glad that mom locked her doors and did not open them for a stranger. I like that the son decided to bring his firearm. I like that mom retreated to a safe place when the attacker broke in. One of the reports says that mom had a gun, but we don’t know if she retrieved it and had it in her hand. I like that the son stopped shooting when the threat stopped, and we don’t know if mom or the son was calling 911.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do?
Amanda- I want mom to be armed. I want her to call 911 right after she calls her son. I want her to either leave the house through the back door or lock herself into her bedroom, and then I want the police to come and arrest the bad guy before we get in a gunfight.
Rob- Why do you say that?
Amanda- We don’t know if the next robber is going to be armed, and if he gets off a lucky shot that kills mom as she hides under her bed. Let’s avoid that entirely by watching the police enter our home as we’re sitting in our neighbor’s house and drinking a glass of wine..or maybe something stronger.
Rob- So mom and son were lucky. How do your students learn what is best practice if someone attacks their home?
Amanda- There isn’t a single best practice because what works for me could be horrible for your family in your house. Best practice is a guideline that you have to mold to your situation. And the position of the son to the robber to the mother could be troubling to some overzealous prosecutor looking to make a name for him/herself.
Rob- So when do we build a well tailored defense for our home and our work?
Amanda- I tell my students to take an analytical walk through their house at night. Once the house has been put to bed. Look at where bad guys would come in, where the microwave or the TV lights up the room. My house, the electric toothbrush throws enough light to create shadows in the hallway. Know your house & have a plan.
Our third story happened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center
Rob- Third story- Do you have a gun nearby at night?
You’re walking out of your apartment at 10pm. You turn to lock your door when two men come up behind you.
Police. Stay where you are. Keep your hands where we can see them.
They are wearing badges around their necks and black ski masks over their faces.
They push you back inside your apartment and draw their guns. They tell you not to move. They demand your money, and they pull zip ties from their pockets. You figure out that these are not the police.
You’re armed with a gun on your hip. You pull your hand free, get a grip on your gun, and shoot the nearest attacker several times. Your closest attacker falls and the second attacker runs out the door. Your girlfriend yells from upstairs. You shout back to call the cops.
You stay inside your apartment. You holster your gun. You give the police a brief statement. Emergency Medical Services transports your attacker to the hospital. The police recover six shell casings on your doorstep. You have to go to the police station where detectives question you and your girlfriend. You’re released to return home.
Your attacker was declared dead with gunshot wounds to his chest, arm, and head. You’re not charged with a crime.
You talked to the reporter who called and you said that things have gotten crazy in Philadelphia and that everyone who can should be armed.
Amanda- That is a nightmare. I’m glad the defender wore his firearm. He defended himself and his girlfriend, and then he didn’t chase the bad guy down the street. He called for help. He and his girlfriend gave a brief statement to the police.
Rob- That was too close for comfort, but what else can we do?
Amanda- I want both of you to go armed. I want her to lock the door as you leave rather than have you turn around outside your door. Or have it automatically lock when you pull it closed. I want you to have outside lights, and maybe motion activated lights.
If you have a short trip to make at 10 pm, then maybe you both go armed or you don’t go at all. Especially if you are now living in a neighborhood where you need a second pair of eyes.
Rob- This was close quarters combat because the defender had to push the bad guy away so he had enough room to draw his gun. Where does that fit in your classes? It isn’t in my basic firearms safety class.
Amanda- there is a study that says if you are that close, you generally don’t have time to get to your gun. That your best course of defense is to take their gun from them – as they are not expecting that. But that takes practice and skill. Honed skills gotten by repetition and practice.
And this story is even more troublesome in that they were impersonating a police officer in the shadowy darkness. Police officers that we are all told to follow their commands and sort out any cases of mistaken identity later. This is extremely troublesome.
The reports didn’t say if the attacker had a criminal record. With the explosion of technology driven doorbells there was probably a camera on the street that has a picture of the bad guys. Add to that, Drugs are a huge problem in many of our cities. If you, a relative, a roommate, or a frequent guest to your home is using or dealing drugs then the likelihood of an invasion like this goes way up. We know a friend who was attacked because he had a game night for his church at his home, and the local druggies thought he was having a drug party so they tried to rob him at gunpoint.
Rob- Bad people can come to our door.
Amanda- And we want to be ready for them.
Our fourth story took place in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you arrive home?
You turn onto your street and see an empty parking place. It is about an hour after sunset. The only places to park your car for the night are on the street and you’re glad you found a spot near your home. You turn off your car, lock it, and start walking down the street to your front door. You see a car stop and back up the street. The car stops and the passenger gets out. The passenger points a gun at you and tells you to give him your keys.
You are a gun owner too. You have your Louisiana carry permit. You’re armed tonight. You throw the car keys toward your car and you run the other way. You run between the cars and duck under a parked car. You present your firearm. You watch the robber move toward your car. He sees you and raises his gun. You shoot first and then run for your front door. Inside, you call 911 and ask for the police.
You give the officers a brief statement. They check your driver’s license and your carry permit. You and the officers look down the street. Your car is still in its parking place and your keys are next to it.
Police arrest your attackers at the local hospital. Your robber is unconscious with a bullet wound in his neck. The police recover two other handguns in the getaway car. One of the guns is listed as stolen.
News reports don’t mention how the three young men, all 17 years old, were charged. In the last year, there have been four carjackings on your street and two more attempted carjackings. You are not charged with a crime.
Amanda- Our defender was armed. He got his carry permit. He carried concealed in public, and he had his head up and his eyes open when he got out of his car. He created a distraction and moved to cover. From there, he made a good shot in the dim light from an unusual position. He ran and called 911.
Rob- What else do you see?
Amanda- We get fixed on our goals. In this case, he wanted to get home. What if the best place to hide was behind your neighbor’s house that was right in front of you. A detour might save your life and keep you from getting shot.
Rob- We see some bad guys outside as we walk out of the grocery store and then we run for our car rather than turning around and taking two steps to get back into the store.
Do you have any clever drills that help your students think on their feet like this?
Amanda- Our defender used one of my favorites. If they want my ‘stuff’ I toss it one way and run the other. If they go after the keys, then they can have the car and I get to go home. If they come after me, or our defender, like they did in this story, then you know the fight is on. That fight came to you and you have to fight for your life.
Rob- What instruction comes after I have my carry permit?
Amanda- All of it. The permit class is just the start. I take several classes a year to learn from other instructors and to keep my skills honed. If you don’t use the skills you lose them. Keep training.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Amanda Suffecool, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Amanda- My eye on the target radio show is syndicated coast to coast on Sunday nights from 5 to 7 eastern time. I instruct on the weekends in Northeastern Ohio. I’m part of the DCProject that you can find at DCProject.info and I’m now on TV on the OpsLens channel with both Eye on the Target on Sundays and Women for Gun Rights on Fridays at 7 pm eastern.
Rob- After you subscribe to Amanda’s programs, then please leave us a message on the podcast episode webpage.
Amanda- 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.