Episode 275 with Ben Branam
Welcome to episode 275 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 my friend and firearms instructor Ben Branam. What kept you so busy since the last time we talked?
Rob- I’m good. I carried and dry practiced last week. My wife and I talked about taking an armed defense class together, so that is exciting.
We also had a comment on our podcast webpage. Robert said- “I’m always amazed at how many of these stories take place in Philadelphia. I grew up in Mayfair, but left there in 1985. At the time, there was very little crime. Now my 81 year old mother tells me how someone is killed or there is a stabbing or shooting almost every day.”
One of our listeners commented that the new motto in Chicago is, Hey, at least we’re not Philadelphia.
Dan left us a message on our Facebook page. He is a new concealed carry holder and has been binge listening for a few days. He says that he and his wife are learning things they never would have thought of on their own. Dan has been an Emergency Medical Technician for decades. He wonders about the law if he has to give medical aid to someone he had to shoot.
Thank you for giving us a listen and sharing the podcast with your wife.
I asked lawyer Alex Ooley who works with firearms law. He pointed me to an article he’d written. The link is in our show notes.
Some jurors will see rendering aid as the morally correct course of action. Some jurors may see your attempt to render aid as a sign of guilt and they think you are trying to save the perpetrator because of some mistake you made when you decided to shoot.
Another aspect is the preservation of evidence since you may deliberately change body position, wound condition, clothing damage, weapon location, or a number of other pieces of evidence that might be critical to the investigation. Another medical professional might do exactly the same things that you did, but their motives wouldn’t be attacked in court. Yours could be.
Those are the considerations for layman, but state law may make other determinations for a medical professional.
This is the second week in a row when we didn’t get a single rating or comment on iTunes.
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Ben- 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 Wiregrass, Alabama.
Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby at home?
It is a few hours after midnight when you wake up. You hear sounds of someone breaking into the trailer home where you live. You get out of bed and grab your firearm. A stranger is in your house. Rather than run away when he sees you, you have to fight the stranger to get him to leave. You shoot the robber twice and he stops fighting with you. You stop shooting. You back away and call the police.
You give a statement to the police when they arrive. Emergency medical services take your attacker to the local hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds to his leg and abdomen. The attacker is facing charges of home invasion/robbery when he gets out of the hospital.
You are not charged with a crime.
Ben- I like that the homeowner locked his doors and windows. He was armed for his defense. That means his gun was quickly accessible and his gun was stored in a condition where it could be used immediately once he got his hands on it.
Our defender climbed the use-of-force ladder. He tried to push the intruder out of his home. He fought with the intruder. When that didn’t work, the defender used lethal force. He also stopped shooting when the attacker stopped fighting.
The defender called for help and gave a statement to the police.
Rob- What else would you like us to do to defend our homes?
Ben- What if our defender didn’t hear the robber? The robber had to break a window or a door. When you think you might have heard that noise at night, it would be great to have an alarm in your house, even if all it did was to turn on a light in the center of your home. You hear the noise, but you’re half asleep and you’re wondering if you really heard something, then you hear the alarm and you know you have to get out of bed and do some work.
Rob- There is an impulse to pretend you didn’t hear glass breaking.
Ben- That is why thieves make one loud noise and then stay quiet so you don’t hear a sound that confirms your suspicions.
Rob- Do we want to go hand to hand with our attacker?
Ben- Not if I can avoid it. Trailer homes can be small and our defender may not have been able to avoid it. And, most people forget, that when you go hands on with someone, there is a gun involved and you brought it. If I’m carrying a gun I’m even less likely to go hands on because I don’t want to lose or get the gun involved if I don’t have to.
Rob- Home invasions are pretty common. What else should we do to harden our homes?
Ben- Lights on the outside, get ride of cover for people to hide behind, know your neighbors, and make your house less inviting to robbers than the ones around you.
Rob- Anything else?
Ben- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Pace, Florida.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at home in the afternoon?
You are at home at about 5pm. You hear someone break into your home. You shoot at the intruder. He runs away. You holster your gun and go about your business.
The intruder was a career criminal and was being chased by 20 police officers after he broke into a number of homes that afternoon. The police hear the shots you fired. They catch the criminal when he runs from the police at the front of your neighbor’s home and jumps into the arms of the police who are waiting at the back of your neighbor’s home.
You saw the Sheriff speak on the evening news.
‘If someone’s breaking into your house, you’re more than welcome to shoot them in Santa Rosa County. We prefer that you do, actually. So, whoever that was, you’re not in trouble. Come see us. We have a gun-safety class we put on every other Saturday. If you take that class then you’ll shoot a lot better, and hopefully you’ll save the taxpayers some money.’
You check your calendar to see if you’re busy on Saturday.
Your intruder has been arrested 17 times. He was sent to prison for six and a half years. He has open charges for aggravated assault, battery and violation of probation. He is also a registered high-risk sex offender. He is jailed on a 157 thousand dollars bond.
Ben- You’re having a little fun with us on this story, but there are bad guys in this world who don’t care about us or our laws. They think a window is simply a noisy way to enter our home. I like that our defender was armed at home. He recognized an immediate problem and he defended himself. He did not chase the bad guy down the street with a gun in his hands.
I also want to talk about what the sheriff said.
Rob- Please do.
Ben- The gun doesn’t make you safe. It is only a tool and you have to learn how to use it. You have to learn how to protect your home and how to use the firearm and then you have to practice those skills. You probably can’t draw your gun cleanly if you have not done it in the last six months. You can’t do it quickly if you haven’t practiced in the last few weeks.
So how do we feel comfortable and competent? It might mean going to the range, taking a class, trying some low-key competition, or carrying at home several days a week. Best yet would be for you and your partner to try all of those and to see what works for you.
Rob- I imagine that your students ask you this all the time. Ben, I’m taking a class once a year but I don’t feel more comfortable and I don’t seem to get better. What do you suggest to them?
Rob- What would you like us to do in this situation?
Ben- If you touch your firearm then I want you to call the police.
Rob- When do your students learn that they should call the police?
Ben- All the time.
Rob- Where are we headed next?
Ben- Our third story happened in Middleboro, Massachusetts.
First this message from FASTER Colorado.
Rob- Third story- Are you prepared to defend your sister at home?
It is 7:30 in the morning. You are a 14 year old girl who is home on spring break. Your mom already left for work this morning. You are awake and your younger sister is still asleep.
You hear a strange sound. You step into the hallway outside your bedroom and hear someone in the garage. You run to the kitchen and grab two steak knives. Then you open the garage door and shout,
“Get out of here. Get out of my home. You don’t belong here.”
The intruder drops the property in his hands and runs to his truck. You pull your phone from your pocket and take a video of the intruder. You also take video of his license plate as he backs down your driveway. You’re frightened, but you manage to call 911.
Your intruder is arrested as he crosses over a local bridge. He is charged with aggravated breaking and entering, trespassing, attempted larceny, and disorderly conduct. He has a criminal history that goes back four decades. The intruder has been arraigned 130 times before for burglary and robbery. He is held pending a 200 thousand dollar cash bail.
Your mom says you are amazing.
Ben- Her mom is right.
She thought that something didn’t seem right so she acted to protect herself and her sister. She investigated and heard a noise in the garage. She armed herself. She tried verbal commands. She did not chase the bad guy. She collected evidence and then called the police.
Rob- I put this one toward the end of the episode because it is a hard problem. We have teenagers that we think are old enough to be left alone at home, but are they old enough to be taught to protect themselves from harm?
Rob- What would you like your teenage students and their parents to do?
Rob- Do you talk about this with your students, both the adults and the teenagers?
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do if there was an intruder in our garage?
Ben- Our fourth story took place in San Antonio, Texas.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you fill your car with gas?
You pull into the gas station at 10 in the morning. You’re pumping gas into your car when a stranger jumps out of a truck and jumps into your car, a Honda Accord. You run to the passenger seat and jump in. You fight with the carjacker to make him get out. He puts the car in reverse and heads into traffic. You draw your firearm and shoot your kidnapper several times. Now he takes his foot off the gas and you turn off the car. You get out and run. You call 911 for help. You put your gun away.
You give the police a brief statement when they arrive. You show the police your identification. EMTs take your kidnapper to the hospital with severe and life threatening injuries. News photographs show four separate bullet holes in the driver’s side window.
You are not charged with a crime.
Ben- Our defender recognized that the world isn’t a safe place. He decided to buy a firearm for self-defense. He learned how to shoot it. He learned how to carry it concealed. The defender recognized when he faced a lethal threat when the robber drove off with him still inside his car. He defended himself and then stopped shooting when the threat stopped. He stayed at the scene and was helping the police.
Rob- But what?
Ben- But please don’t leave your keys in your car even though you are standing right next to it and pumping gas.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do if we’re carjacked?
Rob- Texas is unusual in that it allows the use of lethal force to protect property. Most states don’t. How does that change what we should do?
Rob- We can get some bad legal advice from the people at the local gun store. Do you talk about the legal aspects of armed defense with your students, or do they learn that in a specialty course on firearms law?
Rob- Mister Ben Branam, that wraps up this episode. Where can we learn more about you?
Ben- I teach armed self-defense and church security. I live in San Antonio, and most of my classes are in central Texas. Sign up for my classes at Modern Self Protection.com, and subscribe to my weekly podcast called Modern Self-Protection.
Rob- After you read Ben’s articles, look at his videos, after you subscribe to his podcast and you sign up for his classes, then give your credit card a rest and leave us free a message on the podcast episode webpage.
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.