Episode 276 with Heather Reeves
Welcome to episode 276 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 Heather Reeves. I saw some of the pictures and you’ve been traveling.
Heather- Hi, Rob. I went to the national conferance of A Girl and A Gun, and had a great time.
So how have you been?
Rob- I carried every day. I dry practiced, and I’ve been exercising regularly. So I’m good.
Tim left us a message on iTunes. He is a new listener and likes the way we study each story. He is going back through our old episodes. Quote, “So much good information.” Close quote. (is 281, 159)
Thank you, Tim.
Dwayne left us a message on our webpage. He said, ‘Glad to hear your instructor talk about waving goodbye to your car instead of starting shooting. I read an article about a family where someone entered their detached garage, and the family opened the back door and started firing. In my opinion, they should have stayed in the house and called the police. My comment was met with many variants of “my stuff is more important than a criminal’s life.” Anti-second amendment types love quotes like that.’
Dwayne, thank you for thinking of us, and I agree with you. There are many news stories of armed defense that I don’t use because they are not close enough to best practice. I also try to keep my personal politics out of this podcast. You can find my political views on my SlowFacts blog, on the Polite Society podcast where we talk about politics and guns, on the Daily Bullet, and on Lock-N-Load radio where I’m a weekly guest.
Your comments and your ratings help new listeners find us. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell them why you listen.
Heather- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times a day. We’ll look at a few of the recent examples to see what we can learn. The links back to the original news articles are on our episode webpage.
Our first story took place last week in San Antonio, Texas.
Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?
It is a little before 10 in the evening on a Thursday night. You are at home with your three children. You hear glass breaking. You get up and grab your firearm. Someone has broken into the laundry room window at the back of your home. You get between your children’s room and the laundry. The intruder breaks through a second door to enter your home. That is when you shoot the intruder. Now, he turns and goes back into the laundry room and out the window. Your kids are crying, but unhurt. You call 911.
You put your gun away and talk to the police when they arrive. Police find your attacker in your backyard sitting on a chair and bleeding from two gunshot wounds to the chest. EMS transports him, but he dies on the way to the hospital.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- Mom protected her kids. I like that her doors and windows were locked. She paid attention when she heard a noise. She got her gun and defended her family. She stopped shooting when the intruder turned and ran. She called the police. She did not chase the intruder. She put her gun away and gave a statement to the police when they arrived.
Rob- Is there anything you didn’t see in the news report that you want to highlight?
Heather- I want a motion alarm to sound when the intruder enters her home. I want mom to turn on the lights so she identifies her attacker. I want her to hide behind a wall or a couch so she is not visible to the attacker. I want her children to know to hide under their beds, and to stay there until she calls them.
Rob- It is every parents’ nightmare for your child to run into a gunfight. How do we make a plan and train our children?
Heather- That is a complex question, but it isn’t a hard one. The answer depends on the age of your children and the tools you have for their defense. You have to study and put together a plan. Learn how to build plans with your loved ones, and teach them how to think on their feet and under stress. Call the local gun shops, or if you live in a smaller town, call the local police station and ask if there is someone they recommend so you can learn about home defense. Do what you can this week, and put a better plan in place next week. You do not have to scare your children to start building their skills with them.
Rob- The news articles don’t tell us, but I bet mom was a mess. I know that I would be.
Heather- We don’t cover that because the news reports don’t talk about it, but I’d plan on missing work for a few days if I had to shoot someone in my home. Use your resources. Maybe you have a close friend to talk to, a counselor or a priest who can help you work through the emotions. You are going to do a great job and still have some difficult feelings when you’re done.
Rob- Have any of your students come back to you and said they had to use the skills you taught them? When do you talk to your students about the emotional processing after armed defense?
Heather- The stories that I hear from my students most often talk about how situational awareness saved them. I have had a few that have had a close enough brush with crime that they have had difficulty processing what did or did not happen to them. It is thanks to them and my own experiences that I consistently talk about emotional fitness for dealing with stress and that you do not need to process these events alone. Students who work with me over a long period of time hear the message so often that they start to tell others for me. I love it being that way because it means the message is sticking. Look for good trauma counselors in your area in advance, because when the time comes you won’t want to do the research to get the help you need. It’s about understanding what emotions and reactions are normal and that it’s going to take time and effort for things to come back in balance for you.
Rob- Is there more you want to cover on this story?
Heather- I’m ready to go to Frankfort, Illinois.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed in public?
You are out with friends. It is about three in the morning when two men rush into the bar. They are wearing hoodies, masks, gloves, and waving guns. They say they will shoot everyone if we don’t had over our cash.
You own a gun. You’re carrying concealed this morning. The robbers are busy collecting the money and valuables when you see your turn. You shoot the robber closest to you several times. You turn to the other robber but he is running from the bar. You stop shooting.
The robber dropped his gun. Once his gun is secure, you holster your firearm. Other people are already calling 911. You talk to the police once they arrive.
Security video shows the robber run from the bar and jump into the waiting getaway car. One news story says that your attacker died at the hospital. Another news story says he was declared dead at the scene. The police said your robbers were armed with airsoft guns.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- I looked at the comments on the news stories and the locals said this was a biker bar. I think the robbers were taking money from the bar employees and there were very few customers in the bar at that hour. In Illinois, customers are prohibited from carrying a firearm if the bar earns more than 50 percent of its revenue from alcohol and if the business is posted as a “gun free zone”.
I like that our defender was armed. I like that he was in a tough situation and recognized a lethal threat. The robbers are patting the employees down and taking their wallets and phones. That means they are about to come pat you down and get your gun, and maybe worse. You have to defend yourself, and you have to do it when they don’t have a gun pointed at you.
Rob- Was this defender carrying legally?
Heather- We don’t know. The police can’t prove that he was carrying in public since he was inside a private business. We don’t know if the bar was posted as a “gun free” zone. He could have sought and received a carry permit, but in Illinois that takes a long time.
Rob- What would you like your students to do?
Heather- I want you to get your permit and be sober when you carry. The story doesn’t say, but he could have been the designated driver. Then again, he may have been a biker sitting in the back booth with a gun in his backpack.
Rob- I noticed that our defender avoided a gunfight.
Heather- A gunfight is when bullets are traveling both ways. In this case, the defender waited so that the attackers were looking at someone else or expecting something else as he presented his firearm and defended himself. We might have to be in a shooting but we want to avoid a gunfight.
Rob- Where are we headed next?
Heather- Our third story happened in South Bend, Indiana.
Rob- First this message from Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed as you walk down the street?
You are walking down the street. A man rides his bike past you, and then stops and turns around. You are a woman and it is uncomfortable to be approached by homeless men. The stranger asks you for money. You say no. He asks again, but this time he pulls a gun out of his pants and points it at you.
You run away and hide behind a dumpster. You draw your own gun and point it at your attacker. You shout for help and people from across the street see you. Your attacker rides away on his bike. You call 911.
You put your gun away and give a statement to the police. Officers interview the people at the gas station across the street. They arrest a suspect nearby and you identify him as your attacker. He is carrying a BB-gun and is arrested for intimidation.
You are arrested for carrying a firearm without a license. Permitless carry in Indiana does not go into effect for another 60 days. You are released and not charged.
Heather- Do you see all the things our defender did correctly? She moved away from her attacker. She moved to cover and she presented her firearm. She called for help, and she stayed at the scene.
Rob- What else would you like us to do?
Heather- Don’t get a criminal conviction for carrying a firearm without a license. In some states you don’t need a permit, but stay inside the law. Remember that it is your responsibility to make sure that you know and understand the laws that impact you. Failure to know the law is not an excuse.
Rob- Should the defender have shot her attacker?
Heather- The attacker doesn’t know that she has a gun. She doesn’t know that his gun is a fake. She ran rather than trying to draw on a drawn gun. I can’t fault her. By the time she got to cover and presented her gun, then she didn’t have a need to shoot because the attacker was no longer an immediate and lethal threat. That can change in an instant, and she should shoot her attacker if he moves toward her once she is behind the dumpster.
Rob- We focus on the gun, but running away is an option. When do you talk about that, and do your students get a chance to practice that?
Heather-When running defensive skills we require that students bring their firearm to low ready and discuss things exactly like this where you may not be certain you need to shoot, but want to be ready. If you are not well versed in decision making under stress, and pre-programmed decision making, I encourage you to look for an instructor in your area who can help you with these methods.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Heather- Our fourth story took place in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you return home?
You get back home at 8 in the morning. You open our door and see two strangers tearing the place apart. You draw your firearm and tell them to stop. They rush toward you, and you shoot them. One of them gets away. You stay at the scene and call 911.
You holster your firearm and give the police a brief report. News stories don’t mention if the intruders broke in or if someone left a door or window unlocked. Emergency Medical Services takes one of your attackers to the hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds.
Your intruder is 14 years old. You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- I like that our defender was armed. I like that he had his head up and his eyes open when he returned home. He recognized an immediate and unavoidable threat after he walked into his home and found two robbers inside. He defended himself from the closest threat and then he stopped shooting when the other threat ran away. He stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police.
Rob- What else do you see?
Heather- I hope his doors were locked and that our defender had his carry permit. That is what I want my students to do. First, the bad guys have to make noise if they do break in, and second, the bad guys don’t want to make noise so they move down the block to find an easier apartment. That means you win another fight because you avoided it completely.
Rob- How were teenagers an immediate and unavoidable threat to an adult male?
Heather- You don’t know their intent. You don’t know how they are armed, and there are two of them against a single defender. If you were going to make breakfast for six of your MMA friends and you walk in to find two unarmed teenagers then you have other options.
Rob- Do I? I don’t know if these teenagers have knives or guns, or more friends in the back bedroom.
Heather- That is why many states pass laws like the castle doctrine. The law assumes that intruders are there to do harm and the law recognizes that you won’t have complete information before you have to defend yourself.
Rob- You talked about arriving home with friends. When do your students learn about that self-defense conversation you have with your partner or roommates?
Heather- As soon as possible after you have started making your plans. When I was of driving age, this became a conversation with my parents, and my husband and I have had conversations about this in every house we have ever lived in. I share this information with my students and now you, in hopes that they consider having some level of conversation with their friends and family. I have really great friends that
Rob- Now I have homework. Heather Reeves, welcome back from your travels and thank you for helping us today. Where can we learn more about you?
Rob- After you look at Heather’s class schedule, then please leave her a message on the episode webpage.
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 in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.