Episode 279 with Amanda Suffecool
Welcome to episode 279 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. How have you been, Amanda?
Amanda- Hi, Rob. I’ve been putting on fashion shows and honing my skills on the range. I have my class and training scheduled for the last half of 2022, including a trip to GunSite in Arizona.
How about you?
Rob- Compared to you I’m boring. I carry and dry practice. I’m excited that we received two new comments and two new ratings on iTunes. 163,286
Ricki had his permit for the last 20 years, but three years ago he started carrying every day. He and his wife belong to a local range and they train regularly. They like the stories we take from the news and that our instructors bring new ideas to consider.
Troublemaker left a comment. He likes to think through the stories critically.
Amanda- They sound like attentive and active listeners. Thank you for giving us some feedback.
Rob- Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen even though I make mistakes.
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 Houston, Texas.
Rob- First story- Are you armed at home late at night?
It is a few hours after dark on a Monday night. Your ex- boyfriend is stalking you. You recently moved to this new apartment to escape from him. Your children are here in your home. So are some other adults. You hear someone beating on your front door. It is your ex- boyfriend. You don’t open the door. You shout for him to go away. He says he is going to kill all of you.
You own a gun. You’re armed tonight. Your attacker shatters the doorframe and the door swings open. He forces his way inside your apartment. You shoot him once in the chest. He stops, turns, and goes back outside.
You step back and call 911. Police arrive several minutes later. You put your gun away and you check on your children. Police arrest your attacker outside your home. Emergency medical services declare your attacker dead at the scene. You give the police a brief statement. Police interview the other adults in the home.
You are not charged with a crime.
Amanda- Before we talk about armed defense, I was struck by how this must have felt. You moved your family into a new home because all of you were being threatened by your ex. When you thought your life was getting better, your stalker found you and threatened to kill you.
I’m glad our defender took the threats seriously. She did a number of things before the attacker broke down her door. She moved to a new apartment, and I wonder if her attacker might have had the keys to her old place. Her doors and windows were locked. She was armed. She had witnesses with her. She made the decision to save her life and the life of the people she loved.
Rob- And then she hears banging from her door and threats by her ex.
Amanda- She did not shoot through the door at a possible threat. She waited until he broke his way in and then she stopped him after he entered her home.
The layout of your home may help with your self defense plan. Some upstairs apartments have a downstairs door so you have to unlock the lower door and then climb the stairs to your apartment. Those stairs are a great place to defend your family because your attacker has no place to hide and is fighting his way uphill. That might have been the situation in this story.
I like that our defender stopped shooting when the attacker stopped advancing and turned around to leave. She recognized that he wasn’t no longer an immediate threat, and that shows some amazingly good thinking. She called for help and stayed inside. She let the police deal with the man outside. You take care of the people inside your home. There are many internet conversations on whether you render aid to someone you are forced to shoot. I am in the “No- not doing it camp”.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like your students to do if they were in such a horrible situation?
Amanda- I want you to get a restraining order. I know it is a piece of expensive paper that takes time to get. Our defender had taken care of her physical defense, and the restraining order is a key part of her legal defense.
That piece of paper gets rid of the excuses, “But a friend said she wanted to see me.” “But the judge said seeing her was illegal and you’d go to jail, so turn around and put your hands behind your back.”
Rob- We don’t know the age of the other adults in the house. We don’t even know if her children were adults. If I’m being threatened, should I let the people around me know so that they can protect themselves too?
Amanda- First, you want to tell everybody. That way your downstairs neighbors won’t let your attacker into your apartment complex. They will know to call 911 and then call you. Your employer, your church, your relatives, and your children’s friends need to know too.
Yes, the other people around you are at risk. Your adult children should act like adults. They defend themselves first, and then they can consider defending you.
Rob- All that is easy for us to say, but this situation must be a huge weight on the victim who is being harrassed.
Amanda- I hate that bad stuff happens. I’m sorry if it happens to you, but you’re worth fighting for. So are your children.
Rob- Anything else?
Amanda- We covered the important points. Our second story happened in Brooker, Florida.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed in your front yard?
You are watering the plants in your front yard. It is after work on a weekday when a stranger runs up to you. He shouts at you to give him the keys to your car. He says he has a gun.
You pull the keys from your pocket and the robber grabs them. You hang on, but you also grab your firearm from its holster and press the trigger. Your attacker drops your keys and runs. You back away and call 911.
You give the police a description of your attacker. Police arrest him the next day. He is charged with attempted grand theft of a motor vehicle, robbery by sudden snatching with a firearm, false imprisonment and burglary with assault or battery. He is also wanted for outstanding warrants from two other counties. His bond is set at $200,000.
Amanda- Remember how we say that there are no safe places and safe times, well this bad guy threatened to shoot our defender in the daytime while she was standing in her front yard with a watering hose in her hands. I’m so glad she was armed.
I’m not certain what happened in the story, but it sounds like she did something really smart. She was threatened. She held onto the keys until her attacker used two hands to take the keys from her. If she put her keys in her support hand, then the attacker had both his hands on the keys and not on his gun. Now you can reach for her firearm while the bad guy is using both hands to grab your keys. That gives you an advantage so you can shoot him before he shoots you.
Rob- She did fire a shot.
Amanda- She completely missed the bad guy and we don’t know where her bullet stopped.
Rob- But wait, there’s more.
Amanda- Yeah. We don’t know why she didn’t shoot again, but I suspect that by the time she got her gun up and the sights on target, that she was looking at her attacker’s back as he was running away. If that is what she saw, then good for her for not shooting. Again, that takes a lot of awareness to recognize that a person who threatened to kill you is not an immediate threat once he has turned and is running away.
Rob- When do your students learn that, and do they get to practice it with targets that turn or that run, or targets that fall down?
Amanda- We talk about that in our basic class, in our concealed carry class, and when we have a guest instructor teach about the law and the legal use of lethal force. We teach in a number of places. I’ve shot at ranges that have turning targets, but not all of my students have done that. I can’t provide that experience for all of them in every class. Use those targets when you see them offered.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do if we were attacked in our front yard like this?
Amanda- She did such a good job that I don’t have a lot to add. Our third story happened in Stockton, California.
Rob- First this message from Buckeye Firearms.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at work?
You take care of a 93 year old retired doctor. It is almost sunset when you notice someone in the backyard behind the doctor’s home. You ask the doctor to stay inside while you go investigate. You see a man bringing food, bedding and his belongings into the backyard. You shout at him and ask him what he is doing. The stranger draws a gun and points it at you. Your attacker moves toward you.
You own a gun. You have your concealed carry license. You’re armed today. You present your firearm. You shoot your attacker until he drops his gun. Now you stop shooting and step back. You call 911 and ask for police and medical help.
You holster your gun when the police arrive. Emergency medical services take your attacker to the hospital. You give a statement to the police. They look at the attacker’s belongings and say he is a homeless man from the park across the street. Police take the attacker’s gun as evidence. Your attacker dies at the hospital.
You check on your doctor. He is upset but isn’t injured.
You are not charged with a crime.
Amanda- I’m glad you brought us this story because details matter. This happened in California. In that state you might need a permit to carry your firearm in your front yard because a stranger could walk up your driveway. If you have a fence and a gate, then you can carry without a permit in the fenced area. In this story, it sounds like there wasn’t a fence since the homeless man walked into the backyard. That meant that the defender needed a carry permit to enter his employers backyard while he was armed. We want to know the laws so we can be one of the good guys.
What makes this situation worse is that in some cities in California, the police might not come if you tell them a homeless man was camping in your backyard. All of that sets the stage for why I’m happy that the defender was armed.
Things escalated quickly – from seeing a stranger with bedding in the backyard – to facing a loaded firearm that was pointed at you. Our defender recognized a lethal threat when the intruder pointed a gun at him and was advancing toward him. He defended himself and then stopped shooting when the attacker dropped his gun. The homeless man may still be a threat if he is moving toward you, but he is not an immediate lethal threat.
It stopped being a gun problem. It might be a pepper spray problem. It might be a hands and feet problem. It might be a sneaker problem where we can run away.
Our defender backed up and called for help. Good work.
Rob- It takes us time to defend ourselves. That means we have to start our defense when the bad guy is many feet away from us or else he can reach us and grab our gun before we can shoot him and stop him. When do your students learn that self defense takes distance?
Amanda- We teach that if there is space to get away, do so. If not, then you are in the fight of your life or rephrase that to the fight FOR your life.
Rob- You’ve practiced the distance test. Do your students believe you, or do they have to hear it from a number of instructors before it sinks in?
Amanda- Distance is your friend, the more space you put between yourself and a bad guy, the better the odds of surviving the encounter. Get away, get space, train to shoot and move, or better yet, move while shooting.
Rob- Is there anything you’d like your students to do if they see something in the backyard?
Amanda- get back, Grab a pair of binoculars and then call the cops.
Rob- Where are we headed for your last story?
Amanda- Our fourth story took place in Natchez, Mississippi.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home in the morning?
The sun has just come up on a Friday morning. You hear glass breaking downstairs. You grab your gun and call 911. You walk downstairs to see what is happening. A stranger is breaking your windows and trying to get into your house. He smashes through a storm door and then through your second door. You scream for him to go away. You fire a warning shot. The intruder opens the door and enters your house. You shoot the intruder one time. Now he stops. You stop shooting and step back.
Police arrive a few minutes later and you put your gun down. Emergency medical services declare your attacker dead at the scene. Your bullet traveled along your attacker’s arm and into his chest. Police said they were already on the way to your neighborhood after your attacker smashed windows on your neighbor’s house.
You are not charged with a crime.
Amanda- I like that our defender did so many things correctly. He reacted to a disturbance in his home. He grabbed his gun before he went to investigate. He made his presence known. He made a lot of noise and shouted for the attacker to go away. He defended himself when the attacker entered his home. He stopped shooting when the threat stopped, then he called 911.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do in a similar situation?
Amanda- I understand why you want to go downstairs and see what is going on. Yes, you found someone breaking your windows. Now that you found him, what are you going to do with him? Let’s call 911 first and then go downstairs. We open the door at the bottom of the basement stairs and hear more glass breaking. It isn’t the cat knocking over a picture on the table, so it is a police problem. Now let’s lock the door and let the police take care of the crazy man. Maybe they will have to shoot him anyway, but it won’t be you.
Rob- Does it seem crazy that a guy would break into our home when we’re shouting at him to stop?
Amanda- Yes, except when they are drugged, drunk, or off their meds. There are people who live like that.. And they end up breaking our windows at the crack of dawn. Criminals are getting bolder, they don’t respect their own life AND they won’t respect yours.
Rob- When do you tell your students about intruders like this, and tell them when to retreat if they can?
Amanda- I tell them that I am teaching them a Run Away class where they may be forced to shoot. The other thing I tell them is I am not a proponent of Warning Shots. You may need that round. Yell, slam things around but save your ammo.
Rob- There are legal reasons for that as well.
Amanda- Yes there are. A gun is a lethal tool. A warning shot says that you were not facing an immediate lethal and unavoidable threat. Again, our gun is the wrong tool for the job. The presence of the gun is a warning. Also, that bullet is going to stop somewhere. Don’t shoot up into the air.
Rob- This seems like a simple example or armed defense. Should I call my lawyer to help me prepare a report?
Amanda- Your statements to the police can be used against you. Even a professional lawyer will hire a self-defense lawyer to represent him. Let your lawyer fill out the report so that it explains what happened and why self-defense was justified. A lawyer is much cheaper than posting bond.
Rob- But I’m the good guy and I defended my family.
Amanda- Right, so keep defending them from lawsuits and court costs so you have enough money to repair the broken windows and doors.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Amanda, 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 listen to Amanda podcasts and watch her TV shows, then please leave her a message on our podcast episode webpage.
Amanda- We share this podcast with you for free.
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Rob- Like Amanda’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.