Episode 281 with David Cole

Rob- Introduction-

Welcome to episode 281 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 David Cole. How have you been, David?

David Cole

David- Hi, Rob.  I’ve been..shooting USPSA and steel, breaking in a new shotgun on clay targets

How about you?

Rob- I’m good. We received two new ratings on iTunes (290×164) and we received several comments on Facebook-

Dean said he has been listening to the podcast and to many of the archived episodes. He noticed that the staircase in his house is narrow and that gives him a natural point of defense. He asked where we get our information that we defend ourselves thousands of times a day.

I pointed Dean to the “2021 National Firearms Survey” by professor William English. Those numbers average to just over 4500 defensive gun uses a day and the sample data is about ten times larger than previous social samples looking at firearms. I don’t know how many of those examples are from concealed carry outside the home, or from concealed carry in a public place. We know that between one-in-12 and one-in-13 adults in public are carrying concealed on any given day.

Michael said his younger sister got him hooked on this podcast and now all of his brothers and sisters listen to it! Quote, Thank you for shining light on the positive reasons to have a firearm and making the show so educational and fun to listen to! Close quote.

Michael also asked about the self-defense legal insurance we use.

Michael, please thank your sister for me. I’d consider the Armed Citizen Legal Defense network, The USCCA insurance plan, and Second Call Defense. There are some state plans as well and you didn’t mention where you live.

Dan asked about the books we’ve referenced on the podcast. We’ve talked about “The law of Self-Defense” by Andrew Branca, “Building Shooters” by Dustin Soloman, “Your first Gun” by Alan Korwin, “Tactical Pistol Marksmanship” by Gabe Suarez, and “On Combat” and “On Killing” by Col. David Grossman.

David- “Deadly Force” by Massad Ayoob is another excellent book; Online I recommend handgunlaw.us, and gunfacts.info

Dan, can you narrow down the subjects or questions you are interested in so we can point you in the direction you want to go?

Rob- Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell us why you listen.

David- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm 4572 times a day.. on average. 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 Des Moines, Iowa.

Rob- First story- Are you armed when you shop for groceries on the weekend?

You are shopping at the grocery store at 10 on a Sunday morning. A strange woman attacks you. You can’t get her to stop. You are carrying your legally owned firearm. You present your handgun and shoot your attacker one time in the leg. She stops attacking you so you stop shooting. You shout for help. You holster your firearm and wait on scene for the police.

You give a brief statement to the police when they arrive. You don’t know your attacker or know why she attacked you. The police interview witnesses and look at security video. Police arrest your attacker for assault causing bodily injury. Your attacker is taken to the hospital. A bystander was injured by a fragment of your bullet that went through your attacker and then hit the floor. He was injured in the foot.

You are not charged with a crime.

David- We talk about this in almost every concealed carry class. I never thought I’d need to defend myself in a place I go all the time and have been countless times before.  Until that one time when things are different.

I assume the defender was a woman but the article didn’t explicitly say so. I’m glad our defender was armed. The story doesn’t mention if she had her carry permit, but Iowa is a constitutional carry state so she didn’t need a permit to carry in public. She recognized an immediate threat when the other woman attacked her. She stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police.

This news report is frustratingly incomplete.

Rob- I agree, and I rejected several reports that were even worse. There are also a couple of things we need to talk about. Tell me about factors like disparity of size and strength, and about the mantle of innocence in self-defense.

David- We have to meet a number of conditions before we’re justified in using deadly force. We can’t be the one who started the fight. Also, it has to be an unfair fight where we can’t stop the attacker by using less than lethal force.

To give an example, I’m a 6 foot male, so if a 5 foot female attacks me I’m supposed to fight her hand-to-hand and stop her from hurting me. If a 6 foot adult male attacks one of my nieces, then the young ladies may have the option of using lethal force to stop the attack because the attacker has a large advantage in strength and speed.

In this story, we don’t know the age of our defender, but age, size, strength and the number of attackers and defenders all play a part in the legal justification to use lethal force.

Rob- If the attacker knocks me down so I’m on my back and they are towering over me, that could be a justification to use lethal force?

Dave- It could.

Rob- Is that justification to use lethal force required all the time?

David- A disparity of force is almost always required in public. It is seldom required inside your home. Different states have different laws and you need to know about yours.

Rob- Would you have the right to use lethal force if you were walking with your niece and someone attacked both of you?

David- Perhaps. In theory, we outnumber the attacker. In practice, we can’t retreat as fast as a young male can advance, so that could allow us to use lethal force since we are not compelled to leave our partner behind to be attacked.

Rob- There is a lot to think about here.

David- There is, and we want to think about it ahead of time so we recognize it when it happens. Ideally, you have a range of responses. You have some open hand skills, some pepper spray in your pocket, and a gun on your hip. This is also why resources like Andrew Branca’s “Law of Self Defense” are so important, to help us understand the particulars of when we may and may not use a gun in self defense.

Rob- Do you see anything else you want to cover in this story?

David- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed early in the morning?

Your boyfriend attacks you at home. You try to run, but he grabs you outside your apartment. You shout for him to stop, but he doesn’t stop. You shout for help, but no one comes to help you. He has one arm around your neck and is hitting you with his other arm. You draw your firearm and shoot your attacker three times at closer range. Now he lets go of you. You run for safety and call the police.

The police are already on their way because of your neighbor’s calls to 911. Emergency medical services transport your attacker to the hospital. The police interview witnesses who saw your attack.

Your boyfriend dies of his injuries at the hospital. You are not charged with a crime.

David- There is so much I want to know about this story, but the news we’re only getting a few facts.

Rob- What do you see?

David- I’m really glad she was armed. We’re not sure about the time of day, but it sounds like the defender had her gun on her person. It sounds like she did a great job of shouting for help. 

She was being attacked by a person who was stronger than she was. She was in a position of disadvantage because the attacker had her down. She was taking blows to the head. That clearly justified her use of lethal force in her defense. She shot until the attacker stopped hitting her, then she moved to safety, and called 911. She returned to give a statement to the police.

Rob- Are there other things you want your students to do in a situation like this one?

David- I want you to leave if someone has attacked you before. I want you to move and then get a restraining order so they have to stay away from you and can’t contact you.

Don’t let your attacker get near you. “Stay away from me or I’ll shoot. Back away” and if he advances then you press the trigger until he stops advancing.

Rob- Where would a victim of domestic violence learn about their rights and how to defend themselves?

David-  Obviously your local police and prosecutor’s office can help, and there are often women’s shelters and advocacy groups which can also assist.

Rob- Talk to me about getting medical treatment after we’ve been attacked.

David- It is often a good idea to ask to be taken to the emergency room after an incident, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Adrenaline can temporarily mask the pain of injuries, so you could be injured and not know it. Let the professionals check you out to be sure.

Our third story happened in Ingleside, Illinois.

Rob- First this message from FASTER Colorado.

FASTER Colorado


Rob- Third story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?

You and your partner are at home asleep in bed. You hear someone in your house. Both of you get up. One of you is armed. Both of you check on your baby and see a stranger standing near your child’s room. Your gun is up in a heartbeat. You order the intruder to stop. Your partner checks on the baby and calls the police.

You put your gun away when the police arrive. Both of you give the police a brief statement. Your intruder broke into your car and used the remote garage door opener to get into your garage and from there into your home.

Your intruder is charged with felony residential burglary. Your intruder is out on probation for a previous burglary and is held on a $100,000 bond.

Tag- no shots fired.

David- I like that this couple was armed. I like that they investigated the noise at night, and that looking after their children was their top priority. They did not face an immediate life threatening situation, so they did not press the trigger. They called 911 and gave a statement to the police.

Rob- Are there other things you’d like your students to do at home?

David- Safety isn’t expensive, but it is always there. It doesn’t cost much to lock your doors and windows, particularly at night. Lock your truck so the alarm goes off if someone breaks into it. Do not leave garage door remotes in your vehicle! Have a motion detector in your house.

It costs a little money, but I’d like both of you to have a firearm, a phone, and a flashlight on your side of the bed. The biggest piece of your defense is a plan that you built together and practiced together.

If I can put on my instructor hat for a minute, please train for no-shoot situations like this one. Have a plan to stop the intruder, but recognize that you won’t shoot most of the times when the bad guy either runs away or stops.

Rob- Where do your students learn about protecting their family at home?

David- That comes up in almost all of our classes.

Rob- Is there more you want to cover before we move on to our last story?

David- The news didn’t mention it, but I want this couple to have bedside safes so their children can’t touch the firearms, but the adults can get to them quickly.

David- A quick word about “castle doctrine.” Make sure you know what your state law says about it.

David- Our fourth story took place in Austin, Texas.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you walk across the store parking lot?

You and your friend are leaving a large shopping center. A stranger runs up behind you and pulls his shirt up over his face. The stranger also pulls a gun from his waistband and tells you to hand everything over. He takes your friend’s bag and takes your backpack. The stranger then runs to a car that was parked nearby. Your friend isn’t having it and he runs and yells at the robbers. The robber points his gun at your friend.

You own a gun. You’re carrying concealed. You present your firearm and shoot the robber. The robber drops his gun and the get-away-car drives away. You check on your friend and holster your gun. Then you call 911 and ask for the police.

911 also gets a call from the people in the get-away car. They stop and ask for emergency medical treatment. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital. The police find your friend’s bag and your backpack in the car.

Your attacker is charged with 9 other robberies in the last few weeks. He was out on bail on electronic home monitoring awaiting trial when he committed the other robberies. Your attacker is 17 years old.

You are not charged with a crime.

David- Our good guy was armed, but by the time he saw a chance to draw his gun, the threat was running away. When the criminal raised his firearm for the second time and threatened his friend, then the defender found both a legal justification to use lethal force, but also the opportunity to use it without getting shot because the gun was pointed at someone else. The good guys stayed at the scene. They called the police and they gave a statement when the police arrived.

Rob- I know that the story is incomplete, but do you see things you’d like us to do when we go shopping?

David- I want both of you to be armed. I want you to look for and move away from people who might be a threat. If you’ve practiced together a little, then the two of you can more easily defeat a single armed attacker.

Do not run up to and shout at armed attackers because that can get you shot. Although the report isn’t clear, it sounds like the robber may have been trying to leave, and would have been safer tactically and legally to let him go at that point.

Rob- So one of our victims was lucky.

David- I think so, and we don’t want to depend on luck to go home at the end of the day.

Rob- Is there anything else you see here?

David- I want our listeners to notice that this bad guy robbed people for a living. He threatened to kill people so they would hand over their valuables. As a police officer I met lots of victims who said, “I know there are bad guys, but I can’t believe it happened to me.” Part of self-defense training is accepting that it could happen to us, so that we’ll recognize it when it is happening.

Again I’m putting on my firearms training cap, so I want you to practice your presentation as you move to cover. Also, have a lawyer you can call when the shooting is over.

Rob- That leads us back to the insurance companies we mentioned at the beginning of the podcast.

David- It does.



Rob-  That wraps up this episode. David, thank you for helping us again. You’ve given me things to buy, training to practice, and things to think about. Where can we learn more about you?

David- Look for my written articles at deltabravocharlie.com

Rob- After you look at David articles, then leave us a message on the podcast webpage.

David- We share this podcast with you for free.
Please share the podcast with a friend and give us a rating on I-Tunes and Stitcher.
We’re also available on
Google Podcasts, Tunein, Spotify, Podbean and iHeart Radio.

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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