Episode 285 with Heather Reeves
Welcome to episode 285 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. How have you been, Heather?
Heather- Hi, Rob. I’ve been teaching a lot of new students.
Rob- We all started as new students. I’m glad they found you.
Heather- How about you?
Rob- I went out to the range with a friend. He is ex-army, so I got a lesson in being a rifleman. I’m still recovering from a stomach bug that I brought back with me from Mexico.
Robbie commented on our webpage. Our last episode talked about what we might do with an attacker’s gun. Quote, I’m sure you read about a good guy that took out a bad guy who had shot a Law Enforcement Officer. The good guy picked up the bad guy’s rifle and was killed by responding police. The point about standing on the firearm to secure it was a I Never Thought Of That moment for me. Love your work. Keep it coming. Close quote.
I overlooked a question on Facebook. Dan asked if any of us wore body armor when we carried concealed. I don’t and I don’t know any of my instructors who do. If the location is that dangerous then I don’t want to be there unless they are paying me much more than they pay firearms instructors.
Rob- We also received a new rating on iTunes (294,165). Please do us a favor and go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts. Tell new gun owners why they should listen.
Heather- 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 Pickaway County, Ohio.
Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?
You and your family are asleep upstairs. It is just before midnight when you are woken up by the sounds of breaking glass. You hear someone downstairs in your home. You grab your gun and move to the top of the stairs. You hear the intruder go through drawers and cabinets downstairs. You shout that you’re armed and have called the police. Your attacker starts up the stairs and you shoot him until he stops. You and your family stay upstairs and wait for the police.
You put your gun away when the officers arrive. Emergency medical services declare your attacker dead. You give the police a brief statement. Police notice the broken side door to your house.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- I like this defender. He locked his doors at night. He responded to an unexpected sound. He armed himself and then moved to a position where he could defend his family. He gave a verbal warning. He stopped the attacker from coming up the stairs. Our defender did not chase the bad guy. He defended his family until the police arrived. He put his gun away and he made a statement to the police. It sounds like our defenders had a plan.
Rob- Some people say we should say nothing to the police and let our lawyer do all the talking.
Heather- You want your lawyer to complete the police report for you, but your lawyer is not on the scene to collect evidence and the police are. Saying you heard your door being broken means that statement goes into the police report. The detectives and the district attorney see that this is a forced entry into your home. They also see that you tried to de-escalate the situation by saying you were armed and that you’d called the police. Making that statement encourages the police to ask the neighbors if they heard anything. That evidence helps keep you out of jail.
Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do if this was one of your students?
Heather- The news story is incomplete. I’d like both of you to have your carry permits and be armed. I’d like one of you on the phone with 911. I’d like your whole family to practice your safety plan.
Rob- Why do you want us to have a carry permit for home defense?
Heather- That piece of paper shows the arriving officers that you and your spouse are a card carrying good guys with clean criminal records, with firearms training, and with legal training. That information helps the police do a good job of collecting evidence at the scene.
Rob- Is a home breakin like this one very common?
Heather- We see a lot of addicts break into a home and go to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom looking for drugs. This story fits that pattern.
Rob- When do your students learn about defending their home?
Heather- We discuss several angles on home security during our concealed carry class, and we elaborate on that during our scenario learning courses.
Rob- What do you think of verbal warnings?
Heather- They might do some good. They let a drunk neighbor know he is in the wrong house. They also establish that we did what we could do to avoid a violent conflict, and they don’t do any harm. If you plan to use a verbal warning, do yourself a favor and practice.
Rob- Is there more you want to cover about this story?
Heather- Let’s go on. Our second story happened in Houston, Texas.
Rob- Second Story- Do you carry concealed in public?
It is about 10:30 at night when you realize you need cash tomorrow. You drive to the ATM. You get out of your car and walk up to the cash machine. You take your money and turn around when a man runs up to you. He orders you to give him the money. He has a gun in his hand. You’re being robbed.
You own a gun. You are carrying concealed tonight. You shoot your attacker until he drops his gun. Now you run to safety. You watch the scene as you call 911 and ask for help. You holster your firearm and wave to the police when they arrive. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. You give a brief statement to the police. They recover your attacker’s gun. He shot at you several times.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- Texas is now constitutional carry, so our defender didn’t need a permit to carry in public. He was armed as he drove, and he had his firearm on his body when he needed it.
Rob- Lots of people put a gun in their car and call it good enough.
Heather- And we read about those people being robbed when they don’t have their gun, and we read about their gun being stolen from their cars and trucks. My gun stays with me.
Our defender recognized a lethal threat in the armed robber. He defended himself and he stopped shooting when the attacker was no longer a threat. It sounds like he moved to cover and called for help. Good work. I wonder if the ATM had security video, but the news article didn’t mention it.
Rob- So all that practice of acting responsibly is a good habit when we’re on camera.
Heather- Yes, it is. I also want you to call your lawyer to fill out the police report with him.
Rob- Why is that important?
Heather- There are particular legal elements that have to be present for us to justify the use of lethal force in self-defense. Your lawyer will write the report so that those points are clear and that each one meets the required legal standard. We don’t do that for a living and this report is a legal document in our defense. It is easy for us to say the wrong thing or to leave something out of the report.
One obvious point is that you didn’t endanger other people as you shot at your attacker. Would you think to include that in your report? I doubt that I would.
Have a lawyer to call.
Rob- We have lots of people who can now carry without needing a carry license or a concealed carry class. Where can they learn about the legal use of lethal force and what to do if they need a lawyer?
Heather- If you plan to carry and use the firearm when something terrible happens, you owe it to yourself to take a class from a reputable instructor. Do your homework and find a class that is going to cover legal use of force for your state. And then consider continuing to read on the topic both in print and online. Last consider pre-paid legal defense services as they also put out quite a bit of material on use of force scenarios.
Our third story also took place in Houston, Texas.
Rob- First this message from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.
Rob- Third story- Do you carry concealed as you drive?
You are sitting in your car at a convenience store gas station. The news story isn’t clear if you were pumping gas, checking your phone, or if you just grabbed a snack. A stranger jumps into your car and starts hitting you. You’re armed. You shoot your attacker and then run to the convenience store. You call 911. You give the officers a statement.
Police find your car a few blocks away. Your attacker is unresponsive. EMS takes him to the hospital where he died.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- I like that our good guy was armed. He recognized a lethal threat when a stranger jumped into his car and started hitting him. He defended himself and then moved to safety. He put his gun away and asked for help. He called 911. He stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police. I bet the store has security video.
Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do?
Heather- Lock your car doors so your attacker has to break into your car to get to you. That way you can drive away and leave the crazy person back at the gas station. Also, it helps to have your carry permit for the reasons I mentioned earlier.
Rob- We are seeing a lot of carjackings.
Heather- We are. Some cities stopped prosecuting carjackings. That won’t work in Texas because people are armed. In other states we’ve seen a huge surge in carry permits because of the increase in carjackings.
Rob- When do you talk to your students about defending themselves in public and in their car?
Heather- Cars are a strange legal environment in some states since it is considered as if we were at home. We have the right to defend ourselves from people who break into our home. In public, we often have a duty to retreat, and that establishes who the aggressor was because they advanced to create the conflict.
Rob- Is there more you see here?
Heather- I like that the defender didn’t shoot at the bad guy as he drove off with his car. That shows some self-control.
Let’s go on to our last story in Atlanta, Georgia.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home?
We know there was a fight. The news story isn’t clear if you were attacked by your boyfriend, by a visitor, or by a male roommate in your apartment. He hits you several times. It is about 2am when you leave your apartment and run to the parking lot of the grocery store across the street. Your attacker chases you into the parking lot. You shout for him to stop. He moves closer. You present your firearm and shoot him. Now he stops advancing. You call 911 and ask for help.
You back away and wait for the police. You put your gun away when they arrive. You give them a brief statement. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the leg. Police notice the bruising on your face, arms and upper body.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather, what do you see here?
Heather- It could happen that your roommate comes home intoxicated and attacks you, but it is more common that the abuse has built up over time. I like that our defender was armed. I like that she tried to leave the scene of the attack. Her attacker followed her and then she stopped him when he closed the distance to her again. That is very well done because it shows a perfectly clear demonstration of who the attacker was and who was the defender.
The defender stayed in the parking lot and called for help. She was in contact with the dispatcher and put her gun away when the police arrived. She gave them a statement.
Rob- Should we stand in the middle of the parking lot with a gun in our hands, or should we run and get behind a car so that the bad guy can’t get up and grab us?
Heather- That depends on the details of the situation, but I want you to establish your safety so you can lower your gun, and then put it away when the police get there.
Rob- Again, the story didn’t mention if she had a carry permit.
Heather- She didn’t need one because Georgia is a constitutional carry state. Also, if you’re running from your home under threat then you don’t need a carry permit. I want you to have one, but the law says that you have the right to flee from an attacker and take your self-defense tools with you.
Rob- That is a lot to learn.
Heather- Come to our scenario based class where we put you in situations that are commonplace and we ask you to react. Put you in the hot seat as it were.
Rob- Is there more you want to cover before we wrap up?
Heather- If you’ve been in a fight then I want you to get your injuries documented. They will strip you down and take pictures of all the cuts, bruises and scrapes at the hospital. The EMT won’t do that and the police can’t do that. You might want to see your own doctor and get your own pictures tomorrow. That way you have your own documentation if your attacker decides to sue you. And did I mention to call your lawyer?
Rob- You did now. Heather, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Rob- After you look at Heather classes, then leave her a message on the podcast 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 next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.