Episode 292 with David Cole
Welcome to episode 292 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. What has been keeping you busy?
David- Hi, Rob. I’ve been wrapping up my USPSA season and getting ready for hunting season. How about you?
Rob- We received new ratings and comments (is 306,172). A listener named Kevin said we get to the point and give the positives and the negatives of each story. He likes that we also give tips and places to learn more about defense.
Robbie is a long time listener. He took part in a “Shoot-No Shoot” simulation at his local police academy. It was eye opening. He left with the feeling that he didn’t know as much as he thought he did and there is a lot more to learn. He also wants his wife to try some simulator training.
David- Thank you, Kevin and Robbie. It sounds like you are good ambassadors for Armed America. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.
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 Modesto, California.
Rob- First story- Are you armed at home?
It is after 10pm when you hear someone banging on your front door. You are not expecting company, particularly at this hour. The stranger continues to bang on your door. Your husband moves toward the door in case they break in. Eventually the intruder kicks down your door. Your husband fights with him to push him back outside. You run to the bedroom to grab your gun. You run back and shoot your attacker. He stops fighting your husband so you stop shooting. Your attacker goes back outside.
You stay inside. Your husband is hurt, but not badly. You speak Mandarin, but your English is poor. You call a neighbor who speaks Mandarin but her English is better. She calls the police for you. You put your gun away when the police arrive. They ask you to come outside. You and your husband leave your home and give a statement to the police. Emergency medical services declare your attacker dead at the scene.
Police look at security video taken outside your home and inside your home. You are not charged with a crime.
Neighbors said the attacker had a habit of becoming drunk and then banging on doors in the area looking for his friends who used to live nearby.
David- I like that our defender was armed. What is unusual is that she bought her gun recently. I like that her doors were locked and she also had security video. She defended her husband while he was being physically attacked. She stayed inside and called her neighbor for help. She showed the police her security video.
Rob- That is a lot of cultural knowledge to get right particularly when you don’t speak the native language very well. Is there more you tell your students to do?
David- It’s good that the couple had begun to put some thought into their defense…but there’s always more that can be done. Make sure you’ve talked about your defensive plan with the whole family. It obviously would have been better if both of them had been armed. Both of you can legally carry concealed even in Modesto, California. The husband suffered minor injuries in this case, so some first aid skills might have been helpful.
Another strategy might have been to retreat to a more secure location in the home…with the gun…and wait for police, rather than fighting at the door. Limited English may have impaired their ability to call for help and to explain the situation to police. It would have been helpful to have a bilingual attorney on retainer to help talk to the police.
Rob- It is fun to order a meal in a foreign language. It might save your life to call the police.
David- Tell the police you’ll help them, but you have to talk to your lawyer so you’re sure you understand their questions..and then be quiet.
Rob- That is a lot to learn. Break that down class by class for me. Where would I learn all that?
David- Specific home defense strategies are usually covered in more advanced classes like the NRA’s Personal Protection Inside The Home class, or at professional schools like Gunsite Academy and others.
Rob- What else do you see?
David- I’d also like to point out that home video cameras are becoming much more affordable and are an extremely useful addition to your home security system. I use them, and mine have the capability to speak to someone outside through the cameras.
Rob- Anything else?
David- I think we’ve covered this story. Our next story happened in Colleton County, South Carolina.
Rob- Second Story- Do you have a gun nearby at night?
You are at home on a weekday night. Two strangers knock on your door. You don’t open it. You look at your security cameras. The two men are armed with handguns, so you get your gun. The strangers start beating on your door.
The story isn’t clear if you opened the door or if the intruders break through the door or through an adjacent window. Maybe you shot through the window. We simply don’t know.
We know you shoot at your attackers. They stop beating on your door and run. You stay inside and call the police. The police find one of your attackers on your front porch. You put your gun away and go outside to talk to the police. You tell them what happened. They call Emergency Medical Services. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. You show the police your security video. They put out a call for a man driving a dark colored sedan.
You are not charged with a crime.
David- I like that the door was locked. I love that the defender had cameras that showed him he had armed attackers outside. I like that he called 911 and got help and gave a statement to the police, including his security videos.
Rob- What else would you like to do in this situation?
David- This looks like a robbery attempt. It could be a drug debt or drug robbery, or one of your relatives heard that you have some cash at home so he tells one of the druggies to go rob you. As the story says, we don’t know. I want the homeowner to be armed at home so he has his defensive tools with him because he might not have time to run to his bedroom and back…remember the last story?
Given that he lived alone, I want him to retreat to his bedroom, lock his bedroom door, call the police, and be ready to defend himself.
Rob- Why is that better than defending your home from your front door?
David- Forcing your attackers to navigate your home and come find you is more dangerous for them, and safer for you. Also, if robbery is their intent, maybe they take some property and leave, and nobody has to shoot anybody. But if you can position yourself in a locked room inside your home, you definitely make the problem more difficult for an intruder and place yourself in a position of advantage. You can gain an additional layer of concealment and possibly cover from gunfire, while being in a better position to defend yourself. For me, it is my bedroom.
Rob- Where would your students learn about that, and then when would they get to practice some of those skills?
David- Again, they can seek out advanced schools and courses like those taught by the NRA and others. Also, once you have some basic competency with gun handling and marksmanship, you can do a lot yourself by going through mental rehearsal and “wargaming” scenarios in your home to figure out your best options.
Rob- Where are we headed next?
David- Our third story happened in Escambia County, Florida.
Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at work?
You’re working behind the counter at a convenience store. It is pretty slow. You notice the security video when a customer drives up. He grabs a shotgun from the back seat of his car. You run to the back room and grab your gun. You stay in the back room of the store. The customer enters your store and looks around. He shouts if anyone is there. You answer. You slowly come out of the back room with your gun up and on target. The stranger has the shotgun on the far side of his body and the barrel is down. He starts saying stupid stuff and walks out of the store. You call 911.
You put your gun away and show the police the security video. It isn’t clear if the outside security video got the robber’s license plate number. Your attacker is arrested a few days later and the Benelli shotgun he carried with him is confiscated by the police.
You are not charged with a crime.
Tag- No Shots Fired.
David- This news story came from a police press release and they left out a lot of information. (I get to say that because I’ve been a cop, been a public relations officer, and I worked in a small market radio station.) For example, we don’t know if this was a gas station or a small local market. We can’t tell what time of day it was.
Our defender was aware of what was going on outside his store and that may have saved his life. He had a gun and he recognized an immediate and lethal threat. He decided that he had another fraction of a second before he had to shoot so he let the robber escape uninjured. Then the defender called for help. He stayed at the scene. He also gave a brief statement to the police along with his security videos. Those videos let the police catch the bad guy a few days later.
Rob- Is there something else we should do?
David- I think there is. One option is to have a panic button that calls the police. It would be great to have a locked door so you could hide in the back room and the bad guys would have to break down the door to get to you. It would help to have video monitors so you could see what is happening in the store when you’re safely locked in the back room. If it were up to me, I’d like you to call the police and stay in the back room. Let the bad guy have the carton of cigarettes, the bottle of alcohol, and the bag of beef jerky and be on his way.
Rob- Would our defender be justified in shooting the bad guy?
David- That is a tough call. Can you explain that a shotgun pointed at the ground is an immediate threat? I don’t know that I can, particularly when I can hide in the back room with my gun pointed at the doorway. That depends on what you know, what you can see, and who might be at risk. What if a customer walked into the store, that could change everything.
Rob- So there are circumstances when we can point a loaded gun at a bad guy, but we can’t shoot him?
David- The catch-all answer is “it depends.” You are going to have to be able to explain the totality of the circumstances to police, and depending on the laws of your state, pointing a loaded gun may be an offense, and it may not.
Rob- When do your students learn about those fine details in the legal use of lethal force?
David- They don’t learn them all at once. They start with a basic concealed carry class. Even if you don’t plan to carry concealed, these classes all cover basic legal issues. I always recommend reading Andrew Branca’s Law of Self Defense or Massad Ayoob’s Deadly Force.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
David- Our fourth story took place in Thurston County, Washington.
Rob- Fourth story- Do you have a firearm at home?
You hear someone outside. It is about 4 in the morning and you hear the sounds of an ATV or a motorcycle coming from your backyard. That is unusual since your family is inside your home at that hour. You get up to investigate. You also grab your rifle. Another member of your family joins you. Both of you walk towards two ATVs that are parked near your storage buildings. You see two men come out of the buildings towards the ATVs. You shout for them to stop. One man runs into the brush behind your house. The other man rushes toward you with his hand out. You shoot him. Now he stops.
You call 911 and ask for help. You give a statement to the police when they arrive. Police arrest your wounded attacker. EMS takes him to a nearby hospital to treat his wounded arm. The police also arrest the second intruder.
David- I like that our defender was armed. Our good guy tried to use words before he had to use firearms. I like that he didn’t let a stranger grab him or let the stranger take his gun away. He stopped shooting when the attacker stopped advancing. Then, he got help on the way. Both he and his family gave statements to the police. It is pretty bold to ride up on two ATVs when people are at home.
Rob- Do we know best practice in this situation?
David- Think this through ahead of time. Consider if it is a good idea to go outside to confront someone…especially if we don’t know how many people are outside. We don’t know how they are armed. We don’t know their state of mind or what they want to do. Even if our family has a dozen trained and armed men that we can put outside at 4 in the morning, those are still too many unknowns for us to make a plan so we’re sure our family members won’t be hurt. Even if one of our teenagers gets cut, then it wasn’t worth it to go outside, and teenagers heal faster than adults. They certainly heal faster than old men like me. Also consider the legal issues surrounding going outside, and possibly facing a prosecutor who wants to make a case that you created a dangerous confrontation. Have a lawyer to call.
I want you to have a safety plan and a legal plan so you are hard to hurt and you can’t lose. I don’t know how to do that if I go outside to chase bad guys in the dark..and I used to chase bad guys in the dark. They paid me to do that in the military and as a police officer. And, as you’d expect, sometimes our guys got hurt doing it.
Rob- We can’t have a perfect plan, but what would be a good plan?
David- Have a fence around your buildings. Have cameras. Call the police. There are reasons that farms have dogs, and that farm dogs are mean to strangers.
Rob- You’re saying that I might have to let someone take the things I have stored in my shed.
David- If something is important to you then lock it up. Add fences and lights. Add video. Add a sprinkler system. All of that is so much cheaper than you shooting someone even if you are absolutely justified in doing so. But the bottom line is that in most jurisdictions, deadly force is not authorized to defend property.
Rob- What would my legal defense cost?
David- It used to be about 15 thousand dollars…to get started. That will buy a lot of strong doors and locks. You should have insurance to pay a lawyer since lots of us don’t have 15 thousand in cash to give to a lawyer tonight.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. David, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
David- Look for my written articles at deltabravocharlie.com
Rob- After you look at Dave articles and his videos, then please leave us a message on the podcast episode webpage.
David- We share this podcast with you for free.
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I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.