Episode 297 with Amanda Suffecool
Rob- Welcome to episode 297 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. What has been keeping you so busy?
Amanda- Hi, Rob. I’ve been on the road for about 6 weeks. DC for the annual DCP trip, Lansing for a Michigan capital rally, Tommy Gun warehouse for the Rod of Iron freedom festival, Dallas for the SAF.org’s Gun Rights Policy Conference.
How about you?
Rob- I’ve been doing my own dry practice and instructing a student at the range, so I get to do a little live fire training. Thank you for asking.
A listener named Jeff made me smarter. I said it was hard to get a carry permit in Baltimore, Maryland. That may have been true, but not now. Jeff said he was able to get his permit in 60 days.
Amanda- I think the rules in Maryland changed after the Supreme court’s Bruen decision. As did the rules in many states, in your defense, it’s kinda hard to keep up right now.
Rob- My co-hosts and I have built this podcast for the last seven years. Now I want to share the load. This is volunteer work and I’m looking for someone to help schedule, or research, write, record, edit, publish or to promote the podcast. We’ve had a few people respond but nothing definite. Please leave a message on our episode webpage if you’re interested in picking up a part of this podcast and making it yours.
Amanda- Your reviews increase our ratings and make it easier for new listeners to find us, so I’m asking for a favor too. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell us 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. The links to the original news articles are on our episode webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Birmingham, Alabama.
Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?
You are at home asleep. It is almost 1 in the morning when you’re woken up by the sound of splintering wood and a sliding window. Someone is breaking into the back of your home. You get out of bed. You’re a woman and you decide to bring your gun with you when you leave your bedroom. You see someone climbing into your house through a window. You shoot at them twice and they climb back out of the window. You stop shooting. You back up and call 911. You ask for the police. You put your gun away when officers arrive, and you give the police a brief statement.
Police also get another call from a gas station several blocks away. There is a man lying on the ground outside their store with a gunshot wound to his chest. Police and Emergency Medical Services respond to the scene. They transport your attacker to the hospital. He dies about two hours later. You are not charged with a crime.
Amanda- I love that our defender had her doors and windows locked. I like that she recognized a problem rather than ignoring it and going back to sleep. I like that she had a gun, and decided that exploring a bump in the night was a gun problem. She recognized an immediate threat and defended herself. She stopped shooting when the intruder was no longer a threat. She stayed inside, asked for help, and gave the police a brief statement.
Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do if one of us was in a similar situation?
Amanda- In hindsight, I bet this woman wishes she’d stayed in her bedroom and called the police. That is good advice, but I don’t know that I’m smart enough to take it. Sometimes yes, but probably not all the time. When you leave your bedroom you don’t know if the intruder is outside your home or if there are several armed intruders already inside your home waiting in the dark.
Rob- Say that someone is breaking into my home. When do they become an immediate and unavoidable threat?
Amanda- They are not an immediate threat if they are outside my home. They are a threat if they are close to me and moving toward me. They are not an immediate threat if they are turned away from me and moving away from me. The difference is up to the interpretation of the grand jury and the local prosecutor. Let me show you the difference.
Your 10 year old neighbor sees your front door is open. She walks up to your house, steps inside and calls your name before he closes your door and then calls her mom so her mom will call you and explain that your door was open. That was never a threat.
Or, a stranger breaks the window next to your door and reaches inside to open the door. Now he walks inside.
Rob- So we have to explain why someone in our home is a threat?
Amanda- Exactly, but there is more. Why is that person an immediate, unavoidable, and lethal threat?
Rob- People want to learn how to shoot. When do your students learn when to shoot, and when not to?
Amanda- My concealed carry class. When to shoot and when to run.
Rob- Anything else?
Amanda- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Katy, Texas.
Rob- Second Story- Are your doors locked at night?
You, your mom and your adult brother are at home on a Friday. You hear shouts outside at 11:30 at night. There are a number of voices saying they are the Houston Police and to open up the door. Before you get there, two men break down the door and enter your home with guns drawn. They are wearing uniforms and the first one is shooting wildly. You duck. The attacker who is shooting hits his armed partner from behind. That causes the partner who isn’t shooting to drop his gun. You pick up the intruder’s gun and shoot at the first intruder who is still armed. You hit him at least once and he falls. The wounded intruder who dropped his gun runs from your home. You stop shooting.
You don’t chase the attackers down the street. It isn’t clear from the news reports which one of you called 911 and asked for help. You put the gun down when the police arrive. The police come inside and EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. Each one of you gives a statement to the police. You are not charged with a crime.
Amanda, I found this one just for you.
Amanda- I see that. There was a mom and two adult sons staying at the house that night. The article isn’t entirely clear if the intruders broke in, or if someone opened the door. I like that the family reacted rather than huddling in their beds and wondering what the sound was.
I like that the defender recognized a lethal threat and then saw an opportunity to defend his family when one of the bad guys dropped their gun. I like that the defender shot the armed intruder, and then stopped shooting when the bad guys ran. The news reports say that the bad guys were wearing what looked like body armor, but that could be reporters confusing a tactical vest for body armor.
I had to read the story a few times before I understood who shot who with what, and it must have taken a while to explain what happened to the police.
Also, I bet the police really want to find the wounded intruder and his getaway driver because the cops really don’t like it when you imitate them and then rob innocent victims. It isn’t mentioned in the article, but they are wanted for murder since one of the attackers died in the commission of a felony.
Rob- What would you like your students to do?
Amanda- I want your family to have a plan. Someone is banging on the door, so who calls 911? Who is armed and defends the hallway to the bedrooms. Is there a way to turn on the lights in the home? Do you have an alarm and a video doorbell so that you see what is happening, and you also have video to show the police when they arrive.
Also in this case, their costumes were intended to give them the advantage and put you behind. It makes you wonder what’s up with the police knocking down your door. So many stories of homeowners shooting back at police, because they were not awake or aware enough to see that they were police. These slugs were playing on that.
Rob- Will the police wait for me to call 911 and verify that it really is the cops at my door?
Amanda- If it is a wellness check then they should. We’re seeing fewer no-knock warrants being issued. This one was decided for our defenders pretty quickly when one bad guy shot another of his partners.
Rob- You talked in a past episode about taking the attacker’s gun if they are within reaching distance.
Amanda- Yeah, it takes guts or no other option to step in and take someone else’s gun. It’s easier when that guy is down and out.
Rob- Where are we going for our third story?
Amanda- Our next story happened in Warner Robins, Georgia.
Rob- First this message from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed when you stop to get your oil changed at Walmart?
You and a friend are at a Walmart on a weekend getting the oil changed in your truck. You hear a child scream in fear. You look and see a stranger grab a child out of a car and drag the child towards the woods. For a second you think the man is taking the child to the woods so the child can go to the bathroom, but the child keeps screaming. You and your friend run after them. You see the man on top of the child and his hands are around the child’s throat.
You’re armed. You present your firearm and order the man to stop. You and your friend grab the child. The story isn’t clear if you or your friend called for other people to come help you. It isn’t clear who called 911. You put your gun away when the police arrive. They arrest the child’s attacker. The police take the child into protective custody and take him to the sheriffs juvenile department. The attacker is arrested and charged with aggravated assault and cruelty towards a child.
You are not charged.
Tag- No Shots Fired.
Amanda- It is easy to excuse unusual events, and I love that this man saw something out of the ordinary and he said that isn’t right. He followed the attacker into the woods. The defender was armed. He tried using words or physical actions to stop the threat before he pressed the trigger. We call that the degree of force. In this case, he was able to stop the attack without firing a shot. He got the child to safety, and he sought help from other adults. They held the attacker for the police. It isn’t clear who called 911.
Rob- What else do you see here?
Amanda- The defender certainly saved this child’s life. Would we have been able to do that without being armed? Would a 120 pound woman have been able to stop this attacker, or would she have become the next victim? This defender wasn’t sure, so I’m grateful that he was armed.
Rob- The defender wasn’t threatened, so when can we use the threat of lethal force to save a third person?
Amanda- If the threatened person had the right to use lethal force, then we’re justified to use lethal force for them. The child didn’t start the fight. The child didn’t pose a lethal threat to the attacker. The child’s life was in danger. That means we have the right to use the threat of lethal force, or to actually use lethal force to stop the attack.
Rob- This child was a few seconds away from being killed, yet the defender used words rather than pressing the trigger. Did he do the right thing?
Amanda- It worked, but you are right that it is a judgment call. Most of us don’t want to press the trigger and we’ll try words and then a fist fight so we don’t have to shoot someone.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Amanda- Our fourth story took place in Seattle, Washington.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you drive for a rideshare company?
Tonight, you’re driving your van for Uber. You are going down a six lane street in the city of Seattle when you see a woman sitting in the center of the road. That doesn’t look right. The woman is sitting in the middle of the highway, but you don’t see a disabled car nearby and the woman looks injured. Other people drive by but you stop. Some of her clothes are missing and what she is wearing is torn and dirty. You’re worried for her safety so you ask the woman if she needs a ride. She gets into your van. A man drives up behind you and starts shooting at your van. You shoot back, and then call 911 and drive onto the highway to lose your attacker. You turn off the highway to meet police at a nearby gas station.
You turned the injured woman over to the Seattle police and state police. She was escaping her abuser who was a pimp and human trafficker selling her for sex with strangers. Police arrested the pimp who shot at you. He was trafficking at least three other women. Your passenger is taken to the hospital for treatment of broken ribs from a beating and a broken leg and ankle that she injured as she escaped. Police charge your attacker with multiple counts of interstate kidnapping, human trafficking, promoting prostitution, assault, aggravated assault and drive-by shooting. Your attacker is jailed on a three-quarter-million dollar bond.
You are not charged with a crime.
Amanda- This reads like an action movie. Interstate human trafficking, woman, car chase, gun fight, escape and meet the police. Thank goodness for the good guys and gals who save lives.
We’ve all seen people standing on the side of the road next to their broken car. This driver recognized that a half-naked woman sitting alone on the side of the road at night was unusual. He had a split second and he decided to offer help. He recognized that being shot at was a lethal threat. He shot back so he could safely escape. He called the police and asked for help. This woman was badly beaten and he saved her life. Good for him. Now he has to get his van repaired because there are bullet holes in the glass from the attacker shooting at them.
Rob- Is there more that we should do?
Amanda- I am not a lawyer in Washington State, but I looked at the law and I think you need a permit to carry a loaded gun in your car. I’m pretty sure that the story would have mentioned if the defender were carrying illegally, so that means the defender had his carry permit in Washington. Good for him.
Also, Uber says you have to be disarmed if you work for them. This driver would rather have a gun with him so he could save a life, and then deal with losing his job later. Very good for him. It turns out that the woman was sitting on the road because she had broken her leg as she escaped from her attacker.
Rob- The driver was a card carrying good guy.
Amanda- Yes, and there is more. Let’s say you picked up a stranger and you had to draw your gun as you drove your car. Now you want to make a phone call to the police. What do you do with your gun then? Maybe your phone responds to voice-commands. That would be helpful if you’re driving for a living anyway.
Rob- You arrive at the gas station to meet the police. You’ve got an injured person in your car and a gun in your lap. How do you safely get the police and EMTs to take over?
Amanda- I guess we’re done with the easy questions, so let me think. I’d stop the car at the gas station. Hopefully the police are already there. I guess I’m sitting with my gun stuffed under my leg. I turn off the car and unfasten my seatbelt. I pocket the keys. I very carefully get my gun and re-holster it.
I hope I’m still on the phone with 911, and that they are in contact with the police. If the police are there, then I put my hands on the wheel and wait for instructions from either officers at the scene, or advice from the dispatcher.
Rob- Then you get to deal with the police.
Amanda- Your evening is just beginning. Give them a brief statement. Something like-
Officer, I saw this woman on the side of the road. I’m concerned that she needs immediate medical attention. We were attacked. I defended myself. I called 911 and asked to meet you here. I see that my van was struck by bullets and those holes were not in the van when I started driving this evening. I think the person who attacked us was driving a white or light colored four door Mercedes. I’ll cooperate and answer all your questions after I’ve talked with my lawyer.
You want to point out evidence, but save the details for your written report. I noticed that this good guy only used his gun so he could escape. He didn’t chase the bad guy with his car and try to be the police. He saved himself and his passenger, then he moved to a safe location to get help. That is what good guys do, and your lawyer can tell that story.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Amanda, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
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 on TV at 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- This show is part of the Self-defense radio network. Find more pro-freedom podcasts at sdrn.us
I’m Rob Morse. Happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.
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