Episode 298 with Candy Petticord
Rob- Welcome to episode 298 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 Candy Petticord. I met Candy again in Dallas, Texas a few months ago. What have you been doing since we talked?
Candy- Hi, Rob. I’ve been..super busy with training. We just wrapped up the training year for Buckeye Firearms Association and I am staying busy with my A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League & my own training company, Northpointe training. I am also expanding my certifications with USCCA.
How about you?
Rob- I did a little dry practice and bought a bedside safe to give to a friend for an early Christmas present. By the way, ammunition gift certificates are always the right size for Christmas.
I wondered if the comment feature is working on iTunes. I asked a friend to comment, and it took a few days for the comments to appear.
Candy- One of our listeners wrote in. Donald said, “I’m not sure I fully understand or agree with the actions that the woman took in the first case from Birmingham. Shouldn’t she have given a verbal command. The way it was described it sounded like she just saw him and shot just because he was breaking in. It didn’t mention seeing a weapon or the person approaching in any life threatening manner. I’m not sure he was even fully in the house. Maybe it was just some details that were not noted.
Rob- Donald is talking about a woman who shot someone coming in through her window at night. You are right that the defender could not identify an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat. Alabama is a castle doctrine state. Their law gives the defender the legal presumption to use lethal force if the defender reasonably believes another person is in their dwelling, business, or occupied vehicle, or is in the process of entering those locations, unlawfully and forcibly.
That law applied, and it was written for a case just like this one. It is hard to identify someone’s intent in the middle of the night. The legal assumption is that they are there to do harm. As the defender, you have the legal presumption to use lethal force, so that puts the burden on the state to prove you were not at risk. Note that this applies to someone entering your home even if they are not yet fully inside.
Candy- I like that our listeners think through our stories and ask good questions.
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Candy- 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 Bell City, Florida.
Rob- First story- Are you armed at home?
You are at home on a Friday afternoon. You are arguing with your child’s father. He grabs you by the throat. He has attacked you before. Today your armed. Your attacker squeezes your throat and tries to push you to the ground. You present your firearm from your coat pocket and shoot your attacker twice. Now he lets go of you. You step back and call 911.
You put your gun away. You talk to the police when they arrive. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital for treatment.
The neighbor across the street is a retired law enforcement officer. He gave a statement to the press about what he saw, but it isn’t clear if he also gave an official statement to the police.
The police say the investigation is ongoing.
Candy- The story doesn’t name a particular location where the attack took place, but if the neighbor saw it then it probably took place outside and in front of the home. I like that our defender recognized a repeated pattern of abuse and decided to protect herself and her child. I like that she was armed. She recognized an immediate, unavoidable and lethal threat from her attacker. She defended herself until the threat stopped and then she stopped shooting. She called 911 and asked for help. She put her gun away when the police arrived, and she gave the officers a statement.
Rob- Is there anything else you tell your students to do in a similar situation.
Candy- I want my students to take out a restraining order. You could do it as soon as possible or as late as possible. I want them to do it early. I also want them to get their carry permit.
Rob- I understand that the restraining order is like a no-contact order from the judge. If you need to contact your abuser then your lawyer does it for you. Why is the carry permit a good idea too?
Candy- Florida is not a constitutional carry state and I want you armed where you might be attacked. That means carrying when you drive, carrying at work, at the grocery store, at church, and at the gas station when you fill up your car.
Rob- How would that change the situation in this story?
Candy- Hopefully your abuser knows that your cell phone picture of him walking within 500 feet of you means he is going to jail. If you have to defend yourself, then the restraining order tells the police who the bad guy is and what to do with him. Your carry permit shows that you have a clean criminal record and that helps move you into the good-guy column as the police interview you.
Rob- You have a lot of students. When do they learn where they can carry and where they need a permit to carry in public?
Candy- In their carry class, and more in their class on the legal use of lethal force.
Rob- Should I call my lawyer if I had to shoot my child’s father?
Candy- Yes you should. I want that report to be perfect, and I’m not a lawyer.
Rob- Anything else that comes to mind before we move on?
Candy- Let’s get to our second story that happened in West Point, Georgia.
Rob- Second Story- Are you a defender at home?
You are at home with your mom on a Saturday evening. So are your brother and your sister. Your dad argued with your brother and then your dad left. Your dad comes back at about 9 at night and threatens your brother. Next, your dad shoots him. Your mom steps between your brother and your dad to stop your dad from shooting your brother again. Now your dad shoots your mom. You and your sister step forward to take the gun from your dad. He fights you for the gun and you shoot your dad. He falls. You step away and stop shooting.
It isn’t clear which one of you called 911. EMTs transport your three injured family members to the hospital for treatment. Police arrest you and your sister. Your mom and your brother are expected to recover. Your dad died at the hospital.
You and your sister are held until the police receive statements from your brother and your mom. You and your sister are released and the shooting was declared to be in self-defense.
Candy- This is a tragedy that the dad attacked the family, and a blessing that the son stopped it.
I like that the defenders tried everything they could to de-escalate the situation. I bet they yelled for the attacker to stop. The mom put her body between the attacker and her children. After she was wounded, the two siblings put their bodies in front of their mom. When the attacker wouldn’t stop, they had to resort to pressing the trigger.
They did what good guys do. They called for help. They worried about the victims. They gave a statement to the police. If they were my students, then they asked their lawyer to prepare an official report.
Rob- Is there more you see here?
Candy- This story is taken out of context. I bet there was a pattern of threats and physical abuse. I wonder if there was also a history of either mental illness, or of drug or alcohol abuse. I suppose it happens that trying to murder your family happened without warning, but I’ve never seen it or even heard of it.
Rob- What about defending your family?
Candy- My students look for my classes when they recognize that they are their families’ first responder. Yes, that includes armed defense, but it also includes trauma care.
Rob- Would you tell me about that?
Candy- Bad guys choose where and how to attack us. That means we’re mentally behind when it happens. We stop the attackers so we can save the injured. Lots of injuries are survivable if we keep the patient alive and we limit the amount of blood they lose before the EMTs get there. EMTs and doctors are amazing.
Rob- Where are we going for our next story?
Candy- Our third story happened in Harrison Township, Ohio.
Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home in the middle of the day?
You hear something outside your house just before 1 on a Friday afternoon. You follow the sound and see someone under your car. You start calling 911 and go outside to tell the thief to get out of there. The thief crawls out from under your car and runs toward you. You back up. The thief grabs you. You present your gun and shoot your attacker. Now he lets go of you and you stop shooting. You back away and call the police.
You holster your gun before the police arrive. You meet the police and show them where your attacker is lying on the ground. EMS treats your attacker’s wounded leg and takes him to the hospital. You give a statement to the police. The police tell you that the thief was stealing the catalytic converter from your car.
The police submit the case to the District Attorney.
Candy- You just made me think of something so I want to contrast this story with the earlier ones. Victims of domestic abuse are one of the few defenders who get repeated experience with violence. All the rest of us don’t know what is going to happen. This defender didn’t expect to be attacked. If he knew he was going to be attacked then he would have stayed farther away from his attacker.
How far did he back up before he dropped his phone and admitted that this was no longer a phone problem and was now a gun problem? We’ve seen a lot of police officers go through an entire fight with a notebook in their hands because they never learned to drop it. As simple as it sounds, learning to empty your hands so you can fight with both of them is an advanced skill.
Our defender was legally allowed to stand on his own driveway, so in a “stand your ground” state like Ohio, he did not have a duty to retreat. I don’t think that is important since the attacker was the one who closed the distance to you and attacked you.
I like that the defender was armed and recognized a threat. I like that he stopped the threat and then stopped shooting. He also did the usual things like calling 911 and giving a statement to the police.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do if we were in a similar situation?
Candy- I want you to have a lawyer to call because it is so important that your report includes all the particular factors that justify the use of lethal force. For example, when the attacker ran at me I backed up as fast as I could. He was faster than I was. When he grabbed me I was afraid that he could push me onto my back. I defended myself. I stopped shooting when he let go of me. I immediately got my phone and called 911.
Rob- It is important that those elements are also in the right order, and that is almost impossible for us to do when we’re emotionally upset after being attacked.
Candy- We talk about that a little in our concealed carry class. We talk about it a lot in our advanced classes, and particularly the classes focused on the legal use of lethal force.
Rob- My experience is that a lot of people want to shoot. A few want their permit, and fewer want to know the law.
Candy- I want you to be armed with the knowledge you need because that knowledge makes you faster.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Candy- Our fourth story took place in Chickasha, (CHICK-AH-SHAY) Oklahoma.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home in the middle of the day?
It is a few minutes after noon on a weekday when you hear a crashing sound from the front of your home. You walk toward the sound and see an unexpected stranger in your home. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot the intruder until he turns away. You stop shooting. You step back. You call 911 and ask for help.
You put your gun away when the police arrive. EMS declares your intruder dead at the scene. You give the police a statement.
Candy- I’m glad that the homeowner was armed. I’m glad he called 911 and gave a statement.
Rob- The story is unusual for what it doesn’t say.
Candy- Yep. The intruder knew the homeowner somehow. The story doesn’t tell us if this was a robbery over drugs, or money, or if it was a personal conflict.
Rob- What would you do if you heard a crashing sound in your home?
Candy- I have children in our home, so I would have to go investigate the source of the sound so I could defend my family. If the family was not a consideration, then I could lock my bedroom door and call the police.
Rob- The police officers said they were concerned because the intruder was shot several times. I’m sure your students ask you, “How many times should I shoot?” What do you tell them?
Candy- Every class.
I want you to start shooting when you face an immediate, lethal and unavoidable threat. I want you to stop shooting when that threat stops. The threat might stop because you were able to back up to a safe place and lock a door between you and your attacker. The threat might stop because your intruder fell down or turned around to leave. That might take one shot or many shots.
Rob- It is one thing to have heard that advice in a class. It is another thing to know it as a pattern of action.
Candy- Everything takes review and practice. That is true for eating with chopsticks, playing a musical instrument, or defending your family.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Candy, thank you for joining us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Candy- Look for me at the Akron, Ohio & Northcoast Chapters of A Girl and a Gun. I also teach at Northpointe Training in Akron, Ohio.
Rob- I put a link for that in our show notes. After you look at Candy’s classes, please leave her a welcome message on the podcast episode webpage.
Candy- 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.