Episode 302 with Tony Simon
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Rob- Welcome to episode 302 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 Tony Simon. What has been keeping you busy?
Tony- Hi, Rob. I’ve been putting on more diversity-shoot events in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I’m getting ready to go to the SHOT show in Las Vegas in a few weeks.
How about you?
Rob- I’m boring. I write, I exercise, and I carry every day.
I was excited when we received a new rating and a new comment on iTunes.
E-ric said, “This is a solid podcast and a great opportunity to learn from real-life self defense stories. As a long-time firearm owner and a new concealed carrier, this podcast has been a great resource.”
Tony- Thank you, E-ric.
Robbie wrote in and said, “Great show and Happy New Year. Regarding the story of the attacker beating on the door and yelling for help, this is one of those situations that worries me. Some of us are geared to respond to calls for help and bad guys use that.
One way to mitigate that vulnerability is to have those security cameras that you can look at before you open that door. If you know it’s a bad guy, you are safer, tactically and legally if you remain behind a locked door.”
Rob- Thank you, Robbie. Those are good points. I like that you found a solution that fits your situation.
Jim B wrote to us and said, “I appreciate the varied perspectives of the guests. These stories help me ready myself for the possibility of an attack. The guest instructors provide clear legal guidance when possible, but they recognize that all states and situations are different. Keep up the good work and carry on!”
Tony- We’d like to hear from all of you, so please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.
Rob- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm several thousand times a day. We look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn.
Tony- The links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place two weeks ago in Detroit, Michigan.
Rob- First story- Are you armed as you drive?
You drive for a towing company. The company gets a call about a junk car that someone wants to sell. It is about 9:30 Monday morning, the day after Christmas, when you pull up in your wrecker at the address. You’re about seven-and-a-half miles northeast of downtown Detroit. You get out and look for the vehicle owner. The temperature is in the mid-teens. The winds are light,but anyone outside is dressed in a heavy coat and gloves.
A stranger waves at you and heads your way. You ask if he has a car for sale. The stranger nods and reaches into his pocket. Instead of pulling out a set of keys, the stranger takes a handgun out of his pocket. He points his gun at you and tells you to empty your pockets.
You’re facing a few problems. The first one is the attacker who has a gun pointing at you. The other problems are the concealed pistol license in your wallet and the handgun in your holster. You don’t want to hand another loaded weapon to an armed robber.
The news reports aren’t clear how you reach under your coat and present your firearm. Witnesses report that you shoot between six and eight times. Police reports do not indicate that the attacker was able to fire his gun at all.
You step back. You call 911, and so do the neighbors who hear the gunfire. You stay at the scene, but the news reports are not clear if you got into your truck to stay warm. When they arrive, you speak to the police officers. You show them your commercial driver’s license and your concealed pistol license.
Since you said there were shots fired, the 911 dispatcher also rolled Emergency Medical Services to the scene. EMS transports your attacker to the hospital in critical condition. The attacker dies a few hours later.
News reporters interviewed the neighbors. They recognized the attacker and said he lived in the area. They did not blame the driver for defending himself. To quote one neighbor, “You have to get these crooks off the street one way or another.” The neighbors refuse to let the news reporters publish their names.
Several tow truck companies said they have rules against their drivers going armed. The companies feared being named in a civil lawsuit if the driver had to defend himself. The companies were more worried about the legal bills than about their equipment being stolen or their drivers being injured.
All of the towing companies that were interviewed said that their drivers had a dangerous job since they went to all parts of the city at all hours of the day and night.
The police don’t arrest you and they don’t include your name in their published reports.
The news media does not name you either.
Original News Sources-
Tony- Let’s look at the big picture first. Bad weather means the police can’t get anywhere quickly. We saw bad guys take advantage of that at Christmas in Buffalo, New York where there were riots and looting during an ice storm. If the roads ice up, then it might not be safe to travel, and you might be on your own for a long time. Please plan to stay safe.
I like that our defender recognized that he had a dangerous job. Think of him as a rolling pawn shop for automobiles. He goes into bad neighborhoods and hands out cash as he picks up cars. That makes him a potential victim for criminals who want to take the cars, take his truck, and maybe take his life.
Our defender got his carry permit. He carried on the job. He also thought about how he might have to defend himself if he were threatened. He planned the motions, and maybe the diversions, to present his firearm without being shot. He stayed at the scene and he called the police.
Rob- What do you mean that he planned the diversions?
Tony- The bad guy told you to hand it over. Give him your scarf. Give him you gloves. Give him your pocket knife and your watch. Give him your belt and your phone. Give him your address book. Give him the tools in your pants pockets. Give him your wallet. When his hands are full you give him your armed defense. You should not fight fair. Some people carry their firearm in a coat pocket and plan to shoot through their jacket.
Rob- Are there other things you want us to do that were not mentioned in the story?
Tony- The law recognizes that you are human. Say you start shooting and the bad guy drops his gun after your third shot. It takes time for you to recognize that. Maybe you shoot him a few more times before you understand that your attacker is now disarmed. That is when you have to stop shooting. You might move toward your attacker to move his gun away from him. Assume you are on camera and don’t kick the bad guy.
Shout for help. Say, “Someone is shot, call 911.”
Rob- Why is that important?
Tony- That is what good guys do. We use a gun to stop a lethal threat. We don’t want anyone to die. Once the threat is gone, then we want to get help on the way as soon as we can.
We also want people who were ear witnesses and eye witnesses to identify themselves by calling 911.
Rob- When do your students learn about that, and when do they get to practice it?
Tony- We talk about it first in our home defense handgun class.
We practice making that call and talking to the police.
Rob- We’ve said a lot about this simple story.
Tony- Let’s go on. Our second story happened before Christmas in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed as you drive at night?
You are a 23 year old woman. Your car is parked in front of your apartment. It is 9:30 at night when you unlock your car and get in. Three men approach your driver’s side door. One of the men taps on your window with his handgun. He shouts for you to get out of your car.
You pretend not to hear him. You lower the window and turn in your seat. You reach for your handgun and ask your attacker what he said. You present your handgun and shoot the closest attacker several times. He shoots his gun as well. Your attackers run and so do you. You go back to your apartment and call 911 asking for help.
Your neighbors have already called 911 with reports of shots fired. The police find your wounded attacker nearby. EMS transports him to the hospital. The police also find your other two attackers.
Your robbers were 15, 17, and 18 years old. All of them were armed. All of them have robbed other people at gunpoint before. The 17 year old attacker dies in the hospital.
The prosecutor charges the 15 and 18 year old with felony murder for the death of their accomplice.
You are not charged with a crime.
Tony- Notice the differences between our first story and this second story. The tow truck driver in Detroit faced one attacker and the driver was on his feet when he was attacked. In this story, our defender faced three attackers and she was sitting down in her car. That makes it hard for her to move. One advantage for this defender was that it was dark so it was harder for the bad guys to see what she was doing as she defended herself. Bad guys usually don’t carry flashlights.
I like that she decided to buy a firearm and learn to defend herself. Arkansas passed constitutional carry about four years ago. She took advantage of that to go armed in public. I wish that she had her carry permit, but maybe she’ll get one now. She kept the bad guy talking while she moved to defend herself. She shot until the threat stopped. She stopped shooting when the bad guys ran away. Rather than chase them, she retreated to the safety of her apartment. She called 911 and gave the police a statement.
Rob- Are there other things you want your students to do?
Tony- Think about what you’d do if you were attacked like this. How can you move in your car? How will you get to your gun? Practice those motions in private with an unloaded gun. Also, how can you distract your attacker so you have more time to get out of your seatbelt and to shoot the bad guy. Do you want to carry a fake wallet on the console of your car? Do you want to throw a purse out the window?
Rob- How does darkness make it easier for this defender?
Tony- They can’t see your hands very clearly. That buys you time. You say, I’m getting out. Give me a second. Don’t shoot me. You’re also reaching inside your coat pocket to grab your firearm. There is a time to move slowly and a time to move quickly.
Rob- That sounds simple when you say it, but it is pretty demanding.
Tony- That is why you want to think about it ahead of time. Imagine it, then practice your best idea and see how it works. Practice your best option a few times so you know what to do.
Rob- That is good advice in any season. Where are we going next.
Tony- Our third story happened in Elkrun Township, Ohio.
Rob- First this message from Amanda Suffecool.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed as you drive home with your two year old child?
It is just before midnight Saturday when you’re driving your pickup truck home with your two-year-old in the seat next to you. You’re almost home when you see a woman walking on the side of the road. It is quite dark and cold on this rural road. You stop to see if there is a problem.
You don’t know her, but the woman on the side of the road says she lives nearby. You turn into your driveway and drop off your child with your wife. You get back into the truck to deliver the pedestrian to her home. You’ve just turned onto the road when someone comes up behind you and crashes into the back of your truck. You see a jeep behind you. The driver of the jeep has a handgun out the window with the gun pointed at you. The vehicles slide to a stop off the road in a wooded portion of this rural area.
The news reports don’t mention where you kept your gun, but you are armed. You grab your firearm and step out of your truck. So does the driver of the jeep. He shoots at you. You shoot back several times until your attacker stops shooting and falls down.
You stop shooting and back away. You call 911 and ask for help. The news reports neither mention when you put your gun away, nor do they mention where you put it. Sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical services arrive. The attacker is declared dead at the scene. You give a brief statement to the police.
The 49-year-old woman on the side of the road had been a passenger in the jeep. The 69-year-old male driver of the jeep attacked her. She got out of the jeep and escaped by walking toward her home along the side of the road before you picked her up. The Sheriff said this incident started as a domestic assault and that you acted in self-defense. Sheriff Brian McLaughlin said, “I don’t foresee any charges being filed.”
You’re upset but not injured. You’re glad you dropped off your child before you were attacked. You say a prayer for everyone involved.
Original News Sources:
- UPDATE: Deputies believe shooting in Elkrun Township was self-defense, no charges expected
- Sheriff describes shooting as self-defense
- Shooting described as self-defense
- One dead after shooting in Columbiana County
Tony- I like that our good guy was armed. I even like that he picked up a stranger who was at the side of a rural road late at night in the wintertime. I like that he dropped off his child.
Our good guy recognized when he faced a lethal threat. He defended himself, then he called for help and gave a statement to the police.
I see one thing that the newspaper doesn’t talk about, I bet the passenger gave a statement to law enforcement that condemned the attacker.
Rob- Is there more that we can do in a situation like this one?
Tony- If you pick up the victim of a crime then call 911 as soon as possible. That gets you entered into the report as a witness or a bystander rather than as a perpetrator. Maybe you’ll be lucky and a sheriff’s deputy is patrolling in your area.
Rob- A year ago you didn’t have to talk to your students about concealed carry because New Jersey residents couldn’t get their permits. Now they can get their permits and you have to change your classes. Are students coming back for more training?
Tony- Oh Yes. The ranges are full.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Tony- Our fourth story took place in Tucson, Arizona.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed when you go to the bar with a friend?
You are going out to drink with a friend. You pick them up and drive to a sports bar on a Wednesday night. You won’t be drinking since you are the designated driver and the designated defender.
It is 6pm and you and your friends were not at the bar very long when a stranger comes in carrying a rifle. He walks into the middle of the bar, shouts, and then shoots the rifle up into the ceiling. You present your handgun and move toward the shooter. So does your friend. Both of you are yelling for the attacker to put down his gun.
The attacker lowers the barrel and turns the muzzle toward you. You shoot him three times in the chest. Now the attacker drops his gun and falls to the floor. You stop shooting. Lots of people call 911.
There are lots of things we don’t know. The news reports don’t mention if you called the police or if your friend called. We don’t know who grabbed the attacker’s rifle. We don’t know when you reholstered your gun. You stay at the scene and give a statement to the police. Emergency Medical Services take your attacker to the hospital in critical condition.
There are lots of witnesses. You have to take a breathalyzer test to prove you were not drinking while carrying concealed at an establishment that serves alcohol.
The media called it a bar fight, but it turns out that the attacker was thrown out of the bar an hour earlier for making racist comments and saying he wanted to blow up the building. Neither the police nor the press publish your name since your are not charged with a crime. The owner of the bar says you stopped mass murder and saved a lot of lives.
Original News Sources-
Tony- I like that our group had a designated driver and a designated defender. They recognized that this was not cowboy night at the bar and that shouting orders and shooting a gun into the ceiling was a threat. They tried to diffuse the situation with verbal commands. They asked the attacker to put his gun down. They recognized an immediate threat when the attacker moved to point his gun at them. They stopped firing when the threat stopped. They stayed at the scene.
Rob- What else do you see here?
Tony- There were a lot of witnesses. That is where your habits as you handle a firearm will be noticed. You are very excited, so even as the attacker is down you want to keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction with the muzzle down.
You might want to move the attacker’s weapon away from him. Ask someone to stand on it so that a stranger won’t pick it up. Once the attacker’s firearm is secured, then there probably isn’t any reason to have your firearm out. Now would be a good time to carefully reholster it.
Ask if anyone else is hurt. Ask someone to call 911. Ask that person to stay with you and to stay on the line with the dispatcher. You could ask if anyone has trauma care training. That is what good guys do, and it doesn’t hurt if the witnesses see you acting like a concerned good guy.
Also, this story started hours earlier when the attacker, I presume a drunk attacker, started issuing threats and was thrown out of the bar. That means this is a complex situation. It will take the deputies at the scene a while to figure out what happened and to collect the relevant evidence and testimony.
Relax. Order a soft drink and a snack because you are going to be there for a while as officers sort things out. Stay polite. Make a brief statement. Be polite, and then call your lawyer so he can fill out the full police report.
Rob- Tell me more about making a full written statement to the police.
Tony- You don’t know what happened. If I asked you, you wouldn’t give me the relevant events in order. Also, there are particular points you have to present in order to make a claim of self-defense. You used lethal force because you or other innocent parties were in extreme danger. It was safer for you to use lethal force than to do something else.
The way your statement is presented is generally the same, but the details are different in each state. Your lawyer puts the story together so you get it right the first time. Your lawyer can also look at the security video before he makes his report. That helps you make statements that fit with other evidence.
Here is an example. You identified yourself as the designated driver when the waitress took your order. The bar gave you complimentary soft drinks and coffee. It shows that right on your bar bill next to the four orders of nachos and fries.
Rob- When do your students learn what to do after they touched their gun in public?
Tony- Since I live in New Jersey, elections have consequences. Say little. Call the police. Then call your lawyer. We talk about that in my Home defender handgun class.
I’ve been encouraging my students to shoot in competitions at their local range. Some of those events are only $10 and you can shoot 22s.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Tony, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Tony- Find me at Diversityshoot.com
I’m also on Instagram and facebook at Simon Says Train, and at The 2nd is For Everyone podcast.
Rob- I hope you look at Tony podcasts and at his classes. Then, please leave Tony a message on the self defense gun stories episode webpage.
Tony- 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. Thank you for joining us and again, and we’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.
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