Episode 315 with Robyn Sandoval
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 315 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 Robyn Sandoval. We missed you, Robyn. What has been keeping you so busy?
Robyn- Hi, Rob. I’ve been catching up from being out of the office hosting the 11th Annual A Girl & A Gun National Conference. It was a tremendous success! We had 600 students and 150 instructors and staff, where we taught training classes on every class you can think of. It was such a good time. I’m looking forward to flying to Georgia for The Mingle hosted by The Complete Combatant this weekend where I can get some training and trigger time myself! How about you?
Rob- I did some live fire practice at the range, and I’m still dry practicing every day for a class I’m taking this weekend. We received a new rating, but no new comments on iTunes (is 347,190).
Robyn- I would like to invite all of your listeners to go to the iTunes store. Subscribe to podcasts and share them with new gun owners, too! Here in the US, people are forced to defend themselves or their loved ones with firearms thousands of times a day. In today’s podcast, we’ll look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn. The links back to the original news articles are on the podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Rob- First story- Are you armed at home?
You are on the phone when you hear a crashing sound. It is 8:30 in the evening and your dog is barking. You put down the phone and your teenage son says, “Don’t shoot.” You hear your dog yelp in pain. You grab your gun and walk toward the front door. You see two masked strangers standing in your home. At least one of them has a gun. You shoot them several times. The news reports aren’t clear if you shot them while you were still in the other room or if you walked through the doorway first. Your attackers turn and run. You stop shooting. You don’t follow them down the street.
It takes a minute to understand what happened. Your son isn’t hurt. You’re not hurt. Your dog has been tased, but he’ll recover. One of your armed intruders is lying in the front doorway. You call 911 and ask for help. News reports say there was a third person living in your home and that they were not injured either.
You put your gun away when the police arrive. They disarm your attacker. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. You give the police a statement and the officers notice your broken front door.
The police find your second attacker nearby. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital. He is treated, and then arrested and taken to jail. You find out that he is charged with aggravated burglary, attempted aggravated robbery, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent felony. He is held on a 7-hundred-thousand dollars bond.
You are not charged by authorities.
Robyn- This is every parent’s nightmare that their child is threatened by an intruder. I like that the dad had a firearm and had it with him at night.
People often mistakenly think that your house is in an impenetrable bubble of rainbows and unicorns, but these stories remind us that bad things can happen to good people when they are at home. He bought a gun and learned how to store it and use it. He recognized when there was an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat to his family. He shot the bad guys until the threat went away.
Then he did what good guys do. He stopped shooting. He checked on his family, and he called for help. He made sure that he didn’t have a gun in his hands when the police arrived. He and his family gave a statement about what they saw and what they heard.
Rob- That is a lot to do in very little time. Are there other things you’d like your students to do that weren’t mentioned by the news reporters?
Robyn- You don’t expect the bad guys to choose your house. Fortunately the defender didn’t waste time asking why; he took action to stop the threat. But then imagine you are that father, standing there with a gun in his hand and you don’t know what to do with it. Part of you wants to stand in the middle of the room and make sure the bad guys can’t come back and hurt your family. You want to check on your family and then comfort them. You want to call for help. You’re pulled in a lot of directions at the same time.
In this case, you probably can’t close your front door because the bad guys broke it and there is a wounded or dead robber lying near the door. What a mess.
Rob- So how do we deal with such a confusing situation?
Robyn- Talk to your family about what to do ahead of time. You will feel better because you know it is going to be confusing. You will be less confused because you have a plan. Your family will feel better because they recognize what is happening to them. The chaos feels less chaotic because they expected it and they know what comes next and what to do.
Rob- How do your students learn what to do?
Robyn- We have classes on armed defense in the home. The NRA has them. The USCCA has them. Local instructors can make their own defense in the home class. Some instructors have short armed defense classes where they review scenarios like this one.
I like those short classes where you’re learning from both the instructors and from the other students in the class.
Rob- Does a home invasion/robbery happen very often?
Robyn- Criminals break into homes about 7,000 times everyday. People are home for about two thousand of them. Before Covid, most of the break-ins were during the day when we were at work. Now, with more people working from home, criminals are running into more homeowners. I don’t have the new statistics yet.
Rob- Is there anything else you noticed in this story?
Robyn- These attackers had a criminal record and probably committed robberies like this before. I bet our homeowner was seeing this for the first time. I’m glad we have stories like this to learn from.
Rob- Me too. Where are we going next?
Robyn- Our second story happened in Bryans Road, Maryland.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed in public?
You are walking your dog down the street. It is 3 in the morning when a woman comes running out of her townhouse. A man runs after her. You hear him swear and threaten her. The strange woman approaches you and asks for help. The man walks toward you aggressively.
Now the man threatens you. You step back and he turns to follow you. You present your firearm and tell him to stop. You shoot him before he is able to grab your gun. The man stops and you’re able to back away. He falls down.
You put your gun away and call 911. You stay at the scene. When they arrive, you show your concealed carry permit to the police. You give them a brief statement. You live nearby but didn’t know your neighbor who just attacked you. The woman who was attacked gives the police a statement too. The wounded man is her boyfriend and the father of her children. Both of you are taken to the police station for questioning by detectives.
You are released and officials do not charge you with a crime. Both the attacker and the woman who was fleeing from him were firefighters in Washington, DC.
Robyn- I like that our defender recognized that bad things can happen at night in public. That is why he got his carry permit. That is why he went armed when he had to take his dog out at 3am. Our defender recognized an immediate and dangerous threat to himself and to other innocent parties.
Rob- This is complicated because it might involve a third person. This couple is having a fight. Does it matter what happened inside their home before our good guy got there?
Robyn- No. The law says that that was a separate fight. The woman might have been the aggressor during the fight in the home, but she retreated from the fight by running outside and across the street. Her boyfriend pursued her and threatened her. That makes him the aggressor in the fight on the street.
Rob- When do we learn about the law like that?
Robyn- You’ll get a little information during your concealed carry class. There are classes after that where we review the legal use of lethal force, and then there are classes that focus only on the law. Some of them are online and written specifically for your state. We didn’t have classes like this a decade ago, so we’re making it easier and easier.
Rob- What else do you see in this incident?
Robyn- I’m glad our defender had a phone to call for help and that he made the call first. This story could have turned out very differently if he had to run back home to call, and the female victim disappears. You want to make sure that all the eyewitnesses and the earwitnesses tell their story.
Rob- How do we do that?
Robyn- After you defend yourself, shout for help. “Call 911. We need the police.” All the people who heard you shout and called 911 may have also heard the couple as they were fighting in the street. These days in this suburban setting, many of them had doorbell cameras that recorded what happened.
Rob- Is there anything else about this story?
Robyn- This story is a little complicated because you don’t know these people, and you don’t know who is armed, and you don’t know that she is an innocent party (maybe she intends to harm you, too). They brought the fight to you, and you have to discern all of the information immediately to govern your behavior. You heard him make an actual threat, and the attacker was acting threatening towards you as well. Domestic situations can get very inflammatory and you want to avoid being in the middle of them, if possible.
Rob- Where are we going next?
Robyn- Our third story happened in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Rob- First this message from FASTER Colorado.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed as you drive?
It is 1:30 in the afternoon when you are driving past the Las Vegas Airport. A man jumps over the barricade at the side of the road and he runs into traffic. He gets in your lane and you have to stop so you don’t run him over. He has a gun in his hands and points his gun at you.
You stop your car. You’re armed. It isn’t clear if you got out of your car or shot him from inside your car. Your wounded attacker now drops his gun. You stay at the scene. Police arrive in less than a minute.
The police chased your attacker from the other side of the barrier. They hear your gun shots. They called for Emergency Medical Services. You put your gun away. You identify yourself and give the officers a brief statement.
EMS takes your attacker to the hospital where he is pronounced dead. You are not facing any charges.
Robyn- We don’t think we are at risk as we drive on the highway in the middle of the afternoon, but this story proves that things like this happen. I love that our defender was armed so he could save his life and the life of others.
If this happens to you, then don’t move your car. Even if you are blocking traffic, stay put. Police are going to block off the entire highway as they process the scene. I hope you can reschedule your appointments because you’re going to be there a while.
Rob- Better to be late than to be killed by a crazy man with a gun.
Robyn- The bad guy was vandalizing cars and threatening the police with his gun. He was lucky that the police didn’t shoot him then.
Rob- What else do you see in this story?
Robyn- Let’s explore a couple of different angles. It would be probably that the attacker was drugged, drunk, or having a mental health problem. That is important to recognize because as responsibly armed citizens, we expect the world to think like we do. Unfortunately, there are a lot of criminals that aren’t you and don’t think like we do. You can rationalize their behavior or understand it. You just have to know the laws so that you can protect yourself from their erratic and dangerous actions.
The other thing is that this is a really hard place to defend yourself. First, getting to your firearm, shooting through a windshield, managing the pressure and sound from the shot, shooting from the seated position, drawing around a seatbelt – all of those factors come into play. You’re also managing your vehicle – putting it in park and blocking traffic – at the same time as your firearm, with a lot of people around you. Every shot you fire is going to stop somewhere, so you have to be mindful that you’re not going to send a bullet into a nearby home or car – you have one target that you have to hit. I’m glad our defender hit his attacker and didn’t injure people down the road.
Rob- Our defender hit his attacker as the good guy was getting out of his car and trying not to be run over by other cars.
Robyn- Good point. We’re going to leave the “getting run over” part out of our training classes.
Rob- We have people running around carrying a foam bumper-car?
Where are we going for our last story?
Robyn- Our fourth story took place in Johnson, Iowa.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home?
You hear your neighbor yelling upstairs. You’re worried about him so you go upstairs to see if he needs help. It is just before midnight and your neighbor is angry with the people upstairs. Now he threatens you, your wife and another relative with a knife. He moves toward them with the knife in his hands.
You’re armed. You shoot your attacker until he stops and drops the knife. You call 911 and ask for help. You put your gun away when the police arrive.
Police take your attacker to the hospital. Your wife and another witness were grazed by your bullets. The witness went to the hospital as well. All of you remain at the scene and give statements to the police. You are not arrested and are not charged.
Robyn- John Farnam’s Rules of Stupid say, “Don’t go stupid places, associate with stupid people, or do stupid things.” He says that we avoid a lot of problems by being home in bed after 10pm. Did our defender need to get involved?
However, sometimes the problems come to us. When he was threatened, he was armed and was able to stop the threat to himself, his wife, and friend. Again, I suspect that the attacker was drunk, drugged, or mentally challenged. The defender and his family said they knew the man and that he was being uncharacteristically angry and violent.
It’s good that there were lots of witnesses who stayed at the scene to give a statement to the police. If this happens to you, then you might want to take a video of the scene so you record everyone who was there.
Rob- I don’t remember them talking about taking a video of the scene in my concealed carry class.
Robyn- Everyone has a camera these days. Make that recording part of your safety plan with your family. Maybe your son or daughter will take the video if that is their role in the family safety plan. Make sure they know NOT to put this video on social media.
Rob- Our description is too simple and it gives a false impression. “I saw the bad guy threaten someone. I shot them.” The truth is that there were innocent victims near the bad guy and some of the victims were injured.
Robyn- People think that a firearm is a tool that works at a distance, but actually most self-defense encounters happen at 3-5 yards. Also, we might choose to get very close to our attacker so that innocent people can’t get in the way between us and the bad guy. There are close quarter classes that teach you to shoot from retention and to manage the experience of what it is like both physically and emotionally to shoot someone who is inches away from you.
Rob- The bad guy had a knife. You’ve taken knife fighting classes. We don’t want to get close to someone who has a knife, but we might have to because there are so many people nearby. Talk to me about figuring that out.
Robyn- Knife fights are gruesome. In seconds a lot of damage can be inflicted with a knife. It is a lethal tool and a firearm is a viable option to combat it. There are classes that teach you how to manage the attacker’s arm to make sure that you control the knife, pin your body in a position of leverage, and also can get access to your firearm where you can shoot without putting your body in jeopardy. These techniques are taught in a variety of close quarters classes or weapons retention classes.
Rob- Is there more we want to talk about before we close?
Robyn- If you’re going to try to physically control your attacker with a knife, it is going to take a lot of stamina. Even if your attacker is bigger and stronger than you, there are techniques that can give you the upper hand. However, if you’re not fit to fight, it’s a good reminder that you want to do some kind of strength training or cardio regiment. People often think that they’ll have superhuman strength because of adrenaline, but if you’ve never played football before, you’re not suddenly going to be able to hang in the Super Bowl just because you have adrenaline. You need to be realistic about your abilities and your training, and then set goals to be where you want to be.
Exit- Rob- That wraps up this episode. Robyn, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Robyn- Look for me at A Girl and a Gun dot org, and at and A Girl & A Gun on all of the social media pages. We have chapters all across the country.
Rob- After you look at Robyn’s events, then please leave her a message on the podcast episode webpage.
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I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.