Episode 324 with Tony Simon
Rob- Welcome to episode 324 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. How have you been, Tony?
Tony- Hi, Rob. I’ve been really busy with diversity shoots. We’ve doing three of them this month. Donate at Diversityshoot.com
How about you?
Rob- We didn’t receive any new ratings or comments on iTunes. We’re still in a four way tie for third-place among all the second amendment podcasts in the United States. Please tell a friend about our podcast so we break that tie.
Tony- If you already told your friends, then how about going to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.
Rob- Dwayne left us a message on Facebook and said he likes the show. He also gave us a story that we used. Roger Temple gave us his comments on our stories this week. Thank you, Dwayne and Roger. Please check out Roger’s bonus content on our website.
Tony- We defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times each day in the US. We look at a few recent examples. As always, you can find the original news articles on our webpage.
Our first story took place in Clovis, New Mexico.
You are a 26 year old woman. You’re at home on a Friday morning. It is about 10 am when you hear someone knock on your door. You’re not expecting anyone. You grab your gun and hear the sound of breaking wood and glass. Someone is breaking into your house. The news reports aren’t clear where you were standing, but you shoot your attacker when he is in the middle of your house. You step back and call 911. You stay at your home.
You put your gun away when the police are nearby. You give a statement to the police when they arrive. Police examine your attacker and declare him dead at the scene. You identify your attacker. You have asked a judge for a restraining order against him. Your attacker had also been cited for trespassing onto your property before. The police look for security videos from the houses in the area. You are not charged with a crime.
Tony- This defender made preparations that saved her life.
She recognized that she was in an unusual situation. She faced an elevated threat from a particular person. She sought a restraining order. In some states those are called orders of personal protection. She also pressed charges when he came to her house when he wasn’t supposed to. That means she established the attacker’s ‘bad behavior’ in the eyes of the law.
She bought a firearm and learned how to use it. She learned how to carry her firearm, and hopefully how to present it from her holster.
Our defender locked her doors and windows. Let me remind everyone how important that is. The bad guy made a lot of noise when he broke down the front door. The homeowner paid attention to that noise and then reacted. Rather than being grabbed by surprise, she was able to turn toward the threat and get her gun out of her holster.
When she saw the bad guy coming across her home toward her, she stopped the attacker before he could reach her. She stopped shooting when he stopped advancing.
She stayed at the scene and asked for help. She put her gun away when the police arrived. She gave her statement to the police.
The attacker’s body was found in the middle of the house. In order for it to have gotten there he would have had to step onto her property, break through her door, and continue to progress into her house. He had ample time to turn around and reconsider his life choices, but as we just read that was not the case.
I want to say, good on the victim for making that call to the authorities, as it’s very important that you get your story out there first.
Rob- She performed very well. Do you see something else you’d like your students to do?
Tony- Oh yeah.
Let’s put better screws into the strike plates and locks of your door. If you like, we can turn the door around so it opens outward. That makes it much harder to kick in from the outside.
Also, I’d like you to stay in one of the rooms of your house. You can shoot from that room rather than moving into the middle of your house and getting into a gunfight. Plan to stay hidden and stay hard to hurt.
Here is another thing to think about ahead of time. Can you describe why this individual was an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat after he broke into your home. You need to have an answer in order to justify the use of lethal force like using your firearm.
I want our defender to have her carry permit so she is armed everywhere, and I want her to have a lawyer to call.
(Bullet points by Roger T.)
- The defender had a gun with her when she answered the knock on her door.
- She stopped shooting, stepped back to gain some distance and called 911 for help.
- The defender stayed at the scene, put her gun away when police arrived and gave them a statement.
- The defender had a restraining order on the attacker. The violation of the restraining order and the arrest for trespassing helped establish a pattern of criminal behavior for the attacker.
(Bullet points by Roger T.)
- Fortunately, the door to the home was locked- even during the day. The noise from breaking the door gave the defender a few precious seconds of warning. It also provided legal evidence of breaking and entering. Having a ring video camera is better.
- The attacker was able to break in the front door. Reinforcing the hinges with 3” screws and adding an extended lock striker plate makes the door 5 times harder to breach. Applying hurricane impact film on any glass in or near the door stops an intruder from breaking the glass in order to reach in and unlock the door.
- The intruder broke down the door but did he present an immediate, lethal and unavoidable threat to the defender? Could his actions or words be interpreted as a deadly threat or as a threat of major bodily harm? Even with Castle Doctrine, the attacker still has to provide a physical threat. Violation of a restraining order, trespassing and breaking and entering usually aren’t sufficient reasons to justify shooting someone. The story doesn’t say that the intruder was armed or not. Did the attacker yell “I’m going to kill you.”? Did he lunge at her? Could she articulate exactly what the intruder did at the moment to make her decide she had to shoot him? Use of deadly force depends on the totality of the circumstances. Know the use of force laws in your jurisdiction and be able to articulate your reasons for using deadly force to authorities.
- Could the defender have retreated to another room and barricaded the door instead of confronting her ex-boyfriend? The story doesn’t say where she was when she shot him. What were her options before she decided to shoot? A district attorney and a grand jury might ask such questions.
- When did the defender know that the intruder was her “ex”- before or after she shot him? It was 10 am during the day so she probably had enough light to tell who he was since both of them were inside of the house.
- Based on the information from the two website articles and the summary written here it would not be unusual for this case to be presented to a grand jury and possible trial.
Rob- Is there more we want to cover about this story?
Tony- I’m good. Let’s go to Raleigh, North Carolina.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed as you drive?
You’re driving down the road after work. It is about 5 in the evening when you notice a stranger honking at you. He is tailgating you. You pull over into a shopping center and park your car. Before you can call the police, a man runs up to your car door and opens it. You present your concealed firearm and shoot your attacker. He turns and runs. You stop shooting.
You stay at the scene. You put down your gun and pick up your phone. You call 911 and ask for help. You talk to the police when they arrive.
Police find your attacker nearby. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital. Police get several security videos from the stores nearby. They also talk to several witnesses who saw the man get out of his car and quickly run up to your car door. Police also reported that your attacker had a history of domestic violence. They reported that you had a clean criminal record. They said they don’t plan to press charges unless someone comes forward with different evidence. Your attacker died at the hospital.
Tony- I like that our defender paid attention to what was happening around her as she drove down the road. That let her take in information and reach the decision that this wasn’t normal. She drove to a public location and pulled over in order to avoid the bad driver.
I love that she was armed. She realized that bad things can happen to good people.
Again, she recognized that a stranger running up to her car and opening the door is unusual. She defended herself. She stopped shooting when the bad guy ran away. She stayed there and called for help. She had her hands empty when the police arrived.
I’m not sure how the attacker opened the door, but no matter the case we should always check our security as soon as we leave the safety of our homes. Checking our locks as we enter or leave vehicles can guarantee a safe place whenever we may need it.
Rob- Is there more that we should do that wasn’t mentioned in the news stories?
Tony- Lock your car doors so the bad guy can’t open the door and grab you.
I also want you to wear a holster so you have someplace to put your gun. The story doesn’t mention her having her carry permit, so I assume she did not have one. I want you to be able to re-holster your gun and retreat to a safe place. Maybe retreat into the nearest store and ask them to call 911 too.
For bonus points, park in front of the store so you can drive away if the bad guy follows you. Unstrap your seatbelt before the car comes to a stop so you can immediately run into the store. You³’re betting that a faster escape is better than being buckled in if the crazy man rams your car. There are advantages to both.
Do you have a voice system so your phone can call the police as you drive?
(Bullet points by Roger T.)
- The defender understood that the honking and tailgating were signs of a road rage incident and wisely drove to a shopping center where there were lights, cameras and witnesses.
- The defender had a gun with him/her and only shot the attacker AFTER the door was opened. This was an immediate, lethal and unavoidable threat.
- The defender stopped shooting when the attacker retreated and the defender did not pursue him.
- The defender stayed at the scene, called 911, put down his/her gun and gave a statement to the police.
(Bullet points by Roger T.)
- The best place to go if you’re being followed is the closest police station. The next best place is a shopping center with big box stores. You want lights, cameras and lots of witnesses.
- You want to park near the entrance but LEAVE YOURSELF AN ESCAPE ROUTE to prevent your follower from boxing you in.
- Call 911 as soon as you can and give them where you plan to go, your exact location, physical descriptions of you and your attacker as well as descriptions of both cars. Make sure the dispatcher understands that you need help immediately and that you, the good guy/gal are armed. 2
- Draw attention to yourself by honking your horn and turning on your hazard lights. The more witnesses you have the better your chances are that the follower won’t stop or attack.
- Lock your doors and roll up your windows while keeping your car running so you can quickly pull away if you get the chance. Your car doors should be locked anytime you are in the car whether you are moving or not.
- Release your seatbelt and pull your gun from the holster BEFORE you need it. Trying to draw your gun quickly from a holster on your belt while your seatbelt is buckled is almost impossible. Shoulder holsters give you better access to your gun when you are driving.
- Some concealed carriers keep a small back-up gun/pocket holster in a chest pocket on their shirts when driving.
Tony- Our third story happened in Salem, Indiana.
Rob- First this message from the Second Amendment Foundation.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home?
You’re working inside your home on a Monday morning. You hear a car drive up. You look outside and see a car driving across your yard. Your husband is working in the yard and the car stops near him. The driver gets out of his car and he runs up to your husband. The driver grabs your husband and pushes him to the ground. The attacker has a gun and points the gun at your husband’s head.
You’re armed. The story isn’t clear if you shot from inside your house or if you moved to the front yard. You present your handgun and shoot the attacker until he drops his gun. You check on your husband. It isn’t clear which one of you called 911. Both of you remain at the scene.
You put your gun away as the police arrive. EMS transports your attacker to the hospital. You and your husband give statements to the police. The attacker used to date your daughter, but that was a while ago and she doesn’t live here any longer. You’re not charged with a crime. Your attacker is declared dead at the hospital.
Tony- I love it that our defender was paying attention and noticed a car drive across her yard. She was armed. She recognized a threat. She took decisive action to stop the threat. She stopped shooting when the threat stopped. One of the homeowners called 911 and got help on the way.
It is important that the defender’s hands were empty when the police arrived, and both homeowners told the police what happened to them.
Rob- What else do you see in this story?
Tony- This was not a time to talk. This could have been a hostage shot with the bad guy positioned against your loved one. Know what you can do with your gun so you don’t hesitate. Since your loved one was being held at gunpoint, you want to shoot the attacker in the head so he stops immediately.
Check on your loved one before you call 911.
Also, I want all the adults in the house to be carrying concealed and to have their carry permits. That permit tells the cop that you don’t have a criminal record and that the bad guy lying there fertilizing the grass is probably the druggie.
If the daughter found out that the ex-boyfriend was violent, I want her to tell her parents and her friends so they can be prepared. Again, I think you need a lawyer to help you fill out the police report.
(Bullet points by Roger T.)
- The defender heard and saw a car run up on the lawn and the driver approached her husband. (Situational awareness). She didn’t ignore it nor did she freeze.
- She recognized an immediate, lethal and unavoidable threat to her husband and she reacted quickly by grabbing her gun and going to assist.
- The defender shot the attacker instead of trying to use verbal commands which probably would have put her husband and herself in mortal danger.
- The defender kept shooting until the attacker dropped his gun.
- She checked on her husband and then one of them called 911 for help.
- Both the defender and her husband remained at the scene and put the gun away when the police arrived.
- The defender and her husband gave statements to the police.
(Bullet points by Roger T.)
- The husband should have been armed as well as his wife. You never know when trouble will drive up on your lawn. If your gun is out of reach you may be out of luck. What would have happened if the wife was out shopping when the attacker arrived? Don’t depend on someone else to save you. You must train and equip yourself to be your own first responder.
- Fortunately, the wife was not only able to obtain a gun quickly but she was sufficiently skilled to shoot the attacker while he had a gun pointed at her husband’s head. Did she shoot from cover or concealment so the bad guy could not shoot back at her? What would have happened to her husband if she missed her target? Under the influence of adrenaline a good shooter becomes an average shooter. Did she know how to break the “tunnel vision” that occurs?
- Since the attacker had his gun pointed at her husband’s head, the defender should have aimed for the attacker’s head, not his body. A head shot generally acts like a “lightswitch” that instantly stops the attacker from pulling his own trigger. That’s a small target and a tough shot under any conditions.
- The defender checked her husband for any injuries. Did she have the equipment and the training to provide trauma care if needed?
- Hopefully, the couple had a self-defense plan with a lawyer to help them craft their statements to the police. They should have only given the cops the minimal facts at the scene and told the police that they would cooperate with the investigation after they had a chance to meet with their lawyer. According to Andrew Branka, even if you do everything right and legally correct, there’s still a 10% chance that you will be convicted if you are forced to go to criminal court. You also have to be concerned about a civil lawsuit.
- Did the daughter know that her ex-boyfriend could be violent? Did she tell her parents? Did she have a restraining order on him? A restraining order is only a piece of paper that probably won’t stop an attack from occurring but it does provide a legal trail that shows a pattern of behavior.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Tony- Our last story took place in Memphis, Tennessee.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at work?
You work in the office of a Jewish Day School. This is a preparation week when teachers, staff, and maintenance contractors get the school ready for the next term. It is just after noon when you hear several gunshots outside. You check the video cameras and see a man walking away from the front doors. The doors are locked because students are not arriving or leaving at this time. You capture the video from the cameras and call the police for help.
You give the video to your security company that works with Jewish schools. You also give a copy of the video to the police. The security company identifies the attacker’s license plate and then identifies the attacker. He used to be a student at the school. Police receive the attacker’s identity and put out the alert. They find your attacker and pull over his truck in a traffic stop. The attacker gets out of his truck and shoots at the police. Police shoot back and stop the attacker. EMS takes the attacker to the hospital. He is 33 years old.
No one else was injured by the attacker’s gunfire. The reports don’t describe the repair required on the front door and windows of the school. The attacker was charged with criminal attempted second-degree murder, carrying weapons on school property, reckless endangerment, possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, and assault against a police officer.
Tony- This story tells us what good preparation can do for us.
The doors and windows were locked. The glass was reinforced. The contractors knew that they shouldn’t let someone inside that didn’t go through the front office and sign in.
In this situation, the defenders did not go outside looking for a bad guy.
I like that they had a video system. They also had a security network in place to analyze the video for them. They got that information to the police quickly. That probably means they knew who to contact at the department. In other words, they had a plan.
Rob- Give us the rest of the story?
Tony- I hope that the school has trained and armed school staff because there are several times a day when there are students outside the school and they need someone there to protect them. Let me correct that, they need several people to protect them, not just one. A single off duty police officer is not enough.
Some attackers will stay and fight rather than drive away like this one did. Train all your staff in first aid, and have trauma kits located around the school.
Since this was a preparation period, I hope that they had rehearsals with the safety team. If you know your school is going to be empty for a few days, one way to get a combined exercise with your staff and the local police is to let the police use your empty school as a training site. The police will often work together with your staff at the end of their exercise.
Rob- You’re talking about lots of places where children and families gather. That could be schools, churches, daycare centers, recreation centers, and it could be summer camps. That is a little different than what you deal with everyday. Where do you send those defenders to learn more?
Tony- That depends. It could be a single defender protecting children in her home like a home daycare situation. That is a lot like defense in the home.
At the other extreme, it could be a campus with a dozen armed defenders and an equal number of medical trauma care providers. That takes more team training and coordination with law enforcement and EMTs. There are school networks and church networks that share what they’ve learned about defense.
(Bullet points by Roger T.)
- The defender heard gunfire and recognized a potentially lethal threat. He/she checked the video system and immediately notified the security company and the police.
- The defender did not leave the building in order to pursue the attacker.
- Kudos to the school for locking the doors and having security glass in them. Hardening of the perimeter is a very important initial part of a multi-layered safety plan. It’s the first line of defense.
(Bullet points by Roger T.)
- Having only one, uniformed resource officer, armed or unarmed is not the answer. Not only can one person not be expected to secure the inside and the outside of a large building and its parking lot(s), any uniformed officer is always the first target to be shot. Concealed defense is the best defense.
- Hopefully the school’s teachers/staff have received F.A.S.T.E.R. training and they have the equipment on hand to save lives. That includes the critical training and the equipment to provide trauma first aid as well as defensive tactics and the use of firearms.
- Fortunately, there were no students/staff present outside of the building at the time of this attack and consequently there were no injuries. Since 50% of the fatalities in active school shootings occur outside of the school, what was the defender or the school’s plan if there were staff or students present outside of the building during an attack?
- The school’s safety plan needs to include how to handle a hostage situation inside and/or outside of the school building. What to do if the shooter uses hostages to gain access to the building?
- The school’s safety plan also needs to address how to get the staff/students to a safe location whether the shooter is inside or outside of the building.
- The plan also needs to consider that the active shooter may fire at the students/staff through the glass windows from the outside.
- He may also try to enter the building through the windows, the roof, side entrances or even the ventilation system.
- What if the attacker uses a car/truck to ram the entrance doors? Do all of the entrance doors and side doors have bollards or concrete planters?
- The plan also needs to include what to do in case the attacker uses fire or some type of gas instead of a firearm.
- The quicker the active shooter meets with resistance, the fewer casualties there will be. Time is the most critical factor. Waiting for the police to show up and then quickly engage the active shooter is not a good strategy. (Remember the Uvalde school shooting).
Exit- 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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I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.