Episode 7 with Robyn Street

Introduction- Welcome to episode 7 of Self-Defense Gun Stories.  I’m Rob Morse with self-defense instructor Robyn Street.  Hello, Robyn.  

Robyn- Hi, Rob.  Together, we report and analyze examples of armed civilian defense each week.  I was struck by the similarities and differences of the three stories this week.

Rob, So you looked ahead.

Robyn, I did.  Let’s talk about these examples before we start.

Similarities: All three of these news stories took place in common places that we go every day.  (work, home and a parking lot).  We need to realize there is risk wherever we are.  We need to be prepared wherever we go.  We can do our best to minimize our risk but we cannot eliminate the risk.  We have to be prepared at all times.

In every scenario they all had quick access to their gun.

Just because you made the decision to buy a gun does not make you safe.  It is one step of many in your self defense journey.

If the attack is imminent.  The attacks are occurring right now.  If you need a gun to defend your life, you don’t have time to go home and get it out of your safe.  In each of these scenarios the people had made the decision to have quick access to their firearm.

As far as Differences: One of them actually fired the gun and the other two did not.  Once the gun was presented the attackers “changed their mind.”

I am so impressed that these armed citizens had the presence of mind and self-discipline not to shoot after the threat no longer existed.

We can’t count on the attackers changing their plan and leaving but we need to be prepared for it. (no shoot scenarios)

Rob- So you teach your students to shoot a gun.. And to not shoot a gun.

Robyn- Yes, they really need to learn both if they want to be safe AND responsible.  The attackers are proactive – they have a plan.  They had time to prepare.  As innocent individuals we are reactive – we have to quickly analyze what is happening, make a plan and enact our plan.  When seconds count … mindset training, increased awareness and that can buy us precious time.

 When we teach our classes we focus on mindset, legal issues and firearm skills.  We also encourage our students to get as much medical training as possible.  Today I really want to try to stay focused on the mindset.

We are very fortunate because we have a facility that includes a video simulator we use with our students.  The training is invaluable.

The participants are faced with real life scenarios.  They involve real life people acting out potentially dangerous situations at home, at the office, at the mall or in parking lots.

This helps our students realize that dangerous situations can occur anywhere.  They always need to be prepared.  These simulations also reinforce how little time that an armed civilian has to make decisions and gather self-defense tools.

We have had students stand and watch the entire scenario play out without moving at all.  Several of them have had the actors fire a potentially lethal shot at them.  I am telling you this not to point out their failure but to highlight how important this aspect of training is.

Rob- You want to make those mistakes in a training environment.

Robyn- Everyone in class learns from those sort of mistakes.  Those students were like a deer in car headlights.  Startled and incapable of comprehending what is occurring.  It is such a great learning tool.  Their mind did not have a parking spot for such a violent episode.  Their brain was forced to deal with a novel stimulus.  So they were stuck in a loop of this cannot be happening to me, why is this happening.  In reality it does not matter why you, why now.  It is happening and you will have to deal with it.

From that moment on they start looking at their environment very differently.  They understand the importance of awareness.  They practice making if – then decisions as they go throughout their day.

Athletes use previsualization to mentally walk through scenarios.  We need to use it too, and we can.  We can work through scenarios using a training simulator, when we watch the news, when we listen to blog episodes like this, as we just go throughout our day.  It gives us a mental workout.  Training our brains increases our awareness, it can buy us time and it lets us consider  more options on how to deal with a violent encounter.

You can’t stay in denial or panic.  You have to stay in control, make decisions, plan and act.

I also think that it is important that we practice and analyze some shoot and some no-shoot scenarios.  It is important to train with the realization that I am only going to present my firearm when I am in fear of death or great bodily harm of myself or my loved ones.  But just because I have made the decision to present my firearm does not mean that I am going to fire my gun.  It is incredibly important to stay in charge of the situation.  You have to make a critical decision, incredibly quickly in a very tense situation.

Finally, we also focus on what they need to do after the scenario.  We talk about what steps they need to take to access whether or not they are still in danger and calling the police ( if they haven’t already done so.)  We have they call the police and we interact with them in the role of the 911 operator and first responder.  We need to practice what we need to tell them and what we should not talk about until we have discussed it with our attorney.

We are incredibly fortunate to have access to the facility but you can visualize scenarios and potential decisions with a little imagination or by analyzing scenarios have occurred.  That is why I would like to focus on mindset as we look at the three scenarios today.

First story-  A man attacked in his jewelry store

Rob-  Our first example took place this month in a Los Angeles area jewelry store.  The owner was attacked after he buzzed a new customer through his locked security door and into the store.  The customer turned robber drew his firearm once he was inside.   The robber threatened the owner with a gun, but the jewelry store owner was armed as well.  The owner shot the thief.  The owner called police and remained on scene for the police to arrive.

Robyn –  I think that this shop owner had already allocated some time training his brain.

First of all, if this is a shop had he had to buzz people in.  I think that the shop owner had already decided that he was in a potentially dangerous situation.  He needed to control and be very aware of who entered his store.

You described him as being friendly.  What a great way to get a reading on who has entered the store.  While warmly greeting the person. He was free to analyze their demeanor, verbal and physical reactions.

Violent criminal actors have to be very good at selecting their victims.  They develop good skills of reading people.  We have to be committed to being equally good at reading everyone we encounter so that we can recognize when we are in danger.  You can think about it like “interviewing” everyone we encounter.

We don’t have to greet people with a suspicious interrogation.  He would not be in business very long if he did.  But we can be focused on gathering potentially crucial information while we are offering a friendly greeting.  That is good for business too.

I believe that is what allowed the shop owner to switch so quickly from being a “nice guy” to using lethal force to defend his life.

He was able to react so quickly to the bad guys proactive attack, the store owner must have had quick access to his firearm.  Its sounds like he was carrying his firearm in a holster on his body.

He had analyzed the situation, probably worked through similar scenarios and he had a gun with him.  He also had the skills necessary to safely present the firearm without hurting himself.  He was accurate enough that his first shot hit the bad guy.  We don’t know how effective his shot placement was.  But you did indicate that the bad guy was shot.

As soon as possible he needed to call 911.  (ambulance and cruiser)

So that wraps up the first example.

Second Story-  A woman attacked in her home.

Rob- In our second story, a woman was attacked in her home.  Two men in their late teens to early twenties rang the bell at her front door.  The homeowner didn’t know the men so she didn’t answer or open the door.  The two men went around to the back of the house.  They entered her screen porch and then kicked in her back door.  They intruders met the owner who was standing inside her home with her pistol pointed at the two intruders.  They ran.  Several homes were entered in a similar manner that week.

Robyn- I want to point out how important it is to make changes to your house to make it a “hard target.”  Motion sensor lights, shrubbery trimmed, locked doors etc.  Just like video training, and visualization buy us time so do locked doors.

It appears that the homeowner had thought about this.  The bad guys had to kick in the door to enter.  To me that means that she had the door locked.  Good for her.

I like the fact that she did not answer or open the door when she did not recognize them.

We don’t know how long it took for them to move around to the back door.  We do know that it was long enough for her to have her gun in hand.

You said that when they kicked in the back door she was standing there with a gun pointed at them.

If she had time to prepare, I would certainly would have suggested that she call 911. If she had even set the phone down there would be a recording of the event.  Officers would be on the way.  She would be in charge of the immediate situation but law enforcement would be on their way.

If she had time I would have suggested that she positioned herself somewhere in the house when she would have concealment or cover.  I would prefer that she position herself in a corner if possible so that no one could sneak up on her from behind.

Since we are doing down the trail of if. I would also like for her to turn off the lighting where she was and use a flashlight to illuminate the intruders.  At our house we have motion sensors on the light fixtures near the entry points.  Anyone that comes in is illuminated.  It is important to verify who is there.  If she was hidden in the dark, she could illuminate the intruders and offered verbal challenges.  Something like “The police are on their way and I have a gun.  Get out now.”

In this case, when the intruders saw the firearm they decided to change their plans.  I am glad that she was in control of the situation and did not fire a shot since the threat no longer existed.

Often we say avoid the attackers, so we ask why she didn’t run out the other door.  As you recall she was already apprehensive of the guys at the front door.  She had no idea what she would be running into. In this case, staying put and calling the police was the right thing to do.

What is our next story?

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Third story-  This happened to a 22 year old woman crossing a parking lot on the way to her car.

Robyn- Did it happen at night?

Rob- A twenty two year old woman was walking from the store to her car. Yes, Robyn, it was late at night.  A man walked up to this woman  and demanded her purse.  Two other men crossed the parking lot and the three men surrounded her.  She presented her firearm from her purse.  The three men ran.  She called police.

I am so glad we are talking about this one. Tom Givens, recently told us that parking lots are some of the most dangerous places we go.  Think about all the people that you see walking to the car with their arms full of packages or worse yet using their phone while they are digging for their keys.  Those people are completely oblivious about what is going on around them.

To be proactive I would have suggested that she could ask a store employee (security guard etc.) to walk her to her car.  Since she didn’t do that, we have a young lady walking by herself at night in a parking lot.  She was unaware of the people around her.  You said that the young man walked up to her.  Right there I think that she allowed him to get too close to her.

Rob- Ask for a grocery clerk to give her an escort to her car.

We tell people to carry a flashlight for a variety of reasons.  Even if there are lights in the parking lot a flashlight allows us to gather even more information.  It also sends a message that we are aware of our environment.  As an added bonus, for most criminals the only people they have ever seen carrying a flashlight are police officers.  Remember they were watching “interviewing” other people in the parking lot.  We want to fail their interview.  Distracted unaware people make it easier for the robbers to succeed.

If she had noticed the robbers approaching her, there is nothing wrong with giving them a strong “That is close enough with your arm extended.”  The robbers don’t want to draw attention to themselves.  If you are wrong, some stranger thinks you are a little crazy, but if you are right you might fail this interview and change their mind.

It seems obvious that did not happen since we know a man walked up to her and eventually she had three men surrounding her.  At that point she was in a terrible situation.

She did have the firearm in her purse.  As you can see this happens quickly.  She did not have time to go get anything.

When she presented the firearm they ran away.  Again, we can’t count on that reaction but when it occurs the threat no longer exists.  She had the discipline not to shoot.

It is very important that she called the police.  She needed to tell the police what happened and what she had to do.  She needed to tell the police her side of the story before someone else called them.  Other people, including the bad guys, may call with incomplete or incorrect information about the attack.  She wants to be the victim rather than the suspect when the police arrive.

There is so much to learn from each scenario but I hope that focusing on the importance of mindset and visualization will encourage our listeners to train their brain and be prepared.  Mindset is such an important component to living a prepared lifestyle.

Rob: Exit- That wraps up this episode.

Robyn, thank you for helping me today.  

Rob: Where can our listeners learn more about you?

Robyn- I teach in Naples Florida, and our listeners can find us at Step by Step Gun Training.com  We design custom training as well as offer standard group classes.

Rob- That reminds me.  Listeners can leave a comment and on our facebook page.  We received some feedback.  A listener from San Diego asked for the references for each of the stories we talk about.  If you listen to us on your cell phone, those references are included in the published cell notes on the next page of the podcast.  The links are also on our web page at self defense gun stories dot com,

I’m Rob Morse and please join us next week for more Self-Defense Gun Stories.

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