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DC Metro Employee Shot, Killed While Intervening to Protect Woman

February 1, 2023

How is that “gun free” zone working for you? RM

“A Washington, DC, Metro employee was shot and killed Wednesday while intervening to protect a woman near the Potomac Avenue Metro.

“The DCist reported that the suspect pulled a gun while riding on a Metrobus near the station around 9:00 a.m. The gunman allegedly shot one person in the leg, then walked into the Potomac Avenue Metro station, where he allegedly shot another person in the leg.”

Source: Metro Employee Shot, Killed While Intervening to Protect Woman

Armed Neighbors and Heroes Save More Lives

February 1, 2023

Here in the United States, we defend ourselves with a firearm several thousand times a day. Each week we look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn. The discussion of each episode is on the Self Defense Gun Stories webpage.

Good guys like you saved lives.

The Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast

First story from Houston, Texas- Are you armed at home late at night?

It is just before midnight when you hear strange sounds outside your house. You go outside to see what is happening. You hear and see someone breaking into your neighbor’s house. Your neighbors are away. You shout for the intruder to stop. They stop for a few seconds. Then, they turn and charge you.

You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker. Now he stops. You stop shooting. You call 911 and wait for the police to arrive.

You holster your gun and give the police a statement. The police declare your attacker dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the upper center chest.

Police say they have to submit the case to the district attorney to see if he wants to forward it to the grand jury.

Second Story from Oak Lawn, Illinois- Are you armed in your driveway in the afternoon?

It is about 3:30 on a Wednesday. You are standing next to your car in your driveway when two young men run up to you. They are wearing masks. They are also carrying guns in their hands. They demand your wallet and your car keys.

You own a gun too. Unlike your attackers, you have your Illinois firearms owners identification card in your wallet. This afternoon, you are carrying your Illinois Concealed Carry License along with your concealed handgun.

You step back and present your firearm. You shoot at your attackers. They run. You stop shooting as they jump into a black jeep and drive away. You call 911 and ask for help. You go inside and holster your firearm.

You meet the police when they arrive. You show them your ID and your carry license. You give the officers a brief statement. The police have security videos of the cars the robber’s used.

Carjackings have surged several fold from last year. You are not charged with a crime.

Third story from Alhambra, California- Are you a defender at work?

and https://concealednation.org/2023/01/los-angeles-mass-shooter-reportedly-tried-second-location-unarmed-man-wrestled-his-gun-away/

and

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/graphics/2023/01/23/monterey-park-california-mass-shooting-timeline-details/11102307002/

You are working at an asian ballroom on Chinese new years. It is 10:40 at night when you hear someone come in the front door. You hear the unusual sound of metal on metal. You turn to see an older man who isn’t dressed for a new years party. He is carrying a large handgun in his hands. He is scanning the crowd. He sees you and you think you are about to die.

You lunge for your attacker and grab the firearm. You fight for it. You throw each other against the wall and throw fists and elbows. You rip the gun from his hands. You turn the gun on the intruder and tell him to leave. You think you’ll have to shoot him, but he turns and runs.

You have the gun in your hands when you call 911. You’re still shaking when you ask for help. You put the gun down when the police arrive. You give the officers a statement. You show the police the security video from the lobby.

Your attacker murdered 9 people at an asian dance hall earlier that night. He killed himself when the police located him. Gun-controlled California had four mass murders this week.

You are 26 years old. You are not charged with a crime.

Tag- no shots fired

Rob- Fourth story from New Hartford, New York- Are you armed as you go out to eat?

You’re eating dinner at a restaurant in central New York State. It is almost 7 at night when you hear several of the restaurant staff talk to a customer. The customer argues and starts a pushing match. The customer runs to the bar and grabs a steak knife. He turns on the restaurant employees and slashes with his knife. One of the wounded victims grabs his face where he has been cut. Another employee backs up having been cut.

You own a gun. You have your New York license to carry. You’re armed tonight. You step forward and tell the attacker to stop. You present your firearm and the attacker drops his knife. You tell him to get down on the ground. Your attacker does so.

The police receive many calls about the attack. You stay at the scene and holster your firearm when the police arrive. You show the officers your ID and your carry permit. The police arrest the attacker. You give the police a brief statement. News reports did not mention what happened to the injured restaurant employees.

The attacker had been asked to leave the restaurant a few days ago. He was charged with one count of Attempted Assault in the 2nd degree, which is a felony, two counts of Assault in the third degree, and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 4th degree. Those are misdemeanors. The attacker was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.

The new concealed carry law in New York State makes it a crime to have a firearm in any business that does not have a “guns welcome” sign. It is also a crime to carry your firearm into a business that sells alcohol. You are not charged with a crime.

Tag- No Shots Fired.

Thank you for everything you do everyday to protect yourself and others. RM

When and How We Should Teach Our Children About Armed Defense

January 31, 2023

I write about armed defense every week. We’ve covered many stories where young men and women defended themselves or their family. We’ve talked around the issue of teenagers and guns, but let’s look at it directly. When should we teach our children about firearms? The obvious answer is to teach your children when it is the safest thing to do. There are risks on both sides. Fortunately, we make similar decisions about our children’s education all the time. This article isn’t the last work on any of the issues, but I hope it is a good starting place.

As a responsible parent, we have to teach our children what to do if they see an unsecured firearm. We have to choose when and how to tell our children that we have firearms in our home. We have to establish the rules about when our children are allowed to touch our guns. As they grow older, we have to teach our children to be responsible around firearms. Later, we have to teach them when and how to use a firearm as part of our family’s safety plan. Those are a few of the milestones, but there are lessons in between. Other parents have been there before.

What is new is that many families who have a gun today did not grow up with guns and are entering the firearms culture for the first time. We’ve lived with guns for several centuries so there are many well worn paths. To take some of the emotional heat out of the issue, this isn’t an all or nothing proposition. The alternatives are not ignorance about firearms or having our 15-year olds carrying concealed in public. Teaching and learning about firearms comes in a number of small steps on the way to self-defense. You’ve done things like this with your children already.

We walk in a world with cars so we teach our children to look both ways before they cross a residential street near our home. We tell them to use crosswalks and street lights to cross larger roads. Most importantly, we model that good behavior, sometimes for years, before our children are expected to demonstrate good practice on their own. With firearms, invite your children to follow the safe habits you model every day.

We need to destroy two horrible ideas at the start. You MUST secure your firearms so they are not accessible to unauthorized adults or to children. Please do that even if you “live alone”. We want to learn from other people’s experiences.

Don’t use a child’s “lack of strength” as an excuse to leave your guns on a shelf. Your children are strong enough to pull the trigger. An infant has enough grip strength to support their own body weight so they won’t fall out of their mother’s arms. We’ve seen very young children pull the trigger when they reached into their mom’s purse. Do not let that happen to you.

You need to know and demonstrate safe practices now if you want your children to follow them later. Your children are in danger if your gun is stored up on a shelf. If my children could climb the cabinets to get the cereal they wanted, then so can your children. A shoe rack and dresser drawers are ladders in disguise. Children will get everywhere so you must start modeling safe habits by securing your firearms every time, all the time.

Sorry if that  sounds like I was on a soap box, but safe habits begin with us.

How did I know my children were old enough to learn we had guns in our home? That varies from house to house. If you carry concealed then your pre-school children already know you have guns. They see you getting dressed. They feel the firearm on your body.

If you only use your firearms on the weekends for sport, for competition, or for training, then your children will still notice as you load your car. They will notice when you dry-practice at home. We want to satisfy our children’s curiosity on our terms rather than on theirs.

There are guns in the world. That is true in rural homes and in big cities. You want your children to know what to do if they see an unsecured gun. Use the Eddie Eagle videos to teach them. While you’re at it, you can teach your kid’s friends too. Do your nieces and nephews know about unsecured firearms? This isn’t a one-and-done lesson, but a review every year. See if the older children can teach the younger ones as you review the material. You can easily do this when your children are five or six years old. You want to do this because your children are often visiting friends in other peoples’ homes and we don’t control that environment.

Stop, Don’t Touch..

What about the guns in your home? My children met my firearms when I was cleaning them. My children were old enough to have played cowboys and indians. They played army and turned every stick into a gun. They knew the difference between fantasy play and real risks, though they sometimes blurred those lines as they played. Dad-the-tickle-monster died a thousand deaths from ray-gun fingers. Guns are part of our culture. Cowboys and soldiers can follow firearms safety rules even if the players are four years old.

My children met my firearms when the guns were least interesting. A clean gun is shiny and alluring. A dirty, oily and smelly pile of parts is not very attractive. My children could feel the gun parts as they cleaned them. I sometimes cleaned guns that were not all that dirty so that I controlled what my children saw and touched. Satisfy their curiosity early while establishing that guns come with rules.

One of the rules is that we don’t talk about our family’s guns with strangers.

Your children may want to learn to shoot. That can start with a bow and arrow. A pellet rifle is a good introduction to firearms safety. One advantage is that you can talk to each other as you shoot because bows and smaller cold-gas guns are not as noisy as most firearms. Can you make this a regular activity that your children look forward to? Both children and adults like swinging targets that move when they’re hit. Your children will treat a gun with the same respect that you show it.

Your firearm is a small part of your family’s safety plan. Your children are a large part of that plan though their role changes over time. At some point, they are playing at friends’ houses on their own. Your older children might want to learn and review first-aid with you. Soon your children are old enough to be home alone on a regular basis. If they are responsible enough to be unsupervised for a few hours, then they should be old enough to protect themselves at home. That is the simplest form of self-defense because it is all defense. Let me show you what I mean.

Step back a minute with me. We are not asking our children to make nuanced legal and tactical decisions for home defense. We are not asking them to know combustion-chemistry and heat transfer when we practiced a fire drill either. We are simply asking our children to take a more active part in the safety drills we’ve practiced together all along.

Your safety drills at home are education as well as rehearsal. They make your children safer today and for years to come.

Suppose our older children see or hear an intruder trying to get into our home. They model the same “best practice” behaviors that they saw you practice with them countless times before. They retreat to the safe-room and lock the door. They grab their defensive tools. That means a phone and a flashlight. They hide behind a bed or other furniture and call 911 for help. You decide when to add a firearm as part of their defensive plan.

Quality firearms instruction

If your children are interested, take a beginning firearms safety class with them. Judge their level of interest and attention. It is often much easier for them to learn from instructors who are not their parents. Notice how your children behave around firearms. If they show an interest, then consider going to a junior shooting league with them. Maybe they want to go watch an adult shooting competition with you.

You are the best judge of when your children are ready for armed defense. Their maturity is not necessarily dictated by their age. Some 16 year olds grew up driving farm equipment and are ready to drive a car. Some teenagers need a few more years. Driving a car is as much a life-and-death decision as grabbing the family handgun when you hear glass breaking at night.

Armed defense is a small part of what our children learn from us. Yes, there is always more to learn, but it has all been done before.

~_~_

I gave you 1,500 words for free. Please share them with a friend and leave a comment. Thank you to firearms instructor Candy Petticord and her family for reviewing this article. RM

Virtue and Vice- adding up both sides in the use of firearms

January 30, 2023

Facts are important, but knowledge is even better. Thousands of people die each year from adverse reactions to prescription drugs. Perspective tells us that modern medicine also saves millions of lives each year. It is a piece of the puzzle to know that we have over 30 thousand fatal car crashes each year. We need to see the whole picture to understand we’d be at greater risk if we were riding horses or walking to work every day. Likewise, we see criminals and crazy people use firearms to hurt others. What we are not shown is when honest citizens use a firearm in self-defense and to stop mass murder. I want to look at the whole picture rather than the twisted images we are shown by the mainstream media. Of course shock and outrage sell advertising, but we need to know if guns are used to save lives.

Violent crime is real and we are at risk. Before you could believe how much we defend ourselves with a gun, then you’d first have to see how much violent crime happens every day. We saw criminals commit about 1.2 million violent crimes in 2019, and as many as 4.5 million in 2020. That is over 12-thousand violent crimes a day. Violent crime includes aggravated assault, robbery, rape, non-negligent manslaughter, and murder. Recent data shows that criminals used a firearm in a violent crime over a third of a million times each year.

Taking all the guns away from criminals wouldn’t stop violent crime. Only 8 percent of violent crimes involve the criminal using a firearm. That means if we disarmed both the criminals and the honest citizens, then most violent crime would go on as before but now the victims would be disarmed. We aren’t told how few criminals use a gun by the FBI or by the news media. Instead, we believe what we see from Hollywood where every bad guy has a machine gun.

Many honest citizens own firearms. About 4-in-10 of us live in a home where someone owns a firearm. If you don’t have a firearm in your home, then your neighbor probably does. That is true even in anti-gun states like California, New York, and New Jersey.

Self-defense is common too. We defend ourselves with a firearm about 4,600 times a day. That is a conservative number and some researchers have put the average closer to 6,800 times a day. That is good news, but the better news is that we don’t have to press the trigger very often. Usually we shout that we have a gun and the burglar runs away. We only press the trigger in one-out-of-five defensive uses of a gun. The number of criminals who were killed by gun owners is almost exactly the same number of criminals who were shot and killed by the police. That is less than a thousand a year. Gun owners save a lot of lives and show a great deal of restraint. I wonder why we don’t hear these self-defense stories every day since armed citizens are so virtuous.

The news distorts our picture of the world. We read about armed criminals robbing a convenience store. The news shows us when a crazy person commits mass murder to get their face and their manifesto on the news. In contrast, we have to dig to find a story where guns save lives. In fact, armed defense is several times more common than the criminal use of a firearm. Given how often they happen, the media over-reports on the criminal use of a firearm and vastly under-report on armed defense. The distortion isn’t a few percent, but over a thousand fold. No wonder we don’t have a clear picture of gun use in the United States.

You might think that gun-control laws would stop some violent criminals from using a gun. That is because you and I follow society’s rules. We work and plan so that we don’t hurt other people. Criminals hurt people every day. They plan to hurt other people and they want to do it easily and reliably. Criminals commit rape and murder and they don’t care if a law says they can’t have a gun in their car as they drive away from the scene of the crime. We already have over 23-thousand firearms regulations on the books. We would already live in utopia if it only took ink-on-paper to stop crime. Sadly, some of those laws do more harm than good.

We have not found a way to disarm criminals without also disarming honest citizens. Looking at the data, it appears that making more disarmed victims actually makes it easier for violent criminals to commit crimes. For each violent criminal who uses a gun in the commission of a violent crime, there are about a dozen violent criminals who did not. If we disarmed all the violent criminals who use a gun, then the other criminals would still go about their criminal business. We wouldn’t reduce crime much at all. What gun control has done is to leave many honest citizens disarmed. Armed defense is so frequent that disarming more of the good guys means more victims are injured.

What is true of common street-crime is even more applicable when we look at mass-murder and celebrity-murder. Many of our gun-control laws have made mass-murder easier for the murderer. We know that most mass-murderers are not afraid to die, but they are afraid of failing. Creating “gun-free zones” means that mass murderers have areas where they know their intended victims are disarmed and easy to kill. It turns out that thin plastic “No Guns” signs protect the property owner but they don’t protect the customers. “No-guns allowed” signs stop lawsuits but they do not stop bullets. Mass murderers look for so-called “gun-free” zones 98-percent of the time. That is far too often to be a coincidence.

If we should fine gun manufacturers because a crazy criminal used a gun, then we should fine politicians who created the “gun free” zones where criminals hunt us.

Fortunately, we know what stops mass-murderers. About one-out-of-dozen adults are legally armed in public today. These honest citizens stopped more than half of the mass-murders where the victims were allowed to go armed. Honest gun owners stopped violence in public just as they stopped violence in their homes.

We are not all the same. We may watch the same “fake-believe” dramas on television, but we live in different circumstances. Violent crime rose sharply in the last few years. We saw public violence on TV but most of us did not see that violence in our neighborhoods. That is because violence is concentrated rather than being spread out. Most counties in the US will not have a single murder of any kind this year. More than half of our murders happen in only 2 percent of our most violent counties. Even within those violent counties, violence is concentrated into a few violent zip-codes. That means a one-size-fits-all solution won’t work.

First, do no harm. Gun-control laws clearly didn’t disarm the violent criminals in Los Angeles, in Chicago, or in Baltimore. We see evidence of that every night on the news. When we think about it, we wouldn’t expect gun-control laws to help cities where crime is already low. What those gun-control laws have done is made it harder for honest citizens to defend themselves. That costs lives rather than saves them because armed defense is so common,

There is a lot to know but we already know a lot. Now you know that there are two sides to this argument. Guns are used both in crime and in armed-defense. We know the size of each. Armed defense is common and happens much more often than armed criminal violence.

We know what doesn’t work. We’ve had gun-control for decades and those laws have not reduced violent crime or reduced celebrity-murder. It is an insane fantasy to expect a different result when we do the same thing over and over and it fails time after time.

It is easy for politicians to pass more gun-control laws and to issue more press releases. That is what politicians do. We need more if we want to reduce violent crime. Now that you know the facts, I trust your judgment more than I trust our politicians.

~_~_

I gave you 1400 words for free. Please share them with a friend and leave a comment. RM

Sources-

Injuries from drugs- https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2006/07/medication-errors-injure-one-point-five-million-people-and-cost-billions-of-dollars-annually-report-offers-comprehensive-strategies-for-reducing-drug-related-mistakes

Lives saved by modern medical practice- https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/academic-health-centers-save-millions-lives

Car accidents- https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/car-accident-statistics/

Violent crime in 2019- https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/violent-crime

Violent crime in 2020- https://www.worldtribune.com/doj-data-92-percent-of-violent-crimes-in-u-s-do-not-involve-a-firearm/

82 thousand firearms used in robbery- https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/tables/table-21

186 thousand firearms used in assault- https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/tables/table-22

13927 Murders in 2019- https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/expanded-homicide

Punish gun manufacturors- https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/3504600-mass-shootings-renew-efforts-to-target-gun-manufacturers-legal-shield/

Punish firearms distributors- https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/13/us/california-gun-law-victims-sue-manufacturers/index.html

Criminal use of firearms- https://www.worldtribune.com/doj-data-92-percent-of-violent-crimes-in-u-s-do-not-involve-a-firearm/

Guns in the home- https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/13/key-facts-about-americans-and-guns/

Mass murder in gun-free zones- https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/05/10/do-98-percent-of-mass-public-shootings-happen-in-gun-free-zones/

Armed citizens stop mass murder- https://crimeresearch.org/2022/08/uber-driver-in-chicago-stops-mass-public-shooting/

The FBI can’t count armed defense- https://crimeresearch.org/2022/10/massive-errors-in-fbis-active-shooting-reports-regarding-cases-where-civilians-stop-attacks-instead-of-4-4-the-correct-number-is-at-least-34-4-in-2021-it-is-at-least-49-1-excluding-gun-free-zon/

Crime is local- https://crimeresearch.org/2023/01/at-fox-news-murders-are-becoming-even-more-concentrated-in-a-handful-of-urban-counties-report-shows/

The growth of celebrity-murder- https://slowfacts.wordpress.com/2022/02/26/why-they-murder-our-kids-and-how-to-stop-the-next-school-attack/

Teacher Shot by First Grade Student Sues Virginia School District for Laughing off Warnings – RedState

January 26, 2023

Teachers and students said something. The administrators ignored the warnings. The administrators need to be held accountable by the public and by a jury in a civil trial. RM

From Red State-
“It’s been almost three weeks since first grade teacher Abigail Zwerner was shot by a six-year-old student in her class at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. Zwerner has, thankfully, been released from the hospital, and she is now suing the school district for what her lawyer described as the school administration’s apathetic response to learning the student had a gun and was making threats. Administrators were allegedly warned of the threat three times in the hours leading up to the shooting, but failed to take action to protect the school community.

Source: ‘He Has Little Pockets’: Teacher Shot by First Grade Student Sues Virginia School District for Laughing off Warnings – RedState

Armed Defense Without Firing a Shot

January 26, 2023

I write about armed defense every week. We report and analyze those recent news stories on the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast. This week we had several stories where armed citizens stopped an attacker without pressing the trigger. That happens most of the time but it is seldom reported in the mainstream media. We are wonderfully reluctant to use lethal force. Please read through the stories and see if you agree.

The Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast

First story from Montville, Ohio- Do you have a firearm nearby in the afternoon?

You’re a sixteen year old male. You arrive home from school. You’re home alone. You walk past the living room windows when you notice a car parked sideways across your driveway. That seems odd, so you walk into the kitchen where you have a better view. There is a stranger coming up the driveway and you don’t recognize him.

You know your mom has a firearm. You run and grab it. You stand in the doorway to the living room away from the front door. You hear someone open the outside door. You put the magazine in the gun. You wonder if they are delivering a package. The intruder opens the inside door and you rack the slide to chamber a cartridge. You point the handgun at the intruder. He sees you and swears. He turns and runs. You lower the gun.

You lock the door and call your mom. Were you expecting visitors? Did you have a delivery scheduled, you ask?

Your mom calls the police. You see the burglar’s car drive by again. Your mom posts the incident on social media. The police get security videos from the neighbors. Police identify the car and arrest your intruder. You identify the intruder in a police lineup. He is charged with burglary.

You are not charged with a crime. The only connection between you and your intruder is that he is a Facebook friend with your mom. Your mom says we shouldn’t post our schedule on social media. She installed a security camera.

Tag- no shots fired

Second Story from Avondale, Arizona- Are you armed at work?

Additional sources-

You’re working the graveyard shift at a convenience store. It is an hour before sunrise when one of your customers walks up to the counter. He is wearing a mask. You also see that he has a gun in his hand. He mumbles something about money from the register, but you already know what he wants. You’re being robbed.

You’re armed and carrying concealed this morning. The robber points his gun at the other customer in line at the checkout counter. Then, the robber turns and points his gun at a customer at the front of the store. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker until he drops his gun. You call 911 and ask for help.

Emergency Medical Services take your attacker to the hospital in critical condition. Police look at the store security videos. You are not charged.

Third story from Sanford, Florida- Are you armed when you drive at night?

Additional sources-

https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/shooting-call-being-investigated-at-georges-tavern-in-sanford-officials-say

You’re a bartender and manager at a neighborhood tavern. It is 2 in the morning. You’re closing up for the day. You call your boyfriend. He waits outside the bar for you to leave. You turn off the lights and lock the doors.

You walk to your car when a stranger jumps out of a porta-potty that is sitting in the parking lot. The stranger hits you from behind. He grabs you by the throat and knocks you down. Your attacker gets on top of you and bangs your head against the asphalt. Your attacker rips open your blouse.

Your boyfriend sees you being attacked. He gets out of his car and runs across the parking lot. He presents his firearm and shoots your attacker several times. Your attacker gets up and runs. Your boyfriend runs up to you and asks how you are? He calls 911 and asks for help.

You and your boyfriend stay at the scene. You thought the attacker was going to kill you. Police find your dead attacker at the back of the parking lot. Security video shows your attacker hiding in the toilet for the last few hours while he waited for you to leave and walk to your car. Some reports say he was a customer inside the bar earlier that day.

Your boyfriend is not charged with a crime.

Fourth story from Bridgeton, Missouri- Are you armed as you stop your car for gasoline?

You are filling your car with gas after work. It is already dark. You’re putting the gas cap back on the tank when you hear your car door open. You look up and see the inside light come on. Someone has climbed into your car. You jump into the back seat. You hit the robber. You reach into your purse and you draw your handgun. Now the robber opens the driver’s side door and dives out of your car. You have to climb over the seat to put on the brakes. You shut off your car and call the police.

Police look at the security video of your attack. The car that the thieves were driving didn’t have license plates. The police post video of your attacker on the news and on social media.

You are not charged.

Tag- no shots fired

Thank you for everything you do everyday to protect yourself and others. RM

Alec Baldwin is Charged, a Houston Diner Kills an Armed Robber, and Other News | Keep and Bear Radio

January 25, 2023

Dean Rieck of Buckeye Firearm invited me on their podcast. We had plenty to talk about. 

  • Alec Baldwin is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deadly Rust film set shooting.
  • Hollywood continues its love-hate relationship with guns.
  • Did the armed defender get it right at the Houston taqueria shooting?

Rob Morse, author of the SlowFacts blog and host of the Self Defense Gun Stories podcast, shares his hot takes on recent events and the ongoing madness in the news.

39 minute podcast here- Alec Baldwin is Charged, a Houston Diner Kills an Armed Robber, and Other News | Keep and Bear Radio

Buckeye Firearms Keep and Bear Radio

Mismanaged Cities Lead to Violence

January 21, 2023
tags:

Most of America was untouched by violence last year. That is true even though homicide rates spiked in the last two years. Most of us were unaffected because murder is localized. We saw violence on the TV, but not on our streets. Only a tiny fraction of U.S. counties account for nearly all of our homicides. Even in our most violent counties, violence is confined to a few zip-codes. We are not all the same.

The worst 5% of counties accounted for 73% of homicides. That is a slight increase from previous years. Meanwhile, 52% of counties recorded no homicides at all in 2020. Another 16% of counties recorded only a single homicide.

The worst 31 counties in the US are almost all urban jurisdictions. They hold about a fifth of our population and they accounted for 42% of our homicides in 2020. That research is from John R. Lott Jr of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

Lott said, “Murders are a problem in a very small percentage of the counties in the United States. Even in those higher-homicide counties, the crime is still concentrated into small districts. For example, in Los Angeles County, it was only 10% of the county’s ZIP codes that accounted for 41% of the homicides. Another 10% accounted for 26% more.”

Those zip codes are several times more violent than the violent county examined as a whole.

We also need to put these facts into perspective. The most populous county was Los Angeles, California which had over 9 million residents. The least populated county had 57 people. Of course the amount of crime would vary between them. Also, a few crimes in an almost empty county would give that county an enormous crime rate. While lowering that crime rate is good, it wouldn’t save many lives.

No one disputes that counties differ from one another. Cities are different from one another too. I think the important distinction is that bad political decisions lead to more crime and more murders.

~_~_

Sources

https://crimeresearch.org/2023/01/at-fox-news-murders-are-becoming-even-more-concentrated-in-a-handful-of-urban-counties-report-shows/

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4325838

https://www.census.gov/data/datasets/time-series/demo/popest/2020s-counties-total.html

Three Armed Customers Stop an Armed Robbery in Georgia

January 20, 2023

Lethal Threats and Thinking Ahead

Crime happens. That fact is timeless. Violent crime also changes as we change and we are not the society we used to be. We might sit on the couch and watch big-city crime shows every night, but most of us know that the police won’t get to us in time to stop a criminal’s violent attack. Given where we live, the police are simply too far away. That is true in rural areas and in small towns across the country. Given the reductions in police budgets, it might be true in your city too. We also know that fewer criminals are being taken off the streets by our courts. That leaves the responsibility with us to defend ourselves until the police arrive.

This news story took place in a small rural town. It is unlikely that the town of Ellijay, Georgia has a police force since the population is less than 2000 people. That means that law enforcement is handled by sheriff’s deputies or by the state police. This story is nearly over by the time the police arrived on the scene. Put yourself in this story and see what happened a half hour after sunset last Monday.

The store clerk in the gas station-convenience store knew he had a problem when a customer pulled a gun from their pocket and pointed the gun at the clerk’s head. The robber was wearing pantyhose over his face in order to disguise his appearance. The robber demanded the money in the cash drawer. The store clerk thought the robber might kill him since other robbers have shot and killed store clerks before.

Though neither the robber nor the store clerk knew it at the time, the robber wasn’t the only person with a gun in that rural convenience store. One of the customers in the store was carrying concealed. The armed customer heard the clerk cry out. He saw the robber pointing his gun at the store clerk’s head. He saw the mask on the robber’s face.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that scene was a picture of an innocent store clerk facing a lethal threat. The customer believed what he saw.

We’re not sure about what happened next. We know the armed customer presented his firearm. He told the robber to stop. We don’t know if the customer moved so he was harder to see or harder to shoot. We don’t know if the robber lowered his gun. We know that there were other customers in the store during the robbery, and we don’t know if the armed customer had a clear shot at the robber without putting the store clerk or other innocent parties at risk.

This was when a second customer ran outside and grabbed his handgun from his truck. The second armed customer ran back inside and also pointed his firearm at the robber. With both armed customers pointing a gun at him, the robber inched towards the front door and no one fired.

Details matter and we don’t have security video to show us exactly what happened. The robber was a lethal and immediate threat when he had his firearm pointed at the store clerk. It is arguable that the threat was not immediate if the robber lowered his gun. Even though he may have been armed, the robber was not an immediate threat if he turned away and was moving toward the empty door.

A third customer was outside pumping gas during the robbery. He either saw the robbery or saw the second customer get a gun from his truck. The third customer grabbed his firearm and ran to the doorway of the convenience store. He also told the robber to stop.

I assume the third armed customer was standing in or near the doorway. The third armed customer did not have to move out of the way in order to let the robber escape safely.

The robber was surrounded. The robber would become an immediate threat and be shot if he moved toward any of the armed customers or towards the store clerk. One of the armed customers told the robber to drop his gun and get on the floor. The robber did so.

The first armed customer recognized that the robber was no longer a lethal threat since he was disarmed and on the floor. The customer told the other defenders to raise their firearms. We’re not sure who called 911 and asked for the police.

The robber was uncooperative when the police arrived. He kept trying to run out the door and officers had to tase the robber in order to put handcuffs on him. The officers secured the attacker’s gun. They also arrested the robber’s wife. She was acting as the getaway driver and was waiting in their car beside the convenience store.

The male robber was charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The female robber was charged with armed robbery. Both remained in jail without bond.

It probably took longer to read this story than it took for the robbery to unfold. If you hadn’t thought about it ahead of time, then you probably wouldn’t know what to do even if you had a firearm with you.

These points stand out-

  • Criminal don’t obey our gun laws.
  • The armed robber was initially a lethal, immediate, and unavoidable threat to an innocent person. That justified the use of force, including lethal force. Said another way, using a gun might have been the safest thing to do.
  • Good guys are reluctant to shoot bad guys even when they are legally justified in doing so.
  • Dangerous threats require an immediate response. The first defender did not have time to run to his car and get his firearm. Because the first customer was armed, the other customers had time to grab their firearm and respond.
  • The robber was no longer a threat when he dropped his gun and was laying on the floor. The defenders were wise to take their finger off the trigger of their guns and point their firearms in a safer direction. It is best practice to not point a gun at someone when they are not a threat.
  • The first armed customer saved the store clerk. The other armed customers allowed the police to capture the criminal.

I don’t want to shoot anyone, but sometimes bad guys need to be shot. The fact is that until he lowered his gun, the robber could have murdered the store clerk. Verbal commands worked in this case. They don’t work every time. That leaves me with more questions than answers.

Should we use words and try to defuse the situation if the robber were threatening one of our loved ones? Should we press the trigger if a criminal was threatening a stranger? What changed from one case to the other? I thought I knew the answers but now I’m not so sure. I brought up those questions precisely because I need to think about them.

We won’t have time to weigh competing arguments when someone screams in fear. Thank you for being one of the good guys who go armed and who’ve thought about what to do.

News Sources from Atlanta stations-

https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/customers-with-firearms-subdue-armed-robbery-suspect-ellijay-gas-station/85-422b51d9-8704-45cd-b09d-64f2a72d3e0c

https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/ellijay-thief-womens-panties-face-mask

~_~_

I gave you 1200 words. Please share them with a friend and leave me your thoughts. RM

Armed Defense Anywhere and at Any Time

January 19, 2023

I write about armed defense every week. We report and analyze those recent news stories on the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast. This week, the stories were about ordinary citizens who defended their family, strangers, and other gun owners! We would defend a family member from a lethal threat. Please think about how you would react if a stranger were attacked. We need to think ahead.

Please read through the stories and see if you agree.

First story- Are you armed as you drive?

It is about 9 at night when you stop at a convenience store to buy gasoline. You’re filling your car when someone drives by you quickly and then suddenly comes to a stop in the parking lot. The driver gets out of his car and runs at you. You recognize him as a man who has threatened you before. You shout for him to stop as you reach for your handgun. Your attacker closes with you. You shoot him until he stops. You shout for help and stay at the scene.

You put your gun into your car before the police arrive. Police and Emergency Medical Services begin treatment of your attacker for gunshot wounds to his arm, chest, and collar bone.

You give the police a statement. You tell the police that you had a protective order against your attacker last year. You’re arrested and jailed.

The district attorney reviews the security video. He also reviews the several restraining orders that were out against your attacker. The DA says you acted in self-defense and did not commit a crime. You are released from jail.

Second Story- Are you armed at work?

You are a property manager at a downtown apartment complex. Your office is upstairs and opens onto an elevated walkway that connects the downtown buildings. You are about to leave your office when you notice a strange couple walking back and forth in front of your door. This goes on for several minutes until the woman waves to you. 

You don’t recognize her. Your young son is with you and he wants to go investigate. You hold his hand as you open the door and ask what the strangers want. The woman says to give her back her child and she reaches down and grabs your son. You hold on tight to your son with one hand and present your firearm with the other. You shout to “let go of my kid.” The strangers run away and you pull your son back inside your office.

You call the security guard who patrols that part of the skywalk system. You describe your attackers to the guard. He recognizes them and runs to follow them. You call 911 and ask for help.

The security guard sees your attackers and calls the police. The couple is arrested and charged with felony child stealing. The woman is also charged with violating her probation.

The couple are homeless and there is a homeless shelter nearby. The security guard noticed them when they tried to set up camp in the skyway.

Tag- no shots fired

Third story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?

You hear a crashing sound and feel your house shake. You sit up in bed. It is about 5 o’clock on a Sunday morning and it is still dark outside. A stranger pulls open your bedroom door and moves toward you. He has a shovel in one hand and a tire iron in the other hand.

You roll over and grab your handgun from the side table. You shoot your attacker one time. Now he backs up. You scramble out of bed and check on your two children. When he entered your home, your attacker walked past your child who was asleep on the couch. Your children are uninjured and you call 911 asking for help.

You stay at the scene. You put your gun away when the police arrive. You give the police a brief statement. You don’t know your attacker.

Police identify your attacker as a parolee recently released from prison. He was convicted of drug crimes and armed robbery. Your attacker tried to carjack a driver this morning. The police speculate that your attacker wanted to steal your car and was looking for your keys.

The coroner’s office declare your attacker dead at the scene. You and your children move out of your rented mobile home.

Fourth story- Are you armed as you stop for gas?

Convenience store in Ellijay

The sun is setting when you pull into a convenience store in this very small Georgia town. You’re walking through the store when you hear a customer shout and the clerk cry out. You look up to see a robber holding a gun to the clerk’s head. The robber is wearing a pair of panty hose over his head and face. You present your firearm and shout for him to stop. He starts to turn and you tell him not to move. Another customer in the store runs outside and grabs a gun from his truck. Now both of you hold the robber at gunpoint.

The robber inches toward the door. Neither of you shoot. Another customer runs in with a gun in his hand and tells the robber not to move. Now the robber drops his gun and gets down on the floor. You tell the other defenders to raise their firearms and not to shoot. 

The news stories are not clear who called 911. Police arrive and have to tase the robber to get cuffs on him. They secure the attacker’s gun. The police also arrest the robber’s wife who was waiting in their car behind the convenience store.

The attacker is charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The getaway driver was charged with armed robbery. Both are held without bond.

~_~_

Thank you for everything you do every day. RM

Armed Defense and Doing Our Homework

January 16, 2023

I write about armed defense every week. We report and analyze those recent news stories on the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast. This week, the stories were about ordinary citizens who defended themselves in public. Timing is everything. This is why we want to think ahead. Please read through the stories and see if you agree.

Fast hands help, but a fast mind is essential.

The detailed discussion of each story are on the podcast webpage. Please leave me a note and tell me what you think. RM

The Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast

First story from Detroit, Michigan- 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-

Second Story from Little Rock, Arkansas- 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.

Sources-

Third story from Elkrun Township, Ohio- 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:

Fourth story from Tucson, Arizona- 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-

Thank you for everything you do everyday. RM

Emotions, Police Chiefs, and Celebrity Murders

January 13, 2023

I’ve made bad decisions. Most of us accept that we can make mistakes even on our good days. Being the chief law enforcement officer for a school district that was attacked by a celebrity murderer is a horrible day indeed. Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo was in that position and made some bad decisions. It would be an even greater loss if we didn’t learn from his mistakes.

For large plans or small ones, we go through similar steps. We search for solutions. We should evaluate what works in our situation and then review our plans with others. We can pre-plan our decisions and rehearse our actions. The failure to plan is why the Uvalde, Texas school district police chief made such bad decisions that cost the lives of children and teachers in his school.

It is hard for us to make good decisions when we are under stress. That is why we plan our important decisions ahead of time. At its simplest, that is why we have drivers-education training so we have some practice before the first time we have to hit the brakes on a dark wet road. It is also why we practice fire drills at home. Those are trivial examples compared to what first responders should do during an attack on one of our schools.

You make plans every day. You bring a shopping list with you when you go for groceries. Protecting our children deserves more attention than we give to a shopping list. Saying that school officials will simply call the police in an emergency is a failure to consider the options.

The failure to study and plan is settling for failure in advance.

In an emergency, we can suffer from too many choices as well as too few. Some of those actions will help and some of them will hurt. We want to consider many possible actions ahead of time. We want to ask other knowledgeable people what they think. We want to study the range of actions that fall within best practice. Those are impossible decisions to make when someone is killing our children. We need to think about the problem now because we won’t have the time or the ability to think clearly then.

The great news is that other people have considered school security before. That means we don’t have to guess about strengths and weaknesses. We don’t have to wonder about the character of celebrity murderers or the character of school staff. We have seen how they will react when a murderer comes to one of our schools.

Some plans won’t work. We make plans every day so that our ideas die rather than us dying. We have the benefit of millions of years of experience with armed School Resource Officers. We have a hundred million years of experience with armed citizens going about in public. We have over two million man-days of experience with armed school staff. All that is good information. Unfortunately, we also have hundreds of examples of celebrity murderers who will do anything to get their name in the news.

The defenders and the attackers are known and understood. You might not know about them, but other people do. You can learn about them if you want to. It isn’t hard. The chief security officer for a school district definitely should know.

Chief Arredondo may have many strengths when it comes to law enforcement and security in the Uvalde schools. He also had a significant weakness. I made my living trying new ideas. I showed my ideas to my customers before we built them. We almost always learned something by reviewing our plans. That is why we ask school teachers if they have ideas about protecting their classroom. We ask school principals and superintendents about protecting their schools. We listen to bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and janitors. We ask outside auditors to look at our annual security plan. We’d be a fool not to listen and learn while we still have time to improve.

Time is everything.

Seconds count. A murderer at school will kill until he is stopped. That isn’t a secret, but the chief chose to ignore it. The school district police chief in Uvalde decided to treat the attack at Robb Elementary School as a hostage situation and evacuate the rest of the school rather than enter the classroom and stop the murderer. He wrote off the lives of the children and teachers in that classroom. He was wrong.

Most of us have seen pictures of the dozens of armed law enforcement agents standing in the school hallway while they waited for directions. Border patrol agents eventually entered the unlocked classroom. They shot the murderer and ended his attack on innocent children. They allowed medical personnel to finally start treating the injured and saving lives. Many students and staff died because Uvalde law enforcement waited so long to act.

At home, we escape and call 911 if we smell smoke or see fire. We can consider if we used too much fire-suppressant chemicals after the fire is out. At school, we lock the doors, call for help, and stop the murderer if we hear shots fired. That isn’t always the perfect solution but it is an excellent place to start.

We know how to stop celebrity murderers. Best practice is for armed defenders to move toward the sound of gunfire and shoot the murderer. First responders don’t wait for a partner and they don’t wait for permission to act. It is also best practice to train school staff to stop the bleeding until EMTs take over. That is old news.

For the last two decades, we’ve known what to do when a murderer comes to school.

Making a defense plan for your home isn’t magic. Tens of millions of ordinary people have done exactly that. Millions of classrooms should have a security plan. Many do. We have a right to ask if our schools have a plan.

Sadly, some school bureaucracies will play politics with our children’s safety. Fortunately, we have the courage and common sense to ask questions of our police and our school officials. It is our duty to make sure our school security plans make sense.

~_~_~

I gave you my best 1000 words on stopping mass murderers. Please take them to heart and act on them. RM

News Sources-

Uvalde school district police chief’s statement- https://abcnews.go.com/US/uvalde-police-chief-pete-arredondo-told-investigators-heard/story?id=96374012

Background information on the Uvalde attack- https://www.nytimes.com/article/uvalde-texas-school-shooting.html

Ed Monk describes best practice- https://slowfacts.wordpress.com/2022/07/03/ed-monk-analyzes-effective-protection-in-our-schools/

What the News Can’t Tell Us About Armed Defense, Shootings, and Gunfights

January 1, 2023

Don’t confuse the news with the truth. The corporate news media is in the business of delivering eyes and ears to their advertisers. That is how they earn their money. The assignment editors, reporters and the copyeditors are not against honesty and proportion, but cash comes first. That means they are biased in their reporting. They must ignore the common but important stories in order to leave room for the shock and outrage that keeps us watching and listening. I study armed defense. Ordinary citizens like us defend ourselves, our family, and innocent strangers every day. You wouldn’t know that from watching the news. This is why the corporate media does such a bad job of reporting.

To be fair, we have our own biases. Most of us think that armed defense looks like something from a John Wick movie or from the Matrix. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I have to describe what ordinary people do because most of us are not even familiar with the terms.

John Wick

Armed defense is when the intended victim of a violent crime uses a firearm to deter or stop the criminal.

That includes something as simple as grandma shouting for an intruder to go away because she has a gun and that she called the police. The police might not classify it as a defensive gun use, but grandma thinks it was. She thinks the home-invasion robber changed his plans because she had her firearm. The criminal thinks grandma’s gun was important too.

Armed defense is when an armed mom is crossing the parking lot late at night. She tells her kids to get back in the car, she turns toward three young men, and puts her her hand into her purse. She yells “Stop!” and the three young men change direction. They get back into their car and drive away.

In these examples, the victim didn’t have to point their gun at the attacker. The significant thing that happened was that the armed defender didn’t look and act like the victim the attackers had in mind. The criminals moved on to find easier prey.

Some people would say this isn’t really armed defense, but the use of force comes in shades of grey. There is a continuum of force. It starts with turning toward your attacker, yelling “Stop”, backing away, grabbing your gun, presenting your firearm and pointing it at the attacker. It ends with pressing the trigger. Each of those are separate steps on the ladder of defense. We don’t want to climb higher than we have to.

The good news is that we are reluctant to use lethal force. It isn’t our job to close with, contact, subdue, and arrest our attacker. That is for the police. We just want the bad guy to move away and let us escape without being hurt. That is what we do.

Porcupine versus Lion

In fact, the mere presence of a firearm is enough to make most bad guys turn away. That reaction isn’t as unusual as it seems. A police officer puts his hand on his gun many times but seldom has to present his firearm and shoot a criminal assailant. Criminals behave the same way around us. They don’t want to be shot at, and nobody wants to leak.

That isn’t speculation on my part. Scholars asked tens of thousands of ordinary adults if they ever used a firearm for armed defense. About one-adult-in-ten said yes. Only one-person-out-of-fifty had to actually press the trigger. That is significant, but it leads us to something even bigger.

The police might not take a report if you were armed but didn’t shoot the bad guy. Sure, we should call the police, but the police might not call it a defensive gun use unless the firearm was fired. Most armed defense is never recorded because of this quirk in the way the police take their reports.

Most of our armed defense isn’t reported by the press either. Just because our heart is beating fast after the bad guy ran away doesn’t mean our armed defense makes the news. Protecting our family is vitally important to us, but most armed defense doesn’t make good news copy. Assignment editors seldom wastes their ink on a story where there the bad guy ran away and there is no spilled blood. We aren’t always that lucky that the bad guy simply runs away.

A shooting is when someone presses the trigger and the gun goes bang. That doesn’t mean that the bad guy was wounded. It doesn’t mean that the bad guy was killed. A shooting means that bullets were flying in one direction.

The great news is that gun owners in the US are wonderfully reluctant to take a life. We stay within the law, and the law only allows us to use lethal force in very specific instances. We’re only allowed to use a gun when an innocent person faces an immediate and unavoidable threat of death or great bodily injury. Said another way, we’re only allowed to use lethal force when that is the safest thing to do.

That is a high bar to clear. Honest citizens don’t shoot people very often. When we do, the bad guy usually lives. The amazing news is that sometimes we don’t shoot people even when we have a legal justification for doing so. When we look at the record, we really use a gun as a last resort. That is a good thing.

The other great news is that we win. The news media is sure to tell us when a good guy gets disarmed by the bad guy. That makes the news because the event is so unusual. It is far more common for the good guy to take the criminal’s gun than the other way around.

We also win because we are on defense. Defenders have an easier job than attackers. The criminal is trying to get close to us and we are trying to hide and get away.

Our partner dials 911 as we are huddled behind the bed with our gun pointed at the bedroom door. The criminal breaks down the door and runs onto our gun. We shoot them. That isn’t a great feat of marksmanship. It doesn’t make great movie footage so that isn’t what we’re shown in the movies.

There are exceptions. Sometimes an honest gun owners has to shot an attacker at a distance. Sometimes those defensive stories are incredibly important because the defender stopped mass-murder. Honest citizens do a good job stopping mass murder, but most defensive uses of a gun are at close range.

A gun fight is when bullets are flying both ways. We really want to avoid that situation.

The Matrix

We want to defend ourselves from a physical position where we can shoot at the bad guys and the bad guy can’t shoot at us. If we’re attacked in a parking garage, we move behind a car or a column so we are harder to shoot. In our home, we hide behind a wall and peek around a corner so we are harder to see. That is the opposite of what we see in action movies.

The truth is that we are at risk if the criminal is shooting at us. No matter how skilled we are, there is a chance we could be injured in a gunfight. That is why self defense classes talk about avoiding these bad situations in the first place. We win every gunfight that we avoid.

You may be really proud that you saw the two guys standing behind the corner of a convenience store so you drove to another store to buy gas late at night. You made a great decision. People need to know about your actions so we learn to keep ourselves safe.

Unfortunately, what you did is important but not newsworthy.

Armed defense happens between four-thousand and six-thousand times a day. Most of the time, the good guys don’t have to shoot because the bad guys ran away. Sometimes we have to press the trigger, but the bad guy usually lives. That simply isn’t the kind of attention-grabbing story the news media is looking for.

That puts the burden on us. We have to find better sources of information if we want to learn the truth about armed defense. There are a few news shows that cover those stories. There are many websites, blogs and podcasts that talk about armed defense. Knowing the truth is good for all of us.

~_~_

I gave you 1,400 words. Please share them with a friend.

News sources on armed defense-

Gun Talk

Armed American Radio

Lock and Load Radio

Bearing Arms

The Truth About Guns

The Reload

Active Self Protection

Self Defense Gun Stories

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Armed Defense and Shades of Grey

December 30, 2022

I write about armed defense every week. We report and analyze those recent news stories on the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast. This week, the stories were about ordinary citizens being attacked in their homes and in public. As simple as these stories sound, there is a lot we can learn from them.

Before we hear glass breaking in the middle of the night, we want to have a good idea about what we should do.

No plan is perfect, but some plans will work more often than others.

The original news sources and the detailed discussion of each story are on the podcast webpage. Please leave me a note and tell me what you think. RM

The Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast

First Story- Do you have a handgun nearby when you’re asleep in bed?

You were asleep in your bed a little after 9:30 at night. You wake up when you hear an unfamiliar noise coming from your kitchen. You roll out of bed and grab your handgun. You have your gun in your hands when an intruder kicks down your bedroom door. You shoot the intruder twice in the upper-center chest as he comes through the fatal funnel of the doorway. The intruder immediately falls to the floor. You stop shooting. You stay at the scene and call 911 for help.

News reports don’t mention when you put away your firearm. You meet law enforcement when they arrive. You also give the officers a brief statement.

Emergency Medical Services treat the attacker. He is first driven to a local transport pad and then flown by a medical helicopter to the nearest level 1 trauma center in Las Vegas. The attacker is immediately placed in critical care.

Police identify the firearm that the armed attacker was carrying. It is a shotgun that was stolen the night before during a home invasion-burglary at another address.

Later, the intruder was identified as Shawn Richards. Richards has a history of criminal convictions. If he survives, he will be charged with home invasion, with grand larceny of a firearm, burglary, being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and with probation violations.

According to the Nye county sheriff’s office, the homeowner will not face any charges.

Second Story- Are you carrying concealed in public after dark?

You and your girlfriend are at a shopping mall. Your car is parked in front of Buffalo Wild Wings, but the news stories don’t say if you ate there. It is 8:30, so well after dark. You and your girlfriend walk to your car and get inside. Three strange men pull open the doors of your car and try to get inside as well. The news reports aren’t clear, but it sounds like they tried to get into the back seat of your car while you and your girlfriend were in the front.

You’re legally carrying concealed. You present your firearm and shoot two of the three carjackers. They run. You stay at the scene and call 911. You give a statement to the police when they arrive. You show them your Illinois Firearms Owners Identification card and your carry permit.

Police arrest one of the wounded robbers. He is charged with battery, and also has outstanding warrants. There is a person with the same name who was involved in prior robberies.

You are not charged with a crime.

Third story- Are you armed at home during the early evening?

You and your wife are separating. She is moving out of your home. Her father is helping her. So far you’ve agreed on what is hers and what is yours. It is Friday right after work and you are carrying your wife’s possessions out of your home and handing them to her and her dad.

It appears from police reports that the father-in-law started issuing verbal insults and then verbally threatening you. You retreat to your house. You tell him to stay outside. You tell him you’re armed. Several times you tell him to leave your home. Your father-in-law reaches to grab you and you shoot him. Now he stops moving toward you so you stop shooting. You back up and call 911. Emergency Medical Services pronounce your attacker dead at the scene.

You give a statement to the police. You also give them your security video that shows your attacker entering your home and you shouting for him to leave. You are arrested. It takes 10 weeks for the police to say you won’t be charged.

Quote, “[the] Rome Police Department detectives in this case had probable cause to arrest this defendant on Oct. 7, 2022. They continued to work the case. Evidence developed that pointed to Mr. Benjamin Cox having a valid justification defense under several statutes, including self-defense, defense of habitation and the stand your ground statute. The pending charges have been dismissed against Mr. Cox.” Close quote.

Fourth story- Do you have a firearm near your bed?

You live in a bedroom community across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a little before 5 on a Monday morning when you’re woken up by the sound of breaking glass out on the street and the sound of car alarms going off. The news reports are not clear if you grabbed your gun when you heard the car alarms or when someone started beating on your front door and shouting for help. Also, the news doesn’t say if you only heard the attacker pick up your front porch furniture and smash your front door, or if you also saw him do it.

You have your gun in your hands when you open the front door and tell the intruder to move away and stop smashing your house. You say you’re armed. The intruder who was asking for help a few seconds ago says quote, “I’m not scared of you.” close quote.

The intruder steps forward and tries to grab you. You shoot him. Now the attacker stops and runs. News reports don’t say if you stepped back into your home or if you stayed on the porch as you called 911 for help.

You tell the dispatcher, “I just shot somebody.” The dispatcher says that police are already on their way. The female dispatcher also tells you to put your gun down and have your hands out of your pockets when the officers arrive.

You stay at the scene and talk to the policemen. You also give them security video and audio from your front porch cameras. 

The police find the wounded attacker in front of your home. Emergency Medical Services transport the attacker to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his neck.

The County Commonwealth’s Attorney said, “When someone that we can only describe as a criminal keeps coming towards you, I think it was completely reasonable for the homeowner to fire in self-defense. Well, we know he [the attacker] broke into a number of different vehicles, caused quite a bit of damage. He was trying to break into at least one residence.”

You are not named in the police reports or by the press since you are not being charged with a crime.

There is absolutely no excuse for power shortages – HotAir

December 26, 2022

Forget your electric car of tomorrow if there isn’t enough power to keep your house warm and the lights on today. RM

“The federal government has been pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into infrastructure investments, but the goal has been to implement a “green new deal,” not to ensure that our electrical grid is optimally reliable for the end customers. This is malfeasance. And given that the “green” ambitions of our ruling class requires the electrification of everything, it is difficult to believe that there isn’t a level of intentionality.”

Source: There is absolutely no excuse for power shortages – HotAir

UK Woman Killed in Christmas Eve Pub Shooting

December 25, 2022

Gun-control fails again. British Politicians told us that this couldn’t happen after they disarmed honest citizens. RM

AP News — A Christmas Eve shooting at a pub in northwest England killed a young woman and wounded three men, police said Sunday. The Merseyside Police force said it was investigating the 11:50 p.m. Saturday shooting at the Lighthouse pub in the town of Wallasey as a murder case. Police have not detained any suspects.

Source: UK Woman Killed in Christmas Eve Pub Shooting

Democrat Politicians Hide Their Problems in Plain Sight

December 20, 2022

I read several news stories that should have been combined. In the first story, a committee of the US conference of mayors asked for more gun-control laws. In the second story, gun-control activists with the help of Democrat senators and the Biden Administration pressured the US Center for Disease Control to remove a study that showed honest citizens defend themselves with a firearm 2.5 million times a year. In the third and final story, I remembered that anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg donated 100 million dollars to the Biden campaign and 20 million dollars to Senate Democrats. The connection is obvious.

‘Politics is the art of creating problems, finding problems, diagnosing them incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.’

Governing a large city is a difficult job in the best of times. There are always more needs than resources. These are not the best of times. Governing a major US city is harder still when Democrats and the Biden economy have decimated small businesses and inflation has eliminated personal savings. Chapter 11 bankruptcies are up 76-percent. We are seeing a parallel surge in foreclosures that increased 64-percent.

Lives are at stake. Unemployment and poverty leads to a cycle of family breakdown, drug abuse, and violence. People move to find better jobs and safer homes. Deep blue cities and states are bleeding US citizens. When you’re a Democrat mayor of a major US city, you can’t exactly blame the Democrat politicians for your city’s problems. That would be political suicide.

Rather than fix the difficult underlying problems, billionaire Michael Bloomberg provides the obvious political excuse for these big city mayors. They can claim that guns cause violence in our large democrat-controlled cities. These Democrat mayors can’t admit that guns only cause crime in their cities but not in other cities with a growing economy and a working criminal-justice system. It is easy enough for the corporate media to ignore gun-control’s history of failure.

The glaring problem with blaming guns is that guns also stop crime. Though seldom covered in the news, it is a fact that honest citizens often use their personally owned firearms to stop violence and to prevent violence. Self-defense happens millions of times a year. That is an inconvenient fact for Bloomberg and these big-city mayors.

It used to be tedious to collect this self-defense data by calling people on the phone and asking them questions. Online surveys have increased the depth and width of the sample data. Rather than taking three thousand responses by phone, modern online surveys now sample over 50 thousand individuals. Even with those modern techniques, finding out if honest citizens used a gun for self-defense is harder than it appears: asking the right question is critical. Recent surveys put the answer at 1.7 to 2.5 million instances of self-defense each year.

That comes to over 6-thousand armed defenses each day. That is a glaring contradiction if you want to claim that honest gun-owners are the source of violence in your failed city.

North Korean Jang Song-thaek disappears in the photo on the right KCNA via BBC

We’ve seen Twitter, Google, Facebook, and the mainstream media hide inconvenient facts before. Anti-gun Democrats have already funded propaganda centers to help dilute the documented benefit of armed defense. Rather than creating false studies, an easier solution is to simply hide the inconvenient data at the CDC. Taking a page from political dictators of the past, history will be rewritten and the data will simply disappear. The corporate media in the United States doesn’t want to report on armed defense anyway.

Stalin (center) with Nikolai Yezhov to his left. After Yezhov’s execution, he was airbrushed out of the photo. YouTube/ITN

Propaganda techniques that worked for dictators years ago might not work as well for Democrats today. It is harder to erase history, though it is easier to cloud it. It is certainly easier to insert propaganda into the internet and onto web browsers.

The good news is that we are an army of Davids with our cell phones. Each of us is a citizen-journalist who documents the facts around them. My friends uncover sources that I miss.

Even billionaires with political connections have a hard time hiding the truth.

~_~_

I gave you 700 words. Please leave a comment and share them with a friend. RM

Sources-

Biden Deceived Americans With One Heck of a Whopper About Jobs Before Election – RedState

December 17, 2022

It is only a 99% error just before an election.  They misssed by a million jobs, but who cares. It is a trifle that could happen to anybody.. not. RM

But unfortunately, it looks like his administration lies too, on something very important — the job numbers for the second quarter of this year. They claimed a net job growth of 1,047,000 jobs. But now, it’s been revealed that they were off. Not just by a little, but by a ton. Indeed, by so much, it’s hard to believe it’s an innocent error.

Source: Biden Deceived Americans With One Heck of a Whopper About Jobs Before Election – RedState

Armed Defense at Work, at Home, and in Public

December 17, 2022

I write about armed defense every week. We record those stories on the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast. This week, the stories were about ordinary citizens being attacked at work, in their homes, and when they go about in public. As simple as these stories sound, there is a lot we can learn from them.

First story- Are you armed at work?

You’re working behind the counter of a fast food store. It is almost 10 pm on a Monday night when a man walks in. He is wearing a mask and a hoodie. He is also carrying a gun in his hands. The robber tells you to give him the money from the cash register. You don’t move fast enough for him so he jumps over the counter and pushes you out of the way. He hits you with his handgun and you put up your arms to protect yourself from the blows.

You have a gun of your own. You’re carrying concealed tonight. You’re down on one knee when you draw your firearm and shoot upward at your attacker. You shoot him until he stops hitting you. Your attacker turns away and you stop shooting. Your attacker runs from the store.

You stay inside. Your co-workers saw the attack. It isn’t clear from the news stories if they called 911 or if you did. You put your gun back in its holster.

You give a statement to the police when they arrive. So do your co-workers. You have some bad bruises and bumps, but you have ice at the store. You say you don’t need to see Emergency Medical Services. Police notice three shell casings on the floor. They match the size and manufacturer of the cartridges you carry.

Police find your attacker down the street. EMS takes your attacker to a nearby hospital. He is treated for two gunshot wounds. He died at the hospital.

You are not charged with a crime.

Second Story- Do you have a firearm nearby when you sleep?

And here.

You are a 72 year old man. You are asleep in your bed Saturday morning. Well, you were asleep until you heard a strange sound at about 3 am. You get up and grab your firearm. Someone is breaking the door of your mobile home. You get your phone and call 911 to ask for help.

The intruder breaks through your door. You put the phone down as the intruder attacks you. You push him away but he hits you again. You present your firearm and shoot the attacker. He stops hitting you and you back away.

You pick up the phone and call 911 again. You say you had to shoot your attacker. You put your gun away when the police arrive. You tell them what happened. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene from a single bullet wound. He was 22 years old. EMS also takes you to the hospital to treat your injuries.

You are not charged with a crime.

Third story- Do you have a gun nearby at night?

It is Tuesday night and you are asleep in bed. You hear glass breaking and you hear pieces of glass hit your bedroom floor. Someone is breaking into your home. You roll out of bed and run to get your gun. The intruder grabs you from behind. You grab your gun and try to turn around to face your attacker. Both of you fall to the floor.

You shoot your attacker twice. Now you’re able to get away from your attacker. You grab your phone and call 911.

You put your gun away before the police arrive. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. Police say it appears you acted within the law.

You are not charged.

Fourth story- Are you armed as you go out at night?

You step out of the downtown building after three in the morning. You’re about to cross the street when you hear gunshots and see someone shooting at you from a car on the street. You are carrying concealed this morning. You present your firearm and shoot back. The car drives away. You see someone climb out of your car across the street and run. He doesn’t shoot at you and you don’t shoot him.

News reports are not clear if you called 911 from the street or if you went back inside your hotel first. You give a statement to the police when they arrive. You show them your Illinois firearms owners ID card. You show them your carry permit. You give the police a brief statement.

Police take your description of the vehicle your attackers were driving. A man is dropped off at a hospital by a car matching that description. Another man walks into another hospital a few minutes later. Both have gunshot wounds. Both are attested. Police are looking for the damaged vehicle and its driver.

You are not charged.


We discuss each story on the podcast episode webpage. You can read them or listen to the discussion there. Please leave me a note and let me know what you think. RM

Yes, We’ve Seen Riots Here Too

December 17, 2022

Benjamin Mann at the Mountain States Legal blog points out the fragility of peaceful civilization. Brutal gangs now control the capital of Haiti.  To quote from Mann’s article,

“..competing gangs are carving up the Haitian capital, kidnapping, raping, and killing at will. The gangs have no fear and no mercy.

“As murderous gangs take over Haiti’s capital, the world is getting a brutal reminder of why ordinary peaceable people need access to deadly force for self-defense.

“Haitians are in this situation because Haiti has pursued restrictive gun policies and made it difficult for well-meaning people to legally exercise their natural self-defense.”

Benjamin Mann has a lot to say and I encourage you to read all of it.

It is too easy to think that couldn’t happen here. We’ve certainly seen this sort of violence before. We thought these were the sorts of violent outbreaks that we’d only see in the in the Muslim controlled sections of Paris where gangs burn cars at night. Au contraire. We’ve already seen this level of crime here in the United States. We’ve seen-

  • extensive riots in Baltimore with several hundred buildings damaged, including 27 drug stores looted,
  • the takeover of several square blocks in downtown Seattle,
  • nightly riots in Portland for most of a year,
  • carjacking increased by a factor of three in Philadelphia,
  • over 3600 people will be shot this year by the drug gangs who run Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago,
  • we’ve seen violent assailants released right back onto the streets of New York City,
  • and parts of San Francisco become uninhabitable because government officials in San Francisco refuse to prosecute criminals.
Mostly peaceful riots in Portland

Those memorable examples sit on top of the dozens of Democrat controlled cities that encouraged rioting last year.

The point being that it only takes a democrat mayor and a Soros-funded district attorney to turn a once civilized city into a Hatian battlezone. The Democrat mayor appoints a police chief who lets politically favored rioters “express themselves” by looting. The Soros funded DA refuses to prosecute the politically favored criminals. Add some Bloomberg funded “gun-control” and the victims are disarmed and easy prey.

Now your formerly peaceful, and now fashionably woke, city looks a lot like today’s Port-au-Prince.

You think that couldn’t happen here? It was only a few weeks ago on Thanksgiving that President Joe Biden told reporters,

“The idea that we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.”

Many Haitians who are facing kidnapping, gang rape, and other violent threats would dispute our president’s statement that semiautomatic weapons have no value or rationale for ordinary people. Across the United States, we have between 1.7 and 2.5 million times a year when honest citizens use a firearm for self-defense. Stopping that much assault, robbery, rape and murder in the US is a lot of redeeming social value.. even if President Biden can’t see it.

Ask the people of Venezuela and Mexico if they are safe when only the government.. and the criminals.. have guns.

To finish with a quote from Mann’s article again,

“Despite these liberal delusions, a Haiti-like breakdown of order in parts of the U.S. is not hard to imagine. This is well-understood by those who follow Mexican cartel violence, our southern border crisis, or the state of certain U.S. cities—or who merely care to recall Washington D.C in 2020.”

Yes, it is happening here.

~_~_

It took a while to cut this down under 600 words. I hope you share this with a friend. RM

A Little Planning Saves Lives Every Day

December 13, 2022

I write about armed defense every week. We record those stories on the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast. This week, the stories were about people being attacked in their cars, at work, and at their homes. As simple as these stories sound, there is a lot we can learn from them.

First story- Are you armed as you drive after midnight?

You are a 23 year old woman and the news articles are not clear about whether you are getting into your car or getting out of it. It is after midnight when a car pulls up next to your parked car. Four men get out. One of them points a gun at you. The armed man tries to get into your car. You present your legally carried firearm and shoot your attacker. You get out of your car and run down the street. One of the armed robbers shoot at you and wounds your arm. You call 911 and ask for help.

You put your gun away before the police arrive. You show them your carry permit and give them a statement. You are taken to the hospital to treat your arm. EMTs also take one of your attackers to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head.

You are not charged with a crime.

Second Story- Are you armed as you drive at dawn?

It is just before 6 in the morning when you get into your car. A car pulls up beside you and three young men get out. One of them points a gun at you and orders you to hand over all your belongings. You own a gun. You have your Illinois Concealed carry permit in your wallet. You’re carrying concealed today. You get out of your car and present your firearm. You shoot your attackers. The four men jump back into their car and drive away. You stay at the scene and call 911 for help. You put your gun away and give a statement to the police when they arrive.

Police find your attackers down the street. The driver is wounded with a head wound. Another attacker has a shoulder wound. The attacker in the back seat broke his leg when the car crashed. All four are taken to the hospital.

These teenage robbers are driving a stolen car and are part of a group that robbed 40 people over the weekend. You are not charged with a crime.

Third story- Are you armed at work?

You manage a food pantry. It is around 5pm when one of your volunteers runs up to you and asks if you have your gun. They say a young man with a gun just ran through the store and into the backlot. You run to the backlot and see a stranger with a gun in his back pocket. You tell him to stop and to get on the ground. He reaches for his gun.

“Don’t make me kill you,” you say. He continues to slowly reach for his gun. You are about to shoot the armed stranger when a police officer runs up next to you and presents his taser. It isn’t clear from the news articles if the officer had to tase the armed intruder. You put your gun away.

Police arrest the armed man as a fugitive in a nearby crash of a stolen car. You are not charged with a crime.

Tag- No shots fired.

Fourth story- Are you armed at home?

It is Friday morning after Thanksgiving. You hear a man scream and yell outside. You leave your home to see what is happening. You recognize another of your neighbors who came outside to investigate the disturbance. The two of you see a man jumping on a car and shouting. He sees you and runs to a home across the street. He breaks into the home. You know the neighbor that lives there. She is a 41 year old woman with two children aged 9 and 13. You follow the intruder into your neighbor’s home. You’re armed and you present your firearm. It isn’t clear which of the adults called 911.

You put your gun away when the police arrive. Police arrest the intruder. The 32 year old intruder appeared to be on drugs. He was charged with first-degree home invasion and malicious destruction of property costing more than $1,000 but less than $20,000.

You and your neighbor are not charged with a crime.

Tag- No shots fired.


Text of the discussion is on the podcast episode webpage.

Please leave me a note and let me know what you think. RM

Is There Anything We can do to Stop Mass Murderers in the United States?

December 12, 2022

That question comes to mind since President Biden recently claimed we need to massively disarm honest citizens in order to stop mass-murderers. Instead of accepting the President’s words at face value, I looked at what the experts say. There are many questions we might ask and lots of facts we can consider. We do many things today to stop violence in the US. There is more we could do, and this is what I found;

  • We stop several thousand violent events every day.
  • The United States is about average in its rate of mass murder.
  • We stop more than half of the attempted mass murderers who attack where honest citizens are allowed to go armed.
  • Most mass murderers go through a predictable process, and we ignored warning signs time after time.
  • We should stop making the murderers into overnight celebrities, but that is hard to do.

A Walmart employee murdered several of his co-workers in Virginia. That happened a few weeks ago. President Biden then commented that,

“[T]he idea we still allow semi automatic weapons to be purchased is sick.  It’s just sick.  It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.”

The president’s comment sounds bizarre given what we know. We know that more than 5,000 ordinary US citizens use a firearm to protect themselves from a serious threat every day. Stopping that much assault, robbery, rape and murder every day sounds like an immense socially redeeming value to me. The president obviously disagrees.

That level of armed defense shouldn’t come as news. We’ve seen similar reports for the last few decades. The data is broadly consistent, including a report from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention that was commissioned by the Obama Administration. The data says that armed citizens save over a million lives a year.

All of us are biased, but we have good reason to be. We think that what we see in the news gives us a representative picture of what is happening in the world overall. It feels that way to us, but in truth there is a lot of news that goes unreported by our local news stations. Our news media covers a mass murder in the US for days but they only cover a mass murder that happened in another country for a few minutes. That distorts our thinking about where violence happens.

When we look at the rate of murder per 100,000 people, the US ranks 89th in a list of 230 countries. If we compare countries in Europe with each state in the US, then Norway, Washington DC, and Belgium lead the list with the greatest number of people killed in mass murder per million population. Florida, Germany and Italy are among the safest. When we look at the rate of mass murder events and the number of people killed by mass murder per 100,000 population, then the US ranks 66th and 56th out of the 101 countries reporting a mass murder between 1998 and 2017. Even when we look at the rare events where more than 15 people were killed, then the US is far safer than Africa, Australia, and Israel. We are safer than France and Mexico where honest citizens are disarmed. When in comes to mass murders, the US is average, but there are things we can do to become safer.

We have a mixed report card on mass murder but that isn’t from a lack of attention. We studied our schools after the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Experts concluded that time is critical. A mass murderer has all the time he wants to prepare so it is hard to stop mass murder before it happens. Once they start, the murderer will kill until he is stopped or until he gets tired of killing. If we wait until the police arrive, then the murderer will kill 35 to 45 people. Experts concluded that the solution must already be inside the school when the murderer attacks. We now have several million man-hours of experience with armed and trained school volunteers. We would know if they are a problem. So far, they look like a solution.

Schools might be a special case. When we look more broadly, we have seen over a hundred cases where ordinary citizens used their personal firearms to stop mass murderers in the US. In the last few years, over half of attempted mass murderers were stopped by ordinary armed citizens if the attack happened where ordinary citizens were allowed to be armed. As I reported earlier, armed good-guys save lives every day.

Mass murderers may be crazy, but they are able to read. These murderers are not afraid of dying but they are afraid of failing. They plan to kill as many people as they can. Mass murderers choose their targets with that in mind. They plan for a one-way shooting rather than to face a two-way gunfight. In the last several decades, 97.8 percent of mass murderers deliberately targeted places where ordinary citizens were disarmed by law. If the lopsided proportion of 98-percent doesn’t convince you, then please believe the murderer’s own words. We know the murderers targeted “gun-free” zones because we read the murderer’s e-mails and their journals.

For many of us, and for most politicians, it is hard to believe that we are at greater risk where we disarm honest people. The facts not only speak for themselves, they shout. Putting up a plastic “No Guns” sign failed to stop mass murderers and it disarmed their victims.

One obvious way to make us safer is to stop giving the murderers large undefended targets where they can kill at will.

“Gun-free” zones work for politicians even though these zones continue to get us killed. Politicians need to appear concerned and relevant. Since politicians pass laws, they pass more laws to create more “gun-free” zones. When all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail. Another ineffective law lets the politician issue a concerned press release saying that the world needs more of what he is selling. Unfortunately, “gun-free” zones create more unarmed victims. Politicians will stop making us more vulnerable when citizens and the press call them out on it.

I use quotes around the term “gun-free” zone since the only areas that are remotely gun-free are places like a prison; places with stone walls, locked doors, armed staff, and magnetometers. That doesn’t mean these places are safe since there are lots of weapons inside a prison.

Politicians need to appear needed. Besides the laws against murder, politicians have passed a number of laws that were supposed to stop mass murderers. We passed mandatory background check laws. Those checks look backward, and mass murder is not a long-term career path. Sometimes people who plan mass murder have a criminal record that makes them a prohibited person who can’t buy firearms legally. We’ve seen these mass murderers borrow firearms, steal firearms, and even commit murder to get the guns they wanted. They have all the time in the world.

We passed “red flag” laws where police officers, teachers, family, co-workers, and friends could ask the police to disarm someone who was a danger to themselves or to others. We’ve had concerned citizens call the FBI because they thought someone was going commit mass murder.

I don’t have good statistics on the number of attacks that were stopped by mandatory background check laws and red-flag laws. We do have the horrific examples where those laws failed. We also have the results from a real-world test since California had mandatory background check and red-flag laws for over a decade. Last year, California had the most mass murders of any state.

We’ve now seen family members who refused to swear out a red-flag report even when they knew their family member was dangerous. These witnesses feared that the law would not stop the dangerous person. They feared they would be targeted for revenge if they reported what they knew. Red-flag laws depend on a working system of justice. I’m not sure we have that anymore.

There are ways to stop mass-murders, and the fist thing to do is to call them by their right name. They are celebrity-murders. The murderer wants to be known. They are willing to kill to get the notoriety they want. They are driven, and they would rather die than remain nameless. Their plan has worked time after time since our corporate news media gives these murderers a multi-million-dollar publicity campaign if they kill enough innocent victims.

We’ve been in a similar situation before and we solved them. We learned not to name the victims of sexual assault in order to allow the annonymous victim to testify in court. We learned not to name the teenage suicide victim so that other teenagers wouldn’t kill themselves simply to get their name and their face in the local paper.

That phenomenon is now called celebrity-suicide. Today, our news media has created a phenomenon of celebrity-murder. Politicians appear reluctant to stop it. Fortunately, we can stop it, particularly with the help of advertising sponsors and social media.

We know what doesn’t work. We see example after example where a government employee failed to stop a mass murderer. That can be a call screener at an FBI call center as in the attack at the Pulse nightclub. It can be a School Resource Officer who sat outside the school building while children were being shot in Parkland, Florida. We saw over a hundred law enforcement officers standing outside an unlocked classroom door in the attack at Uvalde, Texas. We saw school officials return an armed student to class in the attack in Highland, Michigan. I have little hope that bureaucrats will do better.

Fortunately, we can. We can stop giving mass murderers easy targets filled with disarmed victims. We can stop making mass murderers into instant celebrities. The solution is in our hands. Now, what will you do?
~_~_

I gave you 1600 words. Please leave a rating, a comment, and share them with a friend. RM

Another Deadly Weekend in Chicago

December 12, 2022

Gun controlled Chicago had 19 people shot and wounded this weekend. An additional 6 more were shot and killed this weekend in Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago. 

That makes a total of 69 people shot in the last week. The total is now over 3,400 people shot this year by the drug gangs who control Chicago. To put that in perspective, a person is shot in Chicago every two and a half hours. I wish that Chicago were our only failed city.

Baltimore had 6 people shot to death last week. That is one more than the previous week so violent crime is up slightly. That brings the total up to 281 people shot and killed in Baltimore this year. 

I bring this up because both Chicago, Illinois and Baltimore, Maryland are noted for their extremely strict gun-control laws. If ink–on-paper would make us safer, then those cities should be as safe as Mayberry was supposed to be. In fact, it takes more than ink-on-paper and another press release to stop criminals.

We are not all the same. Each year, most counties won’t have a single murder of any kind. Violence is localized. More than half of our murders are in only 2 percent of our counties. Our murders are from our failed cities, and from the politicians who killed them. Those politicians say the violence in their cities isn’t really their fault. They blame the guns.. that come from other places where there isn’t crime.

Our news is broadcast from our major cities. That means it is important to recognize when our neighborhood is safe even though that might not make the news. Good governance, a good economy, and a functioning justice system drastically reduce crime for most of us. Obviously not for Chicago and not for Baltimore.

In Praise of Modest and Humble People

December 10, 2022
tags:

None of us understand very much. That doesn’t mean we’re stupid, but that there is so very much to know. That perspective is critical when deciding political issues at the ballot box. You may have several masters degrees, but if you were paying attention even a little bit then you learned how little you really understand. Our universal ignorance means that grand political proposals are far more likely to fail than to succeed. We simply take too much for granted. If you doubt me then I’d like to ask you some simple questions. Tell me where your water, your electricity, and your food come from? Where are your clothes made? It is a fine answer if children say that water comes from the faucet and food comes from DoorDash. I expect better answers from adults. Knowing where life’s essentials come from are some of the simplest questions that describe your life. I didn’t ask you where people all over the world meet their needs. Not yet. At first I only asked about you. Let me show you a few arguments for modesty and humility.

Water is the elixir of life. We need water every day. We use a lot of it for drinking, for washing, and for preparing our food. When you build a new house in town, you usually pay a fee to connect to the city water supply. That works for you. Now let’s consider other people.

There are a few cities in the US who get water from hundreds of miles away, but have outlawed making water for themselves. Saying that desalination and water purification is too “industrial” for your town is certainly an elitist attitude. It says, ‘I have mine, and the rest of you can do without.’

People who collect rainwater, people who use a local spring or a hand-pumped-water-well, they know exactly where their water comes from. They know its virtues and its faults. They also know when the well is about to run dry and they have to travel to town to do their laundry. If you’ve been without them then you know that water and power are more than a matter of convenience.

Electricity and water are matters of public health. We get sick without clean water and sanitation. I had lots of reasons to get a generator when our power grid was damaged. Getting clean water from our well and running our septic system were some of our greatest needs. We could get a few gallons of water to drink each day, but having clean clothes meant driving a few hundred miles away.

Electricity is the definition of progress. You already knew that gas stations need electricity to pump gasoline from their tanks, so of course you see the problem after a storm. How would you charge an electric car after an ice storm or a hurricane? Having electricity brought me enough water to cook, to clean dishes, and to flush our toilets. Once we had these basics, then it was easier to help other people.

What are we saying to other countries when we tell them they can’t provide electricity for their citzens? Millions of children don’t go to school today because their job is to carry water from streams and from wells to their family’s homes and their farms. Millions of womens’ only job is to wash clothes because they don’t have power to run a water pump and a washing machine. Having affordable electricity means more of their children will live and that everyone will live longer.

Women learn to read when they don’t have to wash clothes all day every day. When their children don’t die as often from water-born diseases, then they have fewer children. I assume you knew that.

Speaking of elites, I’m sad that the San Francisco bay area has elite billionaires who dictate environmental restrictions on the rest of the world while the city of San Francisco has one of the worst sewage treatment systems of any major city. What is out of sight is evidently out of mind, and the news media would never shame the people of San Francisco for putting sewage and street runoff into the bay when it rains. San Francisco elites would rather donate to politicians than clean up their own city. You already knew that, didn’t you?

I’m sitting in an area of the southern United States that is served by several nuclear power plants and a few natural gas fired generating plants. Having more than one source of power was vital when we were hit by severe storms. Having a local power plant that could make a “black start” was important since it gave us power weeks earlier than having to wait until the local power station was re-connected to the larger grid.

Stores can’t open when the lights go out, so all of us are more vulnerable than we think.

Maybe you have a solar system at your house. Most of our residential solar systems need to be connected to the grid in order to make power for our home. The short answer is that these systems get their frequency and voltage stability from the grid. The longer answer is that “renewable” sources of power like wind and solar are unreliable in that they are on one minute and off the next. We not only pay for the solar panels on our roofs, but we have to keep the large utility plants running to give us power when the wind stops blowing for a minute.

In theory we replaced a little fossil fuel with solar and wind for a few hours a day. In practice, the fuel used in generating plants is only a small part of our electricity bill. Most of the cost of electricity is in building costs and interest charges on the power plants and transmission lines. That means that renewables only save us a little money when they work, but we pay for solar, wind, and fossil power plants even when we don’t use them.

A few solar-electrical systems use battery banks to store power. Those systems are usually used on small boats or recreational vehicles that operate far from utility power. Those systems don’t scale very well. If you want power all the time then the battery storage system will cost more than ten times what the solar or wind system costs. A major issue to get reliable power depends on how long we will be without bright sunlight and strong winds. Will it be minutes, hours, or days? Running our of power means our house gets cold and we sit in the dark. I’ve been there. It is uncomfortable.

There are practical considerations too. It would take today’s battery manufacturers decades to make enough batteries to power the entire United States over a cold, dark winter night. People who say we should get power from solar power and batteries probably haven’t seen the way large industries need power. Making steel, aluminum, glass, cement, or plastics takes a huge amount of electricity and fuel. So does recycling those materials or making electronics.

More important is that the power has to be reliable to be useful. What do you think happens if you shut down the electrical power to a food processing plant for even a minute? How about shutting off power at a drug manufacturing plant or a hospital? What happens to electric trains when the power is cut off? What happens to factories weaving cloth or turning cloth into clothing?

If you’re weaving cloth then you usually can’t pick up exactly where you left off. That means you end up throwing flawed material into the trash. That is costly and inconvenient. Plunging a hospital into darkness can kill patients and endanger the staff. Unreliable power isn’t worth very much. I’m sure you knew that.

We expect the lights to come on when we flip the switch. That isn’t true for much of the world. I’ve heard of well-to-do families who routinely used a generator to keep their refrigerator and their water pump working when the power grid failed (again). Other times, the hotel manager would visit the guests at night to tell them that he was turning off the hot water and the overhead electric lights. That was in the good hotels that had their own generating system and electric lights. The local medical clinic and the pharmacy needed expensive battery systems to keep some medicines cool and to keep others from freezing. You knew that most of the world isn’t isn’t like us, didn’t you?

Energy is more than a convenience. Before you believe that, it helps to know our history. We have more trees today than we had thirty five years ago. We have many more trees than we had a hundred years ago. Before we had electric lights, we used gas lights and kerosene lamps. Before that, we used to harvest whales for the oil that we used in our lamps. Whale-oil replaced candles. Drilling for fossil fuels put an end to harvesting whales for their oil.

Yes, using natural gas and kerosene to light our homes put an end to harvesting whales.

Likewise, we used to build our buildings with wood. We used to cook our food on a wood stove. We heated our house with a wood-burning furnace. We powered our industry by burning trees. Our economy ran by cutting down our forests.

Harnessing natural gas allowed us to make our buildings from concrete and steel. Coal, oil, and natural gas let us power our civilization without stripping our forests. We’ve made amazing progress and that progress is fragile.

We need fuel to cook our food and to keep our children warm at night. The reason we don’t burn the forest to keep our children warm today is because we have alternatives. We have well-made homes and affordable energy. That isn’t true everywhere. Affordable energy lets us use natural gas and electricity to cook our food. We don’t need to strip the forest or collect cattle dung for fuel. Because of cheap energy, billions of people can care about the environment because their children aren’t cold, sick, and hungry.

This is important because we took more people out of poverty in the last few decades than we did in all of world-history combined.

Another reason we have more trees is because we feed more people while we’re using less land in agriculture. We produce more-from-less by using fertilizer to grow more from each acre of land. Affordable fertilizer comes from natural gas. Rising energy prices put all of that progress at risk.

Rising energy prices put the environment at risk. I assume you knew that when you voted for higher energy prices.

We easily feed billions of people because we have fertilizer. Cutting back on natural gas means that the price of fertilizer soars. Expensive fertilizer and higher food prices are inconvenient if you’re rich. Those expenses are a death sentence if you’re poor and you are farming simply to feed your family.

Millions of people now care about the environment because they can afford to. What happens when they can’t afford to care about the forest, the river, or the reef? Sure, food prices will go up, but we will also convert more land to farming and strip more of our forests for fuel. More children will die and poor families will have more children. I’m sure you thought about that before you voted for expensive energy.

We are so close to preserving our environment. I want energy to cost much less, not much more. We are on the brink of a technological revolution. Technology has finally let us transform power into food. LED lights are so efficient that we can almost grow our own food anywhere and in any season. The cost of that “indoor” food depends on affordable power. Cheap power lets us use less land to grow food and leave more land for nature.

We are on the edge of a cultural revolution as well that is equally profound. We now have 8 billion people on the planet and our population is leveling off. People have fewer children when their children live into adulthood and stop dying at a young age. We have fewer children when women are no longer carrying water and washing clothes all day. Rather than going backward economically to “save the planet”, it is the prosperity of 8 billion minds that lets us do so much more with less. We can easily power the world and leave our forest to grow in peace. You knew that, didn’t you?

Demogrophers, the people who study population, have serious doubts if we will reach a population of 8.5 billion or 9 billion. That isn’t because of an environmental catastrophe, but because so many more of us live better and longer and we have fewer children as a result. I’m sure you already knew that.

Why don’t you know this good news? It could be because fear keeps us watching the news.. so the news sells us more fear. It could be because politicians need the latest emergency so they can grab more money and more political power.

You know that there are dangerous men in the world. You know that even the best men are tempted by power. You knew that, didn’t you?

Did I mention things you didn’t know, or did you forget things you knew but forgot to consider? Modesty and humility means making safe decisions that allow for mistakes.
~_~_

I’m sorry, but I didn’t have time to write a short article so I wrote a long one. Please share it with a friend. RM

Sources-

Batteries and the Flying Horse

December 6, 2022

We’ve heard a lot about renewable energy. We are told that wind and solar panels should power our future. There was also a time when we were told that we would someday have flying horses as we trained horses to run faster and faster. Sure, that sounds nice, but I wondered if the pieces of the green energy puzzle really fit together and worked. If you look closer then you’ll immediately see that wind is unreliable, with too much wind at one moment and too little or none at all the next. Solar power doesn’t work well on cloudy days and it clearly doesn’t work at all at night. Since we don’t want to sit in the dark, the obvious way to store power is to put electrical energy into batteries. I couldn’t find good articles on how large, how durable, and how expensive that would be. I didn’t see reports on pilot projects to make “renewable” power reliable and usable. Are batteries going to become better and cheaper tomorrow? What I found says that batteries will never convert solar and wind into reliable, large-scale, affordable energy sources. I hope I’m wrong, but this is what I found using high school math.

The need is obvious. We want to light and heat our homes at night. We want to cool our homes during the day. We want to power our factories and our offices around the clock. We want to prepare our meals and store our food all the time. We want to have running water and a functioning waste system at every hour of every day without interruption. Bad things happen to us when we are powerless.

How much power do we use today? The University of Michigan gives us a good first estimate. They said that each of us uses about 12 thousand watt-hours per day at home. We’ll need five times more when we add in commercial, industrial, and transportation uses of energy. 

That 12 kW-hr estimate doesn’t capture all the energy we use today. Today, we also use coal, oil, and natural gas. Those sources of energy are not available in the utopian green future. As President Biden said, no more drilling. We will have to be enormously more efficient to do everything we want to do with only 12-kW-hr of electricity per person, but let’s start there and see what happens. Recreational vehicles, boats, and remote cabins use batteries, so let’s see what we need to turn solar power and wind into useful energy at home.

A large lead-acid battery today gives us 100 amp-hours at 12 volts. The battery can give us more, but then it degrades quickly and it won’t take a charge over and over. We derate the discharge level so the battery system will last at least four years before we have to replace it. Four years of use requires about 1400 nightly discharge cycles. We also want to have enough battery storage to last four days when the clouds obscure the sun and the wind doesn’t blow. That doesn’t cover every cloudy and still weather event, but it is a start.

Just as I’m not counting the gasoline for our cars and the natural gas to heat our homes, I’m not counting on an extremely cold or an extremely hot day when our energy use is much higher. So far, we’re only looking at the energy we need for four average days of electricity. We may want to have more.

Once you do the math, it means we’re talking about 5,120 pounds of batteries per person at home. The battery and their charging and discharging system fills a 10 by 13 foot room per person. The batteries cost about 15 thousand dollars per person, but that is simply the cost to buy the batteries.

We are ignoring the cost of the charging system that puts energy into the batteries. We didn’t count the discharging system that converts low voltage battery power into the AC power we use in our homes. There are energy losses when we put energy in, when the batteries sit, and when we take energy out, but we are not counting those yet.

We’re ignoring the cost of the building space required to house the batteries. When we add those in, we are looking at numbers more like 30 thousand dollars per person. Since the batteries only last about four years, we also have to budget an additional 600 dollars per month to replace components as they age.

None of that includes the cost of the wind turbines or the solar panels that produce the “green” power we need. We are simply adding up the cost to convert intermittent power sources into something we can use at any time. The cost of disposing of the batteries and recycling some of their materials is extra too.

You can argue that businesses need power too so we won’t have to pay for all these batteries ourselves. That is both true and false. It is true that businesses will pay more as energy gets more expensive. It is also true that we will pay higher prices when we buy products made with green energy. What we haven’t asked is if 30 thousand dollars per person for a battery system and an additional $600 dollars a month is affordable to power our homes.

The median US citizen has about $2,000 in an emergency fund and a total of $3,500 in savings. Half of us have less. A quarter of us don’t have any savings at all and they are living paycheck to paycheck. On average, our savings would pay the battery-bill for half a year. For most people, going green means living with their parents for another decade or two.

These huge energy costs also put most businesses out of business. That works for China, but it doesn’t work for me.

We discovered electric batteries about 242 years ago in the year 1800. We’ve been looking for a better way to store electricity ever since. We are unlikely to find batteries that are ten times cheaper and equally efficient any time soon.

Depending on that magnitude of breakthrough is wishful thinking. Looking at these costs also explains why there are no large-scale demonstration projects for battery storage. It is more politically useful to pretend that intermittent “green” energy is worthwhile than to demonstrate that it isn’t.

~_~_

I gave you 900 words. Please share them with a friend and leave a comment.

Sources-

Deep cycle battery- https://www.renogy.com/deep-cycle-agm-battery-12-volt-200ah/

US residential energy consumption- https://css.umich.edu/publications/factsheets/energy/us-energy-system-factsheet

US savings- https://www.marketplacefairness.org/blog/american-savings-statistics/

Just Another Weekend in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago

December 5, 2022

Gun controlled Chicago had 11 people shot and wounded this weekend, 31 shot and wounded in the last week. More sad news is that an additional 4 people have been shot and killed since Friday night. The total is now over 3,300 people shot this year by the drug gangs who control Chicago. As horrible as it sounds, this weekend was significantly better than last weekend when 28 people were wounded.

Baltimore had 5 people shot to death last week. And that is one fewer than the last time I looked a few weeks ago. Perhaps violent crime is down slightly. That brings the total up to 274 people shot and killed in Baltimore this year.

I bring that up because both Chicago, Illinois and Baltimore, Maryland are noted for their extremely strict gun-control laws. If ink on paper would make us safer, then those cities should be as safe as Mayberry was supposed to be. They are not.

We are not all the same and it is important to notice that violence is localized. Most counties won’t have a single murder of any kind. More than half of our murders are in only 2 percent of our counties. Our murders are from our failed cities and the politicians that killed them. Unfortunately, so are our major news stations. Politicians in those failed cities say the violence isn’t really their fault. They blame the guns.. that come from other places where there isn’t crime.

Sources-

https://heyjackass.com/

https://homicides.news.baltimoresun.com/

Armed Citizen Stops Kidnapping at Walmart

November 24, 2022

We know that honest citizens defend themselves with firearms thousands of times a day. Sometimes these defenders also save strangers. What is more unusual is when these heroic events are reported in the news. Here is how Kelcey Willis saved a five-year-old boy last week in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Kelcey Willis

History of the event-

What do you do on the weekend? Kelcey Willis, the defender in this tale, was taking his car to Walmart to change the oil that Sunday. It was about 2 pm when Willis and a friend talked to the technician at the auto center. They were distracted by a child’s scream coming from the parking lot. They turned and saw an older man forcefully taking a child from a car and pulling him across the parking lot.

At first, the defender thought this was a kidnapping, but then he wondered if the adult was taking the child into the privacy of the trees so the child could go to the bathroom. The child kept yelling in fear. That didn’t make sense if they only needed privacy to go to the bathroom.

The defender again heard the child yell, “Don’t beat me!” That moved him to follow the boy and the man. The defender later said he got his gun, and it isn’t clear if that means he got it from his holster or truck. The armed defender and his friend ran to follow the older man and the young boy so they wouldn’t lose sight of them. At first, they followed the child’s screams.

When the two men caught up to them, they found the older man holding the young boy on the ground with the older man’s hands around the boy’s neck. The armed defender, Kelcey Willis, ordered the attacker to stop. They pulled the young boy to safety. Other people arrived. They comforted the boy and helped hold the attacker.

The news stories are not clear about who called 911 to ask for help. It also isn’t clear how long it took for the police to arrive. The police said that the attacker was being held at gunpoint by Willis when they arrived. The boy said his attacker was going to “beat him and leave him for the animals.” The armed defender was worried that if he’d waited any longer, the attacker would have “choked the child cold,” and “the kid would probably be dead.”

The attacker, 67-year-old Haimnarine Doobay, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and cruelty toward a child. Early news reports called this a kidnapping. The child was identified as being five years old and was taken to the county juvenile department for care. Later, the attacker was identified as being related to the child. Reports that I’ve been able to find did not explain how the child and his attacker were related or if the attacker had permission to take the child. We don’t even know if the child arrived at the parking lot in a car driven by the attacker.

Reactions and comments-

One perspective is that there isn’t much we can learn from this story since our relatives don’t drag five-year-old children into the woods to strangle them. Not having murderous relatives is a good thing, but this is also an everyman story. The defender said he tried making excuses so that an adult dragging a screaming child wouldn’t seem unusual. The defender first thought, ‘Maybe he was talking the kid into the woods so the child could go to the bathroom.’ We first try to see unusual events as the things we see daily. The fact that the child’s screams continued and got louder broke the fantasy that this was a common and safe situation.

Another important point is that other witnesses didn’t react until after Mr. Willis made the first move. If a dozen people had immediately moved to save the child, the firearm might not have been necessary. The defender likely pursued the attacker precisely because the defender was armed. Having a gun meant that the defender could both protect himself and he could stop the threat if that proved necessary.

Mr. Willis was a grown man. A 115-pound woman would also have been able to stop the attack if she was armed and had a plan. The child faced death or great bodily injury. The child did not threaten the attacker or initiate the attack. Recognizing that the child was an innocent victim in immediate danger seems obvious in this case. It could be less obvious or impossible in the case of two adults who were fighting with each other.

The defender had a gun in his hand, yet he didn’t press the trigger. The victim was seconds from unconsciousness, yet the defender didn’t shoot. The defender used words and the threat of force. That worked in this case. The threat of lethal force, in combination with grabbing the child and pulling him to safety, was enough to save the child. Force was justified, but perhaps it wasn’t necessary.

Force comes in degrees, and how much to use is often a matter of judgment.

We can make mistakes by using too much too soon.. or using too little too late.

It might be that the defender was brave enough to chase a stranger into the woods, but not brave enough to shoot him. Perhaps there is more to this situation than bravery. Perhaps the defender’s actions were guided by prudence. I wonder how easy it would be to shoot someone who is on top of a child without also endangering the child with my shot. As I said, words worked this time so the defender made a good choice. He saved the child without putting the youngster at risk of being injured by gunfire.

There are a few more ordinary lessons in this extraordinary story. Other people followed once Mr. Willis started the pursuit. Other witnesses heard the child’s screams but they didn’t know exactly where the victim was or what to do. Mr. Willis’s actions provided a model for others to follow.

Having a group of people to help you could be an advantage if you know how to use them. Someone can take care of the child. Someone can call 911 and stay on the call with the dispatcher. Someone can hold the attacker. Someone can meet the police and guide them to the scene. That messenger can let the police know there is an armed defender and what the defender looks like. That is a lot to do while you have a firearm in your hand.

Knowing what to do could make you indispensable even if you never drew your gun.

The state of Georgia is now a constitutional carry state. The defender didn’t need a state permit to carry a personal weapon on his body. Whether he had a carry permit or not, I bet the defender wishes he had more training so he knew what to do and could have reacted faster. Everyman would.


Parts of this article were originally posted at Ammoland.com Please leave a comment here. RM

Original news sources- 

Some of us are Not Safe at Home

November 23, 2022

I write about armed defense every week. We record those stories on the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast. This week, the stories were about people being attacked in and at their homes. As simple as these stories sound, there is a lot we can learn from them. Text of the discussion is on the podcast episode webpage.

Please leave me a note and let me know what you think. RM

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Week of Ordinary Heroes

November 18, 2022

I write about armed defense every week. We record the news stories and the discussion on the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast. The stories this week were amazing in that they went from typical to something that sounds like an action movie. The common theme across all of them is ordinary people saving lives. As simple as these stories sound, there is a lot we can learn from them. Text of the discussion is at the episode webpage.

Please leave me a note and tell me what you think.

Birmingham, Alabama- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?

You are at home asleep. It is almost 1 in the morning when you’re woken up by the sound of splintering wood and a sliding window. Someone is breaking into the back of your home. You get out of bed. You’re a woman and you decide to bring your gun with you when you leave your bedroom. You see someone climbing into your house through a window. You shoot at them twice and they climb back out of the window. You stop shooting. You back up and call 911.

You ask for the police. You put your gun away when officers arrive, and you give the police a brief statement.

Police also get another call from a gas station several blocks away. There is a man lying on the ground outside their store with a gunshot wound to his chest. Police and Emergency Medical Services respond to the scene. They transport your attacker to the hospital. He dies about two hours later.

You are not charged with a crime.

Katy, Texas- Are your doors locked at night?

You, your mom, and your adult brother are at home on a Friday. You hear shouts outside your door at 11:30 at night. There are a number of voices shouting that they are the Houston Police and to open up the door. Before you get there, two men break down the door and enter your home with guns drawn. They are wearing uniforms and the first one is shooting wildly. You duck. The attacker who is shooting hits his armed partner from behind. That causes the partner who isn’t shooting to drop his gun. You pick up the intruder’s gun and shoot at the first intruder who is still armed. You hit him at least once and he falls. Now the wounded intruder who dropped his gun runs from your home. You stop shooting.

You don’t chase the attackers down the street. It isn’t clear from the news reports which one of you called 911 and asked for help. You put the gun down when the police arrive. The police come inside and EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. Each one of your family gives a statement to the police.

You are not charged with a crime.

Warner Robins, Georgia- Are you armed when you stop to get your oil changed at Walmart?

You and a friend are at a Walmart on a weekend getting the oil changed in your truck. You hear a child scream in fear. You turn and see a stranger grab a child out of a car and drag the child towards the woods. For a second you think the man is taking the child to the woods so the child can go to the bathroom, but the child keeps screaming. You and your friend run after them. You see the man on top of the child and his hands are around the child’s throat.

You’re armed. You present your firearm and order the man to stop. You and your friend grab the child. The story isn’t clear if you or your friend called for other people to come help you. It also isn’t clear who called 911. You put your gun away when the police arrive. They arrest the child’s attacker. The police take the child into protective custody and take him to the sheriffs juvenile department. The attacker is arrested and charged with aggravated assault and cruelty towards a child.

You aren’t charged with a crime.

Tag- No Shots Fired

Seattle, Washington- Are you armed as you drive for a rideshare company?

Tonight, you’re driving your van for Uber. You are going down a six lane street in the city of Seattle when you see a woman sitting in the center of the road. That doesn’t look right. The woman is sitting in the middle of the highway, but you don’t see a disabled car nearby and the woman looks injured. Other people drive by but you stop. Some of her clothes are missing and what she is wearing is torn and dirty. You’re worried for her safety so you ask the woman if she needs a ride. She gets into your van. A man drives up behind you and starts shooting at your van. You shoot back, and then call 911 and drive onto the highway to lose your attacker. You turn off the highway to meet police at a nearby gas station.

You turned the injured woman over to the Seattle police and Washington state police. She was escaping her abuser who was a pimp and human trafficker selling her for sex with strangers. Police arrested the pimp who shot at you. He was trafficking at least three other women. Your passenger is taken to the hospital for treatment of broken ribs from a beating and a broken leg and broken ankle that she injured as she escaped. Police charge your attacker with multiple counts of interstate kidnapping, human trafficking, promoting prostitution, assault, aggravated assault and drive-by shooting. Your attacker is jailed and held on a three-quarter-million dollar bond.

You aren’t charged.

Off Duty Nurse Saves Wounded Police Officers

November 7, 2022

Who is the first responder for the first responders?

An off duty nurse was dropping off groceries at home when she saw two police officers shot in the line of duty. She pulled her car between the officers and their attacker. She applied emergency trauma care to a leg wound, and a wound in the neck and shoulder area. The attacker shot the hood of her car.

She stopped treatment after police and EMTs arrived and transported the wounded men to the hospital.

EMTs are taught to wait until police declare the scene safe. This nurse didn’t wait for permission. She simply saved lives in Newark, New Jersey.

https://www.breitbart.com/local/2022/11/06/woman-praised-heroic-actions-helping-newark-police-officers-were-shot/

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