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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Since recently joining this forum I have read with interest the many threads and even more numerous posts on various self-defense scenarios. One thing that struck me immediately was something I always felt was true: that gun owners concerned with self defense at a level to move them to secure a CCW license are quite responsible and level-headed people.

Much of what is discussed re self defense is hypothetical by necessity, since few here have ever deployed a weapon in a self defense situation. However, my own experiences are somewhat unique: for a little more than a decade I worked as a newspaper reporter who covered the police beat, this in an era when the cops were a lot more open with the local media than they are today and also when said local media was not as overrun with airheaded liberals as now. So in that decade I was present at roughly 500 homicide scenes, uncounted shootings/stabbings and probably a few thousand armed and strong arm robberies. I went along on drug raids where everyone went in with weapons drawn. I was present a dozen or more times when officers fired their weapons, twice resulting in fatal wounds to suspects. I knew personally a number of officers who had killed on duty, and I knew personally three who were killed on duty by gunfire. This was before legal CCW, but police all over the country used to issue what we called "wink wink pistol permits," as in , "You are out here as a nurse working nights/ambulance driver/business owner making bank deposits/reporter on street duty and of course it IS illegal to carry a gun (here the officer winks repeatedly) but I for one would never pat you down." So my unofficial companion in those years was a 4 inch Colt Python.

It occurred to me to set down some lessons I learned in those years, which may or may not apply to everyone at every time in every place, but which I still think are useful. So --

1. Any individual's likelihood of being targeted by a robber/mugger/rapist is extremely low . . . but someone is targeted every day and you cannot know when or if your turn will come up. Preparedness and vigilance apply every day.

2. Almost all criminals (save a few psychotics or those so heavily drugged as to be incoherent) are scared of being shot and will avoid a home, business or individual they know or suspect to be armed. I once asked an armed robber as he was being booked into jail if he would try to stick up a store where the owner had a gun. " no!" he said "I ain't no fool!" In short, if they know you have a gun they are very unlikely to test you.

3. Criminals look for and can sense weakness and vulnerability. Women, older people, those visibly handicapped, are all ripe for plucking. Sometimes the best defense, especially against a carjacking or street robbery, is just to look fit and able to fight.

4. Your best initial defense weapon can be your voice. "I am armed, move on a^^hole!" can be very effective. Cops all learn early on that a stern command voice will defuse a lot of dicey situations before they go bad.

5. Keep your right hand (or left if it applies) free whenever you are in any environment where a threat is possible. The first thing I learned accompanying officers on prowler or burglar alarm calls was hold the flashlight (or the soft drink) in your left hand. I was riding shotgun with a patrol officer one graveyard shift when he got a call on a silent burglar alarm on a business. We found the rear door ajar and at that very moment a suspect came barreling through the door. We had perhaps a half second to react and luckily the guy was unarmed and went down peacefully when tackled, but I realized after that had I had a light in my right hand I could have been shot or even stabbed before reaching my gun.

6. Know the law. Specifically, know when you can (and perhaps more importantly when you cannot) shoot. Cops go through extensive "shoot/don't shoot" drills in training. I will say that in more than a decade I never saw a bad police shooting. Your goal should be the same.

7. Be vigilant, but don't descend into paranoia. Going to a movie is supposed to be fun. You don't have to constantly keep checking the exits. Be confident in your ability to respond appropriately, and let that confidence assure you.

8. Be the first to call 911 if anything bad happens. Criminals don't call the cops; good citizens do. The first caller (even if it is transmitted through a third party witness under stress) will help establish a presupposition that you have nothing to hide.

9. Be truthful and open after the event. I have seen some forum posts advising anyone involved in a self defense shooting to lawyer up. Bad advice in my view. Police officers automatically think "what is this person hiding?" when they hear "I won't talk without a lawyer." I covered a several cases each year where business or home owners shot and/or killed assailants or intruders and the police on scene usually patted them on the back. Of course if you live in a less sensible jurisdiction, you may want to proceed differently. Personally I would just move.

10. Bottom line is staying alive and unharmed is goal one in any self defense plan. Protecting the lives of others who are close to you (and the defenseless you might simply encounter being attacked) ranks equally important.

Anyway those are my takes on self defense from a decade of seeing and sometimes being in such situations. I am sure others will have more to add, and some different opinions as well.
 

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3. Criminals look for and can sense weakness and vulnerability. Women, older people, those visibly handicapped, are all ripe for plucking. Sometimes the best defense, especially against a carjacking or street robbery, is just to look fit and able to fight.

Good recommendations all. Number 3 stuck out for me. As you mentioned criminals look for weakness and vulnerability. Look people in the eye, make sure they know you see them and could identify them. Nod or say hi to make sure they know you are watching. Be very aware of your surroundings. People that look away or look down are perceived as weak or cowardly by criminals. Once criminals have been "seen" in a parking lot or by an ATM machine, they will usually leave.
 

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Very thought provoking... Thanks for sharing!
 

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Good stuff. Thanks for the benefit of your experiences.
 

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Excellent post. Thanks for sharing.

By the time concealed carry became legal in Missouri, I was into my 60's, so your point #3 was very meaningful to me.
 

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People that look away or look down are perceived as weak or cowardly by criminals.
That's an eye opener for me. I don't go to NYC much anymore, but when I did walk around Manhattan or take the subway I'd look down or away to avoid eye contact so as not to engage with panhandlers, people with hand bills or crazies looking to engage. Never really thought about eye contact, walking tall and projecting strength to the criminal element in this context. Good tip. Will adapt.
 

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Thanks MBOK for your post, great info, THX
 

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4. Your best initial defense weapon can be your voice. "I am armed, move on a^^hole!" can be very effective. Cops all learn early on that a stern command voice will defuse a lot of dicey situations before they go bad.
I like them all, especially #4.
Eliminates any presumption in a perp's mind that you might be an easy target.

Thanks MBOK
 

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Lot of good ones there.

Don't forget these.
 

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I generally agree with the OP but have to take exception with of #9. If you shoot someone you will be hyped up and adrenaline and you mouth can be your worst enemy. My first statement to the police will be "I am in need of medical attention". That will buy me sometime to settle down and get a lawyer present.
 

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Medical attention.. I like that one.

In the concealed carry course, our instructor suggested just obvious facts. "I was attacked, feared for my life, shot bad guy". Details to be filled in later, after calming down, and consulting with advisors on how to properly reconstruct the event in better detail.

Hope these skills are not one we have to use, but I believe having the skills is invaluable.
 

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I generally agree with the OP but have to take exception with of #9. If you shoot someone you will be hyped up and adrenaline and you mouth can be your worst enemy. My first statement to the police will be "I am in need of medical attention". That will buy me sometime to settle down and get a lawyer present.
I agree Terry_P about #9.

I once had a lawyer tell me" How does a fish get caught...He opens his mouth."

When you are hyped up, as Terry_P says, you are likely to say something you do not mean. Tell the police you are more that happy to talk with them, after you consult your attorney. Almost all police would do the same.
 

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terry_p said:
My first statement to the police will be "I am in need of medical attention".
That will buy me sometime to settle down and get a lawyer present.
Every one of us must do what we think best.

Here's Ayoob's thoughts.


P.S. I fail to understand why the "Preview" button gets different output from "Submit".
 

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I agree Terry_P about #9.

I once had a lawyer tell me" How does a fish get caught...He opens his mouth."

When you are hyped up, as Terry_P says, you are likely to say something you do not mean. Tell the police you are more that happy to talk with them, after you consult your attorney. Almost all police would do the same.
Yes! you guys get it. "911, my name is_______ and I'm at_______, I need an ambulance, I think I'm having a heart problem or maybe a stroke. send help!
and there's a guy here on the ground bleeding" click, hang up.
control the scene, protect evidence, don't let anybody get the bad guys gun, keep looking around for more threats, as the cops and ambulance roll up, reholster. get your hands up and identify yourself. slowly move toward the ambulance. you want to get into the back of the ambulance and go to a hospital. make this clear to the cops and ambulance crew. plenty of time for you and your lawyer to go to jail latter.
(when the cops check your phone and see that after you hung up on 911 you called your lawyer(speed dial) they may not think your as goofy as you look.) (you were in shock, it's all a blur, you reverted to your training.)
the bad guy can have multiple rounds in the front, nothing in the back and no close range head shots.
I hope that nobody reading this ever has to do this, but visualizing the steps, the procedure, is part of the training. I hope your the winner.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Interesting takes on that. I imagine I am prejudiced by the jurisdiction I worked in which was then and pretty much remains quite self defense friendly. I probably covered a couple of dozen cases where home or business owners used deadly force against armed robbers or burglars and they were all pretty clear cut -- shooter in his own place, dead guy complete with ski mask and gun or crowbar for a breakin. I don't recall any case where the shooter was booked into jail. They rode downtown for an interview with the homicide guys, gave a statement and were driven home. Normally the DA would label it justified within 48 hours or so.

I remember one case where a drug store owner shot a masked addict/robber to death. The patrol officers were standing outside with him showing them rounds from their belt loops and advising him that he needed to step up to ammunition with greater stopping power if he was ever again in such a position. They were trying to put him at ease and assuring him that he had acted properly.

Maybe some jurisdictions are different but if I was involved in a justified shooting I would have no hesitation telling the detectives what happened. If I had less faith in my actions, sure, I'd be a lot less verbal. The simple fact is I never met a cop who was not thrilled when a citizen acted in self defense to neutralize a major felony in progress.
 

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Good post, thanks for sharing.

Regarding #1, I agree completely, especially that it does happen everyday. I have had two female family members suffer just such incidences.

One was dining alone while out of town on business and was slipped a drug in her drink by someone (probably a bartender), kidnapped, and raped. Thank God she was released and not killed, but the last six years have been hell as she has dealt with (and probably always will) the PTSD aftermath that almost destroyed her life. The assailants, yes there was more than one, were never identified or caught. Part of the reason was, the drug affected her recall. She was not even able to remember what restaurant she had been to after coming to several hours later just driving around in her rental car. Over time she has had some flashbacks (which have been very frightening and disturbing) and has remembered some things (like the color of the van she was taken in and a vague image of one of the attackers), but not enough to help identify the location or attackers.

The other was in a shopping center parking lot talking to two friends when a man suddenly attacked them with a knife. Fortunately, none of them were stabbed. Unfortunately, my family member was hit in the face with the handle of the knife in the assailants fist and suffered facial cuts, bruises, and a concussion and her purse was stolen. Fortunately, several observant citizens chased the guy to his car, got his license plate number and called the police. And even more fortunately, the Sheriff and several members of his department were less than a mile a way at a dedication event. Less than 10 minutes later, the scumbag was ran into a ditch while trying to elude several officers who were chasing him. He abandoned his car and ran and I understand he "resisted" when they caught up to him. He will be released from prison in April after serving five years. Of course he proclaimed his innocence, but the purse was in the backseat of his car and the witnesses were able to identify him.

Given the circumstances, having a concealed firearm would not have changed either assault. Both attacks were unexpected and swift. Regardless, both of these women now have concealed carry licenses and both carry a firearm, as do I. Be prepared and be vigilant, but understand that even that may not be enough. This is not television or the movies. The "good guys" don't alway prevail.
 
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