Author Archive | Jon L

Why We Train – Interrupting a Robbery

One of the most likely situations the armed citizen could find themselves in where they maybe required to use deadly force is interrupting an armed robbery. Regardless if the robber(s) chooses a bank, liquor store, restaurant, gas station, or etc. to victimize, the one thing they all have in common is the likelihood that customers will be present. The most powerful weapon for police/armed citizens is strong situational awareness. If you happen to find yourself caught in the initial act of robbery or you unintentionally interrupt one in progress by entering the business at a critical time, the best way to give yourself the edge is to not miss trouble cues.

Most of the time the robber(s) will be outnumbered, focused on the clerk or other victim, and unable to watch the customers scattered throughout the place of business. Quick thinking and acting at this critical point could easily hand off an opportunity stop a felony and save lives. One will most likely not have a warning of the impending trouble so the exercise will be strictly, “come as you are.” The big bore hand cannon under the truck seat may as well be on the moon if caught away from your vehicle when the moment of truth comes.

A Jacksonville, FL grandfather recently found himself in a situation like this and he was mentally and tactically prepared to proficiently use deadly force to stop an armed robbery at a Dollar General store. The article is understandably short on details, but we do know that the man was able to cue off a warning from the clerk and that he was a skilled marksman who practiced with his weapon in competition. His labor and preparation bore real fruit that night as he successfully stopped the robbery, protected others, and came safely home to his family. What more could you ask!

Why We Train – Other Weapons

Most of the time when one considers the appropriate use of deadly force it is in response to a crime in progress involving a firearm. However, it is important to consider that firearms are by no means the only weapons in an attacker’s hands that may require an armed response. Knives, bats, and even pepper spray being used in the commission of a crime could quickly create a justified deadly force situation under certain circumstances. With the rise of flash mobs and the violence that has accompanied some of these incidents, deadly force could easily be justified if a person is violently attacked by a group of unarmed thugs.

Recently in Salt Lake City an armed citizen was able to stop a violent stabbing spree. An apparently deranged man purchased a knife from a store and then proceeded to attack and stab multiple customers. If everyone would have just waited until the police arrived this story would likely contain more victims and some fatalities. Fortunately for everyone, a quick thinking customer who was prepared to act decisively intervened and stopped the threat. Train yourself now to be that guy if called upon!

Building Your Mindset – Police Ride Alongs

Most police/sheriff departments will allow interested citizens to accompany a law officer during their regular patrol, which is commonly referred to as a ride-along. Both the department and citizen benefit from this practice as most riders come away with an increased knowledge of the job and a heightened sense of awareness for real life “ground conditions” in the community. A citizen with this type of exposure is not only more educated about his or her neighborhood but also may be less likely to pass judgment on the police before all the facts come in whenever the inevitable next “shocking” video or other incident hits the airwaves.

The best way to maximize the ride-along experience is to conduct it with a trusted police officer friend. While this is not possible for everyone, it is about the only way to get the “uncensored” version. Naturally, if an officer is accompanied by someone they don’t know the rider is most likely to experience a sanitized viewpoint for obvious reasons.

If you want to gain some valuable insight regarding dealing with dangerous people, and etc., look for an opportunity to tag along with a cop on patrol. Try to do it with someone you know and also request to go to the worst neighborhoods. Summer and other times of nice weather will greatly increase the activity, especially in an urban area. I’m confident it will a good and mutually beneficial experience!

Why We Train: Save a Cop

Most of the time police respond to calls for service and provide a wide range of assistance to the citizen in need. However, occasionally the roles are reversed. I know that if I ever found myself in a similar situation, I would love to have impromptu back up from a man like this!

The majority of police/community partnership talks consist of a variety of “Kumbaya” hand wringing sessions where well meaning, but ineffective chatter and programs fail to decisively stop or redirect criminal behavior. However, this was not the case when 66 year old Texas man Vic Stacey made a decisive 165 yard pistol shot with a .357 magnum that likely saved the life of at least one officer. This man, a self described “average working guy,” was well prepared to use his available firearm of choice to stop a violent threat.

The police can’t (and shouldn’t) be everywhere and backup is not always close enough to make the difference. Responding alone to an active shooter situation where two people are already dead is surely one of the most gut wrenching experiences of any law enforcement career. Read this news story and watch the video interview with a man who seamlessly stood in the gap and helped law officers put down a violent murderer.

Why We Train: Don’t Forget the Wife

During my deployment to Iraq, one of my close friends in the unit was enjoying a call home to his wife. It happened to be late at night her time, and while they were speaking a man started trying to force his way into the apartment, where she was alone. My buddy told her to retrieve her firearm (that he had instructed her how to use) and then call 911 immediately. He hung up and then had to sit, pray and wait while being thousands of miles away and totally unable to help.

After an agonizing delay, he learned that the police had arrived and forcibly subdued the drunken creep before he was able to enter the apartment. He damaged their door, but the deadbolt held and that kept his wife from having to make a deadly force decision while already under the stress that comes with having a husband deployed to a combat zone. While we discussed the incident later, I clearly remember how glad he was that he had armed and trained his wife to protect herself.

When it comes time to hit the range, the wife is often times left at home. This is understandable because she often isn’t nearly as interested in recreational shooting/training and also has many duties that occupy her time in the home. However, don’t neglect to prepare her for a deadly force situation. The best answer is to invest in professional training for her as well, but if this isn’t possible look for ways to include her in your range trips and work on dry fire/scenarios at home.

Martha Lewis displayed the presence of mind to arm herself, arm her children, call 911, and successfully use her firearm to defend her family. Image source: WVTM-TV

This Alabama woman was home alone with her daughters when she was forced to shoot a late night home invader. Amazingly, she had the presence of mind to call 911, arm herself, direct her daughters to arm themselves, and still confront and stop the intruder before he caused any harm to the family. Obviously, she gets it: “There‘s so much talk about banning guns and gun control but they’re for protection,” she said. “There’s no way that I could have fought him off.”

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