“‘I knew one thing — they were gonna deal with me,’ (Jack) Goodwin said. ‘Cause if you’ve got enough nerve to break in somebody’s house and they’re home, they’ve got enough nerve to kill you, see. There’s no if or ands about it.'” That’s what Goodwin, an 87-year-old from Baldwin Hills, California told losangeles.cbslocal.com was going through his mind when he heard a window break at the back of his house Tuesday night. . .

Goodwin grabbed his gun and moved down the hall toward the sound. Which may not have been the best strategy, but Goodwin had thought that out, too.

“I could run, run out the front door probably,” he said. “But you don’t know who’s out there either. You just have to go down with the ship.”

That’s a pretty nautical metaphor for a former WWII Army grunt, but he got the point across. And that’s not all he got.

“When I saw them breaking the glass, I was, man. I got kinda — it was either me or them, then,” Goodwin said.

The former platoon leader fired twice, wounding one of two would-be burglars. The one with at least one new orifice is in critical condition. His buddy is busy trying to avoid capture. And for his accurate and judicious use of a .45, Goodwin has secured today’s DGUTD honors. May he enjoy it for many years to come.

38 Responses to Defensive Gun Use of the Day: WWII Marksman Edition

    • I’m asked why i keep an old Astra 9mm around. It happens to be a gun I am intimately familiar with and never had a problem using.

  1. I am glad that he was able to protect himself the scum had it coming but what about STFU 2 strikes and a potential 3rd strike coming here 1. he’s on tv (smiling) 2. he’s in Kalifornia and 3 he’s potential ripe picking for any DA that wants to run for re-election…..am I wrong thinking this?

      • I agree, elderly and a veteran makes for someone who is definitely not going to get prosecuted. I think he’s safe.

    • Enough with the CA bashing already – yes, we know – you guys don’t have a 10-day waiting period (most anyways), a bullet button requirement, a HSC requirement, a lock requirement, a one-gun-a-month only requirement, a difficult CCW process, a roster of certified handgun list, a state government run by Commies, San Francisco/Los Angeles, earthquakes, Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, …..

      oh nevermind!

      • Oregon and Washington are only a relatively short drive away, my friend, and all your shootin’ irons are welcome here.

        • Seriously. And if hot weather is your thing, look east. You’re literally surrounded by free, gun-friendly states.

        • I know – but work and wife seem to be holding me back. I lived in Tucson for about 2 years (ironically, I didn’t own a gun while there – kicking self now). So, I console myself to trying to “fix” my home state whenever, and whatever level of Govt. I can.

      • Follow the lead of Buck Knives, amigo, and escape to Idaho! Our gun laws occupy about 2 pages of the Idaho Code, mostly on the “shall issue” subject.

    • It’s also possible that he talked to his lawyer before he said anything. Not like he said anything incriminating. And look at that smile! It’s a great smile. Have you ever seen a more well-balanced looking WWII vet? If I was his lawyer, I’d want everyone on the jury to see that picture.

  2. I like the smile, no hand wringing here. Greatest Generation. WWII platoon leader, 87 years old. He’s not going to jail. Now if he lived in Canada…..

  3. While I applaud him for what he did, there seems to be a prevailing mindset among some that one must kill the attacker. In my handgun classes I was taught to stop the threat, which may mean death for the bad guy, but killing him is not my objective. Behavior modification is, as in removing his will to continue the attack.

    But if I shoot him center mass and he dies, then he dies, and I’ll have no regrets.

    • Pretty cavalier, frankly. Have you shot someone? I know I will shoot if I MUST, but will have to live with the emotional scars that only shooting (and possibly killing) someone can do. Unless you have taken a life before, it is something that most normal people don’t take lightly, or cavalierly.

      • Tim – don’t take the possibility of emotional distress as a guaranteed consequence.
        Back when I was training to be an EMT-B, I thought for sure I’d have some dreams about pulling bodies out of car wrecks. Saw some pretty gory stuff when I was on the ambulance, but never had any problems.
        I think circumstances and personal makeup can play a big role in the aftermath. I’m pretty confident now that if I have to shoot a BG breaking into my house endangering my loved ones (such as in Mr. Goodwin’s case) that I’ll sleep just fine afterward. I hope I never have to. But if I do shoot someone, it will be under circumstances that will allow me to sleep just fine.
        YMMV, and your reactions may be different, since we are different people. But it’s not a guaranteed consequence.

        • I agree that each person’s makeup is different – but there is a world of difference in seeing something horrific (and being there to save lives as a rescuer) than actually being the one to potentially take a life.

      • No Tim, not cavalier at all. But let me clarify as I apparently chose my words poorly. While I will not regret the actions that were necessary to defend myself, I don’t regard harming someone or even taking their life lightly.

        • Fair enough – but I see many people on different blogs and forums speak in that manner, and I sometimes think that a) they have no clue, or b) have we all lost our humanity?

  4. I wonder if that’s the same 1911 he carried with him in the war. In any case, good for him for defending himself and his home.

    I had to roll my eyes at all the comments about warning shots, or shooting in the arm or the leg. Especially the comments about warning shots, which are highly irresponsible. Deliberately missing a target and sending a bullet to potentially strike an unidentified target is just plain sick.

  5. Gosh, MikeB says that these DGU’s are so rare. Yet, you’re posting at least one a day. What conclusions can be drawn from that?

  6. My father taught me with his .45 that he carried in WWII and Korea, and subsequently gave to me on my 30th birthday. It is a wonderful weapon and dead on accurate. Much like this guy, my dad didn’t equivacate. He said two shots to center mass should be enough to do the job.

    • That’s a great story – a wonderful weapon. But I always keep in the back of my mind – all guns are very accurate, when compared to the shooter’s skill. In other words, don’t sell your own accuracy short by giving all the credit to the weapon.

  7. My dad (WWII – Pacific) said ‘never point a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot, never shoot at someone unless you intend to kill’, it’s short and to the point, but it encapsulates those mental steps you have to take to reach that mindset and take that action. He never said anything about threat management, I just suppose that those thoughts would necessarily be precursors to the above.

  8. The ne thing California has going for it is a presumption that someone breaking and entering your house intends to do serious bodily injury, i.e., a presumption that deadly force to repel the invasion is warranted. The prosecutor has the burden of covercoming this presumption. There is no duty to retreat, no duty to run out the front door. The cops have already said he won’t be prosecuted, and under Cal law I would say it is exremely unlikely.

  9. Grandpa could have popped both BGs on his front lawn and wouldn’t be prosecuted. The rules favor the very old and women, on whose behalf Ability and Jeopardy (2/3 of the Opportunity, Ability and Jeopardy trinity) are a given.

  10. Seriously, what prosecutor is going to go after an elderly WWII vet who happens to be, ahem, cough, black? No doubt this guy has put up with more than his share of BS in his life, including the segregated army. I’m sure the powers that be will leave him alone now. Excellent DGU.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *