Defensive Gun Use of the Day: Don’t Bring a Sword to a Gunfight Edition

This is by far my favorite scene from the Indiana Jones movies. Not only because it’s funny in a dark sort of way, but because it’s a commentary on how much difference a century or two makes these days. Swords had been the predominant weapon for ages, but with the development and rapid advances in firearms technology they’ve become largely obsolete. Take today’s news of a Jacksonville, FL man who provided a prime example…

FirstCoastNews.com has the story:

Police said a man wielding a sword in Mandarin Friday night was shot and killed by a homeowner.

Police were called to the Solano Grove Condominiums near the intersection of Sunbeam Road and San Jose Boulevard shortly before midnight Friday night.

Neighbors had called police to the mandarin neighborhood because they had seen a man walking around with a sword, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Homicide Sargent Lonnie Mills.

The man with the sword tried to enter someone’s home and that person shot him.

According to reports the sword wielding gentleman was a known troublemaker in the area and suffered from some mental issues, so while he was legally barred from buying a firearm he was free to select from the wide array of cutlery for sale. Having availed himself of that opportunity, he then decided to invite himself into another man’s house. And, much like Indy’s opponent, the armed invader was quickly dispatched.

Right now the shooting appears to be justified, Mills said.

Damn right it was. I can’t remember another such clear cut case of self defense in the face of an armed intruder, especially one with a known history of run-ins with the police.

It’s sad that the man wasn’t able to get the help he needed to deal with his mental issues, but the failure of the healthcare system doesn’t change the facts of the case. When you’re faced with an armed intruder, when it’s kill or be killed, there’s only one correct choice.

And just like Indy, I prefer a handgun.

comments

  1. avatar Silver says:

    Fun fact: that scene was written in because Ford was ill with food poisoning and didn’t feel up to the scripted fight, so he suggested “shooting the sucker.” Spielberg liked it so they kept it.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      Yup. That’s one of my favorite bits of moviemaking lore.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      Yes, and the poor actor with the sword, who practiced with it for weeks, got totally screwed!

  2. avatar Anthony Meruelo says:

    “And just like Indy, I prefer a handgun.”

    Bah, you’re just one of those handgun sympathizers!

    Long gunz 4 lyfe!

    😛

  3. avatar cz82mak says:

    Nobody told that to Jack Churchill:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Churchill

    Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Jack” Churchill, DSO & Bar, MC & Bar (16 September 1906 – 8 March 1996), nicknamed “Fighting Jack Churchill” and “Mad Jack”, was a British soldier who fought throughout World War II armed with a longbow, arrows and a Scottish broadsword. He once said “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly armed.”

    Bad Ass.

    1. avatar Ben Eli says:

      This is a must read for anyone about Jack Churchill. Anyone that killed a man in WWII with a longbow, tossed grenades while playing the bagpipes, and took 42 prisoners singlehandedly one night by using one guy as a meat shield and shoving his sword into peoples faces deserves to have his story told.
      http://badassoftheweek.com/churchill.html

    2. avatar Aaron says:

      Badassoftheweek has some good stories, but a more maturely-written bio of Churchill is in one of Paul Kirchner’s Deadliest Men books, that are full of excellent tales.

      1. avatar Ben Eli says:

        Wow that book looks awesome. Hmm only two more months until my birthday…

  4. avatar Aaron says:

    Another gun vs sword encouter – happened a while back and a bit long, so here’s the spoiler: the guy with the bang stick won the engagement:
    http://armslocker.com/gun-rights/25966-sword-vs-handgun-real-life-mess.html

    1. avatar Minsc_leads!Guns_for_everyone! says:

      Wow. Great link, Aaron. Chilling description of DGU. Guy took a katana in the belly, all sorts of defensive wounds to the extremties, and kept fighting. And the decisive caliber? Lowly .25 ACP ball ammo to the eye from a mouse gun our hero had forgotten he was carrying until it was almost too late proved to be mightier than the sword.

      The really chilling part: DA took 4 months before deciding NOT to file first degree murder charges. STFU, indeed. The criminal justice system is NOT your friend.

      As for Mr. Churchill, in our rather dreary and benighted age, it is hard to believe someone like Jack Churchill ever walked the earth, but I’d like to believe there are guys like that still out there.

      1. avatar Aaron says:

        Glad I could supply the link. It’s pretty harrowing. Also shows the importance of being prepared – the .25 only came into play because his 9mm and .38 were “offline”

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          This relates to a recent video by The Yankee Marshal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emvtaxxPZt4&hd=1

          He’s talking about the idea that you can pick and choose when you carry because you can predict when you’ll be in danger and when you won’t be and how that idea is just wrong. It’s a good video, well worth watching.

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        He survived largely because his attacker was using a katana to stab. A katana is a slicing weapon against which flesh is no defense. Last year a Johns Hopkins student witha katana confronted a thief in his garage at 2 in the morning. BG charged, and the kid struck, slicing off the BG’s hand and cutting through his collar bone down to his nipple. A katana can stab, but it is not designed for it; its cross section is all wrong for such purposes.

        1. avatar "Dr." Dave says:

          Actually, thats not true. The tanto point a katana wears was designed for stabbing and is reknowned for excellent penetration. Truth be told, real kenjustu teaches stabs and trhusts as well as cuts.

  5. avatar Stan says:

    Even though it happened in the same state of Florida, too bad we won’t be hearing about this story in the national news.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bradys decided to conveniently omit the fact that the bad guy had a sword, broke into this home and acted threateningly, and instead report this as “a local man known to have pyschological issues was shot dead by vigilante homeowner,” as though the victim should have known he had these issues and should have retreated and responded differently.

  6. avatar ready, fire,aim says:

    I guess you can say that in this case “the gun was mightier that the sword” ….

  7. avatar GS650G says:

    “According to reports the sword wielding gentleman was a known troublemaker in the area and suffered from some mental issues,”
    Not any longer.

  8. avatar bontai Joe says:

    This post was worth reading just to learn about Fighting Jack Churchill. Guys like that are rare, but they do still walk the earth (with head held high!) I had the good fortune to know such a fellow, a Marine Viet Nam vet, who tried so hard to teach me trap shooting. His wounds gave him a rough voice, but he never complained. I saw him with out a shirt once, and could see he had caught a burst of machine gun fire up his body to his neck. I never heard much of the story, other than he lived and the guy that shot him didn’t.

  9. avatar PC says:

    Never take a knife (or in this case, a sword) to a gun fight.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      It’s okay to bring a knife or a sword to a gunfight, as long as you also bring a gun.

      1. avatar counihan says:

        As long as that gun is long. Pun intended.

  10. avatar Mark N. says:

    The one great thing about swords is they never run out of ammo and never need to be reloaded. And they’ll put a man down who wasn’t stopped by bullets.

    1. avatar counihan says:

      If I ever have to defend myself against a man that wasn’t stopped by bullets that either means I missed or I’m fighting superman. Either way I don’t think that having a sword is going to help me much.
      A sword may not need to be reloaded, but it also doesn’t send 230 grain JHP’s down range at 900 FPS.

  11. avatar counihan says:

    Edged weapons have their place in defense, even in modern society. A trained swordsman is not someone I would want to need to defend myself against, even with my chosen long gun (long gun for life Nick!).
    That doesn’t mean that I would ever choose a knife or sword over a firearm. I may be a fanatic, but I’m not crazy.

  12. avatar Mikeb302000 says:

    Well, it might have been justified depending on what exactly “tried to enter someone’s home” means.

    Did he rattle the doorknob and yell obscenities? Did he stand there and threaten to huff and puff and blow the house down?

    In those cases it wouldn’t have been justified at all, but that wouldn’t make much difference in a stand-your-ground state like Florida, or with you biased gun rights advocates.

  13. avatar "Dr." Dave says:

    Swords are tereffically effective weapons. The problem is they require lots and lots and lots and lots of training, and its difficult to find a sword that is worthy of the name these days.

    However, they dont work real well in tight quarters, such as inside your average domicile.

  14. avatar JustVic says:

    Good to see that Mike’s on the job. Deriding those who think defending their home against a person with a sword and ‘mental issues’ is reasonable. Depending on…. being an ocean away from the actual event, of course.

    1. avatar Mikeb302000 says:

      No derision at all. I’m exploring what “defending your home” means.

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