Got a big weekend planned? Don’t forget your carry piece, OK? Six days ago, I started cataloging defensive gun use articles from newspapers around the US and can tell you that a heater can come in handy. I figured a few minutes a day would be enough to track down and log the few articles I’d find on the Intertubes. Boy, was I wrong. In just six days, I accumulated over sixty articles. Yep, my highly developed Google-fu skills netted an average of ten DGUs a day being reported in the local newspapers across the country. That’s ten citizens defending themselves. Every day. And those are just the ones that made the paper . . .
Of course, not all DGUs are the kind of events we’d hold up as examples of extraordinary performance in difficult circumstances. Like the guy who, after dispatchers warned him to stay in his home, grabbed his BB gun and confronted a man who broke into his truck. “There’s a man in my truck, you better get somebody or I’ll shoot him right through the windshield,” isn’t something you want on a 911 recording after a defensive gun use.
Most cases, however, are lawful and legitimate. What did I discover? There’s no one specific geographical location (although Florida tops the list with the most incidents), it doesn’t matter if the neighborhood is good or bad, and more often than not, robbing just about any kind of store is a great way to get yourself shot.
What can you take away from this, dear TTAG reader? Well, you could just as likely face a life-threatening situation while at work as you could getting cash from an ATM or dropping by the liquor store to replenish your single malt stock. Shit happens and you best be ready for it.
First, let’s take a look at DGUs gone wrong – instances where the gun user made a bad situation worse. As I mentioned earlier, Sanford Ketcham tops this list after holding his truck burglar at bay with an unloaded BB gun. After making sure his threats were recorded by 911. Good thing that particular perp didn’t have his own gun or Mr. Ketcham would have discovered that an empty BB gun is among the the worst things you can bring to a gunfight.
A tragic case occurred in Houston last weekend when a homeowner (later found to be an illegal alien) heard noises outside and saw a guy breaking into his car with a shovel. So he shot him. The shooter’s brother-in-law recounts: “…he heard a loud noise outside and he came out, pulled a gun and shot the suspect,” leaving Kyle Jones, 25 mortally injured.
Under Texas law, according to a representative of the HPD Homicide Department, “…as a homeowner, you have the right to protect your home and yourself. That’s one of the things that can occur in the state of Texas, and according to the homeowner, at this point, that’s what it appears to be.” No charges have been filed, but it looks like the shooter will get a ticket out of the country. Since he was here illegally, he was also illegally in possession of the gun.
In Sumter, South Carolina, a masked bad guy took one in the ass as he was fleeing an armed robbery. No matter how thick the red mist, how adrenaline-pumped and angry you are, shooting at a fleeing crook is a bad, bad idea. The threat no longer exists, there’s likely no way to be aware of what’s beyond the target and if a cop happened by, you could end up perforated, too. If the (former) threat is running away, nothing good will come from pulling the trigger.
Most DGU shooters, though, do the right things – avoiding aggression until it’s determined that a life is at stake, for example – and the articles bear out the horror and fear of facing extermination. Let’s look at a few:
One of the most popular incidents on the firearm and self-defense blogs was the defense of a jewelry store against five robbers by a darling little sixty-five year old woman in Garden Grove, California. This awesome video tells the story better than I can.
On the other side of the continent, another jewelry store faced a group of thugs who thought it wise to dress up as cops and clear out Marcelo’s Jewelry Store. As soon as store owner Marcelo Suarez realized the guys he buzzed in weren’t really police officers, he ran for it, dodging bullets. He returned fire, hitting one assailant.
One of the biggest reasons for carrying a gun is as a force equalizer, especially for women. Imagine being forcefully abducted, kidnapped and raped. On second thought don’t, even though an unnamed Cobb County, Georgia resident lived through that nightmare. But before things could get any worse for her (as in ending up dead), she, “was able to obtain a handgun and she fired upon the perpetrator several times,” according to Clayton County Sgt Otis Willis.
The details aren’t out, but this was one person who didn’t give up. She kept her awareness at a heightened level, actively found a way to escape and executed her plan – not to mention her attacker.
Robbing a liquor store where guys open-carry 1911’s is just a bad idea any way you look at it. The outcome in this case was predictable and two armed robber wannabes are now sporting IVs at the local hospital. (h/t to redditor Travesura for providing the open-carry 1911 info.)
Last, but certainly not least is this heartwarming story of three down-on-their-luck guys who thought it would be the cat’s meow to bust into a gun store, Mad Max style. ProTip: guys who own gun stores are usually really good shots. They usually have access to all the really fun toys and have more ammo than a National Guard armory.
So ramming your truck into a store where the owner and his wife have an apartment in the back, well, that carries a high probability of getting you shot and killed – just like K’Raven Aude Goodwin who left the Guns and Ammo Gunsmith shop with a sheet over his head. And the next time someone asks, “why the hell do you need a large capacity magazine?” you can share this little blurb with them:
According to the report, one of the suspect shouted ‘kill the [expletive],’ and that’s when the owner emptied a 30 round magazine before retreating to his room to get more ammunition.
If you’d like to browse though the week’s DGU reports, I’ve set up a subreddit, /r/dgu over at reddit. Each week I’ll be exhaustively searching the local news around the country to keep the list up to date. If you have articles to share, please submit them to the subreddit. So until next week, keep safe and carry one.