People who research what happens after the flag flies will notice a dearth of real-life tales of self defense. Outside of law enforcement or published military accounts, there seems to be few or no tales of individual citizens telling their perspective on personal defense. It’s not because it doesn’t happen-if my example is telling, guns are frequently used for personal defense on likely a daily basis. Yet, there’s little or no documented proof for reasons you’ll soon discover . . .
Lets step into an imaginary time machine to the Fall of 2012. I’m visiting friends in a quiet community in the western region of South Dakota, a state with a vibrant tourism economy and very rare occurrences of violent crime.
As I’m filling up a glass of water at my friends sink, I notice a group of guys drive into the apartment complex. They’re in a slate grey Dodge pickup which looks like it was built before Clinton’s first term, and out the passenger side emerges a Hispanic guy in a grey hoodie. His path away from the truck takes him near my parked car, whereby he looks it down with the gaze a lion reserves for gazelles on the African plains. I observe this with mild curiosity, and go back to my pending game of Modern Warfare.
The game doesn’t last long. I get killed by my friend, and with a boring workday looming the next day I bid my goodbyes and walk out the door. Looking both ways as I walk to my car I notice the Hispanic guy from earlier, lounging near a fenceline 30 feet away. It quickly dawns on me that he’s not smoking, and there’s no ash collector anywhere nearby.
Once this thought crosses my mind Grey Hoodie starts directly for me, and at “power walking” velocity.
30 feet becomes 20 feet….
20 feet becomes ten feet….
His right hand is in his hoodie pocket….
10 feet. I’m in-between my pal’s car and my own, facing the drivers side door of my car. Hoodie is bee-lining directly for my passenger side door. Time slows to a crawl as I move my cover garment aside. It feels like my jacket takes two hours to move backwards, but when it does my 1911 is open for all to see.
Hoodie man is directly across my car when he stops . . . very quickly. Almost with the same step, he half runs, half skips back to the apartment building I just left . . . where I notice, for the first time that the door next to my friends’ place was wide open during the entire incident.
I open my car door and drive away. Time resumes its normal pace as I back out of the lot and leave the complex. That’s when the shakes hit, although this time around I expected that. See, this was not my first rodeo.
The previous December I was on leave visiting family at the old homestead whereupon a domestic incident arose. One serious enough that my mother was physically threatened and I had to reach for my Beretta 92 in my family home. Due to the personal nature of that incident, the details will be omitted. There is only so much of a man’s soul he can bare on the internet, after all.
What I can share is this: the Parkinson’s-like adrenaline comedown not only scrambled my nerves it ruined my ability to recall specific details. The same thing happened last fall; to this day I can’t tell you what Hoodie Man’s hair color was, or the specific details of his face. The only thing I know is that he was Hispanic by complexion and that he wore a grey hoodie.
Neither incident will ever register in a statistic. No police were summoned to either event and it’s doubtful anything except wasted time would have come from their interactions. After all, no crime actually happened. Had I not shared this with you all today these two instances of personal defense would be lost to the historical record.
We now come to why personal tales of personal defense seldom register in the public debate regarding gun control. I have even more admiration for Suzanna Hupp’s brave advocacy of concealed carry- because nearly having to kill someone or being hurt yourself is a deeply traumatic experience.
There’s a reason few veterans like to discuss their wartime kills. Violence, even ethical use of such, is a personally damaging experience. You may survive the event but you won’t be the same man or woman afterward. Asking someone to share their tale of personal defense is akin to making a sexual assault victim describe in detail what being raped is like. The events in questions happened more then a year ago, and its still painful to recall just how close I came in both instances to killing someone.
When the flag flies you’re mind is too busy trying to survive. It’s so concentrated on the goal that time slows and your “conscious” mind is temporarily “switched off.” Once the event ends THEN the moral and legal implications of what just happened ten seconds ago hits with the force of an EF5 tornado—at the same time you’re suffering adrenaline withdrawal. The combination of those forces wreaks havoc with your sense of self; it’s a harrowing truth to consider that you came >< close to murdering someone.
The opening for submissions on this website started five days ago. I’ve been wrestling with whether to share this or not ever since. I must confess I’m still tempted even now to hit the Trash icon in my email app. Telling this tale means re-living two of the worst moments of my life. I’m struggling to find the spirit to finish this narrative. I can only imagine trying to recall these events in front of Congress and public gatherings over and over, as Hupp’s done.
The combination of personal impact and the lack of official documentation means this aspect of personal defense is seldom discussed. I hope this submission brings clarity to the discussion for everyone who owns firearms for personal defense.