By ST

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.

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62 Responses to FNS-9 Contest Entry: Real Live Self Defense

  1. ST, I, for one, am glad you shared this. This is very sobering, and incidentally reveals something about veterans’ post-combat reticence, which we non-veterans generally chalk up to a certain manly personality. Thank you.

    I will add that you did not come close to “murdering” anyone. Murder carries malicious intent, which you clearly did not have.

    • Agreed. And I will say your article was very well written as well. Would love to see more from you at TTAG.

  2. I almost had to draw on someone last month. I was riding my bike on a trail, across a wooden bridge, and a homeless man called out. I stopped (mistake) and got off the bike. I kept the bike between me and him. I could smell the booze on him from 15 feet away. He started to approach with his hand in his pocket, so my hand went to my pistol, natch. He stopped about 8 feet away, pulled out a joint and asked if I wanted to blaze one with him.

    • So it sounds like you almost drew on someone who carried no intent to harm you. In fact he was trying to do you a solid maybe. But it seems like you never almost HAD to draw on someone.

      • I would rather him draw on somebody who is questionable in their intentions then to just blindly trust them. To many questionable people out there.

  3. Good story ST. If it makes you feel any better, you should know you would have committed justifiable homicide not flat out murder.

    • Listening to people today on the radio discuss George Z’s trial in Florida gives me pause to agree with you. If anything, even if acquitted, we are all going to hesitate when we can least afford to since even defending yourself will ruin you if the circumstances are suspect.

        • That’s the most important thing. Harry S Truman said, “Always do right. This will gratify some, and astonish the rest”.

  4. We do not like to talk of the ugly things we’ve had to do because, unlike the uniniated, we do not see these moments as something to brag about or feel pride in. It took many months of commenting on TTAG before i would share my experience of killing a dog to protect myself. Things that I did later in life during my military time will never be talked about.

    Only those who have never seen this level of violence and anarchy wish for it to happen. Those who have been in the shitstorm never wish for it again.

    • Yes.

      Way too many pro gunners just don’t get it. They’re to busy pounding their chests and being macho to grasp the realities of the aftermath of killing (or even wounding) another being with a firearm.

      • I would ask you to not consider me in that group.

        If it comes to light, on this blog, then you will understand me better.

        Know this:
        I didn’t hold anything back.

      • So far in life, I’ve never had need of a weapon for self-defense or the defense of others. I have not had need of it in any military, para-military, or police work either. (It helps that I’ve not been involved with any group related to such.)

        I consider myself fortunate. Why? Needing to use a weapon for defense or legal offense is SERIOUS life-altering business. It isn’t CoD and it isn’t paintball: neither have real casualties or serious ramifications, although injury may happen due to carelessness, or letting emotion rule. (Throwing a controller, having it break and a piece comes back at you, or failing to have the correct protective equipment on and getting shot in the face with a paintball, for example.) I fully understand that once you cross the line of using a weapon on someone, there is no going back: things have permanently changed. At the very least that change is with you.

        I would wish that nobody would ever have to fight in war or defense. I know that that will always be just a wish, especially ever since Cain killed Abel. For me the questions lie in: Would I? Could I? Hopefully, I’ll never have to find out, but just in case… having what I need is better than not.

        • Having what you need and being proficient with it is taking responsibility for your self defense and that of those who are vulnerable and depend on you to protect them.

          “Would I? Could I?” Should I?
          As a citizen, those are questions that should never come to the fore if you or your dependents are ever faced with imminent death or great bodily injury. At that point it is survival itself that is at stake.

        • BTW, I couldn’t imagine throwing a controller or breaking a hockey stick over the goal net because I didn’t score a point or win a game. I’d have to question the good judgement of someone arming themselves if they are easily moved to uncontrollable rage.

        • Most of those guys are all talk. No one actually knows if they can do it until the time comes.

  5. ST’s experience closely matches many other accounts I have read. The frequency of criminal encounters terminated without firing are the most significant argument for concealed carry no one ever hears about. If the general population knew, the hoplophobes would have no argument.

  6. Having had a similar experience of clearly being scoped out by a car with four Hispanics in a remote forest area as a potential victim of opportunity (along with my 5 y/o daughter) years ago, I can identify with the deterrent effect of revealing to the perps you are armed and ready to tango; they promptly drove away.

    My experience was more matter of fact however, likely due to my employ as a LEO with previous duty interactions with bad actors. I have fortunately always had a heightened level of situational awareness which helps.

    I don’t like paperwork, so no report was ever made; just another unrecorded DGU.

  7. While the police don’t know about these DGUs, take heart, the pioneering work by Dr. Gary Kleck in the early 90’s documented hundreds of incidents like these. It was called the National Self Defense Survey. It was from stories from people like you that he discovered that DGUs outnumber crimes involving guns by 4-5 to 1.

  8. ST, thank you for not trashing the email. It’s really important for people to hear stories like this.

    Gary Kleck’s study estimated that 85% of DGUs went exactly like this. The mere presence of the gun caused the perpetrator to break off.

    Other surveys miss these cases because they ask about DGUs in response to crimes. Kleck found many people in these situations didn’t think they were the victim of a crime, so these cases weren’t discussed.

    ETA: Biofire beat me to it. But yeah, these cases are far and away the bulk of DGUs.

    • The second half of the problem is that, since the gun was not fired, the antis do not count it as a “gun use”. There’s also the fact that they are convinced that introducing a firearm into a bad situation can ONLY make it worse. They cannot grasp the concept of most bad guys choosing to walk away when confronted with a gun.

      • The reason you don’t count it as a gun use is the same as not counting them as a bad guy. If nothing happened (eg no crime was committed and no gun was used) then it shouldn’t count as a statistic.

        Otherwise using the logic of nothing happening as something you would have infinite DGUs.

        Or to put it another way it is like saying every time you go to the zoo and a monkey/lion/bear/tiger flashes his fangs at someone that counts as a defensive fang use…. You never intended the animal harm yet it ‘defended’ itself from you. Which stat should be counted.

        The issue with DGUs is that unless you have crime reports they are totally up to interpretation.

        I don’t count possible house fires every time my smoke alarm goes off when I’m cooking nor should DGUs honestly be counted every time ‘nothing’ happens.

  9. It is with deep consideration to non-documented DGU that we must work dilligently to maintain and proliferate our 2-A liberties.

    If not, our country will spiral into an increasingly violent and government dependent socialistic society.

    Which is, in all actuality, exactly what the Bloombergs of the world want.

  10. The benefit of an armed, self-reliant population is substantial, but difficult to quantify.

    Just to add to Carlos T’s and Biofire’s posts, remember there are large number of person-to-person crimes that are never even attempted because a significant portion of the population is armed. There have been prison surveys of burglars who overwhelmingly replied that they target houses when the homeowner is away in order to avoid a confrontation with an homeowner who is armed. (Compare this to the large spike of home invasions in Britain after the gun ban went into effect.)

    Also, whenever a DGU happens and the perpetrator is killed, captured, or otherwise dissuaded, it’s probably saving multiple people over the course the felons career. Crime to a career criminal is, well, a career, and it can be expected that if hadn’t run into an armed citizen and been “retired,” he will have victimized other people in the course of his livelihood.

  11. Good piece, ST, and something that I’m sure strikes at the heart of what anti-gun people say about gun owners: Contrary to the propaganda out there, 99% of gun owners are peaceful folks who cherish life, love their fellow humans, and don’t relish the idea of having to hurt/kill someone with their firearm. But given the choice of protecting the people they love versus letting someone harm them, they choose to make the rational choice.

    One comment about your article:

    “When the flag flies you’re mind is too busy trying to survive – it’s so concentrated on the goal in fact 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-oh, by the way, you’re also suffering adrenaline withdrawal at the same time . The combination of those forces wreaks havoc with your sense of self; its a harrowing truth to consider that you came >< close to murdering someone.”

    I’d change the word “murdering” here to “killing”. The word “murder” implies an unlawful homicide versus the self-defense scenarios you describe are justifiable homicides.

  12. Thank you for sharing ST. I am also glad you didn’t hit the trash button on your e-mail as this was well written and hit close to home.

  13. thanks for sharing. talking (writing) is good therapy. plus, too many anti-gunners think its a “wild west” or macho mentality.

  14. “I’d change the word “murdering” here to “killing”. The word “murder” implies an unlawful homicide versus the self-defense scenarios you describe are justifiable homicides.”

    I’ve never had to shoot anyone, and I hope I can say the same when I’m on my deathbed. But I bet it would feel like murder, even if it was fully justified. For a normal person, taking a life might be better than getting killed or seeing a loved one killed, but I can’t imagine it would be pleasant.

  15. This isn’t a DGU. This isn’t even a story of self defense. Going by the details presented this is something entirely different and kind of pathetic.

    This is a paranoid racist flashing a Hispanic guy wearing a hoodie his gun and the guy in the hoodie running away from some nut flashing a gun at him.

    Just because someone is walking briskly towards or near you doesn’t mean they intend to harm you. It doesn’t even mean they are actually paying any attention to you. Hell this whole story reads like part of the Trayvon Martin case. Suspicious minority in hoodie walking in a neighborhood, better grab my gun to keep my lily white bottom safe!

    Maybe the dude was standing outside talking to someone on a cell phone that he didn’t want to talk to indoors. Maybe he finished his smoke and was just chilling outside. He could have been walking to his own car in the lot and then some guy flashes a gun at him and his only option is to high tail it back to his friends house because some ‘cowboy’ decided he doesn’t like Hispanics in his parking lot.

    Not once in the article did they show that the Hispanic Hoodie guy was an actual threat other than standing around, or having his hand in his hoodie….where many people keep their phone, cigarettes, car keys, wallets, gloves etc. He walked close to your car, big effin deal. If walking close to cars is an excuse to flash your gun at people maybe anti-gunners are right and we shouldn’t be conceal carrying.

    Gun nuts are our own worst enemy. Always ‘condition yellow’ looking at everything like it is a threat when really the biggest danger to their own life is their own paranoia.

    Hell the very first thing the guy says is ‘South Dakota, a state with…very rare occurrences of violent crime.’ So when confronted with ‘hoof beats’ the guy in the article instead of thinking ‘oh it is a horse’ thinks ‘must be a blood thirsty Zebra!!!’

    What is telling, to me, is the entire line of not remembering anything about the guy other than he was a ‘dangerous’ Hispanic in a hoodie.

    • As the guy who was there,allow me to address some of your claims:

      1) the man in question had no cell phone in hand.
      2)he was not smoking,and there was no ash repository in sight.
      3) the only cars on the side of the parking we my own and my friends behind me
      4)I’m a biracial American USAF veteran.

      Let it be known that I face my detractors head on.
      -ST

      • You know he didn’t have a cell phone because???
        Yet you claim his hand was in his hoodie pocket could there have maybe been a phone in there?

        It doesn’t matter if there is no ash tray in sight. I have seen loads of smokers that don’t use ash trays outdoors.

        He could have been walking to the other side of the lot?

        Being biracial doesn’t mean you can’t be racist.

        That said the supplied details don’t paint a good picture. How exactly was that a defensive gun use? You never displayed how he was a threat other than being near you and your car. Could it possibly be that maybe you might have overreacted?

        What time of year was it? Was it cold out? Could he have been hurrying because of the cold? I’ve been to Sourh Dakota many times are you sure he was even Hospanic, there are loads of Lakota Sioux in Sourh Dakota?

        Maybe I’m just jaded but I’ve heard this same style of story so many times it is basically the gun owner equivalent of a teenager talking about his model girlfriend from Canada.

        • REOIV: I think you didn’t read the post carefully. If you did, and you don’t understand the clear description of the move, you lack experience in life, and you should take the post as educational. Just my view. Nowhere in any parking lot does a loitering person make a fast move across a distance toward someone they don’t know…with good intentions.

        • I wouldn’t want you on a jury I had to face, you’d be the one holding out for a conviction.

      • Thanks for the post ST. Just curious how long it you to start recollecting small details. I’ve remembered really minute details almost a week after ( ie — # of bullet holes in something or the design on someone’s shirt).

    • Your reading comprehension is an epic fail.

      A guy lazily strolling through the parking lot would have been a horse. This was a zebra. Which is why the author correctly displayed.

      People’s brains are very good at recognizing patterns and noticing things out of the ordinary. When somebody races at you and times their arrival at your passenger door the same time you are going to open the driver’s side, that’s a red flag. People who ignore out of the ordinary situations because they don’t believe in zebras get hit.

      • At no point did this demonstrate that the author was in danger. Hoodie man never displayed a weapon or even acted aggressively other than walking fast.

        The story itself is fishy. How does a person on the passenger side of the car see a holstered gun on someone directly opposite? Maybe he wasn’t even at the passenger side yet.

        All that said humans see patterns all the time when there are none to be found. The see faces in wall plugs and emoticons :). We also make up superstitions after observations like every time I wear my special team jersey or socks my favorite sports team ‘won’t lose.’ Ever heard of confirmation bias?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

        We see only the things we want to see. Sure he could have been a nasty guy hell bent on hurting the Author, but from the description he could have easily been a guy not aware of how threatening he looks.

        If you’re gonna flash or brandish your weapon you need to be damn sure about it. This could have easily escalated the situation or wound up with the author getting an assault charge depending on the state he’s in.

        • Its easy to armchair quarterback. While I understand what your saying, I might have done the same, or I might have started with a verbal warning. Bottom line is we were not there. Body language and abnormal movement in a parking area like that are major red flags.

          Let me know when or if you have been in such a situation. Hopefully you never are if you have not been. When you are dont be mad if you choose to share it and everyone second guesses every move.

    • Read The Gift of Fear. Our brains process for danger signs continuously, and if something is tripping those alarms, it’s not wise to ignore them.

      In this case, it may be just coincidence that a guy who has just been lounging against a fence for a good chunk of the night has suddenly decided to take a brisk walk the exact moment you head for your car. And it could also be coincidence that he picks your exact direction as the heading for this sudden nightly constitutional. Yeah, it’s possible…

      • thank you. I was going to write something similar but you nailed it.

        We’re hard-wired from thousands if not millions of years of natural survival insticts and training. Sometimes we don’t KNOW why there’s danger, but we KNOW it’s there. Far too many people try and supress that little voice and that’s when they get in trouble. ST’s instincts told him “this is not right. this is danger.” I would never go against that feeling. The predator-prey flight-or-flight instinct is still there and should NEVER be ignored.

      • You’re reading it as happening at night. Not once did he say it was night time. Show me where the author said it was at night time.

        Most of you are projecting your own thoughts and biases on this situation. You’ve prejudged the Hispanic guy as some baddie based on a terrible description of events. Some of you even filled in your own details like how it happened at night.

        What gets me is the amount of people grumbling about armchair quarterbacking. If you shoot someone and go on trial for it the arm chair quarterbacking would be way worse than anything some poster on a gun board is going to give you.

        Again what proof was given that the Hoodie guy was a threat? Remember gut feeling and trusting ‘fear’ aren’t legal defenses for flashing or drawing a gun on someone. But hey just ignore what I’m saying and then wind up on the idiot gun owner posts later.

        • So lets look at the results. Nobody was injured. Sure there was a risk of premature brandishing (which we all have to deal with potentially even in a legitimate circumstance).

          How many people minding their own business would just go about their day after someone brandished a gun at them for no reason vs. calling the cops?

          Once again I get what you are trying to say. Its not entirely invalid. Some of the training I have had suggests engaging the person approaching you verbally first. If they continue advancing you know the situation is threatening. Personally I might have handled it differently. Then again I wasn’t there.

          I don’t see any additional wisdom being bestowed. How would you handle it? Have you been “there”? How did your situation go? What is your relevant life experience? That is why I am calling you out for armchair quarterbacking it. All your doing is complaining about the “Hispanic guy”, and talking about confirmation bias. This is an argument on the internet you need moar!!!

          http://xkcd.com/386/

        • @Fingers
          I live in a state where lifting your shirt to show you have a gun is a crime. There is no open carry in Arkansas. So I could be charged with brandishing if I flash that I have a gun.

          I’m 6’8″ in my boots and over 350 lbs. So I’m just a little jaded at seeing people prejudge things. I get the stink eye from people all the time because I’m so much bigger than them. I’ve also spent my life having to act nicely and not break things, or raise my voice or not get into fights etc because honestly who is going to believe the huge guy when he says the 5’7″ dude was being belligerent? I’m the huge dude they say you need to pick the fight with in jail or school or whatever to prove your manhood. You would not believe the crap you get from being a giant guy. It is like being a magnet for aggressive little men. Where people feel they have to prove how tough and bad ass they are all the time, or at least get the respect of the huge guy for some reason.

          I’ve been in enough fights and seen enough stabbings up close to know what to look for. Most of the time if you’re going to get jumped by someone, they aren’t going to come from 30+ feet away telegraphing it like in the movies. They’ll get you around a blind corner; they’ll get you when you’re not expecting it, like flattening your tire or putting stuff behind your tire so you bend down to look at it and bam behind you, they’ll get you in a public bathroom while you’re using the urinal, they’ll get you when you come out of the stair well, step out of the elevator doors into the parking garage, as you’re opening the door to your house to leave for the day or as you’re going in for the night. If the dude is actually walking up to you, most times they are either asking for money, a ride, help or are in a hurry someplace else. It is way easier to just verbally bully someone into giving them some money than actually mugging them (I need money for gas, my kid is sick, I need to get home and my friends left me, insert sob story that will paint you as heartless if you don’t cough up a buck or two). Also it usually isn’t one guy jumping you all alone. It is usually one guy with friends nearby who can close in if needed.

          One should verbally confront someone before flashing a gun at them. You should be making enough noise to get attention of others, confront them. Ask ‘whats up?’ and go from their reaction to you talking to them as to whether or not they are actually threatening you or maybe just passing by. At no point did the author even take that much effort.

          A big part of being a responsible gun owner is to remember to defuse the situation, and back out of it as quickly and safely as possible. What good does flashing a gun honestly do? In this case you could say it worked but again it hasn’t even been shown the guy was doing anything. He never said anything, didn’t flash a weapon, and didn’t do anything other than walk close to the car. The author is lucky he didn’t get the police called on him. Hell they might have come by later, but since the author already left nothing happened. I’ve seen guys lose their gun rights for flashing it at some ‘punk kids’ in much this same situation. Thing is the kids then tell their parents that “hey the guy living over at house XYZ flashed a gun at us.” And now you have the cops coming to arrest you on assaulting minors with a deadly weapon all because they were ‘too close for comfort’ or ‘mouthing off.’ Great way to lose your gun rights forever and or a lot of money in court defending yourself even if you’re innocent.

          The only time you should be flashing a gun is because you’re drawing it and getting ready to shoot someone.

        • @reoiv

          I like your reply. It provides additional background and adds more value to the discussion.

          I agree with the stuff about getting jumped. Seen it/almost had it happen.

          That is how I ended up in a situation where I actually had to “draw” (no CCW in my state, I was lucky I had enough time to load). A car blocked me into my driveway and 3 young guys got out. One had a knife. Turned out they were after my neighbors a few doors down (who drove the same make and model truck). It was pretty intense until they realized they had the wrong guy. If I hadn’t noticed the car in my rear view mirror it could have been a lot worse.

  16. Good job.

    But I must admit, I was much calmer in the aftermath of my near-shoot.

    Probably because mentally-ill Mongo didn’t try to breach the window screen and come on in.

    I was more worried he would come back and all I had was a Kel-Tec P11 (can you say George Zimmerman?).

    John

  17. Nice writing for another great entry.

    I just deleted the story I had typed up. I don’t want to have the race card slapped on me too. Anyway, less detailed version, I had an incident when my SUV broke down on the highway and the man who stopped became a little too helpful. He ran like a bunny, and I didn’t report it because: I was embarrassed, I wanted to get the hell home, and mainly because at 19 it was illegal for me to even own a handgun. This was decades before cell phones too. And yes, I was very very scared.

    Oh, hi, NSA! The statute of limitations on my crime is looong expired.

  18. for all those who suggest the changing of the word “murder”…

    it’s precisely because he views the possiblity as murder that makes him (and hopefuly most if not all of us) different from criminals. They have no qualms about murdering in their quests. We do not value life so cheaply or so disposable… even such life that would do ours harm. The mental break created when the trigger breaks is a shattering of the mind for normal persons not hardened by a life of crime.

    Thank you, ST.

  19. Last fall I was on my way home. The traffic was very heavy and there was the usual folks darting in and out trying to gain a few feet. I was keeping about a 10 foot gap in front of my car as we moved along about 25 MPH. All of a sudden I had a very large black truck trying to move into this small space. I started to hit the brakes and noticed the guy behind me was inches from my bumper so I laid on the horn and braced for impact. Truck dude figured out he was not going to bull his way in and it seemed to really inflame him. Next thing I know he is swerving at my car with his window down and a steady stream of profanity streaming out the window. I slow down and he roars in front of me and instantly lays on the brakes, This happens several more times and I am looking to get away from him so I slow and move into the middle lane several cars behind him. Things seem OK now until we get to a light. All of a sudden the door to the truck flies open and this mass of muscles jumps out and takes off running back towards my car with the profanities flying. As he comes around the front he slams his fist on the hood and is yelling he’s gonna kick my )&(^())( **^*%(ing scrawny ass. He comes up to the door and finally notices he has a problem. As soon as he exited the truck I reached down and picked up the little Sig P938 I had inside my med kit ( take insulin ). I’m holding it just under window level on my side and he see’s it.
    Apparently he still had some control over his rage as he throws his hands in front of him and starts backing away facing me the whole time and is now silent. He gets back to his truck and when traffic starts moving turns off on a side street. Me, I’m feeling like my Blood sugar is in the 30’s but I want to get away from the area so I drive. All the way home I just knew police were going to show up or truck dude was going to appear again. Could I have shot him. yes if he had reached in the car I would have. I spent the next few weeks looking out to make sure he did not show up around me again . I’ve since traded in that car so the odds of us meeting again are slim.. I suspect other drivers knew why he suddenly backed away and just knew one would call it in. Apparently none did. I do have a concealed carry permit and where I keep the weapon while driving is a legal storage spot in Florida.
    That was my first and hopefully only time I’ll ever aim at something besides a paper target.

  20. ” it’s a harrowing truth to consider that you came close to murdering someone.”

    No you didn’t. Murder is taking someone’s life without justification. When you threaten me or mine, you have made the choice to justify my taking your life.

    Maybe I’m a psycho. But the closest I ever came, had about 3 1/2 pounds on the 870s trigger, waiting for the armed gunman to lift his head above the car he was hiding behind. No jitters, no shakes, nothing.

    It’s an easy equation for me. Threaten my life or others, you forfeit my sympathy. Would not feel bad about putting down a rabid dog, either.

  21. I had to kill a deer injured by a car once. Didn’t have any effective weapons, so I had to break its neck with my hands and arms. I heard the neck bones break! Although that was completely justifiable, an act of mercy, the thought of it still haunts me. And this wasn’t even a human life.

    God, I hope I never have to use my CCW gun. However, I think I am prepared to kill, if that is what it takes to defend my life. You can never know, unless you have experienced it yourself.

    The antis think we are all blood-thirsty mad men who can’t wait for the chance to kill a bad guy. That could not be farther from the truth.

  22. You’re right. DGUs are rarely reported. I woke up one night to find an intruder in my bedroom. I started yelling, grabbed the gun I kept hidden next to the bed, and racked the slide. The guy started running, and I chased him. Before I could get a clear shot at him, he was down the stairs and out the front door. That was fifty years ago, and I still haven’t really gotten over it. I now keep all my house guns with a round in the chamber, and I have a burglar alarm. Would I have shot him? I know that at the time I fully intended to do so. Would I do so now? Depends. If an intruder is that close again, yes. If not, I’d try to hold him for the cops. But in any case, better him than me. I did report the break-in to the cops, but made no mention of a DGU. No point in raising unnecessary questions.

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