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By Cranky Buddha

A couple of decades ago I ran a small bakery. It was a family business and the owner had a couple of locations around town. All the stores, except mine, were run by family members or people who had worked their way up from entry level positions. I was the only one with a background in restaurant management and with experience outside the family’s business. One of the first things I noticed was the poor cash handling practices . . .

The issue was that, based on my experience, we kept way too much cash available in the store — a major area of risk in such businesses. I mentioned it to the owner and he agreed, but drop safes were expensive and there would have been a certain level of lost productivity to make sure the pulls and drops of excess cash happened on a regular basis. These changes would happen, he assured me, but it would take some time.

Unfortunately, it took too long.

I was off the day the store was robbed and, fortunately, no was was seriously injured. But the whole staff was traumatized and my assistant manager had been treated roughly, though not seriously injured. She was shaken up enough, however, that she never could return to the store.

The insurance company reimbursed the owner for the lost cash but warned that unless the cash handling procedures were changed, they would not pay out again. The police warned that based on the amount of money the robber made off with he would be back. He also said that it could turn “ugly” if we changed the cash handling procedures.

I was already prepared to defend my home and family with a firearm if necessary and I asked the owner if he thought I should carry at the store as well. He agreed that it would be a good idea. His son already did so at one of the other locations. After discussing it for a while he even agreed to help me afford a handgun to carry as the rifle I owned for home defense would be less than ideal for the bakery.

It took about four weeks, but, like the officer had warned, the robber came back. I noticed him as he walked in, but since I hadn’t been there at the time of the robbery I wasn’t sure. One of the cashiers had been there, though, and the look on her face told me that she was quite sure. The fact that her whole body was shaking was another pretty good indication. As I walked to the front she gave the signal we had agreed to, erasing all doubt. At that signal, another coworker went to the back to call the police.

I stopped at the end of the counter away from the customers and employees and called the young man over asking firmly but politely if I could help him. As he was walking over to me I told him he looked familiar and asked if he had been in before. I also moved my apron to the side clearing access to the handgun I wore there. He saw it and stopped. He eased his hands out of his jacket pockets (wearing a jacket in the Texas heat is a dead giveaway that you are up to no good, by the way) and backed out of the store. We didn’t break eye contact until he backed through the door out of my field of view.

The dry cleaners two doors down was robbed a few minutes later. The police captured the culprit and it was the same man. He was convicted on multiple counts of armed robbery and assault. In a previous robbery he had beaten a victim so badly she had suffered permanent brain damage.

This incident occurred over twenty years ago and I can still remember most of it as clearly and vividly as if it were only a few days ago. Like most defensive gun uses, no shots were fired, no one was hurt and it wasn’t reported to law enforcement. The fact that I was armed and aware of who he was prevented the situation from escalating.  I don’t know for sure if a life was saved or injuries avoided. Without the brain array from Minority Report there’s no way to know that, but based on the guy’s history it seems a pretty safe assumption.

I pray I will never have to use a gun in self-defense or the defense of my family. I practice active awareness to try to identify and avoid dangerous situations. However, I also practice and train with a firearm so I can be as well prepared as possible should that need ever arise.

This post originally appeared at Notes From a Cranky Buddha and is reprinted here with permission.

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  1. NRA – these are the stories you need to be sharing to win the hearts and minds of those that have no opinion (or are on the fence) on gun control.

    • Don’t they have a section in American Rifleman dedicated to posting DGUs? But I agree, they need to put these in their commercials and put more effort into widely diseminating these personal stories. They provide more intimate reasons for fence sitters to be pro-gun.

    • It’s unfortunate that the media is not receptive to tales such as this. They’ve got news distribution – news management – virtually locked down.

      What I want to know is how we compete with this lockdown?

  2. As someone who’s walked down the same path you have, I’m encouraged that you had the personal strength to share this story.

    Perhaps my attitude is colored by the fact that I’ve been down this dark path twice,but asking someone to share their DGU to me is akin to asking a rape victim to share their experiences.Resolving to kill someone in self defense is a personally scarring event,and one I would like to wish never happened.Its not because my heads in the sand,but because the moment I nearly killed someone ain’t an event I like to dwell on.

    Stuff like this happens all the time: but asking people to share these kinds of events strikes me as being unintentionally crass even if our rights are better served by doing so.

    • Please do share. Write it to [email protected] …ask them to edit where needed for grammar or brevity, but I think it would be very much appreciated if you shared your stories. Certainly share your emotions and thoughts on it as well, since much of the anti-gun crowd assumes that gun owners are just itching for confrontation and hoping that they get the chance to shoot someone. That isn’t the case, of course, but talking about your state of mind in your accounts and afterwards (now, X years later) would be good to hear.

    • It has been over twenty years since this incident and I have never shared it before. My wife will only find out about this if she happens to check my blog (unlikely, by the way).

      I decided to share it because I have seen so many attacks on gun owners and those who have/would use a firearm in self-defense as blood thirsty killers. Whenever a DGU is mentioned, some people visualized Dirty Harry on the street in front of a bank asking the question we all know.

      Although it was terrifying, no one was killed or injured. In fact, it is highly likely that violent acts were prevented. In my mind there is no question at all.


      • If there’s no question in your mind, why wouldn’t you talk with your wife about it? You did the right thing – are you afraid of her disapproval? I don’t mean to be harsh; I simply don’t understand this. It seems to me you should share this, and, no matter the result, you’ve “come clean” with her. If she disapproves, at least it’s in our rear-view mirror.

        • Honestly, I am not 100% sure.
          I know that part of it is that I didn’t want her to worry. She did enough of that when I working in the restaurant business. I had close calls at other restaurants and I never told her about those either.

    • Wow. Have you read the “Submission Terms” associated with that OFA website? Read them and weep:

      “Organizing for Action
      Submission Terms:

      I have submitted certain comments, statements, stories, photographs, videotape, audio tape and/or other recordings or media (the “Submissions”) to Organizing for Action (“OFA”). I grant OFA a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, sublicensable, royalty free license to publish, reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, edit, modify, create derivative works of and otherwise use the Submissions in any manner or media and for any purpose whatsoever at the sole discretion of OFA, including without limitation any political, advertising or commercial use of any kind. I further give my permission to use my name, likeness, voice, and biographical information in connection with such Submissions and release OFA and anyone acting under its authorization from any claims that any use of the Submissions as authorized herein violates any of my rights, including any rights of publicity or privacy. I understand and that all rights granted herein are fully sublicensable and assignable.

      I represent and warrant that I have all rights necessary to grant the foregoing rights and permission and that no infringement or violation of any third party rights, including copyright, right of publicity, or right of privacy, will result from the use of the Submissions. I further represent and warrant that in creating the Submissions, I was working on my own time, and not for any employee or third party, and that I did not use any equipment or materials owned by any corporation or other third party. With respect to creating the Submissions, I acknowledge that I was volunteering my time to OFA and that any disposable materials used in the creation of the Submissions may constitute an in-kind donation to OFA. I agree to defend, indemnify and hold OFA, and any candidates or other persons affiliated therewith, harmless from and against any liabilities, losses, claims, demands, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) arising out of or in connection with the use of the Submissions or of my name, likeness, voice, or persona, or from the breach or alleged breach of any of the foregoing representations or warranties.

      I understand that I will not be entitled to any compensation for the rights and release granted herein or for any use of the Submissions and that OFA shall have no obligation to make any use of the Submissions. I further understand and agree that OFA will act in reliance on this agreement and that therefore it will be irrevocable.”

      • Do you additionally have to get a vaccination? That bull is pretty harsh. If I didn’t know better, I’d think they were actually discouraging submissions.

        WAIT. I DON’T know better. My distrust of piles like this has proved me right, time after time.

  3. Buddha, you should have just given the robber what he wanted. Violence is not the answer. Guns are not the answer. You could have turned the bakery into a wild west shootout, with innocent customers caught in the crossfire. You obviously think you’re some sort of movie hero, when the truth is your gun is more likely to be taken away and used against you. I personally would rather die than take another life, even in self defense. (And since I choose this, you must, too.)

    Did I cover all the standard responses?

      • damn it, you beat me to it.

        “well it really didn’t happen because was it a DGU? or was it just posturing?” “what defines a DGU?”

        jesus. that boy is confused.

        he then keeps producing a hyperlink to a flawed study and passing it off as gold.

        • He’s not confused WLCE. He’s a troll. He tells the lie that he supports responsible gun ownership and then lays out a series of hurdles that an olympic athlete couldn’t surmount as qualifications for gun ownership.


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