What Happened to AT&T Cell Service Yesterday is a Warning to Us All

If you’re involved in a defensive gun use (DGU), call 911. Give your name and location, your description and the fact that there’s “been a shooting” (or “attack” if you brandished). That’s it, ’cause everything you say to a 911 operator is recorded and can be used against you in court. Provided, that is . . .

There’s anyone answering the phone. Check this from the Downtown Austin Patch:

Customers of AT&T wireless may have trouble making 911 calls as a result of service interruptions, company officials said Wednesday evening.

“We are aware of a service issue affecting some calls to 911 for wireless customers, and we’re working to resolve it as quickly as possible,” AT&T officials said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. “We apologize for this inconvenience.” . . .

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, tweeted Wednesday evening that the federal government was aware of the issue. Reports indicate much of the service interruption is concentrated in much of Texas but also in cities that include Chicago New York, Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida.

The issue’s been fixed. But the 911 service disruption is a warning to us all: the police may not be able to respond to your 911 call before, during or after a DGU. You may be on your own.

Lesson one: carry a gun. As always, your personal defense is your responsibility. As the old expression goes, when seconds count the police are only minutes away. Or hours. Or not at all (think natural disaster).

Lesson two: you have no legal obligation to stay at a crime scene if you’re in danger. If you are in danger GTFO ASAP.

Lesson three: Telephone booths are a thing of the past, but there are such things as land lines. Just sayin’.


  1. avatar Rick the Bear (MA to NH) says:

    I wonder if my phone would show the attempted 911 call. In the event that the case went to court, I could show that I tried to call.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Your guilt or innocence is probably not going to hinge much on whether you called 911 or not. Any outage at the time would be public information as well.

    2. avatar DE says:

      Most phones do not show that a 911 call has been made to protect abuse victims should they decide to call. IDK if there is a way for a computer nerd to dig up that info.

  2. avatar Al - WI says:

    Personally I carry a smartphone and dumb flip phone – on different carriers. $10/month on the flip phone. Like to have the belt AND suspenders I guess. It goes with the EDC 9 mm LC9S and the backup 380 LCP, Recommended by none other than Mas Ayoob.

  3. avatar strych9 says:

    Funny how this ties right into the article on TQ’s…

  4. avatar TexTed says:

    Google Fi. It automatically switches from carrier to carrier (or available wi-fi) to whichever one provides the best signal. No need to be wed to one network when you can get a service that gives you a lot of carriers all at once.

    1. avatar ted says:

      By far, the worst thing about Project Fi was sprint’s network. Forcing the phone onto T-Mobile improved the service dramatically.

  5. avatar TexTed says:

    (sorry, that should be Google’s “Project Fi”)

    1. avatar Red in CO says:

      Ah. Thanks for the clarification

  6. avatar Hank says:

    Personal responsibility. No ones going to take care of you like you are. DGUs happened in the days before smart phones and even phones entirely. Be prepared to act accordingly. There’s still many remote places of the US that you can’t get any service what so ever. Like the national quiet zone in West Virginia.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    “the police may not be able to respond to your 911 call before, during or after a DGU.”

    Even if phone service is perfect, you’re lucky if the cops arrive in time to apply their yellow tape and toss a sheet over your body.

    Protect yourself.

  8. avatar McBell says:

    Lesson 4 is an old one: Never USE AT&T for their wireless services.

  9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I saw this yesterday and was going to prod The Truth About Guns to post it.

    Our infrastructure is incredibly vulnerable. Any number of events can render it useless. A simple human error could send all 911 calls to oblivion. A cyber attack could shut down 911 all together. Saboteurs could physically sever telecommunications cables (reference Pacific Gas and Electric event near San Jose in April of 2014 or 2015) and take down all phone calls (cellular and “landline”). Or, good old fashioned storms can render electricity and telecommunications inoperable for days.

    If you want to roll the dice, I wish you the best. I am prepared to handle whatever may come my way without any help from “911” … because there might not be a “911” when you need it.

    1. avatar Dave M says:

      So much of our telecommunications system is totally (basically) unsecured. If you know where to look you could take out 1,000’s of lines of comm with just a hi way flare. Damn scary if you ask me.

      1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

        and some of the new land line service is a joke, its just data with a phone translator and they will give you a 20 minute battery backup in case the power goes out…..

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      One word: hurricanes.
      Wonder if that’s why we gulf coast residents tend to be a more self-sufficient type and vote accordingly.

  10. avatar Tim says:

    Won’t my smart gun know what to do? Smart gun?…….can you hear me?…..SMART GUN!!!!!

    1. avatar Boba Fett says:


    2. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

      “Fire at the intruder, HAL!”

      “I’m sorry, Dave…”

      1. avatar YAR0892 says:


  11. avatar Lhstr says:

    Lhstr, Dial 911 then get as many witnesses as possible! Offer as much help as you can to the BG including medical. Now if BG id doa, then just cover him with a blanket or rag, whatever you have. Wait for cops

  12. avatar Tony says:

    Who calls 911 in Chiraq anyway?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Someone who is either an optimist or is simply delusional…

  13. avatar FlamencoD says:

    “Sorry for the inconvenience.” That’s all they got? What if someone’s kid was missing, or their house was on fire, or their car had been stolen, or witnessed a crime, etc. That’s ridiculous.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      That would indeed be an inconvenience.

  14. avatar NEIOWA says:

    Why you keep POTS in your home. Particularly if you have kids. Pick up the REAL telephone receiver and dial 911 OR if that doesn’t go thru the actually real 10digit telephone #.

  15. avatar samuraichatter says:

    Discharging rounds is an excellent way to get attention . . . more attention than you can handle. If you do need to fire in a DG situation chances are someone’s call will get through. And in about half of the urban areas in America, LE will hear it themselves. I would not count on it but that is what you got the heater for in the first place – to not count on others who might not come.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      In Chicago, the cops stand around under cover and video the gunshot sounds.
      You think they actually RESPOND?
      Maybe Shotspotter? Wrong again.
      Call 911? Why? By the time cops respond (IF they respond) it’s all over.
      We really are on our own out there.

  16. avatar James69 says:

    I recently caught a local news story where they were saying they get overloaded with calls to 911 now that cel phones are everywhere. It’s actually a hindrance to response times due to getting 20-40+ calls on a fender bender.

  17. avatar Roy says:

    That picture doesn’t compute. The indestructible Nokia phone… The explosive glock…. Is this the most durable handgun ever made or has this device become something more deadly than a nuke?

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