You are delivering food late at night. There is no house at the address you were given, so you call the customer and ask for new directions. The customer says he is in the trailer home down the street. You get out of your car and a stranger comes up to you. “You order the pizza?” you ask. The man draws a knife and tells you to give him your wallet and your phone.
You are a gun owner. You’re also carrying your firearm concealed tonight. You step back and your attacker moves toward you. You present your handgun and shoot your attacker. You keep backing up, and your attacker stops chasing you. You call 911 and ask for police and emergency medical services.
You give a brief statement when the police arrive. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. Police identify your attacker as a criminal with a long history of robbery who recently got out of prison after serving 15 years. He was also arrested four times for shoplifting in the last 18 months. Neither you nor the property owner knows your attacker.
As self-defense situations go, this one was very demanding. Let’s put ourselves in this driver’s situation for a moment. It is a few minutes before midnight. We are in a rural area with few streetlights. One second we are trying to deliver a pizza at the end of a long day, and the next second we are fighting to save our life.
Our defender did a number of things that let him go home that night
rather than being taken to the hospital or being sent to the morgue.
Long before he was attacked, the driver recognized that he had a dangerous job. He chose to go armed that night. Given that the intended victim had only fractions of a second to respond, he had also thought about what to do if he was attacked.
Our defender faced his attacker in low light conditions or worse. The victims recognized a threat that was immediate, unavoidable, and lethal. The victim presented his firearm and defended himself before he was stabbed or cut. The intended victim stopped shooting after he put distance between himself and the attacker. The defender then backed up until he was safe.
He called 911 to get police and emergency medical services on the way. Our defender stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police.
The defender did a lot of things the right way, and each one was essential.
To describe his occupation badly, delivery drivers go to strange places at strange times to meet strange and hungry people. Taking the situation seriously, criminals have re-purposed food delivery and ride share services. Criminals now call in their order to have vehicles and potential victims delivered at the time and location where they can be robbed.
The story does not mention if the driver had his Georgia carry license. He may have been carrying on an out-of-state permit. We don’t know.
The key point I want to make is that preparation is key.
- The gun we leave locked away in the glove box is out of reach the moment we step out of our car. That is why we carry on-body.
- We won’t have time to think about what we should do if we’re attacked. We only have time to recognize and respond to a situation we’ve thought about and visualized ahead of time.
- We won’t have time to learn how to present our concealed firearm from under a cover garment. We practice that before we need it.
- We might not have the distance and lighting conditions to use the sights on our firearm and get a crisp sight picture with our handgun held at full extension. I hope we do, but maybe we let the bad guy get too close to us.
- We have to recognize when we should stop shooting. Was each shot justified when we made the decision to shoot? Was that true for the third or fourth shot as well as the first one? We need to recognize situations rather than think about them during an attack. When we see a knife blade at night, we won’t have the time or the mental capacity to review the self-defense laws in our state.
- Carrying a gun for self-defense means we might have to make the stressful phone call and say we need help and there were shots fired. Take a breath, make the call, and say little. Now is the time to think about what we should and should not say.
Self-defense instructors cover all of this in their classes, but not all of it in any single class. Do you need more training, more study, or simply more practice at what you already know you should do? Ammunition is in short supply, but we can dry-practice. Maybe we’re short on money and time for a new class, but we can review the materials from classes we’ve already taken.
Fortunately for us, most self-defense situations are not as demanding as the situation in this story. Is it time for you to hit the legal books, go to the range, or for more dry practice at home? Maybe you should talk to your instructor about what you should do.
We know that bad things can happen to good people. Now is the time to take care of yourself so you can defend your life and the lives of those you love.
Rob Morse highlights the latest self-defense and other shootings of the week. See what went wrong, what went right, and what we can learn from real-life self-defense with a gun. Even the most justified self-defense shooting can go wrong, especially after the shot. Get the education, the training, and the liability coverage you and your family deserve, join USCCA.