Ep. 31 Should I Shoot? Self-Defense Amid a Riot

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Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.

Check out the last five episodes in this series:

History Repeats again — and again

As we all know, history has a way of repeating. Sometimes we learn from the past but more often than not, our society as a whole keeps on making the same mistakes over and over.

On April 29, 1992, truck driver Reginald Denny was doing his job when he unknowingly drove into the epicenter of a riot in south central Los Angeles. (Please note I said a riot in Los Angeles, not the riot. All it takes is small spark and LA will implode on itself once again.) Mr. Denny was in the wrong place at the wrong time; he was dragged from his truck and beaten so badly it’s a miracle he didn’t die. Knowing what he does now about how that day turned out, I’m guessing he would have downshifted and used the full power and weight of his truck to smash his way out of there.

Six days ago a motorist in Chicago was dragged from his vehicle and severely beaten by a mob of protesters who weren’t happy Mr. Trump was elected president. The “peace-loving liberals” have taken to violence and have shown their true colors as cowards and hypocrites. I’m willing to bet not a single person in the mob would have done it if they were all alone and it was a one-on-one fight.

At this point your might be saying, “Ok Sammy…nice rant, but what’s your point?”

Since the first installment of this column I have been focused on personal defense and I always will be. Let’s take a look at the overall picture and formulate some plans to ensure we have our mind right.

You are driving down the road and find your car surrounded by an angry mob. They are rocking the car and smashing your windows. Your wife and children are screaming…what do you do?

I’ll stick to a statement you’ll recognize if you’ve read this column before: I won’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I would do if it were me in the driver’s seat and it was my family’s lives on the line.

Keeping in mind the legal standard that must be met for use of deadly force – that I’m in fear for my life or the life of another or great bodily injury will happen if I do not use deadly force – I’m going to see how my Jeep performs as a battering ram. If I need to I can also shoot from my vehicle at a specific threat. I’m still responsible for every round I fire, so I have to follow the rules even though the mob does not. Be that as it may; I will do everything in my power to defend my family and myself. I won’t be counting on the mob being the one that just wants to give out free hugs.

For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Mongo December 23, 2016, 11:12 am

    When the windows get smashed, all bets are off, the pedal goes to the floor.

  • Brad December 16, 2016, 7:50 am

    Lock doors, shift into 4wd and make grease spots. A vehicle moves, if you’re standing still shooting, you’re going to run out of bullets then get beaten and killed yourself.

    Better to let your insurance company take care of it.

  • joey December 13, 2016, 5:04 pm

    There’s a new name for riots. They should be more correctly called “Democrat Political Caucuses.” Every big city is a powder keg that will explode every time a cop shoots a dangerous politically-correct criminal. So steer clear if you can. If you want an unregulated device to take on a crowd, you might consider a flare gun

  • Jay December 4, 2016, 10:00 am

    Oh the mob mentality, I can get away with anything with all these people around me! Remember this, fear will get you hurt or dead! You have to keep your senses in situations like this, one thing never forget, it’s you and you occupants or them, Period! Who’s it gonna be? NEVER stop your car, it’s the biggest weapon you have, use it, once you do they will run like fly’s from a fly swatter and the cars behind you will more than likely just follow suit! You stopping only endangers you and those behind you! RUN THEM OVER!!!!!!

  • Rich Odefey December 3, 2016, 6:55 pm

    Many years ago (late 1960’s), I lived in Chicago. On a Saturday evening, I was driving down a main street with my wife and another couple. We were on our way to a theater in the down town area. A motorcycle gang blocked the street. I was the first car in the line. A guy came out of the group shouting curses at us, and broke his beer bottle on my front left fender. Another guy thew a bottle at my windshield. I blew my horn, revved the engine, popped the clutch, and plowed through the mob. I know I hit at least two of the gang. They were running to their bikes to pursue me. I sped to the next major street and drove to the nearest police station.

    I parked and the four of us ran in, The desk sergeant asked if he could help us. We told him what happened. I was petrified, because I knew I had hit pedestrians. He told us to sit down (at a nearby bench and relax for a while. After about 15 minutes, he called me over, and told me to go on our way, and suggested that we go down town by another route. I asked if he needed me to sign anything. He simply commented, that if someone filed a complaint, he would contact us. As we drove away, I realized he never asked for any identification, or contact information.

  • DRAINO December 3, 2016, 7:24 am

    A lesson learned from convoy ops in the sandbox. Original mindset was….when engaged while traveling in a convoy, stop and take cover…..they became sitting ducks. That quickly changed to a somewhat safer protocol of…..when engaged, HIT THE GAS PEDDLE!!! GET CLEAR OF THE ENGAGEMENT. I’ve smashed toes before in Europe, being surrounded by a mob in the streets suddenly….I revved the engine….blew the horn…and flattened some phalanges. You should see them cry…. only took a couple and they moved.

  • Will Drider December 3, 2016, 7:02 am

    These racial riots are popping up with increased regularity. People playing CDs, IPODS, MP3 or even using satellite radio are disconnected from emergency news releases. This IS part of your situational awareness.

    Your vehicle is not only your escape unit it is your shield. When rioters or BGs try to damage, immobilize or breach the vehicle, it is clearly a threat to your safety and your life. When your car is surrounded by “agressive” rioters (note there are no inocent bystanders surrounding you), beating on, rocking it, smacking the glass: those are physical acts of violence that the vehicle is temporarily protecting you from. If they have blocked you from moving they have in fact taken your freedom to move or remove yourself from the threat. You are in all practical forms restricted by their control and kidnapped to which you may use force to escape.

    Some may wonder about running over the folks attacking you or others that may be further down the route of egress. My non legal opinion is that the attackers can be met with what ever force is necessary to overcome them to escape, others that get run over are not your responsibility when you can’t avoid them. I see it the same way as three guys rob a bank, one gets killed and the remaining two get charged and convicted for the death. The getaway driver who stayed in the car has responsibility just as the others in the mob action. Further, a jay walker that suddenly steps in front of a moving car is liable for his own injuries/death. Same applies for someone deliberately doing it to stop your progress in order to victimize you. Someone climbs onto the vehicle, I’m hitting the gas!

    One thing you should also do is pull your left arm up and put your across the side left of your head. This will allow some protection from the closest vunerable position and keep you in the game. I’m rolling at first sign of danger. I’m not deploying a gun unless I see one outside or the vehicle glass is about to be breached. Any carried metal pole (spear) or burning object is a priority threat! My safety and my life are not free stuff for the rioters to feed on, there will be a heavy price paid by those lining up at the buffet.

    Anyone that has not legally upgraded their car or truck gun and mag quantity in todays volatile environment should do so. I can’t see a revolver buying you much time, I can see a AR/AK pistol with a couple mags getting you down the road, even if you end up on foot.

  • John Yossarian December 3, 2016, 12:48 am

    If it’s one of those BLM riots, just shoot everyone and let God sort them out.

  • Paul December 3, 2016, 12:04 am

    Sammy, let me say great minds think alike. I am also 1) a former Marine (SSGT) 2) retired Ca peace officer (32 years) 3) a 20 plus years range master and 4) I drive a pickup truck which I would definitely use to ram and bash any fool attempting to harm my family or me. Luckily, I can lawfully carry concealed and always do. By the way, I worked that riot in South LA! It reminded me of downtown Beirut during the Lebanese civil war.

  • Todd Newman December 2, 2016, 12:09 pm

    I too remember the horror of watching Reginald Denny being dragged from the Cab of his Truck and beaten with his Fire Extinguisher. The thugs then danced away like a bunch of pixies. My instructions to my girls is damn the torpedoes. If you are stupid enough to step in front of my Car the you will suffer the consequences. Break the Windows and be prepared to eat copper coated lead…..

  • jimbob December 2, 2016, 10:57 am

    Agree with the concept of your vehicle being the best weapon at hand. Always thought that if somehow got caught up in one of those “peaceful protests” seen on the news (not too likely here in West Central Michigan) them fellers better have some shin guards on. The 9mm wedged between passenger seat and console would be only a last resort.

  • Billybob December 2, 2016, 10:10 am

    I85 where the first people going down the interstate (dumbpos) STOPPED & TRAPPED EVERYONE ELSE BEHIND THEM , NEVER STOP ! ( life or death DON\’T BE AFRAID TO PUSH THE CAR BLOCKING YOU OUT OF THE WAY ) !
    Look in front & around at all times TO SEE WHERE YOU ARE GOING ! WHEN YOU SEE THE CARS AHEAD OF YOU STOPPING , LEAVE PLEANTY OF ROOM BETWEEN YOU AND THEM in case you need to (turn around – change lanes –
    back up – Get a Running Start to use your car ) ! If you are in the car with a bunch of liberals and see no way out , PULL a SHANE (walking dead )( when he was at the school ) !
    PUT ON YOU HOODIE AND put on BLACK FACE , PULL DOWN YOUR PANTS SO THE CRACK OF YOUR AS IS SHOWING ! Dance around shouting mofer ! Ease away from the mob ! DON\’T RUN UNLESS YOU HAVE TO ! ( YOU WILL BECOME PRY WHEN YOU RUN )1
    Never ( SHOW ) your gun at a riot if you have a choice ! Shoot from a jacket or pants pocket ! When the Cops or Thugs
    see you have a gun you become the target ! ( REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS A GUN ) Pray you have a backup and loads of ammo !

  • Billy December 2, 2016, 10:07 am

    I85 where the first people going down the interstate (dumbpos) STOPPED & TRAPPED EVERYONE ELSE BEHIND THEM , NEVER STOP ! ( life or death DON’T BE AFRAID TO PUSH THE CAR BLOCKING YOU OUT OF THE WAY ) !
    Look in front & around at all times TO SEE WHERE YOU ARE GOING ! WHEN YOU SEE THE CARS AHEAD OF YOU STOPPING , LEAVE PLEANTY OF ROOM BETWEEN YOU AND THEM in case you need to (turn around – change lanes –
    back up – Get a Running Start to use your car ) ! If you are in the car with a bunch of liberals and see no way out , PULL a SHANE (walking dead )( when he was at the school ) !
    PUT ON YOU HOODIE AND put on BLACK FACE , PULL DOWN YOUR PANTS SO THE CRACK OF YOUR AS IS SHOWING ! Dance around shouting mofer ! Ease away from the mob ! DON’T RUN UNLESS YOU HAVE TO ! ( YOU WILL BECOME PRY WHEN YOU RUN )1
    Never ( SHOW ) your gun at a riot if you have a choice ! Shoot from a jacket or pants pocket ! When the Cops or Thugs
    see you have a gun you become the target ! ( REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS A GUN ) Pray you have a backup and loads of ammo !

  • Greg December 2, 2016, 9:25 am

    During one of the riots there was a clip of a car of white people and the driver holds a pistol in his hand….”Look out boys, he done got a gun, let em’ go”….or all the Korean business men with guns in LA during riots, or the gun show guys protecting businesses in Ferguson from the chimp out by Soros supported rent-a-thugs. Guns work, even if just brandished.

    Why people don’t seem to recognize they’re sitting inside a major weapon, their car…drive through the thugs and keep going.

  • RetNavet December 2, 2016, 7:39 am

    Shoot every single one of those thugs who “look like Obama if he was capable of producing a son”…most important would be to shoot the bitch with the cell phone video…..”small change got rained on with her own android 3.8”

  • Mike December 2, 2016, 7:30 am

    My wife has the same concern seeing the highways blocked and trucks set fire in Charlotte. I told her that the first thing to do is lock in the rears, it’s gonna get greasy….

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