Ep. 30 Should I Shoot? Have You Chosen Not to Be a Victim?


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:

If you haven’t been the victim of some type of crime, count yourself as one of the lucky ones. Being a victim is an awful feeling even months or years later. Just thinking about it takes you back and your gut starts to churn. Regardless of the crime committed against you, it changes the way you live your life.

From my own personal experience, I’ve been assaulted, targeted for a mugging, had personal property stolen and my wife was home during a hot prowl burglary attempt at 11 a.m. Things being taken without permission — stolen — aren’t personal attacks, but they can leave you feeling like your personal space was violated. For some, it takes a long time to feel safe in their own home.

This past week, friends of mine had their house broken into while they were both at work. They recently bought the house and were still in the setting-it-up-like-they-want-it stage. The house sits on a few acres back from the main road and is what many would call a “fixer-upper.” I won’t get into what was taken, but the theft has left the husband very angry and the wife scared to be in her own home. He immediately got cameras installed with real-time notification and an alarm system. He’s also upgraded the entire perimeter lighting as well as window and door locks. The property is a bit overgrown, so he’s been on the tractor clearing up the yard to limit places for individuals to hide. Even with the new security measures, she is still not feeling safe and her anxiety levels are maxed out when home alone or even thinking about going home.

I knew at least one question was on the way: “What kind of gun should I get for her?” He owns some hunting rifles and a few pistols, but she’s not comfortable shooting any of them. In fact, she’s almost as scared of guns as she is the thief coming back.

Bringing her up to speed will be a process that I’m willing to work through to get her comfortable and competent if she chooses to go that route. Notice I said “if” she chooses to. It’s going to take some time, but in the meantime, I’ve taken her to school on how to be more aware of what’s going on in her busy life. We are working on skills to make her feel like an active participant in her personal defense plan. We’ve worked on getting out of the phone and functioning in Condition Yellow while conducting business and moving about and what counter-measures to take if she is being followed or approached. The self-defense skills we work on are all gross motor and are kept as simple as possible so she can defend and get out of dodge.

I told her when we first talked that there isn’t a magic wand to fix the problems or prevent anything from happening in the future, but that she can elect to bite down on her mouthpiece and choose to not be a victim. It’s empowering to take responsibility for your own personal safety.

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

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Joseph Maese December 8, 2016, 10:02 am

    I had a neighbor who had his wife assaulted by a stranger who entered through the garage door. They had a tendency to leave the garage door cracked open during the hot summer. My sister, and the neighbor’s husband wanted to start carrying a pistol. As responsible gun owners, it is up to us to practice situations constantly, and educate them before they have a negative impact as a result of carrying and not understanding what is involved. Sometimes, it’s better to make people understand that they must have a sense of awareness of their surroundings, not indulged in their cellphone while shopping, and take a look at their home environment to lower the risk of being a victim. The people who make their career as a burglar have criteria for their victims. Being aware of your environment is necessary whether or not you carry a weapon.

  • gary November 27, 2016, 11:02 am

    Funny I thought it said you were in Kalifornia, Gun grabering Leftist of the World, Register the Ammoland and all that!!!!!!!!!!

  • Doc November 25, 2016, 6:58 pm

    While on vacation in TN mountains last year my wife was confronted by a biker dude looking for a fight. I was in front of our home about 300 ft away and I could hear him calling her every name including the c word numinous times. Finally he told her he was going to knock her out and I shot my Glock into the ground on my property. This gave her a chance to flee. I was with our son and after I shot he reached into his car grabbed his gun and fired at us.

    We went home and within 30 minuets or so three cruisers arrived at my home and I told them that he threantend my wife’s life and I shot off a round to stop the trouble. I was placed under arrest on three felony charges and taken to jail.

    He had gone home and called the Sheriffs department. I spent the night in jail as they refused to allow me bail or any other of my rights. I slept on the concreat floor with no blanket or anything else. Next day I was granted bail and apperaed in court where I was told to get a lawyer and cone back in one week. They kept my gun holster and ammo and would not give me a recipt. These clowns never searched me or read me my rights and they said ” in Tenn you can not protect your wife or son that is against the law”

    I hired the best lawyer in town which does not say much. The town is a small town with all good old boys. This was a nightmare that lasted many months. No one should go through what we were put through. The kid still has nightmares over this. In the mountains you never go out without a gun as it’s VERY rural with many bad animals around. I guess bikers as well. The lawyer told me if he was me he would have shot the biker dead right in the road? Moral of the story? Stay the hell out of Tenn!

    • Billybob December 3, 2016, 12:37 am

      Just thank if she had walked away and called the police ! You never showed her life was ever in danger ! Sticks & stones may break my bone but WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME ! Was he HOLDING HER ? So what started it ? Was he just riding by and stopped to yell at your wife ? Unarmed biker ! Never touched her ! Never showed any weapon ! You fired a shot ! What was it that she did again to him ?
      Lawyers will tell you anything to make you thank you were right and they are on your side and can get you off as long as you keep the money FLOWING right up until the end when you go to jail ?
      Hope your wife is worth becoming a felon for !

      • Billybob December 3, 2016, 1:04 am

        P.S. These clowns never searched me or read me my rights LOL they don\’t have to read you your rights as long as you are not under ARREST ! Then it\’s to LATE ! Didn\’t you know to KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ? Never say anything to the police without a LAWYER ! ANYTHING except your name ! Maybe you should watch cops or The First 48 ! You better hope he (biker)was from out of town and will not show up for court ! Keep postponing (changing) court , MAYBE he will get tired and not show up ! You better hope the BIKER HAS A RECORD (get a copy as evidence ) ! Hope he is the only witness ! Pray the police didn\’t record every word to told them ! Research TN law on self defense (elements of the law) ! Deferred prosecution ! Probation !

    • Billybob December 3, 2016, 7:33 am

      Engage only if your LIFE or Family is in danger ! KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ! DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE afterward !
      Try to back away beforehand ! If you have time state you are in FEAR for YOUR LIFE ! If you call the police tell them there has been a shooting and an ambulance is needed, & the address (nothing more ) ! Everything you say is recorded ! Get the names of any witnesses & phone numbers ! Most witnesses don\\’t want to get involved or take weeks off from work !
      Next call your attorney ! Tell the police your attorney has advised you not to talk til you have met with him/her !
      You will need at least $25,000.00 to pay to get him/her started !
      1. Call 911
      2. Officer this person attacked me, I will sign the complaint,
      3. Officer here is the evidence (knife, gun, ball bat, whatever).
      4. Officer these are the witnesses.
      5. Officer you will have my full cooperation in 24 hrs after I see my attorney.May 13, 2013
      10 things you should NEVER do after a self defense shootingWhen it comes to armed self defense, it\\’s usually not the shooting itself that trips you up legally. More often than not, it\\’s what you do afterward that gets you in hot water.Here are 10 things you should avoid after using your gun in self defense. Never …Call 911 in a panic. No matter how tough you are, your body and brain will be a mess after you pull the trigger and see a body lying on your living room floor. Take a moment to breath deeply, calm down, and get your thoughts in order before you call authorities. Consider learning 4-square breathing to relax.Leave the scene. Unless you\\’re in danger, stay put. You may feel an overwhelming need to seek out friends or family or run away, but don\\’t. That could be misinterpreted as fleeing the scene which could give the appearance of guilt.Move or tamper with evidence. It\\’s natural to want to \\”tidy up,\\” especially if you\\’re in your home. This is unwise. Touch nothing. If there are others nearby, make sure they do the same.Have your gun in your hand when the police arrive. Police will be responding to a \\”man with a gun\\” or \\”shots fired\\” call and won\\’t know who\\’s the good guy and who\\’s the bad guy. They will view anyone holding a gun as a threat and will deal with you as such. In short, reholster your gun or set it down if you don\\’t want to get shot.Make a statement to police before you talk to your lawyer. Police have a job to do and you need to be cooperative, but you don\\’t want to say too much because anything you say will be used against you. What should you say? There are many opinions on this, but here is one formulation:My gun is laying over there, and that is the gun that I used to shoot my attacker in self defense because I feared for my life. I do not want to say anything else until I have had time to talk to my attorney. I want to cooperate with the investigation completely, but I\\’m very upset right now and I need to talk to my attorney first. I hope you understand.Fall for good cop bad cop. You think you\\’re too smart to fall for this routine, but you\\’re not. You\\’ll be upset and you\\’ll want to talk, especially to anyone who appears sympathetic. Law enforcement officers are not necessarily your enemy, but they\\’re not your friend either. Shut up. Talk to your lawyer before you make any statement to police.Try your case on the spot. Police have more than one way to get you to talk. Aside from good cop bad cop, they might challenge your use of lethal force. You\\’ll want to argue your case, but don\\’t. Again, shut up. You\\’re not a lawyer and you\\’re not in a courtroom, not yet anyway.Lecture police on the law or your rights. One of the worst things you can do is get belligerent or act superior. Police are human beings and will react like anyone else if you challenge their authority, belittle their intelligence, or talk down to them. No matter what police say, even if they say or do something you believe to be incorrect, this isn\\’t the time to get into a debate.Fail to use the word \\”sir.\\” Most police are good, decent people who have a difficult job. Treat them with respect. Phrases such as \\”yes sir\\” and \\”no sir\\” will go a long way toward showing responding officers that you are the respectable, upstanding citizen you know yourself to be.Be surprised if you\\’re treated like a criminal. It\\’s best to assume that you will be handcuffed, placed prone on the ground, locked in the back of a cruiser, or even jailed. It takes time to sort out the truth of any shooting, and police are likely to do any or all of these things. Don\\’t take it personally. Don\\’t resist or argue. Cooperate fully and just let it all happen. Of course, if you\\’re a member of Second Call Defense, you\\’ll have immediate help to sort things out. But even if you\\’re not, take it all in stride.

    • Mongo December 23, 2016, 11:06 am

      No, the moral of the story is “Don’t act like my dumb-ass”
      Your first mistake was not preparing your wife to react to events, such as screaming for help/”He’s got a gun!”, running toward you or others in public, otherwise making a HUGE scene in which any witnesses would easily assume she is the victim. Do not stand there and let some idiot build up his machismo. Besides, the scene she makes is the justifiable reason for you to act; when you have to report to the police what happened, having the comment “My wife screamed he’s got a gun and was running like hell back to me” is a pretty good bit of evidence in your favor. It doesn’t matter if he did/did not have the gun, as long as she perceived he had a gun (“it looked like he had a gun tucked in his belt”, “I thought I saw a gun in the car, whatever), that is the way to get him to change his mode from aggressor, to fleeing thug. Besides, its not a lie, it is her perception, he now has to prove he didn’t have a gun
      Second, you never, never shoot a warning shot. If you feel the need to pull your weapon, then you should be hauling ass toward your wife before you do that so the bad guy realizes that you are coming to help and defend.

      If at any point in a confrontation you have to either present the gun, show the gun or any other action in which you can be observed in the process of grabbing a weapon, of any kind, YOU NEED TO BE THE FIRST ONE ON THE PHONE TO 911!!!! The first to make contact is the victim — ALWAYS!!!!. And even though he was cursing out your wife, but did not lay hands on her, you made the big mistake by firing a shot. Legally, he had the right to return fire because he assumed that you are the aggressor to him by firing the shot, and that is why your dumb-ass got arrested. Check you Billy-Bad-Ass at the door and use your head for once, now, you may have to find another way to defend yourself because if you are convicted, you are now a felon.

  • Dilligaf November 22, 2016, 9:58 am

    I refuse to be a victim or any have any of my loved ones be a victim…that’s why I conceal carry. I don’t carry because it makes me feel powerful. I don’t carry because it’s thug life or “gangsta yo”. I carry for protection and mainly because I refuse to be a victim.

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