Citizen's Guide to Armed Defense (2015)
CHAPTER ELEVEN: CLOSING THOUGHTS
As I write this, just yesterday Detroit Police Chief James Craig made this statement according to The Washington Times (July 16, 2014):
The 2nd Amendment guarantees your right to keep and bear arms. But with rights come responsibilities.
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon. I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.”
“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect.”
Detroit has experienced 37% fewer robberies than it did last year, 22% fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30% fewer carjackings in 2014.
A nurse in Milwaukee thwarted a carjacking attempt by two teens, ages 15 and 17. When the two male suspects confronted the nurse telling her they wanted “the keys, car, everything” and then threatened to “Go get the cannon.” She pulled a handgun out of her gym bag and opened fire, hitting the 15-year-old. Turns out intercepting the two suspects helped stop a ring of criminals who had committed another carjacking and other crimes. The wounded 15-year-old, police believe, shot a Milwaukee man during an attempted carjacking. (Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel; 06/12/14)
An off-duty police major was robbed at gunpoint as she was walking with a friend at night. The police supervisor handed over her purse containing her handgun, police badge, debit and credit cards. The officer’s friend’s purse was taken by the robber who then ran off.
Two different incidents and two different outcomes, both are citizens of this country. One was armed and prepared, the other was not. Sadly the second incident involved a trained police officer, sworn to protect. The police were quoted as recommending that you give the robber what they want and get a good description, to be a good “victim.” What would have happened if the robber, like so many others, had shot both of the women? Or how about if he had run around the corner, robbed another person and then shot and killed them? Sure, these are tough decisions when facing a suspect’s gun, and taking action has its risks as we have repeatedly warned, but not being mentally aware or prepared to take action has its risks as well. The nurse by virtue of her mindset and armed capability dominated the violent encounter. The trained police officer chose by her lack of mental awareness and preparedness, and lack of firearm access, to be a victim. We are reminded of another incident involving an off-duty police officer years ago in a barbershop.
An off-duty sheriff’s deputy was inside a beauty salon with his fiancé when two hold-up men entered and removed wallets and personal effects from victims and ordered them face down on the floor. When the suspects found the deputy’s badge in his wallet, they executed him with a shot to the head. The couple was planning their wedding at the time of the incident.
Compare the foregoing cases with this incident out of New York:
A drugstore was robbed by two armed suspects demanding OxyContin and Percocet by name. The robbers ordered everyone in the store to lie face down on the floor. Police responded to the 911 calls and ordered the suspects to come out. One suspect responded by trying to fire on the officers, but his gun failed to fire. One of the three officers fired on the suspect but missed. The suspect then ran across the street, still pointing his handgun at the cops. A retired police lieutenant who was getting gas at the convenience station across the street drew his concealed handgun and responded. From a distance of 55 feet, the retired officer hit the suspect twice in the head killing him.
Here we have a “retired” police supervisor, i.e. an armed citizen who still carries concealed and responds to a violent encounter, in which on-duty police officers could have been shot and killed, by shooting and stopping the armed suspect. I have used many off-duty or retired police officer incidents in this book for several reasons. These incidents tend to be better reported, are more easily accessible, and the public incidents have been going on for years, even in states and cities where concealed carry has been more tightly controlled. But make no mistake, off-duty and retired officers are just armed citizens since they are citizens of the Republic first and police officers second. Law enforcement officers, by and large, are not gun-savvy people. There is an old quote from Francis McGee, the late commander of the NYPD’s Firearms and Tactics Unit, “Most police officers would rather have a custom Parker pen set than a custom Smith & Wesson.” There is a lot of truth in that (although brand new smart phone could be substituted for the pen set in today’s world).
8 July 2014 – WSVN Channel 7 News in Miami reports that budget cuts in Miami-Dade County could result in hundreds of police officers losing their jobs. The news station reports quotes John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, “If the mayor’s not going to provide security, then my recommendation, as an experienced law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years, is to buy yourself an attack dog, put bars on your windows and doors and get yourself some firearms, because you’re going to have to protect yourselves. We won’t be able to.”
Although alarmist talk made to provoke citizen support for maintaining police staffing levels, I concur with Mr. Rivera. Of course, I would agree with all or most of his recommendations. Sadly many of our cities and communities have gotten to the point where troubled areas or high-crime districts get a lot of police service but the nicer parts of town don’t. When was the last time you saw a police vehicle just patrolling your neighborhood? When was the last time you were walking to your car in a darkened parking lot and looked over to see a police patrol car standing guard over you as you walked through the night?
The “average” time for police response in this country is 11 minutes. Now, there are certainly times when police may arrive in a couple of minutes or less, but as the saying goes, “When seconds count, police are minutes away…” Couple this with the fact that violent encounters, even home invasions or burglaries, are often over well within that time and the police often arrive late, with the suspects gone and the oftentimes the victims left in a pile on the floor.
Let me state that I am exceedingly proud of my profession and its commitment to protect communities. Officers rush, often at their own peril, to help the innocent and apprehend the guilty who would prey upon society. Most enjoy nothing more than arresting some bad guy who has preyed upon their communities. This is what most of them live for. But their numbers have been cut over the years and they are strapped to get the back-up they need to enforce the law. They also, by an overwhelming majority, believe in the 2nd Amendment, armed defense and concealed carry by private citizens.
Police officers would tell you, as I am now, that you must plan, prepare, train and arm to defend yourself and protect your loved ones. Law enforcement is by its very nature reactionary, and because of the current state of the economy manpower deficient and training impoverished. There are exceptions but few and far between. Many law enforcement officers must go to the range on their own time, at their own expense and pay for training out of their own pockets.
THE ARMED CITIZEN
News Flash (CBS/AP News, 25 July 14) – Darby, Pennsylvania: A psychiatric patient open fired in a psychiatrist’s office, killing his caseworker and grazing the doctor. According to reports, the doctor drew his own concealed handgun and returned fire, hitting the gunman three times, wounding and stopping him. “The shootings occurred on the third floor of a wellness center attached to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, just southwest of Philadelphia.” AP quotes Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux, “Without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives. Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition.” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philly.com, 25 July) quotes an ultrasound technician, “There’s a sign on the door that says that you have to check your weapons at the front. But you can’t expect every crazy person to do that.”
USA Today (25 July) reports that according to a hospital spokesman interviewed by the Associated Press, “Hospital policy allows only on-duty law enforcement officers to carry weapons on campus.” Indeed, it is standard practice among most hospitals and wellness centers that I’m aware of to restrict even off-duty law enforcement officers within their jurisdiction from carrying onto hospital property. I had the occasion to go to a wellness center for a work-related M.R.I. once on-duty and the technician wanted me to secure my firearm with the unarmed guard in the lobby rather than lock it in a locker where my clothing was secured. It is obvious that the doctor involved in this incident made the conscious decision to violate hospital policy. Lives were saved because of this doctor’s decision and his actions.
It is interesting to note that, according to Heidi Smith of Thunder Ranch, “leading occupation for students in all classes are doctors…2-5 in every class we teach.”
We have seen an explosion in the number of concealed carry permits nationwide. The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) recently published (July 9, 2014) a report Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States. In that report we find the following:
“CPRC collected the most recent data available for each state and the results showed that there are total of 11,113,013 Americans who currently hold concealed carry permits representing 4.8 percent of the total population.
“The number of concealed carry permit holders is likely much higher than 11.1 million because numbers are not available for all states that issue permits, such as New York. Additionally, four states and the majority of Montana do not require that residents have a concealed handgun permit to carry within the state so the number of residents who carry a concealed weapon is not recorded.
“The report also examines the violent crime rate in relation to the rising percentage of the adult population with concealed carry permits. Between 2007 and the preliminary estimates for 2013, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.4 per 100,000 – a 22 percent drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 130 percent. Overall violent crime also fell by 22 percent over that period of time.”
When examining crimes committed by permit holders or instances where permits were revoked, the CPRC provided this data:
“Consider the two large states at the front of the current debate, Florida and Texas: Both states provide easy web access to detailed records of permit holders. Over two decades, from October 1, 1987 to May 31, 2014, Florida has issued permits to more than 2.64 million people, with the average person holding a permit for more than a decade. Few -- 168 (about 0.006%) -- have had their permits revoked for any type of firearms related violation, the most common being accidentally carrying a concealed handgun into a gun-free zone such as a school or an airport, not threats or acts of violence. It is an annual rate of 0.0002 percent.
“The already low revocation rate has been declining over time. Over the last 77 months from January 2008 through May 2014, just four permits have been revoked for firearms-related violations. With an average of about 875,000 active permit holders per year during those years, the annual revocation rate for firearms related violations is 0.00007 percent – seven one hundred thousandths of one percentage point.
“For all revocations, the annual rate in Florida is 0.012 percent.
“The numbers are similarly low in Texas. In 2012, the latest year that crime data are available, there were 584,850 active license holders. Out of these, 120 were convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony, a rate of 0.021 percent, with only a few of these crimes involving a gun.”
YOUR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Those numbers are pretty clear, just like in Detroit. But with rights come responsibilities. It is simply not enough to go through a CCW permit training program and devote no more study or preparation to your armed defense. These programs are meant as minimum entrance level training programs, not all that you’ll ever need or all that you should do to properly prepare.
Time after time in my police career I have had officers tell me that they responded just like they had trained or that training saved their lives. In the violent armed encounters in which I have been involved, most started and were over in seconds, with no time to “think” about what to do, only time to respond to threat cues or suspect actions – stimulus/response as we talked about earlier.
Your responsibility then is to train and practice.
Our Second Amendment rights are guaranteed by our Constitution. A Constitution which placed the Right to Keep and Bear Arms second only to “freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” But as Thomas Jefferson so eloquently stated, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” So too, the price of safety, security and self-defense is eternal vigilance.
Obtaining the correct firearm(s) under your American right to keep arms is only one part of the equation. Knowledge, training and practice will improve your performance under stress when those who would attempt to take your “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as our nation’s founders wrote are our unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence.
Evil exists in our world, our country and society. And as Rev, Charles Aked (1916) is quoted as saying, “It has been said that for evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.”
I compliment you that by purchasing or reading this book you are doing something. I hope that you will continue on your quest to train, prepare and plan. Training has saved my life and countless men and women I know. This guide is a testament to the lifesaving power of knowledge, training and practice.
“I pray that the Good Lord blesses you with the strength and will to train to win!” ~ Kevin R. Davis