Let George Do It

Old Time Radio

Back in the 1940s there was a very popular radio show where people with difficult problems or issues would call on the series hero, “George Valentine” as a private investigator and he would “do it” meaning he would solve their problem.  The show starred Bob Bailey and can still sometimes be heard on Sirius XMs Radio Classics channel.

Murder Rate Correlation

I spent a large part of yesterday trying to correlate murder rates in large cities to some some definitive predictor of what was most likely the cause in fact of higher murder rates.

The first thing I looked at was gun control.

Two of the cities were very high, with Baltimore, Maryland, having a murder rate of 57.8 per 100,000 population, a stratospheric number.  Chicago also had a very high murder rate, and it has gotten worse since the statistics from 2015 were the last set used.  Both of these cities have draconian gun control laws, and it has done absolutely nothing to stop the spread of crime and the huge number of murders they experience.

“Ah ha!” I said, “I’ve found the key.”

And this of course explains why you don’t use data sets of two.  Because St. Louis, Missouri, where there is constitutional carry (but not in 2015) has a murder rate of  59.8, and concealed carry has been the law there for roughly seven years.  So, gun control, or at least, gun control alone, does not predict murder rates.

What about race? Does race predict high murder rates?  The answer is no, there is an exceptionally weak correlation.  The one factor that really stood out was political control.  In all the cities the mayor was a Democrat.  Except, again, that did not track with murder rates.  St. Louis has a democrat mayor, but so does Albuquerque, NM, with a murder rate of 2.2

As I sat there thinking about it, I recognized that at least part of the problem might be what I call the “illusion of safety” that comes from living in a city with a police organization and active presence.

Urban v. Non-Urban

Murder rates in Texas, as a general rule are lower, even for big cities, than are the murder rates in more eastern states and cities.  It occurred to me that one reason for this could well be the perception among Texans that they are responsible for their own personal defense, and the fact that this ethic is hard-wired into Texans.

In short, murder rates in urban areas always outstrip murder rates in suburban areas, in part for reasons of mobility (suburban travel requires a car; travel inside a city can be by foot).  Additionally, population density provides both more targets of opportunity and more targets of happenstance (kids hit by stray bullets).  Residents of cities tend to have more human contact and more divergent human contact than those in outlying areas.  It creates the “perfect storm” where conditions allow mayhem to grow out of misunderstandings.

Safety in Numbers?

There is a perception deep-wired into all of us that there is safety in numbers, that when we are with, say, ten people, our odds are better than when we’re alone.  Yet the kinds of indiscriminate fire that accompany gang violence actually makes it less safe if the one that is being shot at is close to you or your group.  As important, when there is a greater population, even where there is a greater number of police, they have a much higher volume of calls.  Add to that the issue that half of those calls amount to asking people to simply be reasonable with one another, and again, there is an explanation for why it takes the police an hour, sometimes, to respond to a call.

That doesn’t mean there are not problems with enforcement priorities too.  For example, in my town of Miramar Beach, Florida, over Spring Break the Walton County Sheriff’s office devotes a large number of officers to stopping under-age drinking.  There is no doubt this makes driving safer.  However, when you have three cop cars converging on a small 4 bedroom house to arrest under-age drinkers that are drinking, in private, behind a gate, by a pool, that suggests that your priorities may be a bit out of order.  I fully understand that you break the law whether anyone sees you or not, but the bottom line is, kids in that house had come home to drink in private and would not have been on the road.

Nevertheless, the idea that you’re safer in a crowded city than on your own in the country is a fiction.  It’s a fiction because in the country, you are 911.  You have to be prepared to defend yourself, because the sheriff is likely at least half an hour away.  In the city, with neighbors all around, you may feel safer, but you are not going to be safer.

My thesis is that those in the confines of a city trust their police to protect them, and don’t learn that this trust is misplaced (in the sense that there are not enough police, not from the standpoint that the police won’t do all they can), until the wolf is at the door.  Then, with nothing to stand in the way of the criminal, they either get robbed, raped or murdered.  It is sad, and it is preventable.

Live in the Moment

Let George Do It may be a great slogan for a radio show, but it is a very poor way to live your life or provide for your own personal security.  We have an intrusion alarm, two dogs, and multiple firearms at our house.  In our home, no one is going to sneak up on us.  And we are more than willing to let the police handle any intrusion.  Our plan is to converge on the bedroom with the fast-action gun safe, lock the door, warn the intruder, and wait for the police.  But if one comes through the bedroom door, that intruder will be met with all the force legal under the circumstances. Similarly, when we are out, we take note of our surroundings, and if something doesn’t look right, we retreat to somewhere that’s safe.  We never pull up right behind someone else at a stop light, and we never ever drive with windows down. The one thing that carjacking victims, robbery victims, and other violent crime victims all say is “it happened so fast!”  In truth, it happened in real time, but it seemed fast because their minds were engaged mentally on something else until they were jarred into a fight for survival.

Don’t be that guy (or gal).

Broward Coward

Everyone considered him, the Coward of the County…

He never stood one single time, to prove the county wrong…

“No one wants to face an AR-15.”  With that pathetic rationale, one of the many faces of the “victims” of the Parkland Florida shooting (a “victim” who did not receive a single injury, by the way) excuses the cowardly conduct of the deputies from Broward who stayed outside rather than face the school shooter and bring his rampage to an end.  This is not a defense of the deputy: it is an attempt to demonize a gun.

The deputy, who resigned when his conduct became publicly known, has now set out to “rehab” his image by claiming that he thought the gunfire was coming from outside the school.  As those of us who have shot firearms, and had them fired at us in anger know, the sounds of gunfire inside a building are decidedly different from those sounds outside a building.  He could not have been confused.  There is no excuse for letting innocents die when you are charged with protecting them.  There is no euphemism for “coward.”

The sheriff seeks to mitigate the harm this cowardice has inflicted on his department by claiming that there is no “evidence” that deputies waited outside.  No evidence, of course, other than statements made by Coral Springs police who arrived on scene to find Broward deputies hiding outside.  They must have been very easy to spot with those yellow streaks running down their back, and the puddles of urine underneath them.

I would agree with the student “victim” to the extent that no one wants to face down a person with an AR-15 when the rifleman is outside and you’re firing a relatively underpowered 9mm pistol.  But inside a school, where walls and hallways limit freedom of movement as well as point of aim, a handgun is a superior tool to an AR because a shooter need expose much less of his body to the attacker.  Even if this tactical advantage were not reason enough to merit a full-scale assault on the shooter, the fact that children were being killed certainly was.  It is never defensible to claim that waiting for backup in that situation was “policy” because while a criminal is expected to be rational and not attempt to run from police in large numbers, crazy people who hear voices and shoot up schools genuinely may not care if they live or die.  They are interested in a body count, and the sooner they are interdicted, the better.

Worse, the longer the wait, the more likely you will have a hostage situation, and hostage situations never work out well for the hostages when the hostage-taker is batshit crazy as Nicholas Cruz clearly was.  Perhaps not crazy in a legal sense — he knew what he was doing — but he did lay off the shooting to hearing voices.  And he wound up surrendering peacefully, and thus was likely searching for that 15 minutes of fame that comes with acts of infamy.

As I have thought about it, the key difference between someone like me, a civilian, and someone like the deputy that peed down his leg while waiting for help, is that I have not taken an oath to enforce the law in Broward County.  I have not voluntarily bound myself to place myself between evil and the innocents.  I do not draw a paycheck every month specifically because I have professed that willingness to confront evil.  American history is full of men who assumed the burden of taking on evil and made great sacrifices in that cause.

On the island of Iwo Jima the Japanese during World War II had large concentrations of men and rifles trained on a relatively smaller contingent of US Marines.  Those marines did not “want to go up against” men with Type 96 machine guns firing 6.5 mm bullets at them.  They did not want to crawl up on beaches while being shot and mortared.  They did not want to get shot and killed.  But they did not stay on board the ship and let the other guys do it.  They did not wait for the Army Air Corp to bomb the island into submission.  No, they moved forward, into the line of fire, and they fought as units against an organized and lethal evil.  And they prevailed only at great cost.

Some will say that these men did not do this voluntarily.  They were compelled because not advancing under fire would have seen them court-martialed and imprisoned.  But men do not fight because they fear the consequences of dishonor, they fight because they do not want the unwashable stain of dishonor attached to them.  They fight for their brothers, and yes, they fight for their country and the ideals of freedom, justice, mercy and love.  They fought because they knew that unless they did, evil would triumph.  They took an oath.  They honored that oath.

The Broward deputy took an oath too.  Specifically, he took this oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the State, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of deputy sheriff on which I am now about to enter, so help me God.

A sheriff does not “well and faithfully perform” those duties when he hides like a screaming 13 year old girl until the shooting stops.  The deputy was a coward, and he did the right thing by resigning.  He had not well and faithfully executed the duties of his office.

Now the sheriff himself must resign.  He went on live television and never revealed the role of the deputy who was cowering behind a concrete wall sucking his thumb and saying “mamma.”  He did not disclose the statements by the Coral Springs police officers.  He did not admit the dozens of missteps by officers in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting.  He has continually said that Broward County did not drop the ball.  The man is either an idiot, or the most cognitively dissonant individual since Baghdad Bob.  The buck stops with him, and just like the deputy, by allowing cowards to serve, he has not well and faithfully executed his office.  He needs to resign.

Governor Scott should fire him if he fails to resign.

Where there’s smoke…

Imagine This

It’s 7 in the morning.  You look out your door and you see some smoke, not a lot, coming from your neighbor’s house.  You think maybe his house is on fire.  So you call the Fire Department directly and tell them.  The Fire Department says “well does he have a gas grill?  Maybe he’s just grilling some sausage.”

So you hang up.  You look out ten minutes later and there is more smoke.  Geez, it’s black.  You call the fire department again, and this time they tell you to call 911.  But, you’ve already called once.  No sense being an alarmist.

You think, perhaps I should go warn Jacob and Leticia about the smoke.  They have two kids, you wouldn’t want anything to happen to them, but then again you think, who needs a buttinsky neighbor?

Fifteen minutes later you see the fire trucks arrive.  Although they battle the flames relentlessly, they cannot save the occupants who died from smoke inhalation.  You call the media and blame the fire department.  They should have acted on the first call, sent a fire truck, and investigated the smoke.  Where there is smoke, there’s fire!  The mayor calls for the fire chief’s head.  The fire chief, a bum by anyone’s measure, didn’t take the call, and didn’t make the decisions.  But his job is on the line.  The state fire marshall says it will investigate!

But…what about you?

What was your responsibility?

Sure, you could have gone over and knocked on the door, you could have investigated, you could have gotten the family out before it was too late.  But, you were worried about what people might think.  You were worried about what Jacob might think.  And now that there is a tragedy, you want to blame the only people with a duty to react.

The FBI is not ENTIRELY to Blame for Parkland

Does the situation above sound familiar?

What is described above is almost exactly what happened with the Parkland shooter.  Lots of people knew the kid was dangerous.  Lots of people knew he had guns.  At least two people tried to alert authorities.  But no one – not one single person with knowledge – took direct action and marched down to the police station or FBI and stomped their feet until someone actually did something.

Government is like a freight train.  It takes a lot of energy to get it going, and once it’s going, it takes a lot of time to make it stop.  You don’t start a freight train with a 100 cc motorcycle engine.  Yet, calls to tip lines, made anonymously, do not guarantee a solution. They are, in fact, just a  100 cc engine in the giant cogs of government.  All calls to tip lines do is salve the conscience for later: “At least I tried!”

But, no, you didn’t.  You knew the skeevy little perv was planning to do this, you knew he had it in him, you knew he had guns, and you were worried about being ridiculed, or worse, sued.  You were scared for all the wrong reasons.  You should have been scared for all the right ones.

And what about the sheriff’s deputies who had been to the shooter’s house more than 22 times?  What is their responsibility.  Why did not they get involved with the state child welfare agency and force action.  The squeaky wheel, so they say, gets the grease.  Those deputies knew or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known that this kid was a loose cannon.  Where is their accountability?

While it is true that the FBI did not bring honor upon itself in this situation, it is not entirely to blame.  Every one of those kids who said “we knew he was going to do something like this” ought to have to go look at the bodies, see the holes, and face the families of the dead and listen to their wailing.

In 1982, when I was a therapist at St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida, I was on duty when fire-medics brought in a child who had drowned in Lake Worth.  The fire-medics had responded heroically for that 12 year old boy, and our ER crew worked tirelessly for almost an hour trying to get life signs back.  But it was futile.  In the end the ER doctor had to walk out and tell the family.  He did that as I was walking the ambu-bags back to the department, and if I live to be 100, I will never forget the wail of the mother of that child “My baby, my baby, he was only 12!”  I still tear up thinking about that day, and the profound loss that woman suffered.  And then I magnify it by 17, and don’t doubt that people are sick, scared and angry.

So, make them face the families.  Make them take accountability for the suffering they facilitated.  Make them understand that sometimes, when you see something, you need to do more than say something.  You need to stomp your feet, you need to raise the red flags, you need to take direct action!

We are all familiar with the story of Cain and Abel.  We know that we are, indeed, our brother’s keeper. Vicktor Frankl, the noted existential psychotherapist, said that “the last of a man’s freedoms is his ability to choose his reaction to a given situation.”  We need to stop choosing to be silent.  I have made that decision.

For several days now there has been a trailer parked on the road leading to my house.  It has no reflectors.  Along about dusk it all but disappears, and even with car lights on people have trouble seeing it.  So I called the police.  I asked them to do something.  They told me they could not do anything at that time, but that they would talk to the owner and warn him and if he didn’t do something about it, they would ticket him.

That’s not good enough for me.

I am buying traffic cones and placing them behind it.  If it saves a life, the $10 will be worth it.

And you.  The next time you see something, and say something, and nothing happens, you better be prepared to keep saying something until someone does something.  You owe that much to others.

Truth Matters!

Another school shooting, another knee-jerk reaction.  BLAME THE GUN!

Yes, we all get tired of this.  Yes, we all know that decent people wait for answers to questions like why, but that people who advocate gun control simply want to be emotional vultures on the pain and suffering of others.  They posit that winning the battle of public opinion is more important than winning the battle on the facts.  As a result they spread lie after lie in order not to be accurate, not to have an intelligent discussion, but rather, to persuade using falsity.  This is unethical, unreasonable, and completely dishonest.  Here is a sampling of just the lies I have seen on Twitter and Facebook in the past 24 hours:

Lie Truth
AR-15 is a military rifle AR-15 is a civilian sporting rifle.
AR stands for assault rifle AR stands for Armalite Rifle
AR fires military grade ammunition AR fires standard .223 rounds, which are lower power rounds than hunting rifles.
ARs are too difficult for civilians to handle 9 year olds shoot them in competition.
ARs are assault rifles An assault rifle is a term of art and to be an assault rifle the weapon must be capable of automatic fire.  ARs are not assault rifles.
You don’t need background checks to buy AR-15s Background checks apply to all commercial sales.
There is no background check in Florida, all you do is fill out a form See above.  That’s complete bullshit.
Trump rolled back a ban on selling guns to crazy people Trump rolled back a presumption that someone who needs help managing their money is batshit crazy, and the ACLU supported this measure.
The NRA owns politicians NRA donations pale in comparison to donations by other groups.
ARs fire 600 rounds a minute ARs fire one round each time the trigger is pulled.


None of these outrageous lies are true, but they are all spouted by people who supposedly believe them.  Either they do not have access to Google (which seems strange, when they’re posting on social media) or they don’t care to be accurate because their emotions are more important than honesty.

Last night someone said we should not take them on with “technical points.”  That’s nonsense.  A gun that fires 600 rounds a minute sounds scary.  “Assault rifle” sounds scary.  “It’s okay to sell guns to crazy people” sounds scary and crazy.  98% of the public is gullible and lazy and if they see something in print more than twice they believe it.  We absolutely must debate them on the facts because we can’t win on the emotions.  No one wants to see kids shot dead.  But when the police, FBI, and others do not do their part, when they do not interdict kids who cannot legally possess weapons (you must be 21 to buy a pistol), and when politicians refuse to blame the shooter and instead blame the NRA, we absolutely must fight on the facts.

It is up to us.  We must do what needs to be done.


An Instant to React, & No Do Overs

Today’s blog post is dedicated to a survivor, Richard Nelson of the Las Vegas, Nevada, Metropolitan Police Force.  Mr. Nelson’s incident, captured on a body camera, illustrates why people who criticize officers for shooting too quickly fail to recognize the inherent dangers of policing.  It is a cautionary tale that says “judge not!”

Before we roll the video, let’s set the stage.  The police have been alerted to a thief who has a stolen cell phone.  The owner, using GPS, has tracked it to a truck parked in front of a convenience store.  In the video he is the person the cops are telling to “get back” because he is either being a lookie-loo or because, like all people who know nothing about police work, is offering “helpful suggestions.”  Nota Bene:  if you do not do police work, do not offer “helpful advice” to police officers.  It just annoys them.

Apparently the suspect is sleeping, and the cops wake him up and ask him to step out of the truck.  The truck is stolen.  They don’t know that.  As you watch this video, watch what happens, and watch the second officer’s reactions on his body cam.  Also pay attention to the lead officer, Nelson, and his coughing after the incident.

Here is the video.

Amazing, no?

In an instant the encounter went from whiny-but-cooperative to full on Call of Duty.

So, here is the really interesting part of this.  First, Nelson survived.  He was wounded, but he lived. Moreover, he was shot in the chest, and survived.  He survived because he got prompt medical attention after he secured backup and after he had rendered the bad guy combat ineffective.

His partner took a round in his gun belt.  I am sure it hurt like the dickens, but he was not wounded in terms of a bullet entry into flesh.

But look at what Nelson did in this encounter.  He drew and fired his service weapon with incredible rapidity and was combat effective with at least one of his shots.  In addition, even though he had been shot, he did not err and wind up shooting his partner who was also downrange.  He drew and came to a two-handed grip and delivered aimed fire all within one second of the encounter going sideways.

Keep in mind, they were investigating a theft.  There was no information on their radio about the fact the truck was stolen, or had stolen plates.  There was no information about the suspect because he had refused to identify himself.  The suspect had a record for assault and theft, and thus was a prohibited possessor of firearms.  No firearms were visible in the vehicle so as to give the officers a clue as to what was coming.

Now, we could debate tactics.  The police chief said they should have gotten him out of the vehicle sooner.  That is Monday Morning Quarterbacking at its finest.  Likewise, we could take pokes at both officers being on the same side of the truck instead of one on the passenger side, but it was a valid judgment call to assume that both officers would be needed to physically remove the rather large suspect from the truck.  So, in my view, if the officers did anything wrong – and that is a very big IF – then at the very least Nelson’s swift reaction and effective fire covering both his retreat and the retreat of his brother officer, ought to wipe away any of that.

Now keep in mind after the first shots are fired (and they were fired by the suspect, not the cops) Nelson is hit.  He was shot under his vest in the armpit area, and he has a chest wound that is producing the cough and shortness of breath.  But incredibly the officer is combat effective for another 40 seconds at least, before being rescued by a sergeant who forgets to unlock his door.

There is justifiable criticism of the shootings of Philando Castile and Daniel Shaver.  I believe those boil down to poor training and an overabundance of testosterone.  Stupid people did stupid things and two lives were lost.  And again, in Monday Morning Quarterbacking, we can say that neither of these men posed a threat to the police.  But, the cops at the time did not know that.  And it is precisely episodes like this one that make officers’ reactions to suspects understandable.  In a situation like this, you don’t get a do over.  You either shoot and live, or fail to shoot and die.

This is one reason why I believe citizens need to acquaint themselves with the risks that officers run every day, and stand up for their police.  Because when violence is knocking at your door, especially if you are unarmed, that’s who is coming to help.

Good Guy With A Gun

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun”

– Wayne LaPierre, NRA


“I never see a ‘good guy with a gun:’ I see a human more likely to exacerbate a tragedy than to stop it.”

– Charles Clymer, HuffPost Blogger

Media Silence

I find it interesting that one of the things that consistently seems to happen in the media is that defensive gun uses, where a concealed carrier or home owner uses a firearm to stop a violent or criminal enterprise, is vastly underreported, yet every other shooting is magnified and followed by puff pieces like the one above by Charles Clymer.  Clymer asserts that because of his “infantry training” and the Army’s strict training protocols, only monotonous training, repeated ad nauseum, can prepare a person to shoot to kill.

Pardon me while I laugh out loud at this ridiculous joke!  Putting aside for the moment the fact that human life is not precious to the criminal class, and adopting the idea that Clymer seems to suggest that us “normals” are squeamish about shooting people, let’s deconstruct this nonsense.

There are two components to taking a human life with a firearm.  The first is marksmanship, the ability to hit what you aim at.  While it indeed takes a few days to master the M-16, as Clymer says, remember that it is a weapon capable of automatic fire (though now in burst mode).  Still, it is not some complex machine that requires 18 full days of training to be able to use effectively.  I taught my wife how to shoot it in about two hours.  Also of note, Adam Lanza didn’t have that training and he certainly mastered his AR-knockoff while killing dozens.  So don’t give me a bunch of crap about “normal people” being unable to operate a sporting rifle.  That’s just crap.  Clymer knows it, which makes it worse.

With handguns the training required to aim, shoot and hit a target can be done in 8 hours according to pretty much every state that issues handgun permits.  While I do not think that is an appropriate amount of time personally, and believe that true safety comes from repetitive training and a dedication to mastering responses to stressful situations, I am not crazy enough to believe that someone willing to carry a firearm is somehow incapable of deploying it successfully, even under stress, because deploying it doesn’t always mean firing it.  Moreover, great training programs for civilians, like this one, exist.  They teach fundamentals as well as tactics in an integrated environment, and perhaps most importantly, simulate a defensive shooting situation for the students.  Yes, that’s right, to complete the course you have to demonstrate that in a defensive encounter you have the skills to perform the tasks necessary to save your life.  But again, the marksmanship aspect of defensive shooting is pretty basic, and most gun fights occur between 6 and 10 feet (and in most cases, even with trained law enforcement, half the shots miss).

Skills are perishable and require practice.  But they can be learned.  Clymer is hiding the facts by using the M-16, a fully automatic rifle, to mask his hidden agenda on gun control.

Clymer’s second assertion is that the psychological aspects require long monotonous training to make killing second nature.  Again, lets put aside the gang-bangers from MS-13 who view life as cheap, and the thugs who shoot down children and old people.  They are not a part of this discussion because Clymer doesn’t want (or is afraid to take) their guns.

He says normals are not capable of becoming killing machines.  Uh, yeah. And THANK GOD!

We are not at war in America.  Killing does not need to be second nature.  It needs to be a last resort.  We do not want people desensitized to taking human life.  If we have to shoot, we shoot not to kill another human being, but rather, to protect our life or the life of another. We are not a nation of shoot-first-ask-questions-later Neanderthals, we are a nation of laws.  Clymer doesn’t get this, principally because his a liberal and principally because he would be happiest when all power is concentrated in Democratic hands.

The idea that “the good guy with a gun is a myth,” however, is debunked almost daily with stories of people defending themselves or others, and many times without ever firing a shot.  Consider the case of Derek Meyer.  Meyer was driving along, minding his own business when he saw a crazy man kicking the living shit out of a cop.  The officer had to be hospitalized with a fractured eye socket.  We’re not talking love taps here.  This is Brutus giving Popeye the no-spinach treatment!

Meyer is a lawful concealed carrier.  He gets out of his car, points his gun at the criminal, and orders him to stop the attack.  The bad guy runs.

Here is where the story gets good, and Clymer’s point gets totally destroyed.  If killing were truly second nature, Meyer would not have issued an order, he would have shot the guy.  In that limited situation he might have been justified if he believed shooting was necessary to prevent death or serious injury to the police officer only.

But he didn’t shoot.  He used words first.  Yes, like a civilized person, he told the guy to break off the attack.  And the guy did.

What happened next?  The bad guy ran.  And what didn’t happen next?  Our hero did not shoot him.

Why?  Because the bad guy presented no threat, and because Meyer was trained to react defensively, not like Hitman 47.  No shots fired.  Bad guy arrested afterwards hiding under a trailer.  Cop got medical treatment.  A happy ending.

Interestingly the police lauded Meyer saying that the event could have ended badly for both the criminal and the cop if Meyer had not acted.

This is what happens time and again.  The cops on the street do not fear civilians who legally conceal and carry.  They fear those who break the law, because if you won’t obey a law that requires you to get a permit to carry a firearm (or that forbids you from owning a firearm) a law against shooting a police officer is not going to stop you either.

So, the next time you hear that the “good guy with a gun” is a myth, direct them to this article where they can see for themselves that the good guy with a gun is not a myth, it’s the duty of law abiding citizens who choose to undertake it.


Here are a few more “good guys with guns” stories I found on Google in about 15 minutes.










The Duty to Retreat

Do You Have A Duty to Retreat?

Probably not.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it as a practical first step in self defense.

Most of the jurisdictions in the United States where there are adequate concealed carry laws have abandoned the age-old doctrine of requiring retreat before using deadly force.  Alabama is a good example:

Ala.Code 1975 § 13A-3-23: Use of force in defense of a person.

(a) A person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he or she may use a degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person pursuant to subdivision (5), if the person reasonably believes that another person is:

(1) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force.

(2) Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling.

(3) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping in any degree, assault in the first or second degree, burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree, forcible rape, or forcible sodomy.

(4) Using or about to use physical force against an owner, employee, or other person authorized to be on business property when the business is closed to the public while committing or attempting to commit a crime involving death, serious physical injury, robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, or a crime of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12.


(b) A person who is justified under subsection (a) in using physical force, including deadly physical force, and who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is in any place where he or she has the right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground.


While there are other exceptions in the statute, the bottom line is that you can use deadly force against perceived deadly force when there is a threat a reasonable person would presume required it.  The law in Florida and other “stand your ground” states is similar.  But, that does not mean that retreating is not a sound practical way to ensure you don’t spend the rest of your life in the gulag.

Why do I say that?

Because, for the most part, the police do not make charging decisions.  The police are unelected.  They do not answer to the electorate; only their bosses do.  More importantly, the prosecuting attorney, who does answer to the public, is the entity that makes the decision to charge or not charge an individual with a gun-related crime.  This is true for all levels of government, except the FBI when the defendant’s last name is Clinton.

So, what does that mean?  It means that there are a lot of people in elected office who get elected because they’re perceived as “tough on crime” who are in fact charlatans.  They tout conviction rates: “97% of our cases resulted in a guilty plea or conviction,” they say.

Yeah, about that.  When Jethro gets caught with 14 pounds of weed, his attorney plea-bargains possession with intent to sell down to simple possession, a misdemeanor in most cases, and Jethro gets credit for the 14 days he spent in jail before his mama could make his bail.  Jethro walks out a free man.  But – hey – it’s a conviction, right?

When Tyrone goes out and decides to stop Jimmy from selling dope on his street corner, and puts Jimbo in the hospital with high-velocity lead poisoning, it gets sent to the prosecutor as assault with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, and maybe a few other charges like use of a firearm in a drug-related felony.  But Tyrone didn’t have any dope on him when he got arrested, and the police might have been unable to get Jimmy to testify, because Jimmy has his own plans about justice.  So this mayhem gets reduced to simple assault and Tyrone gets probation.

Tough on crime!  You betcha!  Except, not really.


Now, Susie Homemaker is baking cookies for the Boy Scout Jamboree when Cletus decides he needs to sample the goodies (and I don’t mean the cookies).  Cletus breaks in, grabs a knife off the kitchen counter, and comes after Susie, who stands her ground with a .38 Chief’s Special.  Cletus goes down for good.

Stand your ground, right?

Maybe, but maybe not too.

The police will be sympathetic, and will write a report that does not recommend prosecution.  But the prosecutor is running for re-election, and Susie is black, Cletus is white.  There is a racial overtone to the shooting that has absolutely nothing to do with the crime.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  It doesn’t matter.  In a “duty to retreat” state where there is a duty to retreat, it often applies and courts in those states often go through legal gymnastics to find that duty.

Take the case of Patton Gainer versus Maryland.  In that case Gainer was involved in an altercation in his own house with his sister’s boyfriend.  Patton was 16 at the time.  The other boy was older and known to carry a .44 magnum.  When the victim went out for more beer, he returned holding his hands behind his back and saying that he “had something for” Patton, and that he was going to kill him.  Patton shot him when he saw the hands move.  Two slugs from a .22 rifle beat out a non-existent .44 magnum (which reminds us of the first rule of gun-fighting: bring a gun).

The state knew the evidence was in conflict with the sister calling it murder and Momma and the boy’s brothers calling it justifiable.  So an energetic prosecutor brought murder charges and then argued against a self-defense jury instruction.  Under Maryland law, while a duty to retreat exists in public, it does not exist in the home (Maryland has by case law adopted the castle doctrine).  As a result, the appeals court reversed the conviction.

Could You Have Retreated?

So, if Susie/Cletus happens in one of those jurisdictions the first question will be “could you have retreated?”  And if she could have gotten to the bedroom and locked the door, then she is likely to be prosecuted for murder, even though it is likely that Cletus would have plea-bargained a sexual assault case down to simple assault and walked in 13 months.  The prosecutor will argue that Cletus was shot because he was white, or black, or purple, or gay, or whatever because the idea that people defend themselves is somehow foreign to people who surround themselves with armed guards all day long.

So, while there may not be a duty to retreat under your state’s law, and while that duty may be slowly receding in state law generally, retreat is often the best option for several reasons.

Home Invasion

Let’s take a home invasion setting to begin with.

First, if you can safely retreat (that is, if you can get you and everyone you love into one room), and barricade yourself in, you can call 911 and let the police handle the matter.  Sure, the thief may get Grandma’s ring and that $50 you had in the candy jar, but he’ll also likely get caught and you won’t get hurt.  Second, you won’t have to worry about whether you did the right thing by shooting him.  Third, if he comes through the barricade, and particularly if there is more than just you in that room, then it is obvious he is after more than property, and any action you take at this point will be hard for a prosecutor to quarrel with later.

Your Property

Suppose you’re on your front lawn and your crazy neighbor comes swinging a ball bat.  If you can make it inside and lock the door, again, that is not only safer for both of you, it establishes that you had no intent to harm him.  If he bashes in your front window and comes after you anyway, then you have to shoot.

Out in Public

Now, you walk up to the bank and you notice a masked man pointing a gun and demanding money.  He is pointing a gun right at the teller’s head.  Do you enter and take him down?

Not if you’re smart.  If you’re smart you call 911, give your location, describe the situation, and if possible, get cell phone video of the robbery and the person doing the robbery.  Hide.  If the robber doesn’t shoot anyone you can’t be sure he was going to (or that will be the argument the state will make).  And what if this is a simulation for the bank employees?  So, you wait for officers to arrive and then you retreat further.  They get paid to do that kind of work; they know the risks and the tactics.

If the robber starts shooting people, that’s another story.  Now you have a reasonable fear that he will harm others, and now you may act.  But keep in mind, you don’t know who is working with the robber, and you may be placing yourself in both legal jeopardy and personal jeopardy by getting involved.  That’s especially true if you shoot a bystander by accident.  That’s especially true if you use a round that over-penetrates.

If your life, or the life of someone you love is not personally in danger, it is always better to call for help.

Heroes Often Fail

Like Gordon Lightfoot told us, “Heroes often fail.”

Many will argue that helping others is the reason that they carry.  Indeed, in many jurisdictions intervening to stop a robbery is considered heroic.  But it is also important to remember that this isn’t the way things always work out.  In the San Antonio mall shooting last year, the mall had signs prohibiting gun owners from carrying.  It didn’t stop the guy who stopped the robbery, and it sure didn’t stop the two hoodlums who were committing it.  The headline in the USA Today said Shopper Who Shot Suspect Not Allowed to Carry.  You had to read nearly to the end to find out that it was a policy of the mall; the man had a valid permit.  Under Texas law, a sign has the force of law if it meets the state standards.  Still, I would rather be guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor than dead.  That the mall complained about the concealed carrier and not the robber should certainly convince people not to shop there.


When I train, I always train to move back from the target saying “Stop, I’m armed, I will shoot.”  Obviously if you have time in an emergency it is a good thing to do this.  But, defense of life comes before defense in court.  Or said more plainly: you have to survive to be prosecuted.

The Bottom Line

Retreat is a good idea if you have time.  It is a good idea to practice this in range sessions if allowed, and if not, saying “Stop!” to yourself before you pull the trigger is a good way to build it in to your routine if you’re in an indoor no-draw range.




It Took Courage


It is a sad fact in this world that if you do your job well, and you do it the way it was intended, you are going to make someone mad. My job, as a lawyer, means I advocate for one side or the other, plaintiff or defense. In my questions, in my filings, in my arguments before a court, I am going to make someone mad. Usually it’s the other side (not the other lawyer) because they don’t think they should be held accountable for their words and deeds. But sometimes it’s the judge. Sometimes the judge gets upset that I take a particular approach. Usually in that situation, I get a rebuke from the bench. What usually does not happen is that the bench decides to take sides against me and my client. I have never, in 24 years, argued in front of a court where the judge was an active participant against me.

That does not mean, however, that it does not happen.

Judges are human. Humans have failings like pride and arrogance and a lust for power. If you deny that you have any of these failings, you’re denying your essential humanity. Because we all do. It is our reason and our morality that keeps these in check, and keep judges on the right side of the judicial ethics rules.

There is a category of judge, however, and you find these on both the right and the left, who believe that policy is more important than a particular case, and that their view of policy is the only “right” view of policy. Whether that policy is gun control, abortion, or immigration, policy-making judges do exactly what they are not supposed to do. Instead of being mindful of the Marbury v. Madison statement that it is the province of the courts to “say what the law is,” instead, these courts say what the law should be. A good example of this came out of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently in a decision that essentially expanded the plain text of the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation. When judges go beyond the plain text of the statute to put their own impressive spin on what the law is, they are abdicating their judicial office (which is an unelected office) and stepping into the role of the Legislative Branch. And, again, make no mistake that this happens on both the left and the right.

The reason the courts of appeal and the supreme courts exist is that judges make mistakes. No one expects a judge to be perfect. But the judges in the Arpaio case, both the judge who issued the injunction and the judge who tried the case, were far from perfect.

First, the injunction Arpaio was supposed to have violated was unclear. The Border Patrol had instructed deputies to bring illegal immigrants to their checkpoint. The deputies honored that request. The order did not cover that scenario. Injunctions must be clear to be enforced. A judge can order you to pay $100, but he can’t order you to pay “what you owe” because it’s vague and subject to interpretation. Here the order was unconstitutionally vague.

The second problem is found in Rule 42. Rule 42 says that a person on trial for criminal contempt is entitled to a jury trial. The government argued where the sentence is six months or less, the entitlement doesn’t exist. But Rule 42 provides for the trial by jury, and no jury was provided. This alone is a violation of the Sixth Amendment.  The criminal contempt charged was lodged in the manner that it was specifically to prevent the sheriff from getting a jury.  This is an abomination, especially so where the trial requires the discretion of a jury in interpreting a judicial order. No judge ever thinks their order is vague, because they see the order through the eyes of a lawyer, not the eyes of a normal person.  Even if, strictly speaking, a jury trial was not “required,” no harm could have resulted from a  jury trial.  The failure to grant one should disqualify Judge Bolton from any appellate position in the future.  This because discretion is the soul of judicial action, and the judge abused hers here.

In a word, the sheriff did not get a fair trial. He got the pre-ordained result the Court intended. In other words, it was a witch hunt, orchestrated by a federal judge, who got a wedgie because the sheriff was doing what the Border Patrol could not do by itself: enforce immigration law.

The conviction was for a federal misdemeanor and involved a potential sentence of only six months. Some might say this isn’t the kind of thing the federal pardon power is intended to cure. And they would be wrong. The power of the pardon is there to take away the stain of a wrongful conviction. There is just as much stain from a misdemeanor as there is from any other conviction, and in the Sheriff’s case it dishonored fifty years of good and honorable service to the United States.

There has been a lot of finger pointing to pardons and commutations issued by Obama for left-wing terrorists and the treasonous viper Bradley Manning. Sure, those pardons were wrong, but the media celebrated them rather than condemning them. But here is what’s interesting about Trump and the Sheriff.

First, Obama issued pardons at the end of his term, when he could not suffer any kind of political damage from the pardons he issued. In other words, pardons issued on the way out the door of the Oval Office. Obama had no risk, other than the risk to his already diminished historical standing as the first black president, and the worst Democratic one in 150 years.

Trump stood up, much like President Bush did, and pardoned the Sheriff close in time to the conviction (Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence, but wouldn’t give him a pardon because he hated Cheney).   But both men owned the acts and took the political fallout from the acts. They didn’t slink out the door.

This is essentially the difference between true courage, and convenient favor peddling. It took courage to pardon Arpaio because everyone was telling him not to issue the pardon. It took no courage to commute Bradley Manning’s sentence, because Obama can’t suffer any fallout from it.

I want a president with the courage to do what he sees as the right thing. I understand there are those who disagree that it was the right thing, and I am happy for them to express that opinion and be accountable for it. Voters have a funny way of reminding politicians that they are there to do the will of the people. When the time comes, and the time will come, those who opposed President Trump early in this administration will pay a penalty at the ballot box.

Dealing with Police

Cops Are Human Too.

Today’s column deals with carrying a concealed firearm and interactions with police officers. Today’s column is only partially about the law, because the law is only one part of the issue to be discussed.


You look in your rearview mirror and see those red and blue lights flashing and you pull easily to the side of the road. You put on your flashers. You set the parking brake, lower your windown and you place your hands at the 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock positions on the steering wheel.

Now, let’s begin, but not from the position where you’re in the car.

We’re going to place you in the patrol car. You’ve just pulled over someone for a traffic violation. You’re running the tag, and you’re making a few decisions about the person you stopped. You note the vehicle, its age and cleanliness. It doesn’t fit the description of anything you have seen come across the computer recently (or maybe it does).  The driver is staying put.  You don’t see frantic movement.  But that doesn’t mean you’re safe on this stop. In the back of your head is the fact that six police officers have been shot just this week. Because of that, you’re going to be careful approaching this vehicle.

A Bad Example

Now, before we go any further, let’s take a look at how not to do a stop with a police officer. This comes to us via the concealncarry.net group and the video is a true public service.   It details Florida deputy Andy Cox and his stop of Joel Smith several years ago. At the time there was a lot of grousing about how the deputy did not respect the citizen’s right to carry concealed.  Respect, friends, is a two way street.

It takes two to tango. Yes, the deputy could have been more respectful, and yes, he clearly over-reacted to the display of the holster (the federal court found that while he couldn’t see the firearm, he was entitled to believe that one was in the holster). No question that Deputy Cox was a bit rattled by the experience. And, if we want to be nit-picky, Cox violated procedure by not disarming the suspect immediately.

But the citizen didn’t exactly endear himself to the officer in the first place. Take a look back through the dashcam video again. You’ll notice (1) the citizen dismounts from the vehicle without being directed to; and (2) he falsely claims his tag is not expired when it is. At no time does he say “I have a conceal and carry permit and I am carrying a pistol.” Had he done so, it’s doubtful there would be a problem here.  Actions create reactions.

Now, Florida law does not require a person to disclose to law enforcement, but it also doesn’t require you to say “good morning” or to say “excuse me” when you pass gas. That’s because courtesy and respect are required not by law but by good manners, and are demonstrated by our actions. So the proper way to handle this kind of matter is to show respect in order to get respect.  That’s what doesn’t happen here.

Back to our Scenario

Back to our situation, and now you’re waiting for the police officer to step forward. When the police officer approaches his first words will likely be “do you know why I stopped you?” If you do, say yes, and if not, say no, and then say “officer, I need to inform you of something for our safety.”  Yes, you read that right: our safety.  If you put the cop’s safety in danger, he will put your safety in danger.  Cox should likely not have said he would shoot Smith in the back, but then again, that was provoked by Smith’s failure to disclose the firearm.   Then you say “I have a valid conceal and carry permit, and I am carrying a pistol in a holster on my right hip. It has a round in the chamber, and it is a Glock so there is no safety. What would you like me to do?”

The Libertarians

Now, I can hear you libertarians out there saying “in the absence of a statute requiring you to declare your firearm, you are under no obligation to do so.” Yeah, I get that. Honestly, I do. But when your libertarian principles clash with the real world that the police officer lives in, that creates the kind of conflict that get people like Joel Smith arrested. Remember, you’re not declaring your firearm because you have a legal obligation to (unlike, for example, in Arkansas where you do have that legal obligation). You’re declaring your firearm out of respect for the fact that the officer has a right to expect to come home at night, and you can be seen as either a person who wants to make sure that happens, or someone who doesn’t care. If you fall into the latter category, you should not expect any respect from the officer.  Show respect to get respect.

The Police Reaction

It has been my experience that the cop may say “nothing, just keep your hands away from there.” In some situations (for example, where your car is the same model as something reported stolen) he may ask you to step out so he can relieve you of the firearm while you talk (no, dumbass, don’t take it out and hand it to him unless you want “here lies stupid” as an epitaph). The police officer might ask you to do something else.  Whatever he tells you to do, that is what you should do. Do not argue. Every answer should end with sir or ma’am depending on which applies. And for God’s sake, don’t start talking about calling your lawyer.  Even if you’re treated badly, the time to take that matter up will be later, off the side of the road, and in front of someone who can grant you relief.  Arguing with the officer will just piss him/her off.

Why did Joel Smith get arrested?  What Joel Smith did was essentially, through his actions, say “Surprise! I have a gun!” Cops do not like to discover this after you’ve reached behind your back several times and any one of those times you could have come back with a firearm.  If you’re obeying the law, and particularly if you’re on video, chances are very good you will be well treated.

So, how does the story end? I’ve never had an encounter with an officer end badly when I showed respect, even if I didn’t get respect. The time to argue over what happened and whether the cop is right in giving you a ticket is in court. You won’t win the discussion at the side of the road. The courts exist to protect your rights.

Joel Smith was not prosecuted for his supposed violation of the conceal and carry statute. At the time of the arrest, the statute was broadly worded such that Smith’s “display” was effectively a statutory violation (though it was not criminal because there was no intent to display the weapon).  The prosecutor, viewing the video, and finding Smith’s permit was valid, likely decided not to march off the cliff next to the officer.  As a side note, the Florida statute was amended in 2011 to say that a brief display of the weapon, in other than a threatening manner, was not a crime. That came too late to help Smith, but it will help you (in Florida anyway).  So Mr. Smith did not have to deal with a criminal charge in the end.

Instead, he hired a lawyer and sued, and learned the other lesson that comes with suing a law enforcement officer. Citizens don’t win. Courts grant police officers greater latitude than any other professional. They can make a reasonable mistake, and as long as they don’t violate a known constitutional right, they can’t be sued. The end to Joel Smith’s case is found here.






Citizen’s Arrest?

There is an interesting element of criminal law that often goes undiscussed because it is so seldom used. The power of a citizen, to arrest another, for the commission of a felony, or other crime committed in his presence, is poorly understood, but was widely recognized by the common law. Citizen’s arrests are so rare now that, when they are in fact challenged in court, it is usually because a police officer is making one.

You just read that and you’re shaking your head. You’re thinking “how can a police officer make a citizen’s arrest?” When he is not in the capacity or jurisdiction of his police department, a police officer has no arrest power greater than that of the ordinary citizen unless a specific statute gives him one.   In one case a police officer chased a man from his small town in Missouri a long way down the road to the point where he pulled over and was arrested for a narcotics violation. The Missouri court held that, being absent jurisdiction to make the arrest on the roadway, the police officer had powers no greater than a citizen, and as a result, suppressed evidence of narcotics unlawfully seized.

Privilege to Arrest

Generally, if you see a person committing an assault or an armed robbery, you are privileged to make an arrest under the law. The law in most states requires you to turn the offender over to the police or the courts immediately. But there is ample authority in most states for the idea that you can act to stop a criminal act. This makes perfect senses because the country is big and there isn’t a policeman on every street corner (until you’re going 6 mph over the speed limit, and then there is). We want citizens to act responsibly and restrain criminal activity. But the power is limited. You can’t get in your car and chase down someone who ran a stop sign. Vehicular offenses are, for the most part, not the kinds of things for which citizen’s arrest is permitted. Some Supreme Court precedent calls into question the citizen’s right to make an arrest for a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine. But irrespective of the nature of the crime, the power of arrest resides with the private citizen.

Make Sure You’re Right

Power, of course, must be balanced by responsibility, and trial lawyers make their money off people’s irresponsibility. So, for example, if you arrest someone for the “felony” of assault that turns out in retrospect to be a simple misdemeanor assault, you could be liable for false arrest under the civil law. There are, as near as I can tell, two stark situations where it is safe for the concealed carrier to make a citizen’s arrest, by force if necessary. The first of those is where the person to be arrested has used a firearm in the commission of crime that the arresting person has witnessed.

Suppose you walk into your QT and find Homer with his hands up and Cleetus with a .357 stuffed up Homer’s left nosril. Even if we simply look at the issue of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony is in progress. It’s also pretty reasonable that a person using a handgun in this manner is a felon, and therefore, a felon in possession. Two felonies. Add armed robbery to the list, and now you have a trifecta situation where you can be reasonable sure that your arrest of this person is unlikely to lead to civil liability.

The other situation is where the media announces that someone is on the loose, has a warrant for his arrest, and you recognize him. Consider, for example, Robert William Fisher. Here we have a guy who worked in health care as a respiratory therapist, and who murdered his family and then blew up his house.  Not only did he lose his nomination for Father of the Year, he earned police attention.  However, before he could be arrested, he took flight and has not been seen since.  If you wandered into your local Starbucks and saw the fellow sitting there, you would be privileged to arrest him. Why? Because on July 19, 2001, an Arizona Superior Court state arrest warrant was issued in Phoenix, charging Fisher with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson. So the state of Arizona has privileged you to make the arrest if you find him.

Sure You Can, But, Is It Smart?

Does that mean it’s smart to do that? No. It is not smart to arrest someone on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list because, if they have stayed off the list this long it’s because they have every reason to stay out of jail, and no reasons to go to jail. People like this tend to carry handguns, and then tend to react badly when cornered. So the best possible thing a person could do in that situation is to (a) not act with suspicion (i.e., don’t point at him and let him see you using your phone to google “FBI Ten Most Wanted”); (b) pay for your inordinately expensive cup of coffee; (c) go outside and more than 25 yards away from the Starbucks (reducing the risk from ricochets); and (d) call 911, and tell them to send the SWAT team.

The best reason to do this is that you are not a trained killer, and you have not already taken lives. You actually have something to lose.  The felon does not.  You are going to be just a split second behind the power curve if ol’ Bobby decides to whip out a gun and shoot it out with you. And of course, in a crowded starbucks you could hurt innocent people, or at least, people who’s only crime was paying too much for bad coffee.

The second best reason for this is that the guy might not be Robert William Fisher, and if the cops throw him to the ground, cuff him, and drag him off to the pokey, if they’re wrong, it’s on them, not on you.

There has never been a child who read a Batman comic book that didn’t dream of being the guy that nabbed a bad guy.  And the FBI files are full of people who called the FBI and were responsible for the arrest and prosecution of every kind of reprehensible criminal known to man.  Tips to law enforcement help ensure everyone’s safety.

Sadly, the files are also full of people who tried to make arrests on their own, without backup. Many of them are police officers. Officer Baxter in Kissimmee, Florida was shot down in the line of duty by a former Marine, and his sergeant, Baker, who was responding as backup was killed before he could even return fire. If armed, trained police officers cannot survive these kinds of encounters in situations where they are already on guard, it is foolhardy for the civilian in that situation to engage in risky behavior and play Rambo.

A Time For Action?

Does that mean there is not a time and a place to pull your weapon and stop a criminal act? Of course not: that’s why you carry. But remember that your first duty is to stay alive, and your second duty is to preserve innocent life. If all you can do is ensure that the criminal cannot escape until the police get there, and you can do that without firing a shot, you should.

You should shoot only where you absolutely have to shoot. The reasons are numerous, the first being that the very people you’re trying to help (the police) are apt to be put off that you didn’t call them first (assuming that was an option). Second, while dead men tell no tales, live ones frequently do, and the story will not be “there I was robbing this woman…” it will be “I was helping this lady with her purse, and my gun fell out, and the next thing you know some clown was shooting at me.”

You laugh now, but the fact is, criminals are often very good, very believable liars because they have so much practice.

The key to surviving any encounter with a criminal is outthinking them from the beginning. Situational awareness is an important part of that. If you can avoid the problem in the first place, that’s always the best approach.  And if you have time to think, you have time to call the cops.