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My two experiences with deadly force.

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GreenStormCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:59 AM
Original message
My two experiences with deadly force.
I have been a victim of gun crime - once. I have also used deadly force - once. Here are the two stories:

GUN CRIME: Thirty-nine years ago, a crazy man held a loaded gun (Ruger MarkI. Amazing how one remembers those details.) to my head while he talked about how an alien from a higher deminsion was controlling his mind. My only option was to talk him down. The human mind is an amazing thing. I was intentsely focused, and totally calm. For over an hour we talked, while he held the gun to my forehead. Finally, he claimed that the alien has gone away for awhile, and he put the gun up. I continued to talk for a couple of minutes, then made my excuses and walked with him to my car. I somehow felt that if I ran it would trigger him. (I had no education in psychology. Just gut feelings.) I drove away, and the shakes hit me. For three days I was a nervous wreck and shook almost constantly. My mind would not let the event go. Now, it rarely enters my mind. I remembered it because of a question in another thread. But an experience like that is also on my never again list. I never again want to be trapped with an armed, flipped-out, crazy person and have no options but talking.

DEADLY FORCE: It was in New Orleans. At the time I was an 18-wheel truck driver. It was 2AM, and I was delivering 22tons of beef. I once lived in New Orleans and mostly knew my way around, but I had still made a wrong turn. I found a spot to turn around, and was heading to the correct address, but my error had put me on Desire St. (Yes, the street from the movie, A Streetcar Named Desire.) I was driving next to the Desire Housing Project, which had a well-earned reputation for an extremely high crime rate. The local wisdom was that if you stopped there at night you would be robbed. I was driving about 30mph. Suddenly, about 300 feet ahead, a young man stepped into the road ahead of me, and signaled for me to stop. Looking around I could not see any reason whatsoever for me to stop. I decided that he wanted me to stop so that he could hijack the truck. (Truck hijacking was a serious threat back then. It has declined sharply in modern times.) Stopping a truck to hijack it was a well known trick that truckers at the time knew about and avoided. I DECIDED THAT I WOULD NOT STOP. I maintained a steady speed, and he didn't move. Two fears battled within me. I was terrified that I might be about to kill a man by running over him with 40tons of steel and cargo. The other fear was that if I stopped, I would be killed. I flicked my headlights low, high, low, to let him know that I saw him. I passed the decision point where I could stop in time. Now I was committed. I couldn't swerve as the curb might cause the truck to flip over. Even if I hit the breaks, I would still hit him. I had just made the decision to kill if he didn't bend to my will and get out of the way. At the last second he calmly stepped to the side and up onto the grass. I was so relieved. There would not be any blood on my hands. But I also felt stained. I had looked into the recesses of my deepest self and discovered that I could kill if I were scared enough.

To this day, I remain convinced that it was a hijacking attempt. Any truckers here who drove in the old days will understand the situation. If I had been armed, I could have stopped well before him to see what his problem was. And I would have been ready for trouble. I would have had an option.

That is the closest I have ever come to taking a person's life, and I NEVER want that experience. But I also know that I will accept that experience before I allow myself or my family to be a victim of violent crime.

In both of those stories, being armed would have given me an additional option that I didn't have at the time.

That is what my guns do now for me. They give me an additional option if trouble comes to me, even though I try to avoid trouble.
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. In the military (I was never in Vietnam) I had two situations that caused me to lock, load and aim
I wasn't worried about killing the people, I was worried about going to jail for doing my duty.

I know what you mean. The act ought to mean something more than that.

Oh, well.
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safeinOhio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:41 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Twice I had to think fast
The first time was in 1969. I guy I knew was in another room in a large house where I rented a room. He was high on something and yelling at his girl friend. I went in to tell him to keep it down when he reach under the bed, while turning his verbal attack on me, and pulled out a holstered pistol. I dived on top of him and fought for the gun before he could get it out of the holster. I still have a scare on my left forearm where he bit me.

Then in 1987 I had gone into a party store, a little after dark, to get a soda for my long drive home. Not the best part of town. A guy was arguing with the clerk who was behind the protective glass to sell him a beer. He was very drunk and the clerk refused to sell to him. I paid for my soda and got into my car in front of the store. The guy, almost falling down drunk, stopped in front of my car and reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small cal. pistol and pointed it at my face through the windshield. Thinking quickly I waved my hands at him and pointed repeatedly out into the main road, yelling "no, no, over there". He fell for it and staggered into the road looking for who or what ever I was pointing at. I drove away quickly and then at a light a few blocks away a shiver went through my body.

I learned back then, stay away from druggies and don't stop at places that could be dangerous.
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Pholus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. Guns are HARDLY "the solution" to all personal safety problems.
That being said, some people need them. They either work a dangerous job or have personal security issues about interacting with the world they live in. Sounds like you're in the former category though - truck driver. However, your first story lacks every detail about how a gun could have saved you and I've lived through your second one and cannot see how a gun would EVER have helped out. In fact, having to consider that the other guy MIGHT have a gun nearly forced me to kill him.

You have to live on the Arizona border to really understand this one -- watching migrants coming through the desert is the most heartbreaking things you'll ever see. It gave me a good way to judge character. People who talk tough about border crossers either have never seen a real one or they're really not people whose company is worthwhile. My job had me driving desert/mountain back roads in the middle of the night. This particular road was narrow but 2 lane and paved and I was going about 40-50 mph. I rounded this hairpin corner and there in the middle of the road is a man walking across the road into my lane. I'd have to brake really hard to stop. His arm was straight out, swinging straight around towards me and his fist was closed. So you have that split second to think -- hitchhiker sign or holding a pistol? He's trying to stop me from basically an ambush position so I decide that is exactly what I'd better not do. I floor it and swing wide, taking the chance that I don't go off the road. But I made the decision that if it came down to it I'd be happier hitting him than stopping for him and any friends lurking in the scrubs on both sides of the road. In the end I missed him -- scratched the hell out of the side of the company car and considered myself exceptionally fortunate it ended as well as it did. With the benefit of time I'm very sure the guy was a hitchhiker. I've since seen people do the hitchhiker thumb straight-armed like that (funny how you get sensitive to the details AFTERWARDS). The problem is that he didn't ask the right way. If that guy had stayed on the side of the road and made himself more visible, I'd probably have given him what assistance I could. For all I knew he had someone in distress and was seeking help in a stressful situation. I had plenty of survival gear including a full first aid kit but he wasn't acting in a safe manner and I couldn't take any chances after the fact.

There is no conceivable way a gun in my possession could have changed the outcome of that situation. Had I this been the worst situation possible (deliberate stopping with the intent to rob or murder) having a gun wouldn't have changed a damn thing. If he had a pal in the scrubs and I stopped, they'd have shot me before I could draw. After a decade in an "open carry" state with a bit of a crime problem, I've found my instincts and common sense are far better tools than a gun, since we don't live in some Mad-Max total breakdown of society.

Guns are really ONLY useful if you have a moment to think about how you'd apply them. And frankly, in the vast majority of those situations if you have that a moment to think it through you typically realized that there is a way to avoid the problem without the gun as well. In a split second decision, guns are largely useless with the added shortcoming in that they might box you into thinking you can Rambo your way out of the problem. After all, when you have a hammer every problem looks like a nail. Carrying a gun can give your assailant an extra weapon if you're not CONSTANTLY guarding it. Lots of my associates used to strut around with their holsters in the open (open carry state, remember). Plays well with the ladies I suppose (none I'd care to know), but honestly I've amused myself at times by judging how easy it would be to snag the gun from the toughest talkers and frankly I'm pretty sure I'd usually win (even for the cops/military sorts -- nobody is that hyper-vigilant about their weapon). Finally, your carrying a gun changes the implied rules of the game a bit. If you're carrying, you have made yourself someone worth shooting -- even just to make sure you're out of the way before something else happens

If you've not had EXTENSIVE training in self defence (e.g. cop or military) I'd rank a gun as a liability rather than an asset. If you feel like you simply can't exist without a gun in society you should definitely conceal it if possible, never talk or brag about it as most people seem to these days (that ESPECIALLY goes for family and friends) and furthermore realize that it doesn't need to be strapped to your body at all times cause if you need it that fast on the spur of the moment it probably is not going to help. Wear it only if you know FOR A FACT that there is a situation you're guarding against where the gun is useful.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but most of them fall under the category of "movie plot idea."
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GreenStormCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I am a retired private investigator.
I only did the trucker thing for about four years a long time ago. Back then I was broke and needed a job badly. After a few years of it I was solvent and went on to other things, eventually becoming a private investigator. (The life-style of a trucker sucks. You are only home about four days a month.)

While a gun is not a solution to all personal security situations, it does give an extra, and vital, option. Guns are not largely useless, but they do require training. And they are not for everyone. If a person feels that they are not for him, I respect that as his decision for himself. I do carry concealed, and practice situational awareness and caution to avoid being surprised.

Sometimes, total breakdowns of the social order do happen. Katrina and Haiti are examples.

BTW - I have seen illegals coming in from Mexico. I was deer hunting in the Uvalde area of Texas. I had a rifle. They walked past me on a trail. We smiled and waved at each other.
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Tim01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. You talk like you are pretty sure of your opinions.
Are you somehow experienced in these areas?

I disagree with most of your opinions.

I own a combat gun training range, and weapons based martial arts training facility. I know a lot of VERY experienced trainers.
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PavePusher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Your suppositions have been repeatedly shown...
to be fully untrue.

But you have certainly presented them in a manner much more polite and erudite than the average anti-self-defense crowd.

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GreenStormCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:39 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. About Open Carry.
Criminals have shown by their behavior that they don't want to tangle with an armed person. All uniformed police openly carry a handgun in a plain view. About the only time a criminal tries to grab an officer's gun is when the officer has to subdue a person. It is extremely rare for a criminal to iniate the action by trying to grab an officer weapon. Further, in states where open-carry is legal and practiced, gun grqbs are rare.

The reason is fairly simple. Criminals aren't completely stupid. They realize that if they attempt a gun grab and fail, they could get shot in the next couple of seconds. That is a high enough price to pay for failure that it scares almost all of them off the idea.

Also, there are specially designed retention-holsters. The gun can't be drawn from the holster unless you know the trick. But if you do know the trick, it doesn't slow you down. If I should ever open-carry, you can bet it would be with a retention holster.
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taurus145 Donating Member (453 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
5. I had to use deasly force once.
I wish I hadn't been forced to, but there was no viable choice. I'm survived the incident unhurt. He's dead.

I hope to never be in such a situation again, but will do what's necessary if I must.
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east texas lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. It's all about going home at the end of the day...
If one can accept that simple fact and take the appropriate measures, chances of survival increase. Glad you made it.
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taurus145 Donating Member (453 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 02:04 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Thank you. n/t
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