When push comes to shove, a gun owner will not hesitate to use lethal force in dealing with a threat, but in doing so, it’s imperative for the gun owner to be well-trained in personal defense tactics and firearm use. That’s where we come in. Personal Defense TV host Richard Nance’s blog, Defend Thyself, provides plenty of know-how to deal with a threat to you or your family drawing from real-life scenarios.
With 2013 just around the corner, we’ve rounded up the top 10 personal defense storylines of the year, from the weird to the heroic, and we hope to impart some knowledge to you, the readers, as we head into the new year.
Single Mom Kills Armed Intruder
In January, 18-year-old Sarah McKinley, a recently widowed mother, came face-to-face with a pair of intruders breaking into her home, one of them armed with a 12-inch hunting knife. While on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, she asked if she'd be justified in shooting the intruders. The dispatcher responded, "I can’t tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby," and that's what McKinley did, shooting 24-year-old Justin Martin, killing him and sending his partner, Dustin Stewart, high-tailing it out of there. McKinley's actions were defended by law enforcement under Oklahoma's Castle Doctrine. Detective Dan Huff of the Blanchard (Okla.) Police Department said, "You’re allowed to shoot an unauthorized person that is in your home. The law provides you the remedy, and sanctions the use of deadly force."
Maine Man Uses .22 for Defense
A rimfire probably isn't the first thing you might reach for when push comes to shove, but for 24-year-old Daniel Williams of Hermon, Maine, his .22-caliber handgun proved to be enough. When a trio of intruders forced their way into Williams' home on Feb. 16—one of them armed with a knife—and began attacking Williams and his roommate, 24-year-old Luis Ramos, Williams ran for his bedroom and grabbed his .22, shooting two of the intruders and their car before they got away—though police caught up with them later at the hospital. Maybe it lacks the authority of some bigger bores, but this story just goes to show those little .22s can prove surprisingly handy when faced with danger.
Father Kills Molester During Attack
One of the most horrifying scenarios a parent could face is someone abusing their child, and one Texas father wasn't about to let someone get away with it. During a family gathering near Shiner, Texas, a 23-year-old father caught 47-year-old Jesus Mora Flores sexually abusing his 4-year-old daughter and began pummeling the attacker, hitting him repeatedly in the head; Flores was declared dead at the scene. The father was noticeably distraught on the 911 tape, but the state refused to charge the father as the use of deadly force is allowed in the prevention of a sexual assault under Texas law.
14-Year-Old Shoots Armed Intruder
We could preach the importance of teaching your child proper firearms operation and discipline until we're blue in the face, so we'd rather point to this story from June in which a 14-year-old Phoenix boy shot an intruder breaking into the family's home. The boy, who was babysitting his younger siblings, heard someone forcing their way into the house and rushed his siblings upstairs. After grabbing a handgun from his parents' bedroom, he found a man breaking open the front door. The man pointed a gun at the boy, who fired once, hitting the intruder and putting him in the hospital and earning him some jail time. Tragedy averted, police said, thanks to the boy's quick thinking and excellent training. "The police and indeed our community does not ever want to see a situation where a teenager of that age has to take a weapon to protect his family … but this young man did exactly what he should have done," said Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes. "I'm not sure he gave full thought about what he had to do. He just acted."
Mom Thwarts Son's Sort-Of Armed Robbery
We've all been embarrassed by our parents at some point in our lives, but never so much as 22-year-old Roy Mitchell, whose mother, Sharron Mitchell, snatched a fake gun from her son as he tried to hold up a convenience store July 3 in Brandon, Miss. Mitchell apologized to the clerk and asked not to call the police. However, police were called, and Roy was arrested on a charge of attempted armed robbery. Good going, mama's boy.
Elderly Man Thwarts Armed Robbery
On July 13, two 19-year-old armed robbers entered a Marion County, Fla., Internet cafe carrying a pistol, a baseball bat and a large bag. Before the duo could make off with any cash, 71-year-old Samuel Williams sprang into action with his .380, firing at the robbers when their backs were turned, sending them scrambling out the door and possibly saving the lives of his fellow customers. When the two showed up later at a nearby hospital, they were arrested by the police and charged with robbery. No charges were sought against Williams.
LL Cool J Knocks Out Intruder
Just like his hit song, LL Cool J will in fact knock you out, as 56-year-old Jonathan A. Kirby found out the hard way. After breaking into the rapper/actor's home, the transient intruder went mano-a-mano with LL, born James Todd Smith, suffering a broken nose and jaw. Kirby was detained by LL until the cops showed up; he was arrested and charged with first-degree burglary with a person present.
Gunman Killed at Indy Gun Shop
Brian Wayner, 26, headed into Don's Guns in Indianapolis with evil intentions; at about 12:21 p.m., Wayner fired two rounds at the 26-year-old clerk, Ben Chance, with a gun he'd just rented. Though critically wounded, Chance returned fire, killing Wayner with one shot. Eyewitness accounts say Chance's actions likely saved lives. "It scared me to death. We just left," said Gillase Samples, who was in the shop about 10 minutes earlier. "They could have been waiting for us to leave. They could’ve shot us too."
Woman Uses Nunchucks Against Ex
When an unidentified Maine woman was confronted by her drunken, jealous ex-boyfriend, 33-year-old Christopher Rolling Fox, a physical confrontation ensued, during which time she was punched and kicked by the spited Fox. However, Fox didn't count on her grabbing the pair of decorative nunchucks off the wall and delivering a few blows to the head. Fox gave chase when she escaped the apartment, but gave up the pursuit when he realized she was on the phone with 911. He was later arrested after giving a false name to the authorities.
Armed Robber Distracted by Dog, Shot
Leave it to man's best friend to lend a helping hand any way they can. Doug Downs, 48, and his roommate/caretaker Andy Boyd, 36, were confronted Oct. 23 by a group of armed robbers intent on cleaning out Downs' downstairs safe. While holding Boyd at gunpoint downstairs, one of the robbers, James Herlth, confronted Downs, who was upstairs in his recliner with his Jack Russell terrier/pug mix, Peaches. When the two began struggling for Herlth's gun, Peaches sprang into action, jumping and barking at the armed robber and distracting him long enough for Downs to grab the revolver from his recliner. He then fired three shots at Herlth, hitting him in the neck, chest and hands—Herlth would suffer yet another gunshot, this time from a 12-gauge fired by one of his bonehead accomplices. All four intruders were apprehended, and though Downs felt bad for having to shoot Herlth, he wasn't about to let things get worse. "I felt bad because I had to shoot (Herlth), but it was either him or me, and I wanted to live."
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