It's impossible to keep up with every defensive gun use in the country. They happen more often than fatal car crashes, and media is generally not fond of reporting them. Nevertheless, for those interested in being prepared for the unexpected, it is important to see what we can learn from these situations when they occur.
On the agenda this week: three defensive uses by women.
Whitney Lyne's Shotgun
Less than a week ago, Whitney Lyne was getting ready for bed when she heard her doorbell ring. It was a woman she didn't recognize, and she decided not to answer it. Looking out, the front, she could also see that there was a car parked in her driveway with a large man sitting in the passenger seat. The woman began ringing the doorbell insistently, then started banging on the door and wrenching the knob to get in.
When the woman finally went around to a side door and broke through the glass to gain entry, Lyne grabbed her husband's shotgun, pointing at the intruder point-blank. The woman retreated back to the car, where she and her accomplice sped off.
You can watch a news report on the incident, including video of Lyne retrieving the shotgun, here.
There are two things exemplified by this story:
1) Most defensive gun uses do not involve shooting anyone. In fact, in the vast proportion of cases, the gun is merely presented, made reference to, or a warning shot is fired. Usually, even the sight of a gun stops attackers and intruders in their tracks, just like the would-be burglars outside Lyne's home. As responsible gun owners, our intention is to prevent violence, not engage in it. Paradoxically, guns are one of the best ways to accomplish that.
2) Ringing a doorbell repeatedly and banging on doors is a common tactic of burglars before making entry into a home. In a best-case scenario, it is a way of testing whether the owner is home. In a worst-case scenario, it is a method of gaining easy entry by subduing the homeowner with force. Always be cautious about who you open your door to, especially after dark.
Two weeks ago today, an unnamed 68-year-old woman living in North Carolina returned home around 6:40pm to hear strange noises coming from her storage building. When she opened the door, she saw a man in a corner of the shed. She reported to police that the man lunged at her in an aggressive manner, at which point she drew her .22 caliber pistol and shot him five times. The man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. You can read the original story here.
What can we learn here?
1) The handgun is the great equalizer. It levels the playing field, even between between large, young men and smaller, older women. Almost anyone can learn to handle and use one effectively, given training.
2) You probably shouldn't use .22 caliber as your defensive handgun / cartridge. Even five rounds on target might not stop the threat.
Taking Threats Seriously
Several weeks ago, a 46-year-old woman in Helena Alabama filed a report with police about a man in her apartment complex who had threatened to harm her. The man was arrested and charged, but was bailed out. Before his court date arrived, he apparently tried to make good on those threats. The woman shot him once, killing him in her own apartment. Police determined the shooting to be self defense. You can read the brief local media writeup here.
1) Take threats seriously.
2) Even when the police do all they can, they usually cannot be there at the moment a violent offense takes place. Be prepared.