Cornered on his ATV by a rampaging maniac in a Northern California suburban cul-de-sac, an armed financial advisor had the legal authority to shoot his attacker in self-defense with the .45 pistol he had in his hand.
His story is not unique, but tales like his are vastly underreported.
Of the millions of annual instances of self-defense with a firearm (defensive gun use, or DGU) fewer than 8% shoot their attacker, according to criminologist Gary Kleck and others. This means somewhere close to 2,300,000 crimes – assaults, robberies, rapes – are prevented with firearms, and the victim never pulls the trigger. You won’t read about it in the news though, because in media parlance: “if it bleeds, it leads.” And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t get reported at all.
The Northern California financial advisor (we’ll call him “Bill”) was armed in public because he had one of California’s all-too-rarely issued licenses to carry a concealed firearm (although some of the northern-most “red” counties in California are effectively “shall-issue” territories). Bill was out riding his ATV when a man in a parked pick-up truck waved him over to come and help. When Bill got off his ATV and walked up a hill to provide neighborly assistance, the man, apparently with robbery on his mind, pulled out a pipe and began beating him. Bill’s left arm went numb and he rolled down the hill with his attacker chasing him.
Though not obliged to flee, Bill initially did rather than pullout the Springfield .45 pistol he carries everywhere.
It is not that our ATV driver is a pacifist, though he once was, long ago while training for the ministry. During a worship service, a very attractive schoolmate – one he had a crush on – was attacked by another student armed with a hunting knife, intent on removing the young woman’s face. He and the other male minsters in training managed – at great risk to themselves – to subdue the attacker by brute force. But it took thirty seconds and almost a dozen sharp cuts to the poor girl before they succeeded.
Bill has been armed and ready ever since.
On the chilly winter day after Bill tumbled down the hill to his ATV, he rode away from his attacker, but the pick-up gave chase. For over 10 minutes, The pipe-wielding man used his pickup truck like a weapon, chasing the ATV through the streets, often coming within inches of the vehicle at speeds upward of 60 miles an hour. To get away, Bill repeatedly banked the ATV, often riding the quad-track machine up on two tires.
Bill called 911 and reached the sheriff … who referred him to the local police. He called three more times while trying to escape his attacker. When the local police dispatcher called back, he couldn’t answer, being too busy dodging a fast moving pickup truck. So the police canceled the dispatch (instead of sending a patrol car around to see if he was still alive). There were more calls. Supervisors were requested, but none were reportedly available.
Bill finally headed down a dead end road where there was no way out. Cornered, with the enraged attacker now walking toward him, having been beaten with a pipe, assaulted with a vehicle and now confronted again, Bill drew his pistol. He had the right to shoot his attacker dead.
But he had a decision to make.
One of the golden rules of gun safety is to be aware of your target and everything downrange. Behind Bill’s attackers were homes and cars at the cross street. At close range, the risk of hurting an innocent bystander was very small, but it was too large for Bill’s taste. So he chose to intimidate and shout-down his attacker at gun point, but without shooting … just like 2,300,000 other people do each year.
Bill’s attacker left.
For over two hours nobody from law enforcement was willing to help. Bill stayed at the scene of the crimes, called his wife to come help with the damaged ATV, and waited for the cops to answer the phone.
When you hear anti-gun propagandists say there is no self-defense use of guns, tell them this story. When they say people don’t need guns, tell them about the young woman who nearly had her face removed and looks at her scars in the mirror every day.
And when Michael Bloomberg says gun owners are dangerous, remind Michael that our ATV driver and 2,300,000 other Americans defended themselves with guns last year without shooting at anyone.