Self-Defense Issues

Don’t Quit Before The Battle Is Won: A Sad Self-Defense Story

smith & wesson 642In Largo, Florida in 2002, an 88-year-old man and his 86-year-old wife were attacked in a daytime home invasion style robbery. The couple was attacked in their condo by a 19-year-old convicted drug dealer as they returned from a nearby supermarket.

The 88-year-old victim was able to retrieve his .38 Special revolver (loaded with +P hollow points) and placed two well aimed shots on the attacker. The first shot hit the convicted felon in the face. As the attacker fell, the second shot struck him center mass in the back.

With the criminal down, the homeowner set his revolver down and turned to call 911. Police arrived three minutes later. When the officers arrived, they discovered that the would-be robber had gotten up, taken the gun the elderly man had set down, and murdered the man with a single gunshot to the head. Police apprehended the murderer on scene, as his bleeding had rendered him semi-conscious by this time.

What should have been the textbook case for the right to keep and bear firearms for self-defense, ended tragically because the victim mistaken believed the man he shot twice was no longer a danger. He paid for that mistake with his life.

It is not my intention to blame the victim for his own death, rather to encourage everyone else to learn from his mistake. Hollywood has taught us that if you shoot a person, they will fall down and die immediately. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

If you carry or own a firearm for self-defense, you have to understand rapid incapacitation is only achieved through a hit to the central nervous system (unlikely) or through massive bleeding. The murderer in the above case was hit by +P .38 hollowpoints in the face and center mass. Both were well-placed shots made by an older man with a partial disability on a younger, faster assailant. Both shots, with time, proved to be incapacitating to the felon. However, neither were enough to instantly stop the attack.

If you own a firearm for self defense, train to keep shooting until the threat ceases. That may be one shot…or it may require many shots.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.