Had to use gun in self-defense

This is a discussion on Had to use gun in self-defense within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello everyone. Two related incidents happened to me about three and a half years ago when we were pummeled by hurricanes (I live in south ...

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Thread: Had to use gun in self-defense

  1. #1
    Member Array Pale Horse's Avatar
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    Had to use gun in self-defense

    Hello everyone.

    Two related incidents happened to me about three and a half years ago when we were pummeled by hurricanes (I live in south Florida).

    It was in the aftermath--and Palm Beach County, where I live--was declared a federal disaster area.

    The first time I used my gun, it was against a water moccasin that had a kid trapped in a corner by a building in the apartment complex where I lived. I'm not ordinarily into killing snakes (even venomous ones) because they keep the rats and other vermin in check, and in this way they help prevent the spread of disease.

    This situation was different.

    I ordinarily carry three loose .38 Special shot shells for my revolver (it was a S&W Model 10 with a 2 inch barrel) for such situations, and one shot shell worked very well to kill the snake without unnecessarily endangering the bystanders.

    The second situation was a day later at the dumpster. A fox was running around and acting drunk while foaming at the mouth . . . in broad daylight, no less. I shot the animal with a hollow point +P (I believe it was Speer 125 grain, but don't hold me to this) under the assumption that it may have been rabid.

    I bagged the body and turned it over to the cops when they were able to come by three hours later, and FYI the animal wasn't rabid, but it was sick from eating dead rats that had died from poison rat bait. Evidently, foxes like to eat carrion and road kill.

    The third incident (a year later) involved me pulling a gun on a man who was climbing into my apartment through an open window at 2:00 AM.

    I pulled my .38 Model 10 on him, and he promptly left and I didn't have to drop the hammer (thank God). He saw my gun, and said "I'm sorry, I got drunk and lost my keys and I was trying to sneak in so I wouldn't wake my wife. I have the wrong house...."

    I filed a police report when the cops got there the next day, and it was very difficult to remain unemotional and rein in my temper, because they seemed to treat it lightly.

    I had nightmares on and off for many months afterward, I had trouble sleeping, and my work performance suffered a little. I ended up sleeping over at a girlfriend's house, my friend's house, etc. because I didn't feel safe in my own home.

    I feel stupid that I should have been affected this way since I didn't even have to shoot and there was no physical damage done, so maybe I'm a wuss when it comes to certain things.

    In any event, as awful as those feelings were, at least I was alive to feel them.

    Comments?

    Thank you for considering this thread, and all my best.

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  3. #2
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    Your feelings and reactions aren't at all unnatural or "wussy." The outcome of all your events were as good as could be expected. Sharing your stories with us is a step in the right direction - those of us who have done "unusual" things and those of us who simply understand the nature of unusual things can empathize with your experiences. Fear not, and be well.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  4. #3
    Member Array Pale Horse's Avatar
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    Thank you.

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    pax
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    I had nightmares on and off for many months afterward, I had trouble sleeping, and my work performance suffered a little. I ended up sleeping over at a girlfriend's house, my friend's house, etc. because I didn't feel safe in my own home.

    I feel stupid that I should have been affected this way since I didn't even have to shoot and there was no physical damage done, so maybe I'm a wuss when it comes to certain things.
    Normal, not wussy.

    Don't beat yourself up over it.

    pax
    Kathy Jackson
    My website: Cornered Cat

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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are doing fine. Welcome to the forum.
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

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    Welcome to the forum. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    In the third incident, you were facing an unknown threat from a HUMAN. That is a whole different story than dispatching a venomous snake which had an young child cornered. Water Moccasins are an aggressive snake as far as snakes go and there was no choice. Likewise in the case of the Fox where you believed it to be infected with rabies. Also a good possibility in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

    In the last case, your opponent, so to speak was a human being. As a species, we are hard wired in our DNA to have a natural aversion to killing, or intentionally inflicting harm against those of our own kind.

    While we have a natural instinct to defend ourselves, and certainly the inalienable right to use lethal force to defend ourselves against lethal attack, we still have that natural aversion towards doing so in our subconscious.

    It is only natural in the aftermath of such situations that we struggle emotionally, and subconsciously with the situation we found ourselves in where we either had to defend ourselves or came close to using lethal force. Especially in cases where we do go all the way and employ lethal force.

    There are lots of psychological reasons why we do this as well as some physiological reasons, but in normal healthy people who possess the ability to rationalize what happened and understand the circumstances and the reality of a legitimate use of self defense, these nightmares, emotions and other disruptions in our otherwise normal life eventually settle down and subside.

    What happened to you in the aftermath of your "close call" in your third incident, is not abnormal or even out of the ordinary. In fact it is so common to have such things happen to you, it is almost expected for people to have at least some of the things you described.

    Again, most of the time, they pass on their own. Sometimes, people never get over the incident, and then again sometimes just some counseling is in order to help people through it.

    There is nothing wrong with what you felt and you certainly are not a wussy because of it. Just a normal Joe dealing with a traumatic experience after a close call.

    Thanks for sharing your incidents with us and I hope you stick around. This is a great place for people like us to hang out and learn new things or share our experiences.
    -Bark'n
    Semper Fi


    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Senior Member Array dnowell's Avatar
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    You're having a very, very normal reaction. Many people find some type of counseling to be helpful. I'm sure you'll get over things without it, but it might simplify your life if you can afford it.

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    pax
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    Pale Horse,

    Come to think of it, here are a couple of book recommendations for you.

    1) On Killing and On Combat by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Both good books with lots of meat in them about the psychological processes involved in making the decision to shoot and perhaps kill another human being. Grossman writes primarily for law enforcement & military personnel, but there's a lot of good stuff in there for ordinary citizens interested in self defense.

    2) In the Gravest Extreme by Mas Ayoob. This one should be read by every gun owner and everyone interested in concealed carry; it is that good. In addition to laying out the legal and ethical parameters of justifiable self defense, Ayoob also discusses some of the social and psychological aftershocks of criminal encounters together with some ways to minimize those aftershocks.

    One, two, or all three of these books might help cement your understanding of how your reaction was normal and nothing to either worry about or be ashamed of -- and all three are worth reading all on their own for other reasons too.

    pax
    Kathy Jackson
    My website: Cornered Cat

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    VIP Member Array bsnow's Avatar
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    Hey Pale Horse, looks like you have your head screwed on extremely straight. You have done the right thing in these instances, congrats. About the third incident, it's normal to get shook up over something like this, you did so well. Thank you for sharing, we all can learn from it.
    Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. PSALM 144:1

    I CLING to my guns and my Bible.

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    Member Array MoResident's Avatar
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    I agree with pax. Your post sounds like a normal human response to me.
    Normal people do NOT like threatening or killing another human.
    "Proud To Have Been Banned by Huff PO"

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    Member Array Pale Horse's Avatar
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    Thank you all for answering my post.

    It's good to hear that you're not judgmental.

    I tried to talk to a few people about my feelings, and I got tired of hearing "suck it up, you didn't shoot the guy" and (my particular favorite) "put your big girl panties on and deal with it."

    Looking back, I don't think that any of these people have been in this particular situation, and I wonder how they would fare . . .

    Best,

  13. #12
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    The incident is obviously still bothering you now, 2 1/2 years after the one where the guy climbed through your window.

    Since this has been going on so long, you might want to seek out some professional help dealing with what are normal feelings, but nonetheless should be fading into the background by now.

    Pale horse wrote:
    "I tried to talk to a few people about my feelings, and I got tired of hearing "suck it up, you didn't shoot the guy" and (my particular favorite) "put your big girl panties on and deal with it."

    The people who made remarks like that have done you a grave injustice. They piled guilt and shame on top of your normal pain. They blamed you for being a normal human being with feelings. Shame on them.
    1) They are not your friends whoever they are;
    2) They seem to have left a lasting bit of damage on your psyche--even though you know intellectually that what they said is wrong.

    If you can afford it, see a counselor-- I think maybe more for the anger and hurt you feel about how your friends reacted than for the precipitating incident.

    Also, in situations like this, you might be able to find a clergy person who has additional training and could assist you with these issues. Not all, but many, have had training in dealing with this sort of upset.

    Have you seen the posts by Bruce21b about his near - dropping the hammer two weeks or so back? You need to read his recent posts to see just how normal your reaction to almost pulling the trigger really is.
    Last edited by Hopyard; February 27th, 2010 at 10:52 PM. Reason: word change for clarity

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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    He saw my gun, and said "I'm sorry, I got drunk and lost my keys and I was trying to sneak in so I wouldn't wake my wife. I have the wrong house...."
    BGs often use some similar lame excuse when caught in the act--DO NOT be lulled into complacency by their scummy lies.

    Since this has been going on so long, you might want to seek out some professional help dealing with what are normal feelings, but nonetheless should be fading into the background by now.
    As a professional therapist, I would whole-heartedly agree. If your employer has an EAP program, please utilize it--otherwise, you might want to call your local Law Enforcement and ask them who they send their officers to when the officers have been involved in a shooting. Studies indicate that human-on-human violence is significantly more trauma producing than accidents or natural disasters...... There are lots of individual factors that impact the formation of PTSD, such as the nature of the event, previous events, general level of health, amount of stress being experienced in the rest of your life, etc, etc. So, if this still bothers you, please get some help. There's no shame in it
    Scott, US Army 1974-2004

    Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
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    VIP Member Array rottkeeper's Avatar
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    You are no alone, many crime victims feel violated to a point where they feel insecure in their own homes. It's a natural emotion and you are not alone and you are not a wuss. It may help you to look for a victims support group to talk to.

    There is much great advise from other posters above also, good luck.
    For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the son of man be. Mathew 24:27

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  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Spec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pax View Post
    Normal, not wussy.

    Don't beat yourself up over it.

    pax
    you did good
    NRA Certified Rifle/Pistol Instructor
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    Accuracy ALWAYS WINS! So carry what you can hit with.

    If you find yourself in a fair fight your tactics stink.

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