From defense instructor/writer John Farnam:
27 July 08
Success story, from a female student:
"Last week, I had just returned home from shopping. My house is set back from the street and up forty stairs. Shrubs on both sides of the stairway obscure the view and severely restrict any exit except down the stairs. When I arrived home, I parked my car in the driveway, carried a load of groceries up to the house, then returned to the car to bring up the last load.
As I got my arms full again, I heard a man's voice saying, 'Hey lady! I have something to sell you.' I turned to see a strange man, scrubby, dirty, and poorly dressed, advancing on me from the street. I replied, 'I'm not interested,' and started walking quickly toward the stairs.
The man followed. I turned toward him and said sternly, 'I'm not interested. Get off my property!' He replied, 'Let me come in and show you what I have for sale.' He continued to advance on me. I abruptly dropped my packages, got my hand on my snubby revolver, and ran up the stairs to my front door, entered my house, and locked the door behind me.
Once inside, I called 911 and reported an 'assault-in-progress.' I took a breath, thinking the man had probably left.
No such luck!
The man appeared at my doorway and started pounding and kicking the locked door, yelling, "Let me in! Let me in!" Still on the line, the 911 operator, hearing the pounding, said, 'What is that?' I replied, 'Operator, send the police now! A violent felon is breaking into my house!'
Having only marginal faith in the stoutness of my front door, I retreated up the stairs to a landing. I used a support post for cover as I pointed my revolver at the door. I calculated I would be shooting down (safe backstop), plus the attacker would not see me right away. Fortunately, I had thought about, and rehearsed, all this before, so there was no hesitation on my part.
I shouted, 'Go away! I've called the police, and they are on the way. I have a gun, and I will shoot!
The pounding abruptly stopped, and I could hear him running back down the stairs. From an upstairs window, I saw a faded van drive up, pick the man up, and drive away. Never saw him again!
Police were there minutes afterward. They indicated that what I had experienced fit the MO of a gang of grubs that had spread out over the neighborhood lately.
The moral of this story for me is the confirmation of the value of my professional defensive handgun training and my ongoing practice with my Training Group. My pistol was loaded, as always, with high-performance ammunition, and I entertained no uncertainty with regard to my ability to stop this felon with gunfire, and I was fully prepared to do so, without hesitation.
Happily, it was not necessary, this time!"
(1) Be alert! Pay attention. Keep your head up. Have a well-tuned ability to detect trouble in the making. The more time you have to prepare yourself and refine your Plan accordingly, the better the outcome.
(2) Face facts! Don't con yourself. Don't delude yourself into thinking you're not really seeing what is in front of you.
(3) Have a Plan! Know your Plan. Rehearse your Plan. But, don't fall in love with your Plan! Those without a plan will predictably dither and die!
(4) Stern, clear, uncluttered verbal challenges will often prevent the necessity of using deadly force. Verbal challenges need to be short, to the point, one-way, and unequivocal. Don't bluff, and don't engage in a conversation!
(5) Be armed! Like wearing seatbelts when in a car, you can't know when they will be necessary, so you wear them all the time!
(6) Stay in motion! Get your feet out of cement. A moving target is a difficult target.
(7) There is no substitute for competent firearms training and continuous practice. When you've never taken lessons, it is unlikely you'll be able to suddenly sit down in front of a piano and make music, no matter how nice a piano it is!
(8) Be prepared to go it alone. Don't wait to be rescued! Even a relatively fast response police is still far too slow to make any difference in the outcome of most life-threatening situations. When you are not prepared to handle it yourself, right now, without assistance from anyone, you probably won't live through it.
(9) Do whatever is necessary, at the critical moment, without hesitation. Don't worry about being perfect, and don't look back!
(10) Lose your fear of dying! There are no guarantees in this life, and, in the end, we're all dead anyway. Who look for "fairness" in the way the world is ordered, do so in vain!