The purpose in my telling this story is to perhaps initiate discussion concerning relevant examples of actual true, common, everyday stories having to do with guns, gun ownership and their handling and/or mishandling. Situations that actually occur in real life–not on television or necessarily in the media– or that may have made national news. Those that so dramatically effect ordinary, everyday people like you and I, and allow us the opportunity to discuss what could happen, and of course try to help others better anticipate and hopefully avoid the avoidable!
Yesterday, Bob Hopkins began telling us his story of self defense against an attacker that inadvertently turned into a run-in with the law. Check out the first part here, and read the conclusion below.
One officer stayed with my assailants the other officer came back to me and read me my Miranda rights. He put me in the back of one of the police cars, climbed into the front of the vehicle and began asking me for details which I willingly–even thankfully–babbled on about for quite some time, explaining that the one woman was just crazy, striking at me, kicking me, the house had been damaged, my kitchen trashed, I had seriously been in fear for my life and on and on, all the time the officer taking notes. One question asked of me several times was did I remember having pointed the gun at anyone. I said no, I had not. I was asked how the altercation started and I told the officer. He then said, “Well they say you started it and that you aimed the gun directly at them.” I said they were nuts and reiterated my original explanation.
Bottom line, there were two of them and one of me. The two of them claimed I had been the aggressor which trumped my saying I was not. Consequently, with no real thought, the police simply concluded everything was my fault and what my assailants said was actually the way things took place. Unbelievable.
My assailants were allowed to go back into my house unaccompanied, get their things and leave. While in the house, as should have been expected, they of course caused more damage.
I went to jail and was charged with two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon. Later, thankfully, the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor “Improper Exhibition of a Firearm.” I spent the night in jail and ended up spending tens of thousands of dollars on attorney fees, bail bonds etc., all in addition to the damage done to my house—while my assailants went free. I received 6 months probation, forfeited my legally owned firearm, had my Concealed Weapons License confiscated, was embarrassed to tears in the neighborhood I had lived in quietly for nearly 15 years, lost my job as a senior security officer for having been arrested of course, along with thousands of dollars in earned income and on and on.
This is a true story, it really happened–I know, I was there, I'm the one that went to jail!
This entire affair from, relevant beginning to relevant end, took no more than an hour to unfold, yet the trauma will without question stay with me for the rest of my life. I want you to put yourself in my shoes, I want you to at least sense what I must have felt, the fear of suddenly realizing this was all for real. Imagine the cost of the damage done, the shock, the disappointment, the humiliation, the heartache, the damage I felt had been done to a decades-old impeccable reputation. Imagine if it were you. What would you have done, how would you have done it? Who was really right and who was really wrong and in the end did it really matter? How could the police have simply decided they were in the right I was in the wrong? Why did they do what they did? What were they thinking? What should they have done? Why didn't they do it? Why did things unfold as they did and how could the damage done have been avoided?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what might we/should we learn from all this? What needs to change? How can all the arbitrariness be avoided, how can we best protect ourselves—not just from the physical attack but all the rest of it?
It's important that we as responsible gun owners and carriers know what we can and cannot do—how important it is how things may appear to others. What really matters? We have to learn to make important decisions, right decisions and identify best possible options in split seconds, where lives may be at stake. We need to understand the importance of perception. Often it is the perceptions of those that are going to make the final/necessary judgments, those who must interpret the laws as best they can while actually in the field, and most often not having actually been there when the real action actually took place, who must decide facts from interpretations thereof on paper or from hearsay, whose own blood and guts or those of loved ones were not actually there on the line, those who have the luxury of time to think—most often, most unfortunately, not that man (or woman) actually in the arena!
Thank you for reading my story–I have really written it for you.
The Final Word
It was later determined that the young lady who seemingly attacked me totally unprovoked was bi-polar and/or apparently suffering from some other such disorder yet to have been officially determined, regularly used illegal drugs in addition to those legally prescribed, and was later reported to have not been taking her medications at the time this incident occurred. Whatever!
I do not blame the young lady–let's be clear, I wish her no ill-will. I blame myself for not being more cautious concerning those I willingly welcome into my home.