A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, December 22, 2008

Knives at a Gunfight

Fort Smith, Arkansas. On the interstate between Kelley Highway and the Arkansas River bridge a woman was driving along when two men pull alongside and signal that she had a rapidly deflating tire.
"When she pulled over to check her tires one of those persons in that other car got out and attempted to rob her at knife point," said Lt. Steve Coppinger of the Arkansas State Police. The woman was prepared. She had already made the commitment to not be victimized. She was a concealed carrier, and she was armed.

The woman pulled and presented her handgun, and the old chestnut of not bringing a knife to a gunfight fell into play. She did not have to fire a shot. The knife wielding attacker got back into his vehicle and vacated the scene with his partner.

Whether the men wanted to rob rape or kill the woman is unknown. They escaped in a black Toyota Camry with Oklahoma plates. Police are releasing few facts in the case at this time. Lt. Coppinger says if you are pulled over by someone you don't know, don't get out of the car. Use your cell phone to call 911 and ask for assistance.

Apparently, the outcome of this social interaction is lost on him. The woman did not survive unscathed because she called 911. She survived because she had a gun and the willingness to use it.

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15 Comments:

Blogger Broadsword said...

Why use your cell phone to call for help when Mr. Colt, or Mr's Smith & Wesson or Herr Glock or Herr Ceska Zbrojovka are at hand?

6:30 PM  
Anonymous greg tag said...

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, ( actually a chilly fall evening in Dallas )I was checking out some rental property for the owner, which is something I did on weekends to make money as a college student. While preparing to enter and inspect a just-vacated house, I met three extremely large and unpleasant anti-social individuals, one of whom was carrying an axe handle, another was equipped with a length of pipe. The third was merely about 6'8" tall.

These gentlemen inquired as to what I was doing in THEIR neighborhood, and then asked about the status of my wallet. They then suggested that they might like to have the contents thereof. Umm... they didn't phrase their request quite like that, but you no doubt get the idea. I certainly did.

I told them my wallet was in my inside jacket pocket, and then unzipped my jacket. As the jacket fell open it revealed a Colt Government Model Series 70 on my belt. As they saw the gun, they immediately took about 5 steps back, put up their hands and the big one said "... man, we made a mistake, we thought you was somebody else..." Then they turned and ran. I turned the other direction, and hot-footed it back to my car. I wanted out of there, at least partially out of fear that they might call the police on me, as there was no legal concealed carry in Texas at that time. I realized that that scenario was unlikely, but didnt want to chance it.

I am now much older, wiser, and have trained hundreds of hours with various sidearms and long guns as well. I would do almost everything far differently today - for one thing I wouldn't have a sidearm under a zipped up jacket. Nevertheless, the bottom line remains the same:

The only "mistake" they made was thinking that they could rob me. I was better armed than they were, and I was no longer "easy money", and so they decided to go elsewhere.

I did not even draw the gun. I made no threatening motions whatsoever, but the fact I had it with me made the difference. Legal or not, I am certainly glad that I had decided to bring the Colt with me that evening.

Im glad the lady had her weapon with her- Ill bet she is too.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

I am amazed that when a gun saves a life the authorities still give the advice of using a cell phone. It also amazes me that when an officer needs to use his/her gun they do not simply take out a phone and call for help....oh, wait, perhaps that is because guns save lives and cell phones call the coroner.

Until my cell phone comes in .45ACP or my gun can intercept the AT&T wireless signal I will keep them separate and know their real function.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Dr. StrangeGun said...

Cellphones are handy for cleanup calls.

6:58 AM  
Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

The police, DAs, and other justice system officials are invested in the "Call 9-1-1" mindset. They are almost always going to recommend calling for help over helping yourself.

“We strongly discourage self-help.” as the MA Attorney General said.

Wisely, this woman didn't follow her advice and decided to take responsibility for her own defense.

"When seconds count, the police are just minutes away".

7:52 AM  
Blogger Hyunchback said...

Moron Only One.

Dial 911 and die.

Dial 2 for 2nd Amendment and apply as needed.

The life you save may be your own, plus many, many others.

This is often totally ignored by the press. When a citizen ends the career of a criminal they aren't just saving themselves. They are saving ALL the future victims.

That number could be in the hundreds.

The encounters that end with the bad guy running away may not deter future crime, who knows. I don't see Zogby running after this car with the Oklahoma plates to find out if the occupants will suddenly decide that working for a living is actually better than risking a sudden end to their careers.

But when a citizen does finalize the criminal's business plan they should get a honking big medal and a pat on the back.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Glenn Bartley said...

There is a valid reason that she should have used her cell phone to call 911, not necessarily along the lines of the troops will come and save the day as you may be thinking was the reasoning of the police officer. The reason to call 911 is the exact same reason that police officers when making a stop call in the fact they are doing so. That reason is called backup. Had she made the call before exiting her car, she could have told the 911 operator her location, that she was being pulled over by an unknown person or persons in an unmarked vehicle, and that she wanted police to respond, and then given her description and a description of the her's and the vehicle to the dispatcher. Of course, if she had been able to safely do so, and if there were no signs that this was the police pulling her over or signaling for her to stop then she should have continued driving.

Had she continued driving and really been getting a flat tire she soon would have known, and then she could have been more certain these were not bad guys, or at least that her tire was flat.
One cannot be certain mind you that such people are not bad guys setting you up. Bad guys know how to set people up when their vehicles are in parking lots to pull scams like a leaking tire to get you to pull over. She could have also continued driving even if she realized it was flat had she been alarmed by the guys in the other car.

Had she not stopped, and therefore not gotten out of her car she could have driven until it went flat, or until she reached a well lighted and populated area to then stop to see if it was going flat. If she was already in a well lighted area she could have stayed in her car, made sure the doors were locked, made sure her pistol or revolver was available (not in hand just in case these are police officers), cracked the window if the other guys stopped and approached, and asked what was up. If they told her it was going flat all she had to do was say thanks for the notice that she was getting a flat, no thanks to any more assistance, and tell them the police and a tow truck were on their way. If they got insistent and did not leave, well then that would have been a BIG red flag for her.

If she did it that way, then all the while she would have been armed, but inside her car, not putting herself into harm's way. Had she seen a guy approach the car with knife out, or even gun out, she could have still driven away making herself a more difficult target of opportunity. Had they produced weapons at car side she could have either driven away, or drawn and fired from inside of her car and then driven away.

The whole point is why put yourself into a worse situation than need be; and if you appear to be about to wind up in a bad situation why not call 911 to let the police know your location, to ask for a response from them, to give a description of your suspects or assailants, to give a description of yourself, and so on. It would be the sensible thing to do if you had the opportunity to do so, and you can still protect yourself as the need arises. Of course you are not being John Wayne, or to make it more current Bruce Willis or Keanu Reeves - instead you are being sensible while at the same time remaining ready and willing to defend yourself. This way, at least if you call before you get into a bad encounter there is a chance the good guys will get there to help as backup, and if not on time for that, then they may well get there in time to stop your bleeding if you were the one who was hurt.

All the best,
Glenn B

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a google search it appears that Lt. Coppinger is the go-to guy for the media to comment on things like this. His contact information is also available. I wonder if it would be a good idea to send him a letter suggesting that he give advice that actually could work, and did work for this lady in these situations.

Could it hurt to send such a letter?

10:00 AM  
Blogger Mattexian said...

Until my cell phone comes in .45ACP

I think the Feds banned those types of things, tho it'd be cool to have one (the KGB "cell phone" pistols).

12:31 PM  
Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

+1 Anthony. I have a super-cool Smartphone. It ended up replacing my PDA (Which replaced an address book and calender) and my old Cell phone. I still need to pack the gun seperate....tho wouldn't it be nice if my Phone/PDA/Camera/GPS could also sling a few .38s?

As for my phone I ONLY use it when I am SAFE. If I am in danger I'm fighting to get safe, and won't be frigging with my phone.

Once I get safe I will call then!

2:20 PM  
Blogger kbarrett said...

If you pull your pistol, you should be shooting. If you shouldn't be shooting, you shouldn't have the pistol out.

My only complaint would have been her failure to empty it into the perp. Now some other person might get victimized.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't assume that everyone in uniform, from 911 operators to local prosecutors support the right to defend yourself with a firearm. Some people carrying concealed think their gun is the magic talisman that can solve any problem. Your post is an example of emergency service people thinking of 911 service in the same way. I guess we could all declare ourselves to be "gun-free" zones and that would be double protection.

Don't get me started.
Mike

3:27 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

I agree with much of what Glenn has to say - the cell phone has its place.

As regards kbarrett:

If the picture is a representation of the defender here, it looks like she was carrying a revolver which, if it is in an effective caliber, would likely provide her with 5-6 shots before she needed to reload the weapon.

Five to six shots before she has to top off. Three attackers. An extremely high stress situation. You do the math.

The appropriate amount of force is that required to neutralize the threat. While I certainly would not shed a single tear if she had brought these three men to room temperature - and would, in fact, be more than glad to hear about it, and it certainly would have fallen in the "appropriate" category - I think she acted responsibly in this case. She neutralized the threat to herself and walked away from the situation untouched. All in all a win for the good guys.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Stephen Andert said...

Thanks for sharing. The more we spread these stories, the more we will (hopefully) educate people. Personally, I am starting the education process at home:
http://blog.flowingdesert.com/2008/12/shooting-and-shooting.html

5:35 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

I'm not sure Glenn's advice is all that useful. As far as I know, 911 doesn't want to deal with you unless/until it's an emergency. Calling to say that another car is signaling that you have a flat tire would probably result in being told to call AAA or the police non-emergency number and an admonishment about calling without need.

2:14 PM  

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