Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Man I Might Have Killed

In 1982 I was living alone at the edge of a small desert town in Southern California. It wasn't the best of neighborhoods and I was moving the very next day to a better area. Sometimes your luck just runs out.

I woke up about midnight, hearing angry voices outside at the back of the house. There was no fence and people often wandered around at night, but their argument seemed to be escalating and getting closer so I got up and put on a robe. My little dog was barking up a storm. Looking out the front window, I saw a man standing by the front door of my car on the street, obviously trying to get into it and well illuminated by the full moon. I got the shotgun and opened the door a crack, then shouted at the man to get away from my car and go away. He just looked at me and went on trying to get into the car.

Then I made a big mistake. I walked out onto the sidewalk, closing the door behind me to keep the little dog from getting out. At that point the man started to walk toward me, in a few words telling me just how he would hurt me. I raised the shotgun, but he just sneered and said confidently, "you won't shoot me" and kept coming. He was still too close to my car, so I aimed the .410 shotgun just over his head and pulled the trigger.

I saw the shocked look, just before I saw the blood on his face and chest where the tiny #6 birdshot had hit him. He turned and ran away, destroying a low ornamental fence in the process, but never even slowing to untangle it from his legs.

Elapsed time? Probably not more than half a minute from the time I walked out the door until he fled. The time between his sneering comment and pulling the trigger? Probably a few seconds. The car was no more than 20 - 25 feet from the door.

Emergencies happen fast. I basically had a choice between shooting at him or being killed, with not much time to make up my mind. I was lucky to have the gun, to have taken it to the door with me, and lucky to know something about firing it. Some miracle had made me keep it loaded the two years since I'd left the farm where it had been used on squirrels and other varmints.

Shaking and almost sick to my stomach, I went back into the house and locked the door. made sure every window was locked and took a long hot shower. I had no phone, so could call nobody. Since the sheriff's office was 32 miles distant, calling them would have been a joke anyway. Everyone in that town just had to live with that fact. I never did report it, not being at all sure what their reaction would be. He obviously didn't die, and didn't report it either.

Eventually I went back to bed and tried hard not to think about any of it. As with most things we don't want to face, I mostly succeeded.

It was almost 25 years, and a few self defense classes later when I realized all of the mistakes I'd made and how close I came to death or terrible injury that night. I was very, very lucky things turned out as they did. And he was very lucky I hadn`t aimed that gun straight at him. What were my mistakes?

1. I went from a relatively secure position in the house to a seriously exposed position on the front walk. I basically cut off my only avenue of retreat when I shut the door.

Since there had been others arguing with him only minutes before, there was every reason to suspect he was not alone and that others could have attacked me from behind. It just never crossed my mind. Actually, I was sure he would run away as soon as I shouted, or at least as soon as he saw the gun.

Once I was under attack, understanding my peril and scared to death, I suffered from "tunnel vision." I was completely unable to see or hear anything but the threat in front of me. I probably no longer even heard the dog barking furiously in the house. This is very common under such stress and can only be overcome with serious training and practice.

2. My gun held only one shell at a time, and I had no others with me. If he had continued to attack after I'd foolishly shot over his head, he would probably have killed me. It is highly unlikely I'd have had time to reload anyway.

3. My major mistake was in confronting him, without knowing what to do and especially without an adequate weapon.

So, should we all just cower in the house or allow ourselves to be attacked and robbed? Only you can answer that for yourself. I did what I thought I had to do at the time, and I would again. If there is a next time, however, I won't make the same mistakes.

A man (or anyone) who attacked me today would face a calm, confident, prepared and VERY well armed woman - any time of the day or night. I would hope that he was able to perceive his disadvantage and just go away. Some would, and some would not. His choice.


GOA submits appeal on behalf of Olofson

Gun owners across the nation are still rejoicing over the Supreme Court decision that struck down portions of the DC gun ban as unconstitutional. But the Heller decision has also signaled the beginning of a new major assault by the anti-gun left. Make no mistake, the anti-gun lobby is not going quietly into the night. They are absolutely rabid over this decision - and their friends in Congress are in a strong position to legislate away those gun freedoms which the Supreme Court has affirmed.

In the meantime, agencies like the federal BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) appear to have no intention, whatsoever, of stopping their attacks on law-abiding gun owners, gun dealers and manufacturers. In GOA's newsletter which recently landed in mailboxes (The Gun Owners, August 18), we detailed the lengths to which the BATFE is going to trample the rights of gun owners and dealers.

From using paid "informants" to provide false testimony, to physically altering firearms to turn them into "machine guns," to abusing and harassing mom and pop gun shops who cannot afford to legally defend themselves, this agency appears not only to have little or no regards for the rights of citizens, but is clearly willing even to ignore the rulings of the Supreme Court.

As you know, Gun Owners is helping to defend David Olofson, a recent victim of BATFE abuse who has been sentenced to 30 months in the Federal Correctional Institute at Sandstone, Minnesota for the alleged crime of knowingly transferring an unregistered machine gun. GOA submitted an appeal on August 25, 2008, to get him released from prison, and our brief is viewable at http://www.gunowners.org/fs0806.pdf on the GOA website.

We took on the case when we learned that the so-called "machine gun" that Olofson owned was, in reality, one of thousands of ordinary semi-automatic rifles made by Olympic Arms. It happened to misfire a few extra rounds when a friend was using it at a range - thus drawing the attention of the feds. However, it only became a machine gun when the BATFE, behind closed doors, mechanically tampered with the rifle. Getting guns to malfunction is a favorite technique of the BATFE as it gives them a great opportunity to rack up convictions on the possession or selling of "machine guns," which requires a special type of license.

As a result, David Olofson has been robbed of all his freedom, not just his right to keep and bear arms. He has lost his liberty, his family, and his life outside of prison. It is just a turn of fate that it is David Olofson - not you or any other semi-auto owner you know - who is rotting away in prison. And that's why GOA came to his aide, and we are pleased to report that you guys have been a tremendous blessing to the Olofson family.

David's wife, Candy, told GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt last week that contributions from GOA members have been a tremendous help. So much so, that she does not need to take a second job, thus allowing her to spend time with her children. All of this has resulted from the many GOA members who are making monthly contributions to help pay the Olofson family's mortgage and car payment. By the way, a lawyer friend who lives near Candy told her that GOA's brief was superb. One could hear the encouragement in her voice that resulted from what the attorney told her.

So, now that we have the Olofson family stabilized, we're asking you to help us get stabilized. This case is very expensive, and we need your help to continue pressing ahead for his release from prison. The costs in taking on this case are huge, although it's a burden we gladly bear because of the danger that it presents to ALL gun owners - especially those who own semi-automatic firearms. If this injustice stands, it will give the ATF the green light to put millions of additional gun owners in their cross hairs.

GOA also needs your financial help because we are using this experience to work with a team of experts to develop written testing standards that could be imposed on the BATFE by law. Such a law would protect individual gun owners, manufacturers and dealers alike, and would be the next best thing to getting rid of The Gang (aka, the BATFE). So please help GOA to accomplish these worthwhile efforts. You can help GOA continue fighting to defend David Olofson - and all gun owners like him - by going to http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm on the GOA website. Thank you.


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