17 May 12

“It’s not being fast, nor even accurate, that counts most. It’s being willing.

Most men, regardless of cause or need, are not willing. They’ll blink an eye, or draw a breath, before they pull the trigger.

I won’t!”

Ageing frontier gunfighter, John Bernard Books (played by John Wayne), in the 1976 feature film, “The Shootist.” It was Wayne’s last film. He died at the age of 72 (cancer) in 1979.

Last weekend, at a Defensive Pistol Course, one of our students, a black woman, came to us from her residence in a large, metro area. She is single, professional, regularly employed, attractive, educated, cultured, and her neighborhood is progressively deteriorating. Gang activity is increasing, as is random violence and property crimes.

Yet, she identifies herself as an “urbanite,” and is not sure she wants to move out, although she indicated, as things get worse, she may have no choice.

A year ago, she fatally shot a burglary/aggravated-assault suspect who had violently entered her home. He and a partner, using bludgeons, broke down her back door and entered. She was home alone at the time, and, as he approached her (bludgeon still in-hand) she fired a single shot at him from her six-shot S&W 38Spl revolver, from a distance of two meters. Brand of ammunition unknown.

Second suspect immediately ran away and was never identified. Our student did not know, nor recognize, either of them.

The single bullet struck the first suspect in the torso, and he fell to the floor within a few seconds, but then tried, via multiple attempts, to get back up. She shouted at him to stay down. Growing weaker, he finally complied and remained down.

She called 911. Beat-cars, and an ambulance, arrived minutes later. The wounded suspect was transported to a local hospital, but died on the way. He was DOA.

Responding officers were very professional and actually commended her on her decisiveness, accuracy, and composure.

Investigation was completed within a few days. She was not charged criminally, and no lawsuit was ever filed by the family (assuming he had one) of the decedent. She was told personally by the lead-detective that, as far as the police department is concerned, the case is closed.

She still lives in the same house.

Prior to this shooting incident, she had been exposed to scant formal training. She had purchased the revolver and ammunition as a response to her concern about increasing violent crime in the City. She took it upon herself to practice several times thereafter.

However, she did say she had thought about it all beforehand and had firmly resolved that she was not going to be a willing victim of criminal violence. When the critical moment arrived, she didn’t hesitate!

Many others, even with extensive training and expensive/fancy equipment, do!

Unlike her, they missed the first lesson!