What to do if you are Involved in a Self-Defense Incident.

A Retired Veteran Cops Perspective…

I have been retired now for almost a year. And in that time I have begun teaching civilian concealed carry classes locally as well as still teaching at the local police academy. I have been teaching police recruits for over 28 years and civilians for about a year or so.

One of the things that I have noticed is that the people that take the civilian classes are very well meaning and law abiding people. And they want to try and make sure to stay the law abiding part of that. So when I am teaching what to do when you are involved in a self defense incident, they seemed very surprised when I tell them what I do when it comes to speaking to the police.

You see TV and movies have yet once again misled the vast majority of law abiding citizens to think that as long as you are in the right and telling the truth, you have nothing to hide form the police and should feel fine about giving them a description of what happened and why you had to defend yourself. Well as a retired cop I am here to tell you that is not necessarily true.

When a LEO is involved in a on duty shooting, they for the most part, are given up to 72 hours to recover from the stress involved before being requested to give a statement to the investigating detectives. This is because when you are involved in a life and death incident you are going to be affected both physically and mentally, even if you are not injured. Adrenaline and other hormones will be dumped into your system. You will most likely become very shaky and out of sorts. Your thought process will be muddled and you may have trouble recalling exactly what happened at first.

People experience things during these types of situations like time compression (time moves faster than normal) time expansion (time slows down). Auditory exclusion where you don’t remember hearing anything like gunshots or screaming. Visual field restriction (tunnel vision) where you lose peripheral vision. And many more things. If you want to learn about what happens to the body and mind during these types of situations I highly recommend Lt. COl. Dave Grossman’s book “On Combat” published in 2004 and available on Amazon and elsewhere.

First once the scene is safe and there are no more threats, RE-HOLSTER your firearm. Or at least do not be holding it when the cops show up. Unless you are on the phone with 911 and describing yourself to the dispatcher, the responding cops do not know who you are and if you are standing there with a gun when they pull up, they are likely to mistake you for a bad guy. And you don’t want that.

Even though you are 100% certain that you are within the law, and you have no doubt you can explain exactly what happened and the cops should see it plain as day, DO NOT TELL THE POLICE ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED! Now I am not saying do not cooperate and provide some basic information. It’s OK to give them your name, address and identifying information. But when it comes to answering questions about what happened and why you had to use force to end the situation, do not say anything! I cannot emphasize that enough!

Give the police that respond all the personal identifying information they ask for, that’s not a problem. They will more than likely take your firearm or any other weapon you have and say it is for “evidence”. That’s fine also. But tell the officers who ask you to tell them what happened, very politely yet firmly;

I would be happy to fully cooperate and I will but I wish to have my attorney present before any questioning.”

So even though you may feel compelled to talk about what happened to the police, and they may try and ask you many questions and get you to “fill them in”, do not.

At the point that you request your attorney law enforcement is supposed to stop asking you any questions about the incident. Now if you then start talking about things, they can use whatever you say if they want. So do not talk about it.

Once you have contacted an attorney (or if you are smart you have one through your self defense insurance) wait until the attorney advises you what to say and when. That’s what they get paid for.

Now I know what some of you may be thinking, I was within the law and have nothing to hide so why not tell them? And that is all well and good, but because of the trauma you have been through you may not recall things as they really happened, you may not recall something important, and you will not be able to recall things properly until later after you recover from the initial shock.

No I know this may sound strange coming from a veteran retired cop and someone that trains police recruits, but I have seen first hand what can happen when even though you are well meaning about what you are saying, things can be twisted or taken out of context or you may actually not remember something very important and leave that out of your statement.

Your attorney will guide you through the “elements” needed to prove self defense and discuss with you what to say in your statement. They should also be present with you while you are speaking with police.

That is my simple advice to you. Coming from someone that has seen it and heard it. And experienced it themselves. Do not talk to the police until you have an attorney present, even when you know you are 100% right in what you did.

I have self defense insurance for just something like this. You should consider that also. There are several out there. My personal one is US Law Shield, but you should research on your own.

So be safe, carry always and if you ever have to use your self defense firearm, do not talk to the police until you have an attorney present. From the cop that used to ask the questions.

It’s time for Law Enforcement to take a stand with the law-abiding firearms owning citizens of this country.

As many of my readers know I am a 35 year veteran sworn law enforcement officer who retired at the rank of Commander and more years after that training cops. I can tell you that a large majority of cops are strong supporters of citizens rights to be armed. I am also a U.S. Army veteran of the 3rd Infantry Division. Contrary to the few incidents that make the news or social media most of law enforcement supports the citizens right to self-protection and to being armed. I have had citizens come to my aid more than once when I needed back-up and none was around, and I was thankful for their help.

But there is rapidly coming a time in this country when law enforcement as a whole may need to finally take a stand with the citizens and stand up for the Constitutionally protected right to “keep and bear arms” that seems to be under attack.

In VA. there are many Sheriff’s and Police that have taken a stand with the citizens they are sworn to serve. This is a good sign, but I do not think it is going far enough. We need a national push, and national movement in law enforcement to stand up against further restrictions on a citizens right to keep and bear arms. The second amendment is for all citizens, even law enforcement. Citizens in several states have even gone so far as to save officers lives using a firearm to stop attacks on officers.

Virginia sheriff: We’ll deputize law-abiding citizens to counter state Dems’ gun control ‘overreach’

Think for a second why many firearms laws exempt law enforcement from the restrictions placed on the average citizen. The legislators and some figure heads in law enforcement will tell you its because police are highly trained in the use of firearms and can be trusted to have firearms. Well that is not exactly the truth. If you look at the training of many law enforcement agencies throughout the country you would be astonished at how little training they actually get. In the State of Florida for example officers are only required to qualify with their service firearm every two years! While some agencies do qualify more than that there are agencies out there that only shoot their firearms every two years. Now that does not make them “highly trained” or better trained even than most firearms owners. I know for a fact that our local agencies offer officers free time on the range every month to practice if they want, and yet out of almost a thousand officers and deputies, very rarely (one or two maybe a month) would take part in the offer.

After retiring from law enforcement training, I began teaching civilian classes at a local gun range and found to my very pleasant surprise that many firearms owners shoot as much if not more than most cops. Sure, there are some in each group that train a lot and some that train very little. Point being that on an average I have to say from personal observation police are no more well trained in firearms than most firearms owner citizens.

So why do legislators seem to always include exemptions for law enforcement in most firearms bills and restrictions then? Well they will say it’s for public safety. But an officer’s home collection does nothing for public safety. Only the officer’s duty firearms while they are working and maybe their off-duty firearm (if they carry one, I know many that do not). The reason that they include these exemptions is because they know that if law enforcement had to abide by the same laws and rules as citizens the cops would be in an uproar and fight any more restrictions. Imagine if law enforcement officers’ personal firearms were going to be banned just like they are threatening citizens firearms. What if law enforcement was required to keep any “assault weapons” (before you scream at me I know there is no such thing, I’m using the anti-rights groups words) at the station and check them out only when working. What of they were only allowed the same magazine capacity that the legislature is trying to place on citizens. I don’t think they would like it much and you would hear a huge cry from the police unions and officers themselves. Now do not misunderstand me, I think that ALL law-abiding people should have a right to those things, not just law enforcement. And I know some will say, and I agree, law enforcement does need these things since those are the same weapons they encounter criminals already using. Being at least as well armed as the criminals is a necessity for law enforcement, why is it not for the citizens who will encounter the criminals before the cops do?

I teach the police recruits that I have in the academy that the golden rule of law enforcement is to treat every person (good and bad) the way they would want another cop to treat their family member if they were in the same situation. Cops need to remember that these laws and exemptions affect their families and friends who are not cops, and everyone else.

In closing let me point out that I am pro law enforcement and know most are great, brave, decent people trying to make the areas they live in just that much safer, but I also know we (LEOs) see the worst that society has to offer and sometimes forget that there are millions of times more good people out there than criminals. If we remove the exemptions for law enforcement from the firearms laws, then I think we might see much different reactions from the law enforcement world in opposition to any more restrictions. Maybe even they might stand with the citizens and require the law makers actually follow the Constitution and remind them they “shall not infringe” on their right to “keep and bear arms”, both citizens and cops. Virginia law enforcement seems to have figured that out.

When Law Enforcement say They will not Enforce Unconstitutional Laws..

The Virginia Democrats try to change a law to fire them for following their oath of office protecting the Constitution, Oh and outlaw any type of training to protect your rights or yourself.

There has been a lot of coverage in the social media world (very little on the mass media of course) of the newly elected Democratic Governor and Legislature in Virginia announcing that they would be moving full steam ahead with sweeping firearms laws that would turn millions of Virginia residents into criminals for simply possessing certain common firearms. This push seems to be being led by the newly elected Governor Ralph Northam.

From a Reuters report: “

“They want us to finally pass commonsense gun safety legislation, so no one has to fear being hurt or killed while at school, at work, or at their place of worship,” Northam said hours after the election results. “I look forward to working with our new Democratic majority to make these priorities a reality.”

The legislature will take on several proposals, including banning assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines and raising the minimum age to 21 from 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun, said Dick Saslaw, the top Democrat in the state Senate.”

What they had not planned on was the overwhelming anger and reaction of the people of Virginia, and especially the county Sheriff’s and County Commissions.

The on November 21st, 2019 a Virginia Senator filed Bill 64 wants to make it illegal and a felony for anyone that:

“Teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder”.

Now I don’t know about you but I teach firearms to citizens. And how am I supposed to know what they are going to use that training for? The thought police are alive and well in Virginia!

As of the writing of this article there were more than 70 counties and cities that had voted on resolutions that they are calling “Second Amendment Sanctuary” status. Whats does this mean? Well collectively they are stating that they will refuse to enforce any more 2nd Amendment restrictions that they feel are in violation of the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, of the U.S. Constitution. Now I could debate that this is a bit late and long overdue. That if they are truly declaring this and mean it are they going to stop enforcing the current violations of the second amendment, but that is another whole article worth of thoughts.

In response to this growing trend of resistance to any new restrictions or laws, the Virginia Governor Ralph Northam came out swinging with threats to those sayign they would resist these laws, even if they thought them unconstitutional;

“If we have constitutional laws on the books and law enforcement officers are not enforcing those laws on the books, then there are going to be some consequences but I’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it,” Northam said. “

Well that was not well received of course, but then a Virginia representative really doubled down by basically recommending that the Governor use the Virginia National Guard to force compliance:

“And ultimately, I’m not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law,” Rep. Donald McEachin said. “That’s his call, because I don’t know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that’s obviously an option he has.”

Now that was enough to send some into calling for armed resistance, the start of the next civil war and debates on if the national guard would even follow any such order to use possible force on the very citizens they are sworn to protect. But then Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of VA stepped up and posted a response to the representatives statement by posting on Twitter (taking a play out of the Presidents playbook?):

Many think the tweet says that the VA National Guard would be willing to take action. I do not see that said anywhere, what I do see is the very obvious omission of any mention that the VA National Guard taking any side and no mention of response to the Representatives call.

So the big question is really how far will this go? Well the VA Democratic controlled Legislature decided to push the situation to an even higher level of anger and threats by filing Bill 67 in the legislature that would result in any law enforcement officer, Sheriff, or other public employee who refuses to enforce what they felt was an unconstitutional law (following the very oath of office they took) being fired and not able to be employed as such for at least 12 months.

So what does this all mean? Well Virginians elected a Democratic majority and a Democratic Governor and now are seeing exactly what that can mean for rights. We do not have the electoral college at the state level and this is what happens when highly populated dense areas are able to outvote all the other areas in a state and force upon the rest of the citizens the views that do not apply to them or the rest of the state. Elections have consequences. Turnout is key and the Republican turnout did not help in this state.

So what is going to happen in Virginia? Will the state legislature pass these obviously unconstitutional laws? And will the local county and city elected officials decide they are not going to enforce those new laws? If so will the Virginia government decide to try and fire all those law enforcement and county city officials who say no more restrictions? Or will the Governor of Virginia force the issue by employing the National Guard to try and use force against the very citizens they are sworn to protect and defend from unconstitutional enemies? That could result in armed conflict. If that happens will it spread to other places and outside Virginia? Could this be the spark that ignites the next American Civil War?

I think that people are beginning to see that our Constitutionally protected rights (they do not come from the Bill of Rights or Constitution, they are protected by it and restrict the Government from infringing on them) and they are tired of seeing more and more limitations being placed on rights.

Think about this for a second, only one right in the entire Bill of Rights includes the words “shall not be infringed”. There is a very good reason for that. The citizens were supposed to be able to have the same weapons as the standing army so that should it become necessary they could fight that standing army or the agents of the government to take it back and re-institute that Government of the People, by the People and for the People that our forefathers fought a war to establish and many have died to defend. Is it time again to feed the tree of liberty? #boogaloo

I would be very interested in your thoughts on the legislation, the stance of the people and where you think we are headed.

Newsweek Outright Lies to the American People about Firearms Deaths!

Why am I not surprised that another supposed “news” source would publish a article “STUDY: U.S. GUN DEATHS SURGE, EXCEPT FOR TWO STATES WITH RESTRICTIVE GUN LAWS – BY ASHER STOCKLER ON 10/8/19” that is not only full of falsehoods, but the headline itself is an outright lie.

Is it any surprise that the American people no longer trust “news” sources like Newsweek? When supposed news sources publish such blatant lies about a topic rather than take 5 minutes to actually research reliable sources, you get results like this:

Screen grab from Newsweek.com

Now if you read that headline you would think they at least were telling you the truth. But would it surprise you if I told you that according to the FBI “2018 Crime in the United States” firearms murders went down the last two years? Firearms murders have decreased since 2016. 2018 was lower again from 2017. So why would Newsweek want to mislead or lie to the American public? Well of course we know why, they want to influence the public into thinking there is a “surge” or “epidemic” or “crisis”. When in reality the only one of those is in the minds of those who manufacture these claims.

From: FBI “2018 Crime in the United States” report.

According to the FBI homicide data, murder over all is down again also in the US. That’s great news so why not share that good news? Isn’t murder being down a good thing? Oh that’s right if they admitted that it would make things like “gun control” the “assault weapons ban” and other things pointless. Well they are pointless.

Here is the homicide rate per 100,000 people in the US over the last 48 years. Notice anything? You can easily see that the Murder rate was much higher from about 1998 and prior. After the rate started dropping in the nineties it has stayed pretty stable until about 2008 when it dropped a little more. With the mass murder in 2016 it climbed but still not to previous levels. And now it has dropped again to 5 murders per 100K like it was back in 2009. Again it is still far lower than in the past prior to 1999.

Graphic by Down Range with Chris Wagoner. (chriswagoner.us)

So one has to also consider this. We are a nation of 350+ MILLION people. And a nation with hundreds of millions of firearms, some estimates are even more firearms than people. If firearms were the issue would we not have far more firearms murders than 10,265 out of 350+ MILLION people with all those firearms in the US? Of course we would. This is a very simple way of showing it is not the inanimate object that is a problem, but the person behind it. Just like it is the driver behind the wheel of a car driving DUI and not the car. It is obvious when you see that “hands and feet”, “Blunt objects” like clubs and hammers, and even “knives and cutting instruments” are used to murder far more people than those “assault rifles” that many say are the biggest threat to people these days.

So to Newsweek I make this challenge, if you want to put anyone up for a debate live online, I will gladly take you up on ti. Subject? The real numbers behind firearms, murder and fake crisis you are trying to manufacture.

I know they won’t take me up on it, but it’s fun to hope! Stay safe out there.

Background Checks and Red Flag laws and more laws would not have stopped Texas or Ohio Murderers.

So now that a bit more information on the murderers in those two incidents is coming out it is time to point a few minor things that those who are shouting “we must do something” and “it’s all President Trumps fault” fail to see or want to have pointed out since it will contradict their point of view.

So now that a bit more information on the murderers in those two incidents is coming out it is time to point a few minor things that those who are shouting “we must do something” and “it’s all President Trumps fault” fail to see or want to have pointed out since it will contradict their point of view.

First, there has been a cry for universal background checks for a couple of years. After every mass murder that uses a firearm, there is a cry for “universal background checks”. But what many who are for them don’t want to be said and will try and shout down anyone that dares to bring it up is that many of the mass murderers passed background checks to get the very firearms they used. The most recent two shootings, one in El Paso Texas and the other in Dayton Ohio both passed background checks. So what good would UBC’s do then if mass murderers with obvious questionable backgrounds can still pass them? When put that way kind of sounds stupid doesn’t it?

Then there are the “Red Flag” laws that everyone is touting as part of a possible solution. The only problem is not all of these laws are created equally. Some states, like my own of Florida, have already enacted these types of laws and guess what? They have found they are abused and were not thought out very well. Many states laws do not have any kind of due process written into them. You know that pesky thing called your right to due process under the law. Sound familiar? Anytime that the Government wants to take away a persons property or right (owning and possessing a firearm is both of those) they should have to go before a Judge, and have a chance to defend themselves in a court of law. Our system was founded on that very principle. Circumventing that now for firearms can and will lead to further infringements. Don’t get in an argument with a vindictive ex-spouse or such, all they need do is call the police, tell them you own guns and made threats. No need to substantiate it and prove it, you have to prove you did not. Isn’t that twisted around from what our system is supposed to be like?

And for those crying that we have to do something. Why? The Murder rate is actually down by >40% since 1993. People are waking up all across this great country and realizing that self-defense and defense of your family is your responsibility, not the government. The last three mass murders, Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton all took place in or as people exited a gun-free zone. Read this excerpt from the El Paso murderer’s supposed manifesto and you see that they (the mass murderers) think about this:


Attack low-security targets. Even though you might out gun a security guard or police man, they likely beat you in armor, training and numbers. Do not throw away your life on an unnecessarily dangerous target. If a target seems too hot, live to fight another day.


So what would have stopped him? More security? More police in the area? Why do you think they do not attack police stations or federal buildings or other hardened targets? Because the chances of being shot before they can cause much carnage is greater. People wonder why no one in Texas was carrying (big state for carry rights and laws) but all one need do is look at the Walmart and the demographics of the area and you will see why. The Walmart was a posted “gun-free zone” and in Texas, if posted properly with 30.05, 30.06 and 30.07 signs, it makes legal carry in the establishment illegal. So again law-abiding citizens are disarmed, and the mass murderer could care less and murdered 22 people, AND NOT ONE WAS LEGALLY ALLOWED TO DEFEND THEMSELVES! Does that not sound wrong to you? Obviously, it worked in the murderers’ favor.

And last of course is blaming the current President for these shootings. People say it is his “message” that caused the murderers to go out and kill (even though the murderer in Texas made it clear it was not) like he ordered them to go out and kill people. If this is the case why did he post tweets in support of certain specific Democratic candidates before the murderers? Shouldn’t we blame them then instead? Of course not. You don’t blame the actions of a psychopath or sociopath on others. You blame the person themselves.

So let’s just stick to the facts. We now have a mass murderer who clearly said that they pick “low-security targets” that have little chance of them being confronted or engaged by armed resistance. Maybe we should listen to him and use that against the next one? Self-defense and defense of your family is your responsibility and not the governments. Police (I was one for 38+ years) only come when called. You have to be alive to call them. And why do you call them? Because they bring firearms to the scene to confront the armed attacker. Would it not be better to not have to wait and be at the mercy of these deranged individuals? When most mass murders are over in minutes and it takes law enforcement minutes to get there, what do you do in the meantime? Hide and hope not to die? Sorry, not in my nature.

So I guess what it all boils down to is the cry from those wanting something done, and something is done now, just what do you propose that would have stopped any one of the last 10 or 20 mass murderers over the past couple of years? Please give us a solution or idea. Since Murder is already illegal and carries the stiffest of penalties in some places (death) and that does not seem to stop them, please don’t propose a law that only disarms more law-abiding citizens. Let’s hear some concrete thought out helpful ideas and stop playing the blame game, blaming President Trump, blaming guns, blaming poor mental health screening, but not blaming the real root causes. Those are for another article.