I’m going to probably shock those who have bought into certain stereotypes of gun owners, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that the best defensive gun uses are those where the law-abiding citizens isn’t forced to pull the trigger of his weapon. Being forced to shoot means that your situational awareness has failed, your defensive measures have failed, and you have no good options left.
We’ve very fortunate that the overwhelming majority of gun owners who have been forced to pull a firearm in self-defense have not had to fire a shot.
A Bearing Arms reader in Yakima, Washington, had such a “good” defensive gun use in the sporting goods aisle of the local Walmart in front of his children in a story that we mentioned yesterday.
A 32-year-old man who was shopping with at least three children at a Yakima Wal-Mart was the victim of an unprovoked assault when a stranger picked up a metal tee-ball bat and struck him, according to Yakima police.
The victim was not injured, but he did have a concealed weapons permit, which he immediately put to use, police said.
A store security officer reported hearing a man in the sporting goods department yelling “Get on the ground!” and found one man pointing a pistol at another, who was lying on the floor.
Police arrived a short time later and arrested the 30-year-old suspect, who remains in Yakima County jail in lieu of $30,000 bail set Monday.
We talked with Mr. Walker just a short time ago.
Mr. Walker typically conceals his full-size carry pistols, but decided to leave his jacket in the trunk on what he expected to be a quick trip with his three older boys for a batting helmet, some baseballs to toss around the yard, and a few other items. As he was helping his sons find a batting helmet that fit, he noticed a disheveled man come down the aisle and made eye contact with him several times.
The man picked up a bat from the bat rack, and without warning, drew back and swung it at Mr. Walker’s head with full force.
Unlike most people who would have frozen due to the unexpected nature of the attack, or who would have reflexively recoiled away, Mr. Walker stepped forward into the swing and turned his shoulder into his attacker. His reaction both reduced the force of the blow, and kept his assailant from making a potentially deadly strike to his head.
Mr Walker then stepped back to create distance and drew his open-carried Sig Sauer P226 in .357 Sig, racked the slide the chamber a round (he carries it on an empty chamber), and ordered his attacker to the ground.
Walmart’s loss prevention manager and another employee were just two aisles over and ran to the sound of the commotion, and helped contain the attacker until six Yakima police officers—a lieutenant, a sergeant, and four patrol officers—arrived to take the suspect into custody in a matter of minutes.
The officers never felt compelled to draw their own weapons, treated Mr. Walker with respect, and told him that he did everything right, and showed considerable restraint.
His attacker, known only as “Trevor,” said next to nothing before, during, or after the attack only other than to note that he’d been arrested before for assault, and that he wanted to exercise his Miranda rights.
I asked Mr. Walker what he took away from this experience in a phone call a few minutes ago.
His first comment was that his practice issuing commands as part of his normal range routine paid off. Since he practiced it, it was easier to give commands for the suspect to comply with, reducing the possibility that he would have to discharge his weapon.
The other take-away from this situation is that he may have made a mistake in not opting to grab his jacket out of the trunk of his car, which he normally wears and would have concealed his handgun.
While “Trevor” never stated specifically why he attacked, the only thing that made sense to Mr. Walker was that Trevor wanted his gun.
From now on, Mr. Walker will carry concealed, and already has just the sidearm picked out for the summer months ahead. The only time he’ll open carry from now on is at the range.
As for the suspect, “Trevor” his is in jail and facing a charge of second degree assault, a felony with the potential for ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
A short time ago one of the suspect’s friends contacted Mr. Walker via Facebook, and thanked him for showing restraint. According to her Trevor has long had a history of mental illness, and has never gotten the help that he needs.
Perhaps he’ll get the therapy he needs behind bars.