Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Everytown's New Video - There's Nothing She Could Have Done? My WCS



The video above is a dramatization of, at least, a hypothetical situation where a woman and her son are at home when their house in broken into by a man who is supposedly her Ex and the boy's father. This video could, however, be based on a real life event. After a confrontation between the man and woman, the man pulls out a handgun and points the weapon at her. The title of the video "Will you stop this?" appears to be asking the viewer to do something to stop domestic violence against women by preventing domestic abusers from acquiring firearms. EGS wants this to be done through legislative action (as indicated by the description in the video's 'About' field). Below this a description of the video. Following that, I go into about what I think she should have done differently as well as the few minor steps she should have taken to furhter help protect herself from this sort of attack; by acquiring a firearm. The video is a dramatization and this is, of course, all conjecture. It is the W.C.S., the Woulda Coulda Shoulda.

 

Video Breakdown

 

In the video above, a woman and her son (about 2 or 3 years old) are at home when a man (her Ex and the boy's father) knocks on the front door. The woman calls 911 for help saying her Ex is trying to break in. The man is clearly aggravated, shouting through the front door, pacing on the porch and looking through the front windows. The 911 operator asks if she has a restraining order against him; she says "yes." While still on the phone with the 911 operator, the man breaks down the front door and moves into the house and stands in the middle of the room. Near him is a couch where the boy is sitting. The woman demands that the man move away from the boy. The man turns and picks up the boy, then appears to attempt to leave. As he picks up the boy, the woman begins an attempt to take back the boy with weak, hand strikes to the man's back. It appears that the man puts the boy back on the couch as the man is then seen turning toward the woman with the boy no longer in his arms. The woman is still attempting to fight the man. The man then attempts to suppress the woman's attack by grabbing both her wrists and moving her backward. While struggling with the woman, the man manages to hold her off with one arm then removes what appears to be a commonly owned modern, full-size, polymer frame handgun from his pocket. He points the weapon toward the woman who is now cowering in fear, holding her hands up to protect herself. Just before she is shot, the Everytown for Gun Safety graphic appears just as we hear the sound of a gun shot, then a baby crying.

Analysis


First I want to look at the stated restraining order. While talking with the 911 operator the woman acknowledges that she has a restraining order against the man. Having acquired a restraining order against him clearly demonstrates that she feels he is a danger to, at least, her. Her having a restraining order against him also means that she is willing to take steps to protect herself. If she has a legitimate reason to get a restraining order then her acquiring a device for self-defense, such as a handgun, should have been the next step, if she hadn't already done so.

Next, let's look at the VERY beginning of the video and a hypothetical but likely situation she was in in those seconds before the beginning of the video. She had to have seen him coming otherwise she wouldn't have had enough time to get to the phone, dial and get through. While it doesn't take much time to dial 911, she had to have at least a few seconds heads up. Alternatively, she wasn't aware of the man being at the door until he made some kind of indication that he was there; such as a knock on the door and him saying something like "let me in." We don't see this part since the editors didn't put it in. Additionally, she clearly knows that the man at the door is her Ex and that she had already processed his presence as likely leading to a dangerous situation; which is why she calls 911. She is at least scared enough to call 911 for help, because of him or his previous actions against her. She was quick to the phone which indicates to me that she had almost instant access to the phone. She had even already dialed the phone before we hear him yelling though the door. I believe this means that she had some kind of heads up several seconds before he had broken in. She might have seen him coming though the yard or even seen him pull up, otherwise if she hadn't seen him early on, he would have had to announce that he was there, at the house, in some fashion. If he didn't announce his presence before the beginning of the video and she didn't see him coming then she wouldn't have known he was there and wouldn't have had enough time to get to the phone as they show in the video, unless it was with in near arms length. All of that would have had to happen before the beginning of the video, which we don't see.

At 2 seconds into the video we see her on the phone and we can hear the 911 operator. Calling 911, in my opinion, was the right thing to do. Calling 911 is generally regarded as a smart choice simply because you want to get help rolling, ASAP. The video does a great job of highlighting that the police CAN'T be there for you instantaneously. If they could, the police would have teleported to the house and stopped the attack. However, in reality it could take local police more than 10 minutes to show up at your door ONCE THEY HAVE YOUR ADDRESS. She was on the phone at least 5 to 10 seconds BEFORE the baddy was through the door, then 20 seconds later she's dead (her being killed is what we are supposed to believe anyway). To reiterate, the police can't be at your house in under 30 seconds. So you need access to something the moment the situation goes down. There are other reasons for making that call, as well such as having an audio recording of the situation. Try to keep the operator on the line to keep that recording going. Unfortunately, sometimes you get put on hold by the operator or the call never even gets answered. What are you going to do then?

Moving on, we can plainly see in the video that, the moment she finished dialing 911 she had started moving away from the couch area (where the boy is sitting) to the lower staircase landing; she stays there until the man has the boy (16 seconds into the video). You can clearly see the staircase at 13 seconds; this area is again the same area where she walked to originally and is approximately where she would be shot. This location would have given her easy access to the staircase to go upstairs; because THEY'RE RIGHT THERE. If her bedroom is upstairs and she had kept her gun in her bedroom then falling back to the stairs is the right move.

The Woulda Shoulda Coulda Part


I'm going to do a little setting up before I get to my suggestion. Plain and simple, she should have purchased a firearm (preferably a handgun) either before or IMMEDIATELY after she put in for the restraining order. Not when she was GRANTED the restraining order or a few days after but when she initially put in the request. Maybe even as she was thinking about whether she should or shouldn't apply for a restraining order, is when she should have bought. Why? If you decide to put in a restraining order (and aren't using the order as a way to get back at or screw with the other party) you are saying that you feel that person is a threat to you and could do you physical harm. However, the restraining order is a NON-PHYSICAL barrier. A restraining order is not a bodyguard or sci-fi energy shield that bullets bounce off, it is ONLY a concept, words on paper and is NOT a PHYSICAL tool. A gun is a physical tool. Ideally, she should have bought a handgun, a good holster for in the home that she can easily put on and take off, a holster for outside the home with good retention AND gotten a carry permit long before this situation went down. She knew he was a threat and should have taken those extra minor steps I just listed. While the video played out in her home, this could have easily happened at the grocery store, at her work or even at the mall instead of inside the house. Taking your gun with you helps ensure that you have a better chance of survival if the perceived attack comes from outside the home. Since it happened inside the house she should have had her home holster on and been been carrying the gun on her. I have a Fobus paddle holster that all I have to do is slide the paddle over the waist band of my pants, put the gun in and I'm good to go. I promise you that it will take you longer to put a pair socks than gun-up with the right holster.

Now let's look at the woman's actions in the video and add in her gun into the mix. This is the real W.C.S. part. The video shows her getting on the phone, asking for help then trying to prevent the man from taking her boy, then finally the moments leading up to just before she is presumably shot and killed. If she had worked to set herself up for an ideal solution in handling this situation, she would have already had her loaded handgun on her, she should have picked up the boy instead of the phone first, then got the phone and immediately dialed 911. While the phone is still ringing, her next step should have been to run to a defend-able location with the boy and talking with the operator as she moves. In the video, the location she is standing in is likely where she acquired the phone. It is also the same location where the boy is at. It appears that she was near the boy initially at the beginning of the video when she began fiddling with the phone, so why didn't she take the few foot steps to grab the small boy, then move off? Why not just grab the boy while you are talking to the operator and run? It appears that the phone was very close by which is also where the boy was. She could have easily grabbed the boy instead of the phone. Either way, since she was unarmed she should have been moving to a good location in the house where she could defend from. What's next is dependent on whether she was carrying her gun with her already or if it was in her bedroom or other location. If she already had her handgun with her then she didn't necessarily need to move; she could have made a stand there in the living room. If she didn't have it on her she should have set it in some location where she could have easily acquired it. If it was upstairs in her bedroom then she needed to get there. Shut the door on the way in, grabbed her gun and hid the boy all while still on the phone with the 911 operator. Still, the best solution would have been to have it on her whenever she's home.

Here's the thing. The video is the perfect example of why you should carry when you're home or have your gun handy while at home; especially if you are in fear just like the woman had to be in the days, weeks or months leading up to the events in EGS's dramatization. Remember how fast she had acquired that phone? If you don't remember go watch the first 3 seconds of the video. The FIRST time we ever see this woman, she ALREADY has that phone in her hand. What if she had her handgun next to the phone? That is the real question. The answer is that the result could have been completely different.

I would like to note one thing. The safest thing she could do would be to have carried the gun on her. If the phone was on the coffee table or end table and the gun next to it, the kid might have had easy access to it, which isn't a good thing for 3 year olds or anyone else. However, there do exist small gun boxes. One that has my eye is The Gun Box. These types of containers have features like biometric locks keeping the gun safe. Keeping the gun on her, keeps the gun out of the kids hands. I can hear the anti's now. "Well what if she's sitting on the couch with the kid? The kid could start to fiddle with the gun while its in the holster and set it off!" Most holsters already have coverage of the trigger and block access to the controls, so don't worry. Also, many modern handguns have automatic safeties that prevent the gun going off even if the trigger is pulled, such as a grip safety in the back strap.

I would also like to note that if you are someone thinking about purchasing a handgun for this exact (or any other defensive reason), please don't wait. Especially if you live in a state like Maryland where you have to wait or get permits to buy or own a handgun. By the time the state finishes processing your application, you could be dead.

The Legislation


So why did Everytown for Gun Safety put out this video? Well they have an anti-gun agenda and want you to send text messages to the number they provided. Those text messages trigger some kind of canned message about whatever anti-gun legislation EGS wants to push. Those canned messages supposedly go out to senators. But what legislation would that be?

Legislators are pushing for laws that allow their state or even the federal government to take away an individuals firearms and/or prevent them from acquiring a new firearm if they have a restraining order placed against them or if someone thinks they are dangerous. Depending on the wording of the legislation, the state could do this without due process, which would be illegal. You can't legally revoke a persons rights without due process. As long as the law is narrowly tailored and clearly writen to the specific issue then the law could pass as constitutional. Otherwise, anyone could hypothetically call in about their neighbor that they don't like just because he owns firearms and is pro-2A. That would be abuse.

The video is meant to make you think that taking away or preventing the person the restraining order is against from acquiring firearms will make the other party safe from harm and/or death. This isn't true because in this video all you have to do is replace the gun with a knife. Obviously, my answer was to have the woman arm herself. Many other people just like her have come to that solution on their own. Of course EGS would never suggest that the woman acquire a firearm for herself simply because that doesn't fit their agenda.

The Gun


If you're interested the gun in the video is supposed to represent the Glock Safe Action Pistol. The actual firearm used appears to be a Bruni blank firing pistol. You can see the extractor behind the ejection port is far too long to be a Glock extractor. ;)

The Gun


It should have been a DGU.

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