I run a convenience store/gas station and have for many years. I know that they have often been called a “stop and rob”—a terrible moniker, but not inaccurate. To thwart that stigma, many nearby stores have gone to great lengths to install security systems, cameras, identification systems and lighting. For those of us still not satisfied, and after one too many guns has been pointed at us, many have gone to keeping some type of weapon in the store. I know some stores keep baseball bats; others keep a gun. In my store, I keep a Smith & Wesson J-Frame .38 under the counter by the cash register. I told my wife, “I’m not just going to stand there and let someone shoot me. I at least want to be able to fight back and defend myself.”
This one evening, it had been pretty quiet for a while. I know it sounds like a cliché, but it seemed like a bad sign. I just had a bad feeling that something was going to happen. I found out soon that I was right. A guy walked into my store and was clearly agitated and seemed very nervous. His actions automatically made me feel nervous, and my guard immediately went up. He wandered back and forth through the store a few times, almost like he was looking to see who was around. As he approached the counter, he asked for some cigarettes and, after turning away for a second to retrieve the pack, I turned back around and found a gun pointed at me. The guy told me to give him all my money or he was going to kill me. Thankfully, I know guns, and the one the bad guy was pointing at me was a 1911 with the hammer down. I realized that it would take him a second or two to shift his grip to cock the hammer, and he was looking around and over his shoulder the whole time to make sure no one sneaked up on him.
Waiting for him to look back over his shoulder, I quickly reached under the counter and pulled out my .38 revolver. He looked back, saw the muzzle of the .38 and froze. As we stood there for what seemed a long awkward moment, I finally told him to drop his gun and lay down. He initially refused. He really didn’t look like he knew what to do. Finally I said, “Look, that gun is a single action and the hammer is down; this one is ready to go. If you try to shoot me, I’ll shoot before you will ever get that hammer cocked. And, you’ll probably die. Put the gun down.” He looked up at me and something must have clicked because he put the gun on the counter and said, “I really didn’t want to rob you anyway.” I kept him there until the police arrived to arrest him. It was a good thing I knew guns; otherwise, the situation could have turned out much worse.—co, nd
My commute home was combative in many ways. The first was the traffic; the second was the area I had to drive through. My company had placed its operation in a “tax haven” part of town, where they get government perks for being located there, since it’s a place in which most other companies aren’t or won’t set up shop. This introduced us to a mixed bag of problems, and more than once, the police had to come to our office to handle a problem. In light of this, many of us discussed, and I finally did, getting handgun carry licenses and guns. I wasn’t going to be a victim.
One night, that thinking paid off. I was going home, later than usual, when a group of local cars started following me, sometimes pulling ahead. I drove a nice car, and that is probably what piqued their interest. Eventually, the group of vehicles, including mine, came upon a red light and everyone stopped. When the light turned green, no one moved, but some of the occupants got out of their car and walked over to mine. One guy came up to my window and said, “Get out of your car.” I pretended not to hear him, and he said again, “Roll down the window, you hit my car.” Now my senses were heightened, as I knew this wasn’t going to be good. When I purchased my gun, I opted for a Smith & Wesson M&P, influenced by a buddy who was a cop, had one and said they were easy to use and great. I bought one in .40 caliber, and that is what I had with me.
Meanwhile, the guy persisted in telling me to roll down the window or get out of the car, and, truthfully, I froze. I figured at the least they would just steal my car, leaving me stranded in a bad area; at the worst, carjack the car and me and turn me into a hostage and possibly kill me. Finally, the bad guy talking to me had had enough, brandished a handgun and tried to use it to break my window. Something kicked in, and I picked up my M&P, pointed it at the guy, and pulled the trigger. Before I knew it, glass was flying everywhere, and the guy at my door fell backwards and onto his back. Immediately, the others jumped in their cars and took off, leaving me with the “smoking gun” and a bad guy on the ground. It didn’t take long for the police and an ambulance to arrive. They took the bad guy away, who survived and was ultimately charged with aggravated assault with a weapon and other crimes and sentenced to 10 years in the klink. I was quickly cleared by the police and decided it was time for a career change and a different work location.
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