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Can’t Believe This Is Happening to Me

Posted by Rob Longenecker on August 24th, 2006

In defensive situations, people deny that they are actually being attacked. “this can’t be happening to me”, “why would this guy want to hurt me?”

It’s predictable. People even say it out loud, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”

People who are victims of violence have a hard time understanding what is happening to them. People often get so wrapped up in what’s supposed to happen, or should happen that they’re not present to what is happening.

We’re just not used to violence. Most of us have no experience of it.  It doesn’t seem real when it occurs. Most adults have never been in a violent confrontation. 

How do you go from the comfort your “mental recliner” to the fires of hell? How do you shift your reality that fast and react decisively, with the intention to survive? 

Tucker and I had a part-time shooting school in the mid 1980’s.  I lived in the country and I had a 50-yard shooting range with a big dirt backstop 8 feet high and 50 feet wide. We decided to teach people defensive shooting and had success attracting students.

One day, “Annie” came with her mom and two aunts – four ladies, all with Charter Arms .38 Special revolvers – wanting to learn to shoot defensively.  We split the day alternating between classroom sessions and shooting. They all did well since we concentrated on distances from 3 feet to a maximum of 7 yards. 

We taught them to combine speed and accuracy. We discussed the fact that people who were threatened or attacked often said, either out loud or to themselves, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”  We felt we had given them a good grounding in the law, mental conditioning, confrontation avoidance and shooting skills.

Several months later, I received a phone call from Annie’s mom.  I was shocked to hear her mother say, “Annie’s been in a shooting.”  My heart jumped. I didn’t know the outcome until she told me Annie was okay and the guy who attacked her was dead.

The story was that Annie, newly divorced, had been out late at a club. She left her purse in the trunk of her car, taking her keys, money and I.D. into the club.  Her Charter Arms .38 was in her purse. When she came out after closing time, she returned to her car, opened the trunk and retrieved her purse. After closing the trunk she opened her driver’s side door.

At that moment a young guy poked a gun in her ribs and told her to get in and slide over. As I recall, his gun was a .25 auto of some kind. Thank goodness he wasn’t interested in her purse.

He drove her car and pointed the gun at her as he drove.  Annie told us later that she actually said to the guy, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.” She said it several times.

After 20 minutes they were in a lightly populated area.  He turned into the drive of a burned-out house, stopped the car, opened his door and got out.  He turned back, pointing the gun at Annie, and told her to get out of the car and leave her clothes in it.

What he didn’t know was that Annie had gotten over her panic, placed her purse on her right side by the passenger door and slipped her hand into it.  She had a good grip on the little revolver.  When he told her to get out and leave her clothes in the car, she knew she had to act. There was no assurance that he’d let her live.  Even so, she hesitated.

In our classroom we had discussed reaction times.  She knew she had the element of surprise even though he had a gun. The guy felt in control and he relaxed. Still, it takes something to shoot another person, even when you want to survive.  It was then that he reached in, grabbed her left shoulder, pointed his gun at her and yelled a command to hurry up or else.

We had told the Annie in class to fire two shots to center of mass, then assess the situation to see if more shots were required.  Annie’s hand came out of the purse and emptied the gun into the threatening mass.

The first shot X-ringed the center of his chest, the second was in the same vicinity.  The third shot hit him in the side as he turned away. The fourth shot hit the back of his shoulder and the fifth shot went over him as he fell face-down outside the vehicle. The little revolver only held 5 rounds.

She had forgotten all about firing two shots.

Annie got to a phone, called a friend, called the police and was no-billed by the grand jury. One bad guy takes a dirt nap and one young lady gets to live and take care of her young daughter.  After a few days, Annie felt remorse and questioned her actions.

Tucker went to see her since he’d been in real life shootings as a police officer and could offer some real world experience.  He had her see that she had done the right thing and that the bad guy had caused his own demise. She was okay with it and glad to be alive.

One last twist to the story is that Annie wanted to get rid of the little gun that saved her life. She didn’t want it reminding her of the incident. Guess what she did – she swapped it for her mom’s identical Charter Arms .38 special revolver and has carried that since so far as we know.

Thank goodness Annie had the time and the control to go beyond “I can’t believe this is happening to me” and took the action necessary to survive.

4 Responses to “Can’t Believe This Is Happening to Me”

  1. Adrian Gordon Says:

    “She had forgotten all about firing two shots.”

    Good for her. Shoot till the threat is neutralized.

  2. Dave Says:

    I told my wife this story, and she made up her mind to finally mail in her CCW permit.

  3. Bob G Says:

    All I can say is good for Annie ! Sad a life was taken but I have to say it was only a scumbags life.Think of it as you probably saved some other soul who might not have been as lets say as good as you were.Hope all is well in your life now.

    Keep Shooting
    Bob

  4. Pernell J. Says:

    It seems that when someone uses a gun to commit a crime, not every thug understands that when they to pull a gun, that it had better be worth getting shot over. Not all thugs can make that leap. Every CCW holder should. That can be a huge advantage. Annie knew this, her attacker didn’t.

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