There has been a lot in the news lately about the police “mistreating” people at traffic stops. Maybe I’m preaching to the choir here. Readers of Athens Now are most likely already well informed about how to behave around police officers. I hope the readers might pass this article on to their teens before they get behind the wheel for the first time.

Imagine if you were a police officer, and you spotted a car load of teenagers driving in heavy traffic on a Friday evening. The car was speeding up and slowing down, then it would get real close to the car in front, then all of a sudden swerve over and pass, only to do the same thing again to the next car it came up behind. You, as a police officer could see at least six occupants, they all seemed to be laughing and having a great time. Before you activate the blue lights, your mind flashes back to the two mangled bodies of teens that were thrown out of their Mercedes Benz as it left the road at over 100mph. You remember the look on the faces of the mom and dad when they came to the scene of the wreck. That was just last night. This is tonight, and maybe you can prevent such a terrible tragedy from being repeated.

When you “light them up” with the blues and hit the yelper and few times, the driver decides to pretend it’s not him you’re pulling over. He keeps on going but his driving behavior improves dramatically. You flip on the loud speaker and call out to him, “You in the red Mustang: pull over to the right, pull into that parking lot.” The driver looks over his left shoulder with a look on his face, “You don’t mean me, do you?” You want to shout over the loud speaker, “Yes you, pimple face,” but you maintain your professional demeanor, and instead repeat the first command, “Pull over to your right, pull into the parking lot.”

The driver complies and you call in on the radio, giving the dispatcher your location and description of the car as well as its tag number. You also inform the dispatcher that the vehicle is occupied six times. You have parked your patrol car about a car length behind the red Mustang, at about a 45 degree angle. This provides you cover behind your car’s fender, if needed. The driver is expecting you to come to his driver’s side. Instead you approach from the passenger side. All the kids are looking to their left. You are on their right, observing what they are doing. The teens all jump with surprise as you say, “Driver, I need to see your license, registration and proof of insurance”.

These teens look to be ok, they just came from a football game and they were all excited to have their school win. You don’t see any alcohol containers, you don’t smell any weed. Then it starts. One of the girls in the back seat, the one with the “Big Hair” starts in. “Hey officer, can I wear that cute hat?” Another girl chimes in with, “Have you ever shot anybody? You’re not going to shoot us, are you?” The driver is trying to find his license while the teen closest to you suddenly opens the door right into your legs. He jumps back into the car, saying he is sorry and then states, “This is my dad’s car, he is a lawyer; as a matter of fact, my dad is a judge in this county.” The judge’s kid pops open the glove box and starts sifting through a pile of papers and receipts. The driver still has not found his license.

OK, back to reality. Can you see all the times that you would have been in danger? From the beginning, they did not pull over right away. The overcrowded car where you couldn’t see what everybody was doing with their hands. The girls were acting silly with their questions, distracting you. The driver is still trying to find his license. The passenger suddenly opening the car door into your legs, then popping open the glove box. Could there be a gun in the glove box? Could this be a stolen car? Could these teens have acted differently?

When you see the blue lights come on, pull over when it’s safe to do so. Get out of traffic if possible, but do not keep driving! Even if you are sure you did nothing wrong, pull over!

Driver and passengers, stay in the car unless the officer tells you to get out. Everybody keep your hands in your lap and keep your mouth shut unless you are directly spoken to. Driver, if you need to get your papers out of the glove box or console, tell the officer what you are doing. If you are wrong, admit it! Just say something like, “Gee, we’re all taking and laughing, I should have been paying attention to my driving.” Now, I am sure a lawyer might tell you not to say anything, but that kind of honesty will more than likely get you off with a warning, as long as everything else is in order.
By: Paul Foreman

In the last issue of Foreman’s Forum, I described a scenario where you needed to make a decision on whether or not to use deadly force. If you have not read part one, find a copy of Athens Now, or go to www.athensnowal.com and click on Foreman’s Forum.

There is lot going on in the scenario that leads up to the time when you need to make the decision to use deadly force. There are the loud voices, which sound angry and threatening. The fact that you witness the violent actions of an angry man, also contribute to fear that your safety is threatened. When the man is yelling angrily at you, you have even more concern for your well-being. Finally, when he begins crashing against your front door and actually begins to make forceful entry, you are now in great fear of bodily harm or death.

All of the above events are going to be critical evidence as to your state of mind and are part of what investigators or a jury will use as a basis for their decision as to whether or not deadly force is justified.

Many people, myself included, would very quickly come to the conclusion to shoot when a violent assailant is coming through the front door. But, maybe, there are other options. While you certainly have the right to defend yourself and your loved ones, retreat may be the best option.

Many things come to mind when making the decision to fight or flee. If you are alone and concerned only for your own safety, your actions will be different than if your loved ones, such as your spouse or children, are in danger. Can you retreat and also get them to safety? Getting them rounded up and escaping out the back door on a moment’s notice might not be so easy. Will they cooperate or begin asking tons of questions about what is happening? Do they know what just transpired with the angry man outside?

There may be a time when retreat is NOT the best action. There may not be sufficient time to retreat safely. In that case, a deadly threat must be met with deadly force. Taking a life, even when it is justified, is not like in the movies and on TV. In all my twenty-four years as a deputy sheriff, thank goodness I never had to take someone’s life. I have known deputies who did use justified deadly force. It is not something that is easily forgotten.

If at all possible, I must advise you to choose “retreat” as the best option when you are threatened. To run away from a threat is not something most men want to do. Most men think they would rather brag to their friends, “Hey, when that stupid jerk started kicking in my front door, I shot him so many times it took half his face off!” That is NOT something you want a jury to hear.

Either way, you must have a plan in place. Include your family in your planning and actually carry out a “fire drill,” so everyone knows what to do if threatened with a home invasion. You may need to assign older children to be responsible “guardians” of younger siblings. You will need to have a “safe” room inside, if that is your plan, or a place outside such as a neighbor’s home.

Just like in the last issue, dialing 911 as soon as possible is a top priority. Don’t hang up once the cops are on the way. Keep the line open and on speaker phone. If you have a shirt pocket put the cellphone or cordless phone there to free up your hands. If you are warning the attacker that you are armed, that recording over the phone will be to your advantage if you do have to shoot. After you have retreated to a safe room or are in a good position in which you can defend yourself, take some deep breaths and think about the firearms training you took as a student in one of my classes. If you can, barricade the door. Do that and take up a defensive position behind some heavy solid furniture. Let the 911 operator know what part of the house you are in and yes, tell them you are armed. Don’t open the door until the 911 operator tells you the officers have safely secured your home.
By: Paul Foreman

Check out my Web page www.PaulForeman.com
and Facebook! @ https://www.facebook.com/Paul-Foreman-NRA-Certified-Instructor-822151851204560/

The following scenario takes place from start to finish, in about two minutes. As the threat evolves, you need to have a plan in place about what to do.

Late one Sunday afternoon, you are sitting in your home watching TV when you hear some loud, angry voices outside your home. After a few moments, you get up and go to the window to see what is happening. You see a man standing in the street, shouting profanities at your neighbor across the street. You see a women standing on your neighbor’s front porch. She is yelling, “Please leave, just leave!” You do not recognize her or the stranger standing out in the street, but you assume she is the neighbor’s adult daughter.

Suddenly, the angry man charges up the sidewalk toward the women who turns and dashes into the house. The angry stranger slams his body against the door but does not gain entry. By now, another neighbor has come out of his home to see what the disturbance is all about. The angry stranger sees the neighbor and starts yelling profanities at him, saying, “This is none of your business! What are you looking at?” The angry stranger runs across the yard toward the neighbor, yelling more profanities. You can see some dark object in the stranger’s hand. Is it a knife or a gun, or is it just a cell phone?

The second neighbor turns and retreats into his home just as the stranger slams his body against that neighbor’s door. He slams into the door several times and also kicks at the door repeatedly. The angry stranger does not gain entry. He walks quickly back toward the street, and then sees you standing in your window staring at him. Now you are the target of his anger, and he starts running towards your home yelling profanities and threats. You turn and run into your kitchen where you dial 911.

As the 911 operator comes on the line, you realize how nervous you are. Your own voice sounds strange as you shout into the phone, “Send help fast! There is a crazy man threatening me and my neighbors!” The 911 operator seems to be asking useless questions. You are trying to answer her when there is a loud crashing sound coming from your front door. You scream into your phone, “He is trying to crash through my front door!”

You drop your phone onto the kitchen counter and run to your bedroom to retrieve your gun. Your hands are shaking as you check to make sure the gun is loaded. You realize you are out of breath and your heart is beating so hard it hurts. Back in the living room, you are horrified to see your front door has now got a fist-size hole in it and the angry man’s hand is reaching through trying to turn the inside door knob.

Crazy things seem to flash through your mind. Who is this guy? Why is he coming after me? Why is my front door so easy to bust down? Isn’t this mad stranger hurting his hand?

OK, stop the clock. What you do next may change your life and the results may last forever. So far, you are still safe but very scared. Some of you will come to the conclusion that you are in fear of great bodily harm or death, and deadly force is justified to stop the threat. Some of you may decide to simply retreat out your back door and get away from the danger. Some will decide to go out through the side door, flanking the attacker and taking the fight to him from behind, surprising him and stopping the threat with deadly force. That action may not be justified. Yes, many states are “castle doctrine,” aka “stand your ground states.” If you have retreated and are no longer in danger, is deadly force justified? What if there are other family members in your home – your spouse, your children or other people who could be in danger?

You must have a plan. You cannot wait till something like the horrible events described above are occurring and then devise a plan of defense. You need to consider each of the possible actions you might take and the results of those actions. Make the wrong choice and you could end up being charged with a homicide, or you could end up being the victim of a homicide. You must have a plan.

Everybody knows how to shoot a gun, right? Well, no, because I have a lot of folks call and tell me they have NEVER shot a gun before. Actually, those people who have no experience with guns are the easiest to teach. I believe this is true do to the fact they have no bad habits to overcome. I have also had quite a few students who were experienced with firearms, but they wisely felt that a professional trainer would be very valuable. Those students who had prior experience and training expressed to me the fact that they learned a lot during my class.

Of all the students I have taught, I only had two which had trouble with the basic skills needed to handle a firearm safely. It appeared to me that the fear of the loud noise was the main deterrent, along with the “kick” or recoil when they pulled the trigger. One student, I call her “Nine Inch Nails” had a great deal of difficulty because along with the extra long bright blue finger nails, she would recoil with fear even before she pulled the trigger. The gun was too small and light weight for what she needed. I offered a free follow-up training another day, as it was beginning to rain after about an hour and a half of time spent with just her. She was moving out of town the following week and was unable to accept my offer of additional training.

I certainly do not tell about the above difficulties to discourage anyone, but getting a special nail job the day before you take the pistol class will definitely create problems with the proper handling of your gun. My number one goal is that each student would leave my class with a solid basic understanding of handling their gun SAFELY and properly, along with a full understanding of self defense laws.

When my students call or e-mail to ask about my Basic Pistol Training and Basic Self Defense Class, we usually discuss everything from the selection of various guns and ammo to what purpose the gun is being used for. Many of those who call are interested in concealed carry. Others do not plan to carry their gun on their person, but plan to keep the gun in their home for self defense.

I have had numerous students, including many ladies, who did very well with the small “Mouse” guns, as I like to call them. Small guns such as the Ruger LCR series and others are great concealed carry guns. But, for some, the small size and light weight, causes the user to feel more “kick,” or recoil. Everything else being equal, such as the caliber (size) of the bullet, the small light weight gun will kick a lot more than the same bullet shot out of a larger heavier gun. The smaller gun is a lot easier to carry concealed than a larger gun.

Ok, so you know how to shoot a gun. You can stand in front of a target and hit within a nine inch round area most, if not all the time. I’ll bet that paper target has NEVER shot back, has it? Back in the ‘70s when I was first a Deputy Sheriff, we would all go to the gun range every six months to qualify. We had to hit the target forty out of fifty shots at various distances from 25 yards to 3 yards.Back in the day, we trained out in the open, standing and shooting with no cover or tactical defense.

Later into the ‘90s we finally got some realistic training such as shooting from behind cover and various positions. We even trained shooting from inside our patrol cars. I will let you in on a little secret: Statistics show most gun fights are THREE yards or closer, and the shooter never had time to aim. Another scary fact: a bad guy with a knife, running toward you from 21 feet away can stab you before you even draw your gun. How about shooting from inside your car? Can you produce your gun and defend yourself while seated inside your car with a seat belt on?

If your gun jams, can you clear the jam or malfunction and stay fighting within a few seconds? How about that little five shot snub nose, can you reload it fast enough to save your own life or that of a loved one?
By: Paul Foreman
NRA recruiter, former Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy
256-431-6702
www.PaulForeman.com

In 2016, law enforcement officers found themselves the target of assassins who attacked and ambushed police at previously unseen levels. During this past year, 135 officers died on the job, with 64 dying by gunshot. Two hundred seventy six police officers were shot. That averages out to an officer shot 3 out of every 4 days, and 1.19 officers killed per week. The previous year was almost as bad.

Last year, I was talking on the phone to my granddaughter who lives in Georgia. She was 9 years old at the time, and she knew I was teaching gun safety and self defense classes. At that time, the media was really hitting heavy with the anti-cop propaganda. There were headlines such as “Cops gun down 16 year old boy.” Or, “Cops kill another unarmed teenage youth.” As if the television news isn’t bad enough, schools around the country were teaching the students to be afraid of the police. I read about one elementary school which had given out an assignment in art class. The students were instructed to draw pictures about how they felt about cops killing people.

Then my own granddaughter hit me in the face with a brick. “Papa,” she said, “Please teach the police to stop killing people.” Those who believe that cops are just begging for a chance to kill someone are living in a self induced fantasy of media and lies. People need to start realizing that at every single encounter police have with citizens, a GUN is involved. Yep, at least one gun is present every single time officers come in contact with citizens.

Back in the day, when I was a new officer, the number one weapon used to murder law enforcement officers was the officer’s own gun. During the ‘90s, we began using some very well engineered holsters that helped keep our guns from being snatched away during close encounters.

This is just one of the reasons attitudes toward law enforcement need to change — and that change begins at home, facilitated by parents. It also needs to be taught in our public schools! Here in Northern Alabama, especially in the city of Athens and Limestone County, we have two very fine law enforcement agencies. Chief Johnson and Sheriff Blakely do a superb job, and both have officers in the public schools throughout Athens and Limestone County. One of the local papers showed pictures of Athens Police giving out Christmas gifts to children.

Mom and Dad, this message is for YOU. Have you contributed to the disrespect and loathing your child or teenager has for the police and sheriff deputies? What do you say to your sons and daughters when you pass an officer who has pulled someone over? What do you say when YOU get pulled over? What do you say to your sons or daughters when you see a news story on TV about an officer involved shooting?

This past year, men and women have been wounded and killed in the line of duty just because they wear a uniform. That is frightening. I will admit there are a few bad apples out there. BUT, they are really few and far between. I believe this “war on police” has also made many men & women question whether or not they want to be police officers. Officers have found themselves repeatedly vilified in the media. This anti-police attitude in the media, and in the highest levels of some elected officials, has caused a serious shortage of police applicants in many large cities. Who would want to sign up for a police officer’s job in an area like Ferguson or Baltimore?

In Washington, some sick elected officials put up some despicable painting they call “art,” which depicts police officers resembling pigs. What message does that send to our children?

To emphasize again, this past year, 135 officers died on the job and 276 police officers were shot and 64 gave the ultimate sacrifice. Who would you take a bullet for a total stranger?

As I can attest, there are many rewarding things about doing law enforcement work. But, there is something chilling that runs through your mind, as well as that of your family, when they see you strap on the ballistic armor and walk out the door. Will tonight be the night an officer does not come home? Cops will not be safe on America’s streets in 2017 if current attitudes prevail.

Who would you die for today? John 15:13
By: Paul Foreman

Not all handguns are equal; not by a long shot (pun intended).

Yes, I know that some of us cannot afford to buy the best, highest quality gun out there. How much is it really going to cost you, when you need to defend yourself and your cheap gun fails?

I’ve had a few of my students bring a gun to my class, that was just NOT up to safe gun standards. Some revolvers I’ve seen in my class that are so cheap, the cylinder did not line up with the gun’s bore. This defect causes problems, such as misfires, or results in lead shavings being propelled out to the side, actually striking anybody (such as me) standing nearby.

Some semi-auto pistols have been brought to my class that are so poorly designed, they have rough, sharp edges that dig into the users hand, or the “safety” is so small and rough that it is very hard to engage or disengage. A safety that is hard to use is NOT safe! At today’s prices, the $400 price range and up is what you need to spend on a well made, reliable handgun.

Low-cost handguns are, in our experience, poorly manufactured, designed and/or made of cheap metal. They are also generally unreliable and unable to endure sustained use. Such cheap firearms often have very poor triggers and/or safety levers and other features, making these guns difficult to use and shoot accurately. A heavy trigger pull found on cheap guns can make shooting accurately almost impossible.

If you have questions about a gun you are considering for purchase, please call me FIRST!

Too often we have seen students bring low-cost handguns to class and then struggle with the guns and endure unnecessary and preventable difficulties during the live fire training. These situations often lead to the entire class being delayed, while the student and/or the instructor devotes precious time and effort dealing with a poorly made, unreliable, unsafe, difficult to use and overly bothersome low-cost handgun.

A low-cost gun might be better than no gun at all when a gun is needed to defend your life. If I need a gun to defend myself, I do not like the idea that it “MIGHT” go bang when I pull the trigger. However, to train and practice seriously a quality gun is required. If you want the training we provide but do not have a suitable handgun, let us know. We can usually provide (rent) a suitable handgun for the live fire portion of the training. We suggest that if you value your life – the only life you have – and want to learn to use a handgun for self protection, please save your money as quickly as you can and purchase a quality, well made handgun.

I have had ladies call me and say they want a small light weight gun so it doesn’t kick. WRONG! Small guns of the same caliber will kick more!

A few words about handgun calibers. Not all handgun calibers are equal. The smallest gun/caliber we will recommend in our training is the .380 ACP. We strongly recommend .38 Special and 9mm as a minimum caliber, but if you insist, you may complete our courses with a .380. Shooting their 380, my students could not tell the difference when I let them try my 9mm.

Calibers larger and more powerful than .45 ACP are generally not acceptable for use in self defense training. Larger, powerful calibers can be difficult to shoot for a number of reasons and are best used for hunting or other recreational shooting, not personal defense.

The use of reloaded ammunition is not allowed in my training. Use of reloaded ammunition can, and in our experience, usually does result in malfunctions and delays.

If you use reloaded ammunition, you are probably not only voiding the factory warranty for your gun, but you are increasing the chance of an ammunition mishap of some kind.

Full metal jacket ammunition is REQUIRED for training and target practice. Solid lead bullets do not perform as well, make a dirty mess of your gun and will adversely affect how your gun functions during this type of training.

My advise is to stick with “name brand” ammunition. There is one brand in the stores right now that is manufactured in and owned by the government of Russia. Do you really want to support the Russian government?

Please get trained properly so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Have a SAFE and Happy New Year!
By: Paul Foreman

I thought about naming this article “I’m not as good as I once was.”

I am still six-foot and 200 lbs but I am just not the same man, at 68 years old, that I used to be. On top of that, as some of you know, I have been fighting cancer these past eleven months. After taking 24 weeks of chemo and two six-week sessions of two different kinds of radiation, my body just ain’t up to the standards and stamina it was just a short time ago. But, the Lord is on my side, so I am winning this battle!

Back when I was a Deputy Sheriff in Southwest Florida, I physically took on and prevailed with many miscreants that needed to go to jail, without resorting to the use of deadly force. Thank goodness, I am no longer in the business of taking people to jail who do not want to go!

There is a legal self-defense term called “Disparity of Force.” This means, if there is a great deal of difference in strength and stamina between individuals, it is not going to be a fair fight. For example: A muscle bound young man, six-foot tall and weighing in at 200 pounds, has a significant advantage over a 120 pound young woman. Or, an older gentleman who is six-foot tall and also weighs 200 pounds, but is 70 years old, has a huge disadvantage in strength and stamina to defend himself using only my limited physical abilities.

Now we must throw in another set of guidelines, before we rule in favor of the “little guy.” Disparity of force laws are different in some states, but let’s apply the “reasonable person” test for which the courts require the jury to answer the question, “What would a reasonable man do?” What if a 200 lb. man, standing 50 feet away threatened to kill you, a smaller weaker person, using only his bare hands? Can he cause great bodily harm or death standing fifty feet away? Would a reasonable man use deadly force to defend himself or another innocent person? What if you were sitting on a park bench and the same man, still fifty feet away, threatened you with a baseball bat? Would a reasonable man pull a gun and shoot him? Even if we ignore the “Stand Your Ground” law, would a reasonable man shoot him or just walk away? Now if he chases after you, and you cannot get away, that changes everything. Let’s add in the “disparity” factor. Let’s say you are in a wheelchair or use a walker, so you cannot get away from the threat. Now you, the weaker person, would be justified in defending yourself using more force than the attacker is using. A reasonable man would use “deadly force,” such as a firearm if he, the weaker person, is in fear of great bodily harm or death.

What would any “reasonable man” in your position do? Let’s say you and your wife are in the middle of a parking lot. Disparity covers many things, and when you combine them, it multiplies the threat. Superior size of the assailant(s), massive strength, age (20 versus 60 years old), number of assailants (five against one) and skill of the bad guy(s) are all factors.

Back to that parking lot. What are you going to do? My wife is my first concern. Am I going to tell her to run, get help and call 911, or keep her with me? Running away gets her out of the danger zone, and gets help coming. Or, would she be in greater danger being separated from me? I could try and run, but with them only 50 feet away, I wouldn’t get far in my weakened condition. I know trying to fight even one monster could get me killed or crippled. Five of them would only make my demise quicker. I’m left with no choice but to defend myself with my firearm. Isn’t that great how my Glock 9mm makes me equal to someone bigger and stronger than me?

What would you do? Have you thought of how disparity of force applies to your personal defense plans? If not, it’s time to take some training and do some research on the laws of your home state and the other states where you carry a gun for personal defense.

Remember, the BEST fight you will ever be in is the fight you avoided.
By: Paul Foreman

12-2-2016-9-51-50-amBeing a victim is real easy. All you have to do is look like a victim. Walk down almost any street after midnight and if you wait around long enough, you will be a victim! The NRA has a program titled “Refuse To Be a Victim.” I have a program which I have developed that I believe is even better. Mine is not so politically correct and is not lawyer proof.

Let’s use your favorite movie or TV hero and try to imagine him or her being a victim. First and foremost, the most important element that keeps heroes from becoming victims is the way they look. There is not one single high-energy action hero that looks like Pee Wee Herman. Now that guy is a victim in waiting! You can pick from any long list of heroes you may want to imitate. If you are over forty, you can probably name a dozen or so cowboy heroes. Can you try to imagine John Wayne, as Rooster Cogburn, getting mugged as he walks down the street? How about Crocodile Dundee? Now that’s a knife! How about the Lone Ranger or Tom Selleck or Sam Elliott? OK, in a politically correct article, I should mention, some heroines such as Roy Roger’s wife, Dale Evans, or Lara Croft played by Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raiders.

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You see, none of these heroes and heroines looked like victims. Dale Evans could shoot the gun right out of the bad guy’s hand. All of these stood tall and looked like they could whoop some serious backside, if the need presented itself. You never saw any of these guys or gals walking quietly along with their head bent down, hugging themselves. Heroes don’t put up a flashing neon sign that says, “I am weak and I want to be a victim.”

This is the way for you, man or woman, to at least look like you could whoop the backside of any miscreant who stumbled into your path.
1) Stand tall with shoulders back and your head held high.
2) Be alert to your surroundings. (more on this later)
3) Walk like you are going somewhere, even if you aren’t!
4) Men, lose the skinny jeans and the polka dot bow tie! Try not to look wimpy!
5) Ladies, don’t dress like you want to be a victim! If you’re walking down the street, don’t dress like a street walker! (I warned you this would not be politically correct!)

Now, find an instructor and learn how to defend yourself. Getting properly trained will keep you from “looking like a victim.” If you own a handgun, learn how to use it safely and properly. Learn how and when it is legal to use deadly force to defend yourself and your loved ones. I hear so many people tell me, “Oh, I know how to shoot. I went hunting once with my grandfather.” Now that kind of remark is what I call the stuff that comes out of the south end of a north bound mule! Find an NRA Certified Firearms instructor and do it yesterday!

12-2-2016-9-52-13-amI am offering Basic Pistol with Self Defense classes. I keep the class size small so I can provide individual attention if needed. I am also offering an Advanced Self Defense Shooting class. This is for those who have already taken my basic class, or those who can show me they have already mastered the basic stuff.

I mentioned above the need to “be aware of your surroundings.” While walking on a path or sidewalk, do you notice some guys that just seem to be hanging out? Everybody else on the jogging or walking path seem to be there for a reason. (Exercise!) How about the city sidewalk which leads you past some dark alleys? How about walking past that parked car that has several men sitting in it? One night you head to the nearest “Stop & Rob,” sorry, I mean convenience store, to get some milk. Do you really need to go by yourself? When you get there, do you see the two or three characters hanging out right next to the front door? Oh sure, it’s the Christmas season and they are collecting for the Salvation Army, right?

The best fight you will ever be in is the fight you avoided. Stay away from trouble. If you are heading somewhere and have to stop and think, “Maybe I should take my gun,” then don’t go there
By: Paul Foreman

11-18-2016-3-36-35-pmThis is no joke. But you should know the answer to “who’s there?” before you answer the door. Even in the daytime, thieves and B&E artists are likely to knock first to see if anyone is home. Home invaders will knock to see if you are stupid enough to open the door, making it easier for them than kicking it down. Is it just a salesman knocking at your door? Is it a neighbor who you do not recognize? Or, is it someone with nefarious intentions?

Most of us are taught to be polite and courteous to strangers. Children are taught about “stranger danger” in school. But, as we get older, we seem to let our good manners, “trump” what should be common sense. Is it really impolite to not open your door for a stranger? Is it impolite to ask them, from a position of safety, “who is it?” Why isn’t it more impolite to let your loved ones be victimized by a stranger?

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A fantastic system which has recently come on the market allows you to view who is at your door via the internet, even when you are not at home.
I am not saying you need to live in fear. Being vigilant around your home is really no different than driving safely when operating your car. I am probably speaking here to men and women who either already carry a firearm for self defense, or they are considering whether or not to start carrying one. Being vigilant while at home is no different.

You do lock your doors, don’t you? How about right now as you are sitting there reading this article? My doors are all locked right now and it’s one PM on a Sunday afternoon. No, I am not sneaking around the house, peering out windows with a gun in my hand, looking for attacking zombies. To me, it is just good common sense. Ok, maybe I am a little jaded by my experiences as a Deputy Sheriff for twenty three years, after taking reports and investigating so many residential burglaries.

It’s crazy how cops will give nicknames to bad guys. You know, like the “Valley Strangler” or the “Barefoot Rapist”. When I was a Deputy Sheriff in Lee County, Florida, we had a family of daytime burglars. Their country of origin was a certain part of Europe, and we gave them a name which went along with one of “Cher’s” songs. They even dressed in their ethnic garb while committing their crimes.

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Their MO or method of operation went like this: The thieves would drive into a wealthy looking neighborhood and pick their mark. They worked in teams of two or three. Usually the “lady” in the group would knock on a door, while her partner would wait a short distance away. When the unsuspecting homeowner would come to the door, the thief would act very distraught and tell a story about how she lost her little dog and ask permission to look in the back yard. She would ask to walk around to the backyard with the home owner or ask the homeowner to meet her there.

While the homeowner was helping the woman in the backyard, her partner in crime would go into the house through the now unlocked from door, grab a purse or wallet and be gone in just a few seconds. The homeowner might not even miss the stolen items until hours later.

After a dozen or more of these daytime crimes, we finally got a description and partial tag number of the car the thieves were driving. One Sunday afternoon, I spotted the car coming out of a residential community, and called it in. The car was a blue Chevy Malibu, but the tag came back registered to a Ford Pickup. With a backup deputy coming up behind me, I conducted the traffic stop. While approaching the car from the passenger side, I could see them moving things about, attempting to hide things in the back seat. While remaining cautious, I pretended the reason for pulling them over was the improper tag. Both thieves had outstanding warrants. We quickly discovered numerous ladies’ purses and a few men’s wallets lying on the back seat and laying on the floor. In addition to outstanding warrants, we arrested the couple and cleared fifteen home invasion burglaries.

The moral of the story here is, keep your doors locked, even in the day time. All of the victims in the above story left their front door unlocked while going to their backyard.
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11-4-2016-11-16-11-amMy wife and I were driving home one evening on the interstate. We were talking while we cruised along towards home, when I realized I was about to pass our exit. I glanced in the rear view mirror and just barely made it onto the exit ramp. Suddenly there was the sound of a blaring car horn. To my right another car was passing me on the off ramp. Then, he did what I would not have expected. He swerved his car over into mine, slamming into my right front fender. I slammed on my brakes to get away from him. He cut back across in front of me and accelerated on down the exit ramp.

My wife was on the phone calling 911. When she got the Sheriff’s Office on the line, she handed the phone to me. I told the 911 operator who I was. She remembered me from the fifteen years I spent as a Deputy Sheriff with Lee County Florida. I told her in detail what had just happened. I told her I was following the hit and run driver at a safe distance. At one point the driver slowed to turn left, at which point we were able to advise of his tag number. The driver took a few more turns and stopped. I was carrying a snub nose 38 Special, and I kept it low and out of sight as I rolled down my window about four inches. The other driver was getting out of his car and started walking towards us. I called out loudly to him, “Stop right there. I have the Sheriff’s Office on the phone. A deputy is on the way. Just wait right there. Don’t come any closer!” The other driver got back into his car and turned into a retirement mobile home park. I decided to wait near the entrance, for the deputy.

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Within a few minutes, a deputy arrived. I introduced myself as a retired deputy, and described to him what happened. I included the fact that I had most likely changed lanes a little too close. He got the name and address of the other driver from the tag number I had given him, and he drove into the park. After about twenty minutes, the deputy came back out. He grinned as he told me the guy denied everything. The guy claimed he had not used the car all day, yet his engine was still warm. The deputy wrote him several traffic tickets including “hit and run.”

Several months later, I got a subpoena to appear in traffic court. The guy was pleading “Not Guilty.” I called the prosecutor. I suggested that he inform the other driver’s attorney that I was a retired deputy. The prosecutor called me back about an hour later and told me the other driver decided to plead guilty!

I do not advise doing what I did in the above scenario. Following an offender might just enrage them even more.

1. Don’t get road rage yourself!
2. If they are following too close, speed up a little to increase the distance between you and the other driver.
3. Look for an area to turn off.
4. Always leave room in front of your car to pull away and escape!
5. If the other driver tries to confront you, dial 911 while you to drive away.
6. Give 911 your location, direction of travel, the description of your car and the other car and driver.
7. You really don’t know who you are dealing with. They could be a wanted felon for all you know.
9. If your car is disabled and you cannot escape, I hope you are armed and trained, in case the enraged driver attacks you.
9. Drawing a gun inside a car presents a whole new set of problems to overcome. Getting your gun out while seated, especially getting past your seat belt, shift knob and steering wheel, takes a lot of practice. Inside your car, practice drawing with an empty gun.
10.Remember: You cannot use deadly force, unless and until you are threatened with deadly force. You cannot threaten someone with deadly force, just because he looks angry.
11.Do what I did; shout loud and clear, “The Cops have been called and are on their way!” If he comes closer, yell loud and clear, “Back away! Do not come any closer!”
12. Do NOT show your gun unless you are actually threatened with deadly force.
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