The old saying, “Too slow to run; too old to take a beating,” likely wasn’t coined by a 20-something martial arts expert. Older Americans are aware that they are more prone to being targeted by those who wish to make them a victim. Fortunately, many are also quite capable of taking care of themselves when the chips are down, as these five stories from last year show.
Arthur M. Lewis, 89, a decorated World War II veteran, was working at his jewelry business around 3 p.m. when a man with a gun entered the store. Lewis quickly grabbed the .38-caliber handgun he was carrying in his pocket. The would-be robber exchanged gunfire with Lewis before fleeing the scene. He was later found at a local hospital suffering from six gunshot wounds. After being treated, the assailant was arrested and now faces charges of armed robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and armed burglary. Lewis’ left arm was grazed by a bullet, but he was otherwise unscathed. (The Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach, Fla., 8/26/14)
James Jackson, a 73-year-old Air Force veteran, was at home with his wife and grandson when he heard the sound of a picture window breaking. He armed himself with his Taurus .380 ACP handgun and investigated the noise. Encountering a strange man inside his home, he fired a single round at the 29-year-old intruder. After being treated at the hospital for a bullet wound, the suspect was upgraded to fair condition. Reportedly the suspect has not yet been charged. Neither Jackson nor his family were harmed. (Omaha World-Herald, Omaha, Neb., 8/27/14)
Homeowner Thomas Patterson, 71, woke to noises coming from inside his home around 6 a.m. He quickly retrieved his firearm and opened the bedroom door. Patterson recalled, “The man, I could see him trying to duck into the closet in the next room and I just told him, ‘Come out of there, Bud.’” Patterson then held the 22-year-old intruder at gunpoint while he called 911 and waited for police to arrive. No injuries were reported and no shots were fired during the break-in. (WTHR, Indianapolis, Ind., 8/4/14)
Hugh Mathis, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, and his wife Ruby, 89, opened the door when a young man they knew from their neighborhood knocked. The young man had previously done odd jobs for the couple, including mowing their lawn and shoveling snow. He asked to use the Mathis’ telephone. Once inside, the man pulled a knife on Mr. Mathis and demanded money. Mrs. Mathis quickly went to the bedroom where they kept a firearm. When she returned, the would-be robber fled through the front door. He was later arrested and held on three counts of aggravated robbery. (WLWT News 5, Springfield Township, Ohio, 4/10/14)
David Braman, 69, retrieved his revolver before opening the door to a stranger around 8 p.m. The 31-year-old stranger claimed he was having car trouble and asked to use Braman’s telephone. Braman was suspicious of the stranger even before spotting the handgun he carried. The stranger then forced his way through Braman’s front door and a scuffle ensued. Three of the assailant’s accomplices were waiting outside when they heard three gunshots. They then witnessed their co-conspirator stumble out of the home with a bullet wound to his groin before fleeing. Three of the four assailants were later arrested and charged with numerous counts. The injured trespasser was said to be in critical condition and was being treated at a local hospital. Braman was unharmed. (The Times-Tribune, New Milford, Pa., 1/16/14)