One of the main components of a soldier’s training is in developing weapons proficiency, and the ability to judge whether or not to use it. These lessons can prove useful even decades after they’re imparted, as the following five accounts of veterans defending themselves or others with firearms show.
On January 19, Bastrop County, Texas, Deputy Dylan Morris attempted to pull over a vehicle due to the driver’s erratic behavior. The driver did not initially comply, but eventually stopped at a gas station. Once the vehicle was stopped, Morris attempted to arrest the driver, however, the driver resisted. While Morris was struggling with the driver, the man reached for the deputy’s weapon. Thankfully, Marine veteran and Right-to-Carry permit holder, Scott Perkins, came upon the struggle and immediately intervened. Perkins drew a gun and ordered the driver to “freeze,” which halted the attack and prompted the criminal to flee. Following the incident, Morris said of Perkins to the Austin American-Statesman, “I’m alive today because of him,” adding, “There are no words to explain it. He’s such an outstanding citizen. He’s here for our country, our community and you really feel the love.” Despite his heroics, Perkins remained modest, telling the paper, “Anytime somebody is in need of help you should assist them. It doesn’t matter whether your life is in danger or not, you should always assist anybody who is in need.” (Austin American-Statesman, Austin, Texas, 01/28/16)
Army veteran Don Rogers was inside a gas station in Sycamore, Ga., when a robber armed with a gun entered the store and demanded money from the clerk. Rogers responded to the threat by drawing a pistol and firing at the thief, striking him twice and causing him to flee. The robber made it to a waiting getaway car, but a short distance later the thief and his accomplice stopped the car and called for medical attention. Police captured the pair a short time later. Following the incident, Turner County Sheriff Andy Hester commented to a local media outlet, stating, “People are just sick of people running them up … And robbing, and stealing, and pillaging, and people are tired of it. These people that'll go out and do this kind of stuff need to realize—it ain't always gonna fare to their favor, just because they're a predator.” Rogers told the same outlet, “I was hoping nothing like this would ever happen, but I was glad I had my weapon with me.” Rogers added that he thinks every lawful gun owner should carry. (WALB, Albany, Ga., 07/17/15)
Jon Alexander was clerking at the Beer 30 liquor store in Marionville, Mo., when a man entered the store, drew a gun and pointed it at him. Alexander, a 30-year military veteran who served four tours in Iraq, immediately pushed the robber’s gun away with his left hand, drew a pistol with his right, and pointed it at the thief’s head, causing the robber to flee the store. Following the incident, the owner of the store, Jeannine Dawson, spoke with a local media outlet. Dawson explained that Alexander acted just as she would have predicted during the robbery, and stated that she enjoyed showing her friends the surveillance footage of the confrontation, noting, “They’re shocked when they see the robber pull a gun, but then they’re just delighted when Jon stops him.” (The Springfield News-Leader, Springfield, Mo., 09/03/13)
92-year-old World War II veteran Earl Jones was at home on the Boone County, Ky., farm he has worked for over five decades when he heard a loud noise in the basement. Jones retrieved a .22-caliber rifle and went to a chair opposite the door to the basement. After several minutes, a home invader came through the basement door, at which point Jones fired at the criminal, killing him. The dead intruder’s accomplices fled the scene, but were captured after calling police with a lie about how their cohort had been shot. During an interview with local media, Jones made clear his adamant support for the right to self-defense. Jones told a reporter, “I didn’t go to war for nothing. I have the right to carry a gun. That’s what I told the police this morning,” adding, “Was I scared? Was I mad? Hell, no … It was simple. That man was going to take my life. He was hunting me. I was protecting myself.” (NKY.com, Northern Kentucky, 09/3/12)
87-year-old Jack Goodwin was listening to a Lakers game on the radio in his home in Los Angeles, Calif., when he heard a suspicious noise. Goodwin retrieved a 9 mm handgun he keeps by the bed, went to investigate and found a pair of burglars attempting to break in. After the criminals smashed a window, Goodwin fired, striking one and causing both to flee. The wounded burglar did not get far; police found him in Goodwin’s backyard. The intruders picked the wrong house, as Goodwin is a World War II veteran who served on Okinawa. When interviewed by local media, Goodwin’s daughter Vernita described him as a “true soldier,” but hoped he would move out of the city. Goodwin has other ideas, stating, “I’m going to stay as long as I want to … When I leave it won’t be because they ran me away.” (NBC2, Los Angeles, Calif., 02/02/12)