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I heard Aaron’s story over the Internet a couple years following his initial Good Samaritan incident. While it is only one of the many examples, I believe it is a great example to study for everyone who carries a defensive firearm in public. I greatly appreciate Aaron’s courage to share his thoughts and experiences. Steve Maduro Sr.
Preface leading up to the incident:Aaron’s story first takes us to driving to the movies on a sold day in December, 2014 where he never in a million years saw the need to draw his defensive firearm. All the defensive firearm usage scenarios he had envisioned revolved around things like carjacking, home invasions, mass shooter incidents and bank robberies. All his previous firearms training centered around identifying an imminent threat, shooting to stop the threat if appropriate, and then hopefully moving on and living his life. It was all a pretty simple equation in Aaron’s mind. However, the reality of this incident that day after Christmas was extremely different. It was not a simple scenario. It was quite the opposite and has taken over two years to get placed in the past.
Here are the basic details of this incident. Aaron and his wife was driving to see a movie when he spotted a man viciously beating a woman in the front seat of a vehicle on the side of the road in the middle of the day. The best way Aaron could describe it is that it looked like the assailant was utilizing MMA “ground and pound” type moves on a very defenseless female. Aaron immediately had his wife stop the car and call 911 as he proceeded around the car, drew his defensive handgun, and ordered the man to stop assaulting the woman and get on the ground. He communicated to him that he would keep his trigger finger indexed and would not shoot him if he obeyed all his commands. Fortunately, he complied and was able to be held at gunpoint until the cops arrived. When law enforcement, they secured the scene, but not before handcuffing Aaron for a short while. Aaron was released along with his weapon right there on the scene. Copy of the news report video and a previous PDN article can be found here.
While everything since the incident has played out in a relatively positive manner in that no lives were lost, Aaron was not charged, and the assailant got his day in court, was convicted even thought it took two years. Aaron walked away with so many lessons to share. Everyday life and Aaron’s view of his personal defense tactics have changed as a result of this incident, and he shares the details of why and how so the next “responsibly armed citizen” can learn from his experience.
Let me start with some impacts closer to home. The first one relates to media coverage of the incident. At the time of the incident, a portion of the interaction was caught on cell phone video by a passerby, and that video was shared with the local news. My car and license plate were visible in the video, so within a few hours I was identified by the news media. The following morning, the local news van was at my house. I agreed to be interviewed because they were doing a story regardless, and I wanted to impact the narrative. I talked to a few folks in the firearms community because I felt there might be some solid talking points and an educational benefit. From my perspective, it was an opportunity to promote positive firearms use and the need for quality training. I try to advocate for both whenever possible.
But I never envisioned how my name would live on forever within the realms of the internet. This leads to the first lesson learned. Over the course of the past two years, I know for a fact that I have been passed over for contracts and employment opportunities because of this incident. Prior to this, you would Google me and get a few pages of professional references, all good. Now a Google search results in a few pages addressing the incident, and these things can be interpreted negatively by potential employers. I have had HR managers say, “You are highly qualified and everyone likes you, but we do not care to have this kind of exposure.” So the first takeaway is to remember that what you do and say in this age of cell-phone videos and media will be online forever. Thankfully, I currently work for a company that isn’t put off by the “exposure” that comes with employing me.
The second lesson learned comes from a more mental and emotional perspective. The incident has led to some lost sleep, huge amounts of stress, personal time off work, and stress for my wife and kids. It has also caused stress for my employer, both the one I had at the time and my current one with the time I have had to take off work for court dates and meetings with attorneys. My family and I have taken an increased security posture at home and when in the public space in case anyone recognizes me. I’ll be honest: I thought, and continue to think in the back of my mind, that the attacker could try to retaliate. It’s a strange feeling when people are slowly rolling past your house after an incident like this. My lack of sleep quickly got worse and my health was negatively impacted as a result. Ripple effects of the incident are everywhere, and I never considered that aspect of it in my prior training, because everything focused on surviving the encounter, not the aftermath. Keep in mind, I didn’t even have to fire a shot! I can’t imagine how these problems would manifest themselves if I had been forced to take a human life.
The third lesson has to do with the legal aftermath. While my interaction with the local police and county officials was overwhelmingly positive, I think I lucked out a bit. This happened in a conservative area with more of a gun culture than exists in other parts of the country. I think had I been in Chicago, my world would have been much more negatively impacted. One of the things I did not have at the time was legal support. Yes, I had an attorney on standby, but I didn’t have one to help me navigate all the interviews, meetings, calls and emails, court hearings, etc. There was a solid amount of stress and fear of the unknown in that regard. This isn’t anything I seriously considered prior to the event. I have since enrolled my household in a legal program. I encourage every armed citizen to do the same. These legal proceedings can get complicated and confusing very quickly, and you don’t want to be on your own.
Lastly, Aaron says with so many years gone by, there is plenty of time to sit back and rewrite this whole ordeal. Here are some things he said he would do differently if he had it to do over again. Once again, “These are Aaron’s expressed feelings of how he would handle the situation differently”. Some of it I agree and some of it I don’t…. Here are his words:
During this process, questions were asked about my life, my background, training, and experience. At one point, I was asked about the number of hours I had on the range, number of rounds fired in training, etc. I didn’t even fire my weapon! Imagine for a moment how important those details would have been if I had used deadly force!
My point is, everything you do, say, or have ever done will be subject to some kind of review or question. You have to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the fall out. After experiencing this, I don’t know if I would have been prepared for the ramifications of an actual shooting incident.
Me & my daughter finished our morning class with Kim & Steve today & we loved it!! We walked away feeling more confident when it comes to loading & handling our guns. Steve explained & demonstrated gun handling & safety so professionally & didn't move on till you felt comfortable with what he was showing us. I would definitely recommend taking firearm training with Steve & Kim. They're the best! I'll be back!
I really enjoyed Steve & Kim’s direction. I was pretty nervous but that all went away soon. They were very helpful and I will definitely be taking more classes with them. Highly recommended for anyone who owns a weapon and is not as confident as they wish to be with it or anyone who plans to own one someday!
Just finished my first firearm safety class with Steve and Kim and I was impressed! As someone who’s never even held a gun before, Steve was thorough with the safety and precautions needed, ensuring my mother and I understood before handling the gun. They provided ear protection, googles, and guns if needed. Initially shaking before my first shot, I now feel so much more comfortable handling and shooting a firearm. I would definitely recommend this team!
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