Last week we brought you the story of NJ Logan, the Holmes Beach, Florida grandmother who grabbed a revolver when a burglar broke into her home. As she was on the phone with 911 the dispatcher did something that stunned a lot of people.
Once she got downstairs and found that the burglars had fled, Mrs. Logan then dialed 911… and was repeatedly told to put down her gun.
“When I called 911 she kept saying put the gun down. Put the gun down and I said I’ll put the gun down when I see the police,” NJ said.
Holmes Beach Police Chief William Tokajer said there have been a few incidents in NJ’s neighborhood — one she may have stopped.
“I think it’s a wake up call to any would-be burglar,” Chief Tokajer said.
If Logan’s recollection of events is reasonably accurate, it sounds like it’s the 911 dispatcher that needs a wake-up call, and perhaps some retraining.
While I’m certain that the dispatcher wanted to avoid the possibility of Mrs. Logan and responding officers from engaging one another with their firearms, it might have just as easily led to a tragedy if the dispatcher had been able to successfully convince Mrs. Logan to put down her firearm if suspects were still in her home. I do not believe that the 911 dispatcher was helping Mrs. Logan by telling her to put down her firearm prior to officers arriving.
Yeah… about that. It’s easy for me to make this sort of comment when I don’t have all the information (and keep in mind that unless they were an eyewitness, no journalist does).
Holmes Beach Police Chief William Tokajer wrote Bearing Arms to give a more complete view of the situation, which I believe to some extent validates the decision of the dispatcher to ask Mrs. Logan to put the revolver down.
I am the chief for Holmes Beach Police. I have read your information on our Burglary call. The dispatcher asked the victim to put the pistol down after the victim told him that she was holding the gun but “Did not know how to use it.”
I’m sure you agree that as a citizen when you arm yourself in self-defense you should be sure of three main things.
- your actions are legally justifiable.
- you are trained in the use of the weapon.
- you have it in your mind that if necessary you are willing to pull the trigger so you are not just handing a firearm to a burglar.
I hope this clarifies the action of the dispatcher.
There are few things in this world that are more dangerous and unpredictable than a frightened person with a firearm in their hands who has no idea what they’re doing with it.
If someone owns a firearm but does not have training and experience with it and does not have the fighting mindset to use it, then they are a threat to everyone. In this instance, NJ Logan was not just the threat to the burglar, but her returning husband or neighbors, responding police officers, and herself.
It’s also worth noting that Logan was armed with a snub-nosed, hammerless revolver, one of the most difficult handguns to shoot well, as it has minimal sigh radius and a long, heavy trigger pull. If she had fired at the burglar, it would have been a minor miracle if she came within yards of hitting him… and she would have endangered other people in her neighborhood.
People really need to get it into their heads that the mere ownership of a firearm does not give you competence with it. If you do not train under at least somewhat realistic situations under stress to use a firearm. You will not hit your target, and every bullet you fire will hit something. Likewise, if you don’t have the mindset to use a firearm to put a bullet into another human being’s body, you are—as the Chief notes—potentially the kind of person who will be disarmed and/or killed by an opponent who is willing to use deadly force.
Now that we know Logan didn’t have the training or mindset to use the revolver in her possession, do you think that the dispatcher did the right thing in telling her to put the gun down?