This is the story of the day I was ready to use my gun not just once, but twice, in two separate incidents. I live in California where the CCW process isn’t a same-day process like some other states and the day I’m talking about happened in the middle of my going thru getting my CCW. I had completed the training course but I hadn’t filed my application with the sheriff’s office yet. I’ll also explain that in National Forests you can open carry without a CCW (even in CA) which is what I was doing in the first part of the story.
Anyway, this day started out camping in our nearby National forest with a friend, who was also an early 20s female like myself. We got up early and started driving to the remote trailhead where we would begin a 3-day backpacking trip when we were still 9 miles away from the trailhead but already in the middle of nowhere and found the road was washed out. After some discussion, my friend and I decided to change our plans and just camp at one of the campsites we had passed half a mile down the road.
This clearing opened up about 100 square yards off the road and there was a large bush just beside the road. We parked and explored the area until lunchtime when we went back to the truck to eat on the tailgate. We saw an old beat-up truck drive past us with an older man driving and a younger man probably in his late 20s in the passenger seat. They had chainsaws in the bed of the truck but we didn’t think anything of it figured they were going woodcutting. A few minutes later they both come back down the road, we assumed having seen the washout, but as they came down the truck stopped behind that very large bush that concealed the whole cab for about a minute for no explanation and just long enough to weird us out. Then the truck pulled away but we couldn’t see the younger man through the back window, there was no tint or anything we should have been able to see him if he was there.
My friend and I both called out and told him to show himself if he was there to no response. I had taken my gun and holster off and they were sitting a few feet away on top of my pack in the bed of the truck so I reached over and grabbed them just in case as we quickly packed up our stuff and decided to head back home early, between the road being washed out and the bad feelings in our guts which both of us have learned to trust over the years, we didn’t feel comfortable there anymore.
Now that first occurrence didn’t escalate past making sure my gun was accessible but I think it’s still important to tell stories of situational awareness because the turning point of many stories only takes seconds. It also gives more background as to my mindset for the second incident when it wasn’t just a gut feeling and there was an imenent threat to my life and others.
That evening my friend and I had returned to my apartment in the city and it was about 7 pm. My roommate was asleep since she was working graveyard shifts and my friend and I began making dinner when there was a knock on the door. By the time I had walked to the door the person pounded on the door and then yelled open up. I looked through the peephole and saw a tall muscular man who was visibly drunk or intoxicated in some way. I called out to him thru the door to ask him what he wanted and this set him off he began swearing profanities and pounding on the door again. I told him I didn’t know who he was and to go away.
He continued to yell and slam into the door. I told him I was calling the police in a loud and projected voice, apparently, my yelling is what woke my roommate up finally, she was sleeping peacefully thru his shouts, but she knew something was wrong when she heard my voice. He started calling me “Briana” and slamming his entire body into the door while I was on the phone with 911 to the point where the hinges were moving in the frame and I had a genuine fear the door wouldn’t hold. The 911 operator told me officers were on their way and hung up on me. By this point, I was holding my pistol in the ready position pointed at the door, and just waiting knowing that if the door gave before officers arrived I was going to have to pull that trigger to protect not only myself but my friend and roommate.
The man was still slamming into the door like a battering ram, but then he would run off the porch and downstairs (we were on the second floor) and towards one of our cars that was partially out of sight for a minute or two and we couldn’t tell if he was damaging our cars or the ones around them, then he would run back up the stairs and slam into the door and threaten to kill us as the force of him slamming into the door shook the walls. He did this multiple times and eventually, he started running out of energy about 15 minutes after I’d gotten off the phone with 911. He finally slumped to the ground half laying against the door and passed out. 20 minutes after getting off the phone with 911 the police officers finally arrived to take away the now exhausted and slumbering man with no trouble.
The next morning I talked to my apartment manager to make sure I wouldn’t be charged for the dents in the door and the manager said no woman had lived in my apartment for over 10 years and no one by the name Briana had lived in my building or the one next to me in several years either. So I have no idea what caused the man to choose to come to my door but I am eternally grateful that I know how to protect myself. Holding my gun for 20 minutes like that ready to use it to defend myself and others really made me have time to think about pulling that trigger and the ramifications that would have. In training pulling the trigger is usually such a quick decision in scenarios that you don’t have the time to think in the moment all that it entails. I’ll be honest this day left me shaken for a while not being 100% comfortable in my own home it took a while to be mentally able to accept how close I was to taking a man’s life and the invasion into the safe space of my home. I’m proud of how I handled myself that day and very soon after I finished the process to get my CCW.