A Case For Learning To Defend Oneself

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - December 16, 2009

The recent story of a Cushing, Okla., woman shooting an intruder in her home serves as a valuable lesson to all.

The 56-year-old woman was home alone when a “crazed” man tried to break in to her house. The 9-1-1 tape of her conversation with the police dispatcher reveals Donna Jackson speaking calmly during the break-in. It was 12:40 a.m. As you listen to her voice on the tape, one can visualize her dilemma. It’s the middle of the night, dogs are barking in the background, her husband is working a night shift and the pounding sound of this man trying to get in is clear and chilling.

“There’s a man at my back door,” Jackson tells the dispatcher. “He’s trying to get in.”

The 10-plus-minute exchange between Jackson and the dispatcher alternates between pedestrian and downright terrifying. The intruder, later identified as Billy Dean Riley, 53, is heard yelling and, according to Jackson, appeared to be drunk. According to transcripts published on www.wnd.com., Jackson tells the dispatcher, “I have a shotgun, and I will use it.”


Loud noises ensue and you can hear Jackson say, “He’s crazy. He’s crazy.” A few moments pass. “I’m taking the safety off the gun, ma’am. He’s acting crazy. I don’t know how he got in here. He had to have come from the very back. Oh crap, he’s coming around the front.”

The dispatcher asks, “Do you have a place where you can go inside your house and lock your self in a room?”

“Uh, not really,” Jackson says calmly. “I’ve got a big shotgun. I’m not going into a tiny little bathroom.”

The exchange continues with Jackson giving a play-by-play of the intruder’s progress. It’s soon after you hear her say, “He’s gotten in the house. I’m going to shoot.”

At this point, the dispatcher had her own decision to make. She could have counseled Jackson to remain calm, quietly move to another area of the house or simply run away. Instead of impeding Jackson with other scenarios, she says, “Oh God.”

Just then, you hear another loud crash. It’s followed by a blast from Jackson’s shotgun.

“I shot. I’m going out front. I hit him.” Her voice is wavering. “God help me ... Oh please, dear God, I think I’ve killed him. Please, Father in heaven. Please, Father in heaven. Oh my God, ma’am ... I’m sorry.”

“It’s OK. There’s nothing you can do. You have to protect yourself,” said the dispatcher.

Riley, 5who had an extensive criminal record, was killed with a single shotgun blast.

There has been a spate of home-invasion burglaries in Honolulu and across the state. There has been an increase in the number of firearm registrations. I am hopeful the message to criminals is loud and clear. If you break in to a residence and hope to steal and, perhaps, do harm to the victims, you may have made the wrong move. Instead of finding a quivering and fearful resident, you may just find a Donna Jackson who is armed, trained and prepared to use deadly force.

I highly encourage responsible men and women to explore firearm training and ownership. If Jackson was not armed and prepared to fire, all she would have had was a disembodied voice to protect her from a “crazy” intruder. I would much rather have a .45 pistol or .12 gauge shotgun to defend myself instead of a telephone.

Although officials are investigating the incident, Lincoln County Sheriff Chuck Mangion said, “This is nothing more than a home invasion and Mrs. Jackson was defending herself.”


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