Habib Howard and his family operated a series of convenience stores in and around an Ohio city. Due to the fact many of the stores were in tough parts of town, the Howard family had discussed having a plan in case they were ever the victims of an armed robbery.
Howard carried a 9 mm pistol on his right hip in an inside-the-waistband holster under an untucked shirt. The family had agreed that they would not shoot anyone just to save the money. They would respond with deadly force only if their lives appeared to be threatened. Further, after opening the cash register for a robber, they would back away on a diagonal with their hands up. Using their body to conceal the movement of the gun hand, they would keep their left hand in the air while moving their right hand down to access their defensive handgun. In this manner, they were ready in case the encounter turned deadly. In addition, Howard's father had insisted his sons practice this plan until they felt comfortable with it and could execute it naturally. On May 9, 2004, the plan was put to the ultimate test.
A single male approached Howard at the cash register and demanded the cash, holding a semi-automatic handgun at waist level. Howard opened the cash register and began to back away as planned. But the armed robber called him back and made him take the cash out and hand it to him. Having done this, Howard again backed away, hands in the air and creating distance from the threat.
That would have been about all there was to it, except as the crook backed toward the door he raised his pistol from waist level to eye level. At this point, Howard felt totally threatened and went for his gun. He fired two to three shots at the robber from a range of about 10 feet. The robber fled the store and dropped the money just outside. However, in fleeing, he passed in front of the store's large window. Howard could see the robber still had his gun and still had it pointed toward the clerk. Howard fired two more shots. Fleeing the scene, the robber was taken to an area hospital where he was later arrested by police. He had been hit twice, once in the shoulder and once in the groin. Habib Howard was well treated by local police and cleared of any wrong-doing in connection with the shooting.
While we might critique Habib Howard's actions all day long, the fact is he had a plan. He practiced implementing his plan and, when it came down to it, the plan worked. Probably nothing is ever going to go down just as we planned it, but having a plan is where we start. And it is much easier to modify an existing plan to meet a specific incident than it is to totally create a plan from scratch while ducking bullets.
You can read Habib Howard's entire story along with 16 other peoples' brush with death in "Thank God I Had A Gun: 2nd Edition" (Privateer Publications; 2014, $19.95), by Chris Bird, available at Privateer Publications or on Amazon.