By Teresa Mull
Derek Meyer is being hailed “a Good Samaritan” by the media for showing his firearm and rescuing a policeman from a brutal attack.
Meyer was driving in Springville, Utah when he saw a police officer being punched in the face by a man the officer had confronted for stealing items from a charity donation bin. Meyer did a U-turn in his vehicle, and, as Salt Lake City’s Fox13 reported, “got out of his car, drew his weapon and pointed it at [the suspect, yelling at him to get off the officer and stop assaulting him. Meyer said when [the attacker] saw the gun, he stopped and ran off. Immediately, other officers responded to the scene and Meyer put his weapon away.”
“Had [Meyer] not been in the right place at the right time, who knows what would have happened,” Springville Police Corporal Cory Waters said. “But he definitely stopped the attack from continuing and becoming much worse. He might have even saved either one of their lives. It could have gone really bad, even for the suspect.”
“The officer suffered a fractured eye socket and lacerations around the eye,” Fox13 reported.
Gunpowder Magazine spoke to Meyer about what went through his mind during the incident, and what prepared him to do the right thing when he was in the right place at the right time.
GPM: Walk us through what was going through your mind during the incident, and tell us how you stayed so level-headed.
Meyer: I don’t think everyone has the same mindset or goes through the same steps before they decide to carry. I’ve had my concealed carry permit for about seven years, and I didn’t carry often the first year I had it, because I didn’t feel personally I was prepared, mostly just mentally. I shot guns a lot, so I thought physically I was prepared to carry, but mentally I wasn’t sure if I was prepared for it. So, in that year, I ran through a lot of scenarios in my mind of when it would be appropriate to pull my firearm, and when it would not be appropriate to use my firearm.
I would much rather get in a fistfight with someone with my gun securely holstered than ever have to use my gun. But when I pulled up onto this situation, I knew it was a situation where I would at least pull my gun out, and I had made that decision years prior, that a life or death situation justifies me pulling my gun. So when I pulled up onto the scene, and I could clearly see the officer was not winning the fight, and in really bad condition, I knew that it was kind of that life or death situation, not necessarily for me, but for one of those two people; it could either be the officer, or, if you will, “the bad guy,” because if the bad guy got the officer’s gun, then it could go south very, very quickly.
I knew it had to stop very fast, [and] I knew instantly I was pulling my gun, and I did pull my gun instantly. It really only took three seconds for everything to go down, and in those three seconds the guy had a decision to make, and that was to either not back down, or fully retreat and back down. And luckily, he retreated once he saw me coming. Once the guy stopped, I didn’t feel the need to chase the guy down or shoot him or anything, because I had already diffused the situation under what I felt comfortable doing.
I credit a lot of me being calm to just having made up my mind years ago [to] try to be prepared to use my gun prior to even carrying: mentally, physically, everything.
GPM: What did you do in the year between getting your permit and carrying consistently to make yourself feel comfortable with constantly being armed?
Meyer: Guns are a big part of my life, and they have been since I was young. I’ve always been extremely comfortable shooting. I’m very familiar with guns and gun safety. So it wasn’t necessarily that I needed more training using my firearm. When everything was going on, I knew exactly what it was like to shoot that gun, because I shoot it regularly. So there were going to be no surprises, you know, to how the trigger pulls, how the gun reacts in my hand. It felt very comfortable.
For me, it was mostly a mental thing. When I first got my permit, I remember carrying and going to the store, and all of a sudden you become ultra-aware of the stupid little bickering that goes on in a grocery store, because you’re the guy with a gun, and you need to save the day. And as I carried for those first few weeks when I got my permit, and I was paying attention to the little things that don’t even matter, I just felt that you need to really narrow it down mentally on when it would be appropriate to use a gun before I felt personally comfortable to carry.
Now I don’t think everyone needs to go through those steps. For me, I felt that I wanted to before I started carrying all the time. I don’t want to make people feel that they have to go through the same preparation to decide to carry a gun. I believe everyone should get their concealed carry permit, if for nothing else, for their education on the subject and for their education with gun safety. I do encourage all, what I call “contributing members to society” to get their permit and to practice often and to carry often and just to be the good guy with the gun.
GPM: What kind of gun do you carry?
Meyer: I was carrying a Kahr PM40. You have to have confidence in the gun you carry. I know it goes off every time I pull the trigger. I know it doesn’t go off unless I pull the trigger. And I think if more people started practicing more, and preparing themselves mentally more, and carrying more, then I do feel that we would have a more polite society.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Derek Meyer Facebook