I-75 shooting in Ohio exposes truth self-defense advocates have long known

On Friday morning, September 12, police say Terry Froman, 41, went to the Mayfield, KY home of his ex-girlfriend Kim Thomas, 34, shot and killed her oldest 17 year-old son, then kidnapped her.

According to The Journal-News, when friends went to her home after she failed to report to work and discovered her son's body, they immediately called police. Prior to that call, the article says the Kentucky State Police and the Paducah Police Department were investigating the possible abduction of a white female at a convenience store on the south side of Paducah, Ky., Redmon said. Paducah police viewed a video of a naked female, believed to be Thomas, getting out of a white 2004 GMC Yukon, that fit the description of Froman’s SUV, and being forced to get back inside the vehicle.

Imagine, for a moment, that you were Thomas' situation. You know your son has been killed. You are being held in the back of a sport utility vehicle, naked, and possibly already suffering from injuries. You captor has been driving for hours, giving you time to hope and pray that someone has discovered you are missing and sent help.

What would your expectation be when you realize that police are pulling over the vehicle in which you are being transported? Would you think that you have been saved? Would you cry tears of relief, feeling a restoring sense of hope that you might at least get to see your 9-year-old son again?

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers did pull the vehicle over, near Middletown, after they and Kentucky law enforcement tracked the suspect's location through his cell phone.

And when they did, they knew they were detaining a man suspected of murdering a 17 year-old boy and kidnapping his mother. So what was their response?

From the article:

Within a minute of Froman stopping, troopers heard at least one gunshot.

“When troopers exited their vehicle, they heard shots fired coming from within the vehicle,” Cvetan said. “Troopers took up position and waited for additional personnel to arrive before approaching the vehicle.”

They found Froman injured from a single gunshot and Thomas deceased inside of the vehicle.

The article later states that Thomas was found naked and bloody, and likely was shot multiple times. The investigation is ongoing, and it is not yet clear if Thomas was still alive when troopers pulled over the vehicle she was in. But of course the troopers couldn't have known that either. And so, even with knowledge that an armed, murderous kidnapper might still have a living kidnap victim inside the car, troopers did not immediately approach the vehicle once it stopped. When they finally did exit their vehicles to approach, and upon hearing gun shots from within the vehicle, they didn't surge ahead to stop further harm to the victim they had reason to believe was inside. No. They retreated and waited for backup.

Please understand, this is not being written as a critique of the tactics these troopers employed. I will leave that to others more familiar with law enforcement and the training they receive.

My purpose, instead, is to reinforce a very important truth that too few people understand:

If you are made a victim of violence, you cannot count on police to come and save you. When you dial 911, it can take many minutes for police to arrive. In Thomas' case, it took hours for police to arrive after the first call to 911. And even if police do arrive on scene "in time," that doesn't necessarily mean that help has arrived. There is still no guarantee that you will live through the minutes that follow.

In short, this tragic incident proves what so many others have said before. You are responsible for your own safety, and no one else. You must take steps to protect yourself from attack. Anti-self-defense extremists who advise that your only defense should be to dial 911 and wait are giving very poor advice indeed.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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