Thursday, September 19, 2019

Written by Robert A. Waters

“It is [the] fact behind the facts that determines the meaning of all the other facts, creates a context for interpreting what our eyes are seeing and what our informants are telling us, and dictates the true syntax of a story.” Phillip Gerard (“The Facts Behind the Facts”).

All literature has backstory, in one form or another.  There can be one backstory, or many.

In Guns and Self-Defense: 23 Inspirational True Crime Stories of Survival with Firearms, by myself and my son, Sim Waters, a chapter called “Demise of the Cutthroat Committee” has an intriguing backstory.  This chapter describes a violent home invasion that was stopped by the residents, Foster Coker III, and his wife, Pamela.  After being nearly murdered, both Foster and Pam shot the home invader, killing him.

Here is a hint of the backstory from this chapter: the Coker family are Christians.  They attend church, and regularly have members of their congregation over to visit.  Because of this, several cars might be parked in their yard on various evenings.  (The relevance of their strong belief in God becomes evident near the end of the chapter.)

Now to the main story.  The “Cutthroat Committee” was a makeshift gang of about 15 convicted felons.  They lived near the neighborhood where Foster and Pam lived.  At some point, they began to case the Coker residence.  Having a totally different mindset than the average person, several of the gang members decided the home they passed with all the cars must be a drug house.  Because of that, three gang members and a girlfriend decided to rob the residents.  Being convicted felons, none of the gang members could legally own guns.  Yet all of them did.  Members of the gang made their living by selling drugs, committing thefts and robberies, and prostituting out their “girlfriends.”  Few, if any, of the gang had ever worked a steady job.

The grandson of Foster and Pam would often spend the night with them.  He was seven-years-old at the time and slept in a bedroom adjacent to his grandparents.  He was spending the night when the home invasion occurred.  One of the things most remembered (and appreciated) by Pam was a police officer shielding their grandson’s eyes from the bloody mess as he carried their grandson from the home.

There was no warning when one of the conspirators kicked in the back door.  One second, things were normal in the household, the next second Pam was being brutally assaulted.  She was knocked to the floor, incurring multiple long-term injuries.

Foster, sound asleep when he heard his wife scream, jumped out of bed and raced to her aid.  From there, a horrific fight ensued.  (Fortunately, the second gang member who was supposed to help with the robbery became frightened and ran away when he heard—on his cellphone—Foster and Pam fighting back.  More of the backstory, by the way.)

The local media documented the sensational aspects of the story: the gunfight that erupted inside the home; the victims being transported to the hospital and the gang member to the morgue; and later, the investigation.  The trials of the surviving conspirators provided reporters with concrete details of the events that occurred.

But the unreported backstory was there, always simmering in the background.

I won’t spoil the ending in this article, though it has to do with a world-view that gave strength to those fighting for their lives.

I guess this blog article is like a film trailer—the ghost of a story emerges, then vanishes.  But deep inside the chapter, “Demise of the Cutthroat Committee,” you’ll find two distinctly different perspectives on life that shaped the story.

Guns and Self-Defense: 23 Inspirational True Crime Stories of Survival with Firearms by Robert A. Waters and Sim Waters is available at 

1 comment:

Foster Coker said...

Thank you, Robert, for sharing our story. We truly believe God in His mercy spared us on that horrible, horrible day so that we can spread the word about his boundless love and generosity.