Saturday, March 23, 2024

Convicted Sex Offender Stabbed to Death by Victim

Woman Speaks About Attack
By Robert A. Waters

"I knew I was being attacked," Bre Morgan (pictured above) said. "I knew it was something...uh, it was sexual."

On Sunday afternoon, March 3, 2024, in Lacombe, Louisiana, Nicholas Tranchant was prowling for yet another victim. He'd been out of prison for less than three months after serving 15 years for Attempted Aggravated Rape and Aggravated Burglary. Five years before that, he'd been convicted of Indecent Behavior with Juveniles.

More than six feet tall, Tranchant (pictured above), a registered sex offender, towered over his would-be victim.

Brecan "Bre" Morgan, 27, had gone to The Laundry Room, a local coin laundry, to wash clothes for her two children. She was having trouble getting the automated washer to accept her dollar bill when Tranchant sidled up, supposedly to help. At the time, they were the only people in the business.

Bre, a single mother of two, works as a mental health technician and plans to attend nursing school.

In order to focus public attention on the numerous sex offenders living in Lacombe, she decided to identify herself and give interviews to reporters from WDSU News and WWLTV. (NOTE: I've compiled statements given by the victim into sequential order.) 

"He came up to me ," Bre said, "and he pretended like he was trying to help me put my dollar in [the automatic washer] and he got right up behind me. That's when he made it clear like he was, his intentions were to assault me. I actually didn't see the weapon at first. He said, 'Give [it up] and you won't die.'"

The predator wasted no time. Tranchant grabbed her hair and attempted to drag her into the bathroom. Bre fought back, grabbing anything she could to keep from moving toward the back room.

Bre explained that "I was hanging onto the wall at one point. My shirt and my jacket came off. I was just trying everything like to get away. My biggest fear was my kids would have to grow up without me."

As they struggled, Tranchant pulled out his knife and stabbed her in the side. By this time, he had dragged her into the bathroom. That's when the attacker set his knife aside.

Bre wasted no time in grabbing the blade and stabbing her assailant--twice. She then fled to the parking lot and called St. Tammany's Parish Sheriff's Office. Deputies quickly responded. They found the lifeless body of Tranchant on the floor of the laundromat.

As Bre ended the interview, she said something that seemed to startle the reporter: "If you don't believe in God, you should. As soon as I got done asking God to help me, [Tranchant] put the knife down. That's when I picked it up and used it against him."

Bre was transported to a local hospital for treatment of her wounds.

St. Tammany's Parish Sheriff Randy Smith said, "I want to compliment this woman on the courage and strength she showed in fighting back against her attacker and ask for prayers for her continued recovery."

This story might have ended differently. Deputies could have found Bre dead inside the laundromat. Without her heroic actions, Nicholas Tranchant would almost certainly have targeted other women. Rapists rarely stop until they're caught, become disabled, or die. Bre's actions no doubt saved many women.

Reporters soon learned that in the small town of Lacombe, Louisiana, there are numerous registered sex offenders. WGNO reported that "according to data from the National Sex Offender Registry, there are more than 200 sex offenders living in Lacombe. That's something residents say needs to change." Bre is calling for local officials to reduce the number of offenders living in one area.

Some residents think there may have been other rape attempts or unreported assaults by Tranchant in the three months he lived there.

A friend started a gofundme page to help Bre Morgan with her medical bills until she can recover. If you're interested, click here:

Saturday, March 16, 2024

"Righteous" Self-Defense Stories

By Robert A. Waters and Sim Waters

Here's a little-kept secret: tens of millions of liberals, independents, and conservatives in America own firearms. Gun ownership is one of the few issues that crosses all sides of the political spectrum. The book,
Guns and Self-Defense: 23 Inspirational True Crime Stories of Survival with Firearms, describes exciting stories in which a cross-section of every-day citizens used guns to fend off violent assaults.

These are real-life stories most media outlets chose not to report.

Have you ever heard of Harry and Janet Lodholm? This Lakewood, Washington couple survived a brutal home invasion by a murderous gang that mistook their house for that of a drug-dealer they planned to rob. Crashing through the front door, the gang pistol-whipped Harry and slashed Janet with a knife. When the assailants finally realized they had chosen the wrong house, they took what valuables they could find and fled, leaving the bound and tortured victims stunned and bloody. In their haste to leave, however, the robbers left their backpack in the house--worse yet, the backpack contained their cellphones. In the meantime, the couple had freed themselves and relocked the front door. The frustrated gang broke into the house for the second time, determined now to silence the victims who could identify them and retrieve the evidence that would send them back to prison. But the robbers hadn't counted on the couple's resilience. Harry and Janet had retreated to their bedroom. As Janet dialed 9-1-1, Harry grabbed his firearm. When the gang kicked down the bedroom door, Harry and his 9mm semiautomatic made quick work of the robbers.

What a story! But the mainstream media never reported it, likely because it didn't fit their anti-gun narrative.

Based on police reports, interviews with victims, court documents, media sources, and other public records, Guns and Self-Defense recounts the courage and resourcefulness of armed citizens who refused to become easy prey.

Each story is set in a time and place. Characters are delineated in depth, both would-be victims and attackers. The aftermath of many of these stories are poignant. In some cases, the victims suffered life-altering injuries, as well as lingering mental trauma. Without a weapon, most would have been murdered. Many of the assailants were hardcore drug users; others had mental health issues. In still other cases, street gangs, unconcerned with any sense of right and wrong, preyed on the innocent. The majority of attackers had been in prison, and most had been released early.

By the way, for those who fancy identity politics, the would-be victims in this book represent a microcosm of America: liberals, conservatives, independents, white people, black people, other minorities, males, females, the able-bodied, and the disabled.

What kinds of weapons did these would-be victims use? A woman home alone used a shotgun. Several used semiautomatic handguns. Others used revolvers. In one case, a wheelchair-bound victim used a pistol loaded with 16-gauge shotgun shells. In two cases, convenience stores had a "house gun," a weapon stashed beneath the counter that employees could use in case it was needed.

All these cases involved "righteous" self-defense--meaning the would-be victim acted legally and was not charged with any crime. In many of the cases, law enforcement officials praised the citizens' actions.

You'll read about the drug-addled thug who tried to rob two disabled old ladies in a low-income retirement home. (It might have been funny if it wasn't deadly serious.) After being severely injured by the assailant, one of the women used a small .22-caliber handgun she called a "derringer" to stop the violent assault. The "derringer" did its job: it paralyzed the assailant so he can never hurt anyone else.

You'll read about the nurse who helped police capture a gang of carjackers that had been terrorizing the city of Milwaukee for months. The night before, they shot an innocent victim in the jaw, nearly killing him. The nurse, however, had a concealed carry permit, and put an end to the crime spree when they attempted to carjack her. (One member of this gang also ended up partially paralyzed.) Sometimes what goes around comes around!

The last chapter in the book involves a street gang that actually named themselves "The Cutthroat Committee." One summer morning, in Jacksonville, Florida, as Pam Coker got ready to go to work, she heard a loud bang, then the back door exploded open. Her husband, Foster, didn't have to be at work until later, so he was sleeping. An intruder raced toward Pam and pummeled her to the floor. Foster heard the commotion and ran out to help his wife. He engaged the much younger home invader, and the two fought a horrific hand-to-hand battle in the middle of the living room. Finally, Foster, bloody and about to pass out, told Pam, "Honey, you've got to get my gun." The intruder, armed with an Beretta Centurion (pictured above) that had a "30 clip," kept hitting Foster with the butt of the gun. Blood flowed all over the home as Foster and the invader fought from room to room. While Pam, with severely injured legs, stumbled to the bedroom to retrieve her husband's gun, the wild fight continued. Pam returned with a five-shot revolver and handed it to Foster. The homeowner emptied it, hitting the assailant three times. That's when the intruder fired a shot that grazed Foster's head. With his gun empty, Foster realized the attacker still wasn't dead. He jumped back onto the invader, pinning down the Beretta to keep him from shooting again. Pam once again hobbled back to the bedroom, grabbed a second pistol, came back, and shot the invader twice. This intruder, like the Lodholm gang, had mistakenly pegged the Coker home to be that of drug dealers. Because of the actions of Foster and Pam Coker, the Cutthroat Committee was disbanded by police. All the members of the gang ended up in prison. Their attacker, a founding member, ended up in the graveyard.

I like stories that uplift my soul. Maybe you do, too.

NOTE: For more than 30 years, Robert A. Waters has researched and written about armed self-defense cases. If you enjoyed Guns and Self-Defense, co-written with Robert's son, Sim, you might also like Guns Save Lives: 22 Inspirational True Crime Stories of Survival and Self-Defense with Firearms.

Monday, March 4, 2024

GI Lost Four Limbs in the Battle of Okinawa

The Man who Wouldn’t Die

By Robert A. Waters

On June 2, 1945, Frederic Hensel, born in Virginia and raised by an uncle in Kentucky after he was orphaned, found himself on a small Pacific island called Okinawa. A tank battalion master sergeant with the 77th Infantry Division, Hensel soon learned that Okinawa was a miserable place for tank warfare. Relentless rain, rugged terrain, a doggedly determined enemy, and a vast network of cleverly formed defenses slowed advancement to a crawl. It took American GIs 82 days of brutal fighting to capture the island. 16,000 Americans would die there, and a staggering 40,000 would be wounded. 

The Associated Press wrote that "for four days prior to being injured, Hensel led a detachment of men through the mine-infested clearing on Okinawa where they were repairing [tanks] to go into battle.

"On June 2 he was working on a Sherman tank and decided to go back to headquarters for more repairs, taking another soldier with him. Realizing they were walking over dangerous ground, he ordered his companion to keep a good distance away.

"They hadn't gone far when Hensel stepped on the mine. The sturdy soldier didn't lose consciousness while his companion gave him first aid, nor until medics arrived with drugs."

"Hensel’s injuries were devastating," Time reported. "The explosion blew off both legs above the knee, his left arm above the elbow, [and] mangled his right hand…" While on the ship carrying him back to the states, his crushed hand developed a "gaseous gangrene infection" and had to be amputated.

Once Hensel arrived at Percy Jones Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, the media got wind of his arrival. No one, even the battle-numbed doctors and nurses, had seen injuries this severe. They quickly informed newsmen that Hensel was the only living soldier during all of World War II who had lost every limb. (NOTE: Before the war ended, four more soldiers would endure the same type of wounds.)

He was fortunate to have physicians and nurses familiar with rehabilitating soldiers who had grievous wounds. Time reporters wrote: "Eventually Sergeant Hensel will be far from helpless. After operations on all four stumps, he will get artificial limbs and be able to walk again. Last week, still suffering from shock and slightly deaf from concussion, he was thinking of starting a little chicken farm when he is discharged. He told reporters, 'This sure changes things a lot…I’d make an excellent propaganda photo to end all wars.' His dark-haired wife, at the hospital to greet him, said, 'We’ll get along fine.'"

Jewel, his wife, charmed reporters. A photogenic woman with a captivating "Southern accent," they had been married for three years. Newspapers raved about her beauty and her loyalty to her husband. 

Before he joined the army, Hensel had known only farming. As a child, he toiled on his uncle’s Kentucky farm. He informed reporters that, except for war, farming was all he knew. The plucky soldier’s determination to overcome his handicap resonated with Americans on the home-front.

Out of the blue, someone sent a small check to Hensel to help him buy a farm. Newspapers quickly joined forces with everyday citizens and soon Hensel found himself deluged with donations. Many checks were for only a dollar or two, but they added up. The Associated Press wrote that Sergeant Hensel and his wife, Jewel, "received some $60,000 in cash gifts today as they celebrated their third wedding anniversary. Hensel captured the admiration of the public when he arrived here from Okinawa five weeks ago and announced that he was going into the chicken farm business despite what seemed like insurmountable handicaps." 

That money would buy him a nice farm. While many men may have quickly blown through the cash, Hensel and his wife did not. Eighteen months after entering the hospital, Hensel left in a wheelchair. He now had two new artificial arms and hooks, as well as prosthetic legs. He did indeed buy a chicken farm in Kentucky, but a couple of years afterwards, sold out, moved to Alabama, and bought a dairy farm. He hired employees to do the milking and physical work he could not do.

Hensel prospered and became known as a successful businessman. He and Jewel had four children. Eventually, they retired to south Florida. Jewel died in 1987 at sixty-seven years of age.

Hensel outlived his wife by 10 years, dying in 1997.