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by Dick Wells
Reporting For

October 2, 2001
Last edited October 3, 2001

Dan Schacht's once photogenic backside (click to enlarge)

There have been four gun related incidents in our small part of Montana in the past several weeks. Two resulted in charges being brought forth, and the other two involved suicides. The one that caught my attention concerned the armed response of a couple wounded by a relative who subsequently took his own life. -- On the morning of September 8, 2001, Mary Black and her partner Dan Schacht were going about their chores on their "ranch" in rural NW Montana. It was peaceful, birds were doing their thing in the creek-side meadow, and trout were lazing in the creek, easing in and out of the sparkling sunlight before turning the water to a frenzied froth as Dan tossed feed pellets to them. This morning was much like other early fall mornings, like something we all look forward to in our own way: contentment, enjoying the company of that special someone while doing just as one chooses. Earlier, an unfortunate injury to Mary's back prompted these partners for life to close their thriving antique shop and retire to this less demanding life style.

8:30 AM, and almost time to settle on the deck behind their rustic home for some coffee & quiet conversation. Just a little more to do beyond the gate leading to the meadow. The pair recalled that suddenly, Dan's older brother, Richard, leapt out from behind the corner of an out building beyond the gate! He was dressed head to foot in camouflage clothing, with camouflage paint on his face. Mary & Dan were armed, and when Dan saw Richard pointing a riot gun at them, he drew his own revolver in defense. "Though the distance was only 15 feet," Dan said he "quickly decided he had little chance of firing an effective shot before he was cut down by his brother's shotgun, and a frontal shot would surely be fatal."

According to Dan, Richard has a history of instability, so he saw no hope of reasoning with him. When Richard ordered Dan to drop his weapon, Dan complied. With Mary in the lead, they turned & started to run toward the safety of the house 100 feet distant (both are conditioned runners). Richard shouted, "Stop!" Before they'd gone more than 15 feet, a blast from the riot gun caught Dan in the back. At that point, Dan says, "All thought of 'brotherly love' left me forever." Dan hurried on though the pain was fierce, as Richard continued firing; two more shots hit their mark as before. Mary received a minor wound to her arm, but Dan caught the brunt of the attack.

Defenders are standing where they were when the first shot hit Dan. Richard was at the corner of the out building 30 feet behind them. (click to enlarge)

Once inside the house, Dan collapsed in pain, as Mary called 911. Upstairs in the bedroom, they'd mount a defense. There, they could defend the door from any intruder. Mary helped Dan negotiate the stairs to their hideout. Dan lay across the bed with his back-up revolver pointed at the door. Mary continued talking to the 911 operator: "Be sure to tell the responder to make his identity known, because anyone coming through the door unannounced will be shot! I've got two handguns and a shotgun here & I'll use them if I have to!"

For, what the defenders say was one and one half-hours; they consoled each other, as they listened to Richard prowling around the exterior of the house. He was most likely hoping to catch them off guard & shoot them through a window. Dan, fighting to remain conscious, could only think that his brother was insane & that he'd have to kill him before this ordeal ended. At one point, Dan recalls, Richard had told him: "They'll never take me alive."

They recall hearing sirens coming down the road, relieved that help was finally on the way! Subsequently, the beleaguered pair could hear the Sheriff's deputies talking at the end of the driveway, as they tried to decide what to do next.

Then, as nothing else was happening, there was a shot fired in the woods nearby. Finally, it was over, and the Sheriff's men came to the house to help the wounded pair into the waiting ambulance. When they located Richard, he was dead from a self-inflicted shot to his head.

The peculiar part of this story is the fact that, thankfully, Richard was irrational to the point of attacking with what were apparently trap loads (low velocity, light charges of small shot) in his riot gun! Dan's back is covered with tiny wounds, but only one shot had reached a kidney, and two entered his liver. His Doctor says they are of little concern and recovery should be complete. Today, Dan says he has a shot work its way out from day to day, as his body rejects it: a testimony to his good health.

Dan and Mary agree that the only thing that saved them was that Richard knew they were in the house, armed, and committed to self-defense. Both repeatedly observed that women, especially, need to be armed for self-defense. Fifty feet from the rear door of the house I saw a perforated pistol target, all of the holes are in the black.

Mary's self-defense commitment comes as the result of some terrible experiences. Mary tells of the loss of her sister in 1968: her sister's husband murdered her sister before her eyes. "I could have shot him, before he shot her, if only I'd had a gun," she said. That was the turning point for Mary -- she promptly purchased a handgun. Some time later, Mary recalls, she stopped at a rest area near Boise, Idaho, when suddenly in broad daylight, from a car bearing New Jersey plates, a group of black men surrounded her car. She calmly withdrew her .357 from her purse and they left quickly. Mary knows first hand, the value of being prepared to defend herself from an attacker. She says this most recent experience taught her that there could be no doubt that 911 calls are for picking up the pieces.

A Sheriff's Deputy commented to Dan and Mary that they were lucky: when Richard's body was found, his backpack contained handcuffs, torture implements and a quitclaim deed to their "ranch." Had Richard succeeded in his demented plan, Dan & Mary believe they would not have had a nice visit with him & most likely they would have been dead and buried somewhere in NW Montana, beside a creek full of trout.

Author's Note: Both of these people have offered to discuss this situation with anyone interested in forwarding the cause of the second amendment. They gave permission for me to broadcast their names, phone number and address:

Dan Schacht and Mary Black
POB 1505 Noxon, MT 59853
(406) 847-5521

Editor's Note: In the interest of having this page load in a reasonable amount of time for people on slower internet connections, we provide two other pictures should you wish to view them:

Dan & Mary standing, armed, by their flag at the end of their driveway

A group of five-pound trout to which Dan and Mary were tending when they were attacked

Related Reading:

Hundreds of Real-life Stories of Citizens Using Guns to Save Life, Limb and Property

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Our Founding Fathers were proud that Americans were trusted with arms because they knew that only when people are armed could they truly be thought of as free citizens. And that's where the circle closes. Those who want to deprive you of your right to keep and bear arms are intending to deprive you of your freedom, period. Like the criminals their policies encourage, these elitists know that it is always best to disarm victims before you enslave them. Charley Reese

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