Another Wednesday, another Reading List! In today’s list: learning to fight back; knowing where your line in the sand is; the police probably aren’t going to save you; what not to do when your attacker is in your face; getting your gun ready when you don’t yet need to shoot; a sad case of someone who didn’t understand when the fight was over; preparing for winter storms; and Greg Ellifritz teaches us to look for opportunities. Read, learn, and share!
This story got a lot of press a couple of weeks ago, and I’m not sharing it because of the fame of the subject (I had no idea who she was until I googled her name.) I’m sharing it because her incident has lessons for all of us. Lesson One: self defense is a right of all human beings, regardless of race, sex, religion, political party, or anything else. Everyone has the right to stop someone else from unwanted physical contact. Lesson Two: the will to fight back is the only weapon you always have with you. In this woman’s case she used her elbows, but the tool is secondary to the decision, made ahead of time, that your life is worth protecting and you will do whatever it takes to protect it. If you just “don’t feel safe” unless you have a gun, you may need some work on Lesson Two — because, as I’ve said time and time again, the gun doesn’t make you any safer. It just gives you a very efficient tool to use in a very small percentage of incidents.
Where is your line?
Speaking of the decision to protect your own life, have you given any thought to how you’d handle various possible threats to your life (or your loved ones?) What would you constitute to be a threat? What would you do if you were faced with someone who wasn’t actually a threat yet, but could be? Does that change if they’re a stranger or someone you know? This article talks about figuring out where your “line in the sand” is, that point at which you will take a particular action (and we’re not talking exclusively of lethal action here!) Many people hesitate to interrupt what might become threatening, because they worry about being embarrassed or looking like they’re paranoid. By thinking about your line in the sand ahead of time you’ll be able to respond more efficiently and more appropriately. While the author focuses on a survivalist event, the lesson is valid for everyday life as well.
You’re on your own, just like always
I don’t usually share sensationalistic articles like this, but in this case I’ll make an exception because it serves to illustrate a very specific point. Many motorists were trapped by a mob of protesters in the recent Charlotte uprisings, and were surprised that the police couldn’t come rescue them. The point of this story is that, in reality, we’re always on our own. When the bad guy jumps out from behind your car, or your date’s amorous advances become physical, you’re the one who has to deal with the immediate situation as it exists. The police may come to investigate and apprehend your attacker, but in the heat of the moment it’s just you and him (or her, or them.) This is why we think about these things ahead of time and prepare to defend ourselves rather than rely on someone else who likely won’t be there. For some, like these people on a Charlotte road, that reality is a shock. Don’t let it shock you.
Dealing with the up-close attack
One of the old techniques for dealing with an attacker who is within arm’s reach is the “speed rock”. It’s still taught in some backward places as a relevant technique, but anyone who’s tested it against a resisting attacker knows that it doesn’t work. In fact, a lot of things that “gun people” have come up with don’t work when someone is in physical contact. This short article isn’t meant to teach you what to do, but rather acquaint you with the fact that when you’re in contact with another person you need to deal with the initial attack before you can think about going to your gun. I’ve seen the author’s conclusions reinforced time and again by others in the defensive training world. The gun isn’t always the immediate solution, and in fact may even be counter-productive. Learn when and why.
What about if you don’t need to shoot YET?
Massad Ayoob raised a lot of hackles a few years back when he broached the subject of “justified pointing” — using the lawfully wielded firearm to defuse a situation that could turn lethal but wasn’t quite at that stage. In other words, there may be times when you’re justified in presenting your firearm to prevent actually needing to fire it, and of course Ayoob has many examples where that’s worked out. Taking the concept a step further back, there may be times when staging your firearm for more rapid presentation may be appropriate as well. Rob Pincus has a video at Personal Defense Network about when this might be necessary and how to go about doing it.
I’ll say it again: you’re not the police
This is a very sad tale out of Alabama. A man found two men burglarizing his home. Upon confronting them, they got out of the house and ran away. So far so good, right? Unfortunately the homeowner pursued them — for what exact reason will probably remain unknown — and during the pursuit the burglars shot and killed him. This needs to be understood: absent a clear and present danger to the rest of the community (such as a spree killer who is still armed), there is no reason to pursue anyone once they’ve broken contact with you. This seems to be common with property crimes: the owner feels “dissed” and wants to hold the criminals so the police can arrest them. I’ve shared many cases where the good guy ends up using unjustified force against property criminals, but this case should serve as a warning that it doesn’t always work out well. If you confront a burglar and he runs away, YOU’VE WON. Don’t try for best two-out-of-three by chasing him down; let the police do that job. They’re better at it than you are.
Winter is coming. Are you ready?
It seems that summer just ended, but here were are in October already — and this is usually the month when weather turns cold across the country and the first snows appear. In just 60 days, most of the country will be well in heavy snow season. Are you ready for a major snowstorm and the problems it can cause? Read through this checklist and find out — because now is the time to prepare to keep you and your family warm and safe! (I might add: the opening picture in this article is nothing compared to what my wife and I encountered at our house a few years back. We were snowed in for five solid days, and we don’t live in a state known for such things!)
Can you spot an opportunity against an active killer?
Greg Ellifritz has a good article about exploiting opportunities when faced with a killer armed with a firearm. In the video, you can see the attacker’s gun jam and his victim simply stand and wait for the attacker to fix the problem! When a killer’s gun jams, or when it runs out of ammunition, is your best chance to mount a counter-attack. Learn to watch for those opportunities; they may not be this exact scenario, but you may spot an opening during which you can do something to stop the carnage. This reinforces the theme of the first article I shared: decide ahead of time that you will do whatever it takes to protect yourself; the corollary is to decide that you will take advantage of whatever chance you have to do so.
– Grant Cunningham
Opening photo: “Camelus dromedarius at Tierpark Berlin” by Agadez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons