by Todd Walker
The “Treadmill Defense” made me laugh. Great idea! If it were only that simple. I think we all make dangerous assumptions about how to defend our property and person.
Social upheaval and “peaceful protests” are increasing and not likely to decline anytime soon. Let me say upfront that I’m not an expert in self-defense. Never allow anything I write (or anyone else for that matter) override your real-life experience and common sense.
Most people have never faced a life-threatening, violent encounter. The more I think I know, the more I begin to see how little I know. I’ve always heard that the majority of shootings happen up close and personal. How close? Two yards are less. David Nash over at Shepherd School shares some real world stats:
These FBI-compiled numbers have been pretty much the same for many years: 50% of LEOs killed are killed at five feet or less, and 75% killed are killed at ten feet or less. The second source is the Police Marksman Association survey done in 1992 showing the average police gunfight was won at about 20 feet seven yards (but note that this conclusion was from a pretty small sample.) Finally, there is the data from NYPD’s SOP-9 that indicates that from 1994-2000, 69% of their shootings (of all types) were at two yards or less, and 88% were at seven yards of less. These numbers are pretty consistent from year to year.
Priorities dictate that we address our most immediate threats. Evidently, they’ll be too close for comfort. Spending range time shooting handguns at paper targets 25 yards away is not the best use of time or ammo. Statistically speaking, long shots (over 10 yards) are not likely. It’s not so ego-boosting to shoot silhouettes that you could almost touch with your outstretched hand. Could I hit that target when a chemical dump occurs in me when facing a kill or be killed violent encounter?
I’ve been guilty of preparing for home and self-defense based on theory. I’ve been in fights growing up and one legitimate street brawl that Mama caused (not really). There were no rules. Nothing fair. Just complete mayhem. Do not assume real-world violence will be anything close to what you see in scripted Hollywood fight scenes.
6 Deadly Assumptions
1.) I live in a “safe” neighborhood
We’ve had several car break-ins in our middle class neighborhood over the last several months. Two of our locked vehicles were broken into just recently. Nothing of great value was taken except loose change. My truck ax, hatchet, two knives, and a limb saw valued at over $300.00 were untouched. This still doesn’t negate the fact that some thug violated our space and sense of security.
Never take for granted that your surroundings are safe. Assuming you are secure is a myth.
2.) Violent encounters in the real world are similar to Hollywood versions
The good guys never run out of bullets and are able to summon superhuman strength to beat the bad guy. This thought process is similar to today’s Hollywood survival shows. They are entertaining but nothing like a real survival scenario.
The theory is only helpful if it works – which is usually not the case. Let’s erase the visions of mall ninjas and Rambo action heroes. Predators don’t fight fair. There won’t be a referee to stop the guy before you lose that last breath of air trying to “tapping out.” All the black belts moves you learned in class won’t save you in real violent encounters.
3.) Rules of engagement apply
There are no rules in violent encounters. If you are fighting fair, you’re doing it wrong. Criminals intent on violence don’t worry that you’ve had years of martial arts training or achieved top-gun status at your gun range. Predators pick the time and types of bad stuff to do to you. Their advantage is the element of surprise. It immediately puts us in the mode of self-defense. Self-defense is reacting and recovering from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In my coaching days, I worked on both sides of the football. I made my living on the offensive side. I liked the advantage of knowing where we would attack. The defense was always guessing even though they knew our tendencies. I’ve always been told to go on the offensive in any unavoidable violent encounter. Take the violence to the attacker.
This is not a school yard chicken dance with kids bumping chests and talking smack. In life or death situations, do whatever it takes to stay alive. This will require losing our moral codes and social niceness and do unthinkable violence to our aggressor. That’s what thugs plan to do to you.
4.) The police will help
Even if you have time to dial 911, the response time is usually so slow they have to make a report and inform the next of kin. The police are not obligated to protect individual citizens no matter what the motto on the black and white cruiser says. NEVER delegate responsibility for your safety to someone else. With cities going bankrupt, we do indeed need to lock our doors and load our guns. San Bernardino has seen a 50 percent increase in murders this year.
Don’t be a statistic.
5.) I am trained to handle violence
This has been a difficult article to write. Being a civilized, moral person, it’s depressing to delve into the mind of violent thuggery. Unless you’ve experienced this kind of violence and lived to tell about it, I don’t think it’s possible to fully wrap our minds around what it takes to flip the switch and become violent.
From everything I’ve read (people with actual experience) and seen in real life, no one single act of violence is the same. No amount of controlled training in a class can prepare us for real world violence. Yes, Chuck Norris groupies are included here. You are a resource to predators. A piece of meat. There are no training facilities that I know of which allows students to destroy and kill each other. But that’s what it takes to stop predators hellbent on their mission – destroy, rape, pillage, and kill.
Will our social training and martial arts classes save us? I’m not anti-martial arts. Get all you can get. I just don’t want you to assume that you’re trained for real violent encounters when your attacker has no rules.
Knowing how to perform roundhouse kicks is not enough. Being mentally able to flip the switch from controlled, moral, socialized citizen, to a primal eat-or-be-eaten violence machine is necessary – and dark – and outside the paradigm of who we say we are.
6.) I’m safe because I carry a gun
While I highly recommend this tool, it offers no guarantee of safety. Carrying my weapon gives me some sense of security. I’m not overconfident or cocky when carrying. Being aware of situations and surroundings is helpful. It’d be convenient if predators could be identified by external appearance. We simply can’t tell sometimes.
I’ve never shot another human being with a gun, unless BB gun wars count. They don’t. A higher standard is imposed on legally armed citizens. To quote Boston T. Party on why to pull the trigger, “You shot to stop – not to kill. Any kill is incidental, unless the only way to stop his lethal actions was to kill.” This is not to say aim for extremities and not vital organs.
Mr. Royce does a great job explaining your responsibility and liability when pulling the trigger in Boston’s Gun Bible – a must read for anyone legally carrying weapons and concerned about liberty, personal safety, and defense. A gun is designed to put distance between you and those intending you harm. After a certain distance, the threat is no longer a threat. Guns are the great equalizer. A 110 pound female has an advantage over a 250 pound thug if she has her gun in hand.
A human being is the most dangerous animal in the world as it alone has the ability to strike a deadly blow at a distance. ~ Boston’s Gun Bible, p. 4/1
Are you guilty of any of these deadly assumptions?
Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,
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