The “Treadmill Defense” made me laugh. Great idea! If it were only that simple. What if a zombie accidentally hits the kill switch? I think we all make silly assumptions about how to defend our property and person.
I was going to writing about the importance of shelter in this installment of my Individual Preparedness Series. My direction changed. You see, our daughter-in-law, having never fired a gun, wanted to shot a couple of our pistols. She was never exposed to these valuable tools growing up. After some basic instruction, she did quite well in her first shooting session at a five yard range. I think she’s hooked. I passed on a review from Docwatmo over at Average Guy Reviews on the XD9 Subcompact to our son for their consideration.
Staring over our fiscal cliff, home invasions and violent crime are increasing and not likely to decrease anytime soon. This article would become a book if I attempted to cover the many aspects of home and personal defense. 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, including myself, have never faced a real 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 shooting happen up close and personal like. How close? Two yards are less. David Nash over at Shepherd School sites 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 real close. 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 alpha-male-ish to shoot human silhouettes that you could almost touch with your outstretched hand. Ego wants to demonstrate my long shot accuracy. Could I hit that target when a chemical dump occurs in me when facing a kill or be killed violent encounter? I hope to never find out.
I’ve been guilty in the past 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. Sounds like the making of a great country song. I’ll not divulge details now. Maybe later. The street brawl was nothing close to those you see in the movies. There was no script. Just crazy mayhem.
See if any of these assumptions are putting you and yours in danger.
6 Deadly Assumptions
1.) I live in a “safe” neighborhood. A fellow teacher friend of mine had me over to install a security storm door and two motion detection flood lights on her house last month. She and her family live in an upper middle class neighborhood. Some thugs recently broke into a house two doors down, through the garage door, at 10:00 a.m. The next door neighbor was home during the robbery.
Never take for granted that your surroundings are safe.
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. In my mind that’s a great theory.
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 when dealing with violent criminals. They don’t fight fair. If you are fighting fair, you’ll loose and possible die. 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 things 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 gums. In life or death situations, do whatever it takes to stay alive. This will require losing our moral codes and niceness and do unthinkable violence to our aggressor. That’s what he plans to do to you.
4.) The police will help. I’ll not beat this dead horse. 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 gyms that I know of that allows students to destroy/kill other students. Membership would shrink greatly. 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 forgets the rule about tapping out.
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.
I told you it’s depressing.
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 gun-totters. 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.”
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 carrying weapons, concerned about liberty, personal safety, and defense. A gun is designed to put distance between you and those intending to harm you. After a certain distance, the threat is no longer a threat. It’s the great equalizer. Dirt Road Girl 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
Neither DRG or I have had training from shooting professionals. Expert training is prohibitively expensive for us. We are self-taught. There are many learning tools on the internet and in books that have helped us. For affordable rifleman training, I’ve been planning to attend Project Appleseed. From their site: Through Project Appleseed, the Revolutionary War Veterans Association is committed to teaching two things: rifle marksmanship and our early American heritage.
When we assume, as the saying goes, it makes an ass out of u and me.
Are you guilty of any of these deadly assumptions? Please leave a comment and share freely.
Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,
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