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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

State Of Mind, Part 1

With almost any endeavor, your mental outlook is a key to success.  If you think something is worthwhile, you'll generally put forth the effort to make it work.  If you're wishy-washy about a project, chances are you'll look for the first excuse that presents itself to scuttle what you're doing.

Many people recognize that putting together an emergency preparedness plan, or taking their self-defense seriously are good things.  They may go as far as drawing up a plan or even taking some classes on these subjects.

While these are great first steps, they're not enough.  You have to have the mental toughness to act on what you've learned.

Self-defense.  At almost every firearms class I teach, the question comes up about actually firing a gun at an intruder.  A surprisingly large number of people will make a statement along the lines of, "I could never kill someone.  I would just shoot to wound them and call the police."

I want to scream.  But I don't.

I take a deep breath and remind them that someone has entered their home, or followed them to their car or taken some other action which has alerted them that the bad guy is a threat.  You are nothing but a pay day, a piece of ass or some part of a twisted fantasy to these thugs.  They will have no hesitation in taking your life if necessary.  Criminals show no pity.

You need to have the same mental determination to save your life as the criminal will have in taking it.

And it doesn't matter if the bad guy has a gun, a baseball bat or a knife.  No decent person EVER wants to take another life.  But if you command them to retreat or to leave your home, and they advance on you - and you don't shoot - you are unnecessarily putting your life at risk.

Take a look at this excellent review and update of the old Tueller edged weapon defense study.  It has to do with using a gun when your attacker is within 7 yards of you with an edged weapon.
Bottom line: Within a 21-foot perimeter, most officers dealing with most edged-weapon suspects are at a decided - perhaps fatal - disadvantage if the suspect launches a sudden charge intent on harming them. "Certainly it is not safe to have your gun in your holster at this distance," Lewinski says, and firing in hopes of stopping an activated attack within this range may well be justified.
The average attacker was able to travel the 21 feet in 1.5-1.7 seconds.  The fastest attacker was able to do it in 1.27 seconds.  I sure as hell hope you have your weapon in hand and ready before they get that close to you.

If YOU want to try and "wing" them ala a Hollywood movie, go right ahead.  I'm shooting until they stop.

Accept The Challenge

You MUST mentally walk-through multiple threat scenarios before they happen.  If you are serious about your self-defense, you must be willing to accept the (unwarranted) guilt and the potential scrutiny of your friends, family and the media.

By running through scenario after scenario, you are much more likely to make the right decision in a time of crisis.  You don't shoot the kid or the drunken neighbor playing a prank at 3am, but you do protect your family when it's an actual threat.

A final thought:  If you shoot someone - even an attacker in your own living room - you may very likely be arrested, especially in a state such as California.  Be prepared to deal with that as well.

As the old saying goes, "I'd rather be tried by twelve than carried by six."

Tomorrow:  The Preparedness Mind Set

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Andrea said...

I once thought the same thing...I don't want to kill someone blah blah blah....until my children came along. Now it's for real.

I'm trying to recall now what I learned from my grandpa and my husband...something about aiming for the knees because the kick from the gun will put the next shot in their stomach/chest....yeah, it's been way too long since I've practiced.

Chief Instructor said...

Get Thee To The Range! ;-)

Seriously, though, at any sort of distance, if you're shooting at someone's knees, you'll probably miss. The second shot will likely miss as well, particularly if you're using a big-bore pistol you're not used to shooting.

Focus on center mass, every single time. If that means the second shot takes longer, so be it. You don't want stray rounds flying around your home.

Obviously, the closer they are to you, the quicker you can pull the trigger without a decent aim.

Andrea said...

Ok, just delete that last comment...I'm embarrassed for anyone else to read it! Yes, it's been forever and it's hard to tell what my grandpa was aiming for LOL

Chief Instructor said...

No reason for embarrassment. Just by talking and thinking about it, you're better prepared if things ever got ugly.

Shy Wolf said...

As a martial arts instructor and often 'women and children' self defense instructor, I would give the same spiel to begin each class: "We are going to get dirty here. If you do not think you can pull out someone's eyes, tear off their balls, bite off their tongue, bite their dick off, then you do not have the mindset to save yourself, please leave now."
It was amazing the number who left. A 50% drop was not uncommon. Of those who remained, another 25% would leave, unable to justify the violece needed to save their own lives, let alone those of another.
My opinion is that we have sissified ourselves in this (American) society and made violence a no-no, something to be abhorred and not indulged in. Now, as a society in geat turmoil, we are reaping the rewards in the numbers of children, women, and even men, who have not the mind-set to defend themselves.
How do we turn this mind-set around? is my question.
Be it H2H or a bladed or projectile weapon, we need to find a way to turn people back to understanding, accepting and acting, upon the idea that self defense is a right, not something to be burried and accorded to the Thin Blue Line.

Chief Instructor said...

Excellent points. For the past 20 years or so, many MANY kids have been raised with the "helicopter parents" - they're always hoovering over their kids. It totally eliminates the child's sense of independence and self-responsibility.

"If I fall down, mom/dad will be there to make it all better."

We're raising our kids to be dependent on someone else, instead of becoming independent, self-sufficient citizens.