Fighting off armed attackers is no small feat, but this officer did a fantastic job of practicing Active Self Protection! How would you have responded in his shoes?
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News story of the officer-involved shooting (Google Translate from Tagalog required): https://get-asp.com/uqi5
Original video of the armed attackers is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
What do these armed attackers teach us about effective defense against an ambush?
- Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. Vehicles that are parked are transitional spaces! They allow for easy ambush and for armed attackers to come upon victims quickly. Be careful in transitional spaces; this officer was, and it likely saved his life.
- Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. In this ambush the officer knew something was up, and moved from orange to red in a hurry to protect himself!
- There is a significant difference between territorial and predatorial violence. (I learned these terms from Marc MacYoung) Territorial violence occurs when an aggressor wants something from you; they put a line in the sand and tell you that you will give it to them, or they will hurt you. A mugger or rapist fall in this category among others. Predatorial violence occurs when the attacker wants you dead and there is no ability to comply with demands to live. In territorial violence compliance might get you out alive, but a predatory attacker will not be stopped short of your death or you having the attitude, skills, and plan to stop them. This ambush was likely going to be predatorial violence, which means that the officer had no time to wait to see how things panned out. He had to ACT!
- We must never settle for being able to protect ourselves against a lone attacker because of how common multiple attacker engagements are. Rats travel in packs, so we must always be prepared to face multiple attackers! The officer had only a revolver against three attackers, but he used it to great effect.
- In most instances that we see on surveillance video, the first person to put shots on target wins the gunfight, whether the mugger or the victim. That’s not 100% because injured people can stay in the fight a long time, but it is a good “rule of thumb” because once someone gets shot they usually stop thinking about whatever it is they were doing and start thinking about the pain they’re in and how not to get shot again. The lesson in that is clear: be the first to put shots on target. (this is the corollary to Joe Frick’s Rules for a Gunfight #3, “Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.”) These armed attackers ran like scalded dogs once the officer got shots on target!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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