The robbery victim in this video had SEVERAL opportunities to protect himself. And armed robbers can be really dumb! Thankfully, at least the victim wasn’t shot.
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What does this video teach us about protecting ourselves from an armed robber?
- Your defensive measures don’t help you if you don’t use them. The clerk in this video left his cage door open, presumably for ease of entry and exit or perhaps for air flow. That might be understandable, but it gave the armed robber the opportunity he needed to launch his attack. Don’t disarm your defensive measures!
- If you can win “the fight before the fight,” you win. You win that fight by minimizing your potential for being attacked in the first place! That means making smart decisions and living a life of awareness and readiness so that you don’t take unnecessary risks. Attackers often stalk their intended victims for some time, silently “interviewing” them to see if they are an easy target. (there’s a great article in Psychology Today about the psychology of victim selection…read it!) Criminals absolutely look for opportune people and opportune times to ambush easy prey, so the solution to that is not to look like prey! The common adage is true, “If you don’t want to be eaten, don’t look like food.”
- If you do not have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from an attacker, then your only option is to submit to their demands and hope it works out for the best. I would never suggest that a helpless person try to defend themselves against a carjacking or armed robbery, though of course if it’s a matter of life and death you must do whatever you can. The point, though, is not to be a helpless victim! This is the heart of Active Self Protection, to motivate you to train and help you develop the attitude, skills, and plan so that you can choose to protect yourself if it makes sense in the moment rather than being forced into compliance with a violent felon. The armed robber here thankfully didn’t want to kill the clerk, but compliance was probably his best bet.
- Successful self-defense against many attacks involves a counter-ambush, where the victim finds the right opportunity to seize the initiative from the attacker and launch an ambush of their own. That involves thinking and knowing your own strengths and skill set, and being ready to strike the attacker when your opportunity for counter-ambush comes. It also means not allowing the attacker to see that attack until it’s launched. The clerk DID get a good opportunity here…he just didn’t have the tools ready to use it.
- It’s a morally acceptable choice in an armed robbery to simply give the armed robber what they want. Only you can decide in the moment if the attacker is using their force multiplier as an intimidation tool or if they really intend to do you harm, and giving up your phone or wallet to escape the danger zone can be an acceptable choice. Either way, you must count the potential cost of your life vs. your possessions and take the best action that protects your life, which is infinitely more valuable than your things.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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