Do you think about what might happen to a bystander if you’re in a gunfight? Especially when the bystander is a loved one, you have to think about them as part of your Active Self Protection so that you don’t expose them to harm!
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Original video of the defensive encounter is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
News story on the incident from local news: https://get-asp.com/ii3y
The bystander who was hurt spoke to reporters: https://get-asp.com/8xkq
A video reportedly shot by the man with the AK pistol says more from his perspective (it’s not verified to be him, though, so take it with a grain of salt): https://get-asp.com/vyes
What does this defensive encounter teach us about protecting ourselves against an armed attacker?
- In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training! The officer here defaulted to his training, and that saved his noggin for sure.
- 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. Gas stations are absolutely transitional spaces, and defensive encounters happen there with frightening regularity. That doesn’t mean that you should be paranoid while getting gas, but it DOES mean that you should be more ready there!
- The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the hands are the windows to the intent of a person. If you’re in a potential conflict, ALWAYS pay attention to what the aggressor is doing with their hands. They might have a force multiplier in their hand, or they might be hiding their hand so that you can’t see what is in it or using their hand to conceal something. If their hands are empty, there is a difference between someone with fists and someone whose hands are open and relaxed. As a self-defender your situational awareness must include seeing the hands of any potential threat in your vicinity, so watch the hands! The attacker here flashed the gun, and that’s when the defensive encounter really started.
- As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t. Neither the bystander nor the defender here could afford to wait for police!
- You must know what parts of your car offer cover, and what parts of your car are only concealment. Car doors and windows are no help against bullets, friends. They are concealment. The engine block provides cover, as do steel wheels and the transmission and axles. If you have to use your car to protect yourself from incoming fire, movement is your best friend and you must be ready to shoot from unconventional positions. Taking a course on using a handgun in a vehicle is much advised.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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