If you are going to fight an armed robber, you need to have strong Active Self Protection to overcome them! This clerk unfortunately didn’t have the skills or plan to back up an attitude of self-protection.
If you value what we do at ASP, would you consider becoming an ASP Patron Member to support the work it takes to make the narrated videos like this armed robbery? https://get-asp.com/patron gives the details.
News story on the armed robber attacking the clerk: https://get-asp.com/ccx3
Original video of the armed robber is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
What does this clerk teach us about effective defense against an armed robber?
- If you do not have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from an armed robber, 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 robber, 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.
- Compliance does not at all guarantee your safety in the face of an armed robber or other attacker. We know, for instance, that rape victims who fight back are no more likely to be harmed than if they don’t fight back, and they are less likely to be raped. (study here: https://get-asp.com/601c if you need proof on that) Compliance does not guarantee safety, as placing your safety in the hands of someone willing to commit a felony is a terrible idea.
- 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. An armed robber 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 armed robber was committing territorial violence, but territorial violence is still violence!
- In a deadly force encounter such as presented by this armed robber, 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!
- We must each decide what is worth protecting. Life is always worth protecting because it is of inestimable worth; as unique bearers of the image of God, people are the most valuable “thing” imaginable. Property is something else, though. With property we always have to balance the benefit against the risk to ourselves and our families. Even where it’s legally allowed, you should consider whether it’s wise or prudent to defend your property, because doing so puts you at risk and not just the bad guy. This armed robber was definitely a threat to the clerk’s life, and so the clerk could certainly defend herself, but it might have been the best choice for the clerk to just give the money to the armed robber. That said, it looks like the clerk was trying and wasn’t able to get the till open!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.