Would you have fought this armed robber or just given him the till? Each of us must think of our own response in the face of an armed robber, and how our own Active Self Protection comes into play to choose the response best for us. This clerk was brave, but was it smart to take the armed robber on?
Original video of the armed robber being run off: https://get-asp.com/cq25
News story of the clerk’s actions against the armed robber, including the fact that the armed robber shot through the door after the footage ends: https://get-asp.com/co6f
What does this clerk teach us about defending ourselves against an armed robber?
- 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. The clerk had almost no notice that the armed robber was coming, and that’s par for the course and what every armed robber wants to do. When you’re in a transitional space, make sure you know your vulnerabilities and do the best you can.
- In a deadly force encounter like this armed robber was, 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! This clerk had to decide in that moment what she was going to do to protect herself from the armed robber, and that was a good decision for her!
- As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. The clerk hit the panic alarm, but the armed robber was long gone by the time police arrived. 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.
- In the moment an armed robber attacks you, you must look for your opportunity to protect yourself. It is strongly possible that the moment of the attack is not that moment. You want to wait for the time that the armed robber is not focusing on you to act with decisiveness to protect yourself. The clerk tried several times to get the gun out of the fight against this armed robber; thankfully the armed robber was too stupid to know that.
- In MANY armed robberies, a counter is between the armed robber and the intended victims. That counter is a double-edged sword, because it can keep a knife-wielding attacker out of contact, but keeps a firearm-wielding attacker safe from your contact unless they put it over the counter. Even then, your empty-handed skills will be sorely tested by a situation when you can’t close the distance because of the counter top. The answer if you work in one of those environments is to train over the counter so that you know what your options and possibilities are.
- The Five Ds are a tool that we use at ASP to organize our training and preparation for defending ourselves against an armed robber or other attacker when we are not armed ourselves. (or if we are armed but outdrawn such that we must deal with the problem with our hands) Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. We pursue them from first to last, in order, to give us the best chance of successfully defending ourselves against an armed opponent. Deflect their force multiplier, Dominate as much as possible (best is the whole person, second is the arm with the tool, last is the tool itself), Distract the attacker (usually using pain, redirection, movement, etc.), Disarm the attacker, and Disable the attacker.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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