This corrections officer was in a terrible, terrible predicament all around. This is why we practice Active Self Protection, though, to see in advance what we would do about a knife-wielding attacker like this. How would you have handled it?
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Original video with some detail on the officer and the attacker is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
News story #1 on the officer involved shooting: https://get-asp.com/4h8c
News story #2 with more on the suspect and the officer: https://get-asp.com/makr
What does this corrections officer teach us about firearms safety and defending against a knife-wielding attacker?
- Sometimes the danger that you must protect yourself and your family from isn’t evil, but is rather deranged. People who aren’t in their right faculties can be a real danger to your family, even if they are not inherently evil. You need the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from evil AND from non-evil threats that pop up! This corrections officer had a terrible decision to make, but the safety of a lot of people depended upon him making it correctly.
- 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 hands of this suspect are what got him shot!
- A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders. How many people simply stayed where there was danger around this corrections officer and suspect rather than fleeing the scene?
- First aid skills are important. If you’re going to train and prepare to take a life to defend yourself, you should also have skills, training, and equipment to save life should you need to. (I carry an individual first aid kit at a minimum: http://amzn.to/1Or4yVz or this one with hemostatic included: http://amzn.to/2b5ALYz) Often that will not involve defensive encounters, and in a defensive encounter your primary responsibility is to yourself and your loved ones. Once the deranged man was stopped, this would be a good time for the corrections officer and others to try to render aid to him.
- Part of your training must be knowing when to use verbal commands, and when to abandon verbal commands and move to physical or deadly force. Many times self-defenders (and LEO) get caught in a loop of issuing the same command repeatedly to no effect. Using verbal commands is an important part of your force options training, and part of that training in verbal commands is knowing when to talk and when to stop talking and act. The corrections officer gave plenty of commands here, and when he lost distance, he knew when to act. Excellent work.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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