My goodness, the difference between the victims and the victor in this armed robbery is STARK. At Active Self Protection we try to bring instances like this to light to show regular people that they are their own defenders, and that the best way to protect yourself against an armed robbery is to be prepared and willing to defend yourself and those around you.
Original video: https://get-asp.com/h4ux (WARNING: this site is very, very NSFW and filled with adult content…strongest warning possible…I get videos from it when I can’t find it anywhere else but do NOT endorse anything about it)
What does this off duty cop teach us about protecting ourselves against an armed robbery?
- In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. This armed robbery started before anyone in the restaurant saw anything out of place!
- 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 armed robber had quick entrance and quick exit here, and the proximity of valuables makes this a very appealing target. If you’re in that kind of environment, recognize that you’re in a more likely place of attack!
- 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.
- 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.
- Real life self-defense encounters are chaotic and there is seldom ability to focus solely on one threat. When there are multiple attackers (or potential attackers) present especially, focusing too much on one threat could be a deadly mistake. We must maintain awareness in a fight for our life not only of the immediate threat but threats all around us, and that takes great training not to get tunnel vision. The officer here did a great job of realizing that this armed robbery had more than one armed robber, and he kept scanning to find where the threat was.
- The goal in any defensive firearms use is to stop the threat. Never draw a firearm if you’re not willing to use it, but if the presence of the firearm stops the threat, don’t pull the trigger! If the bad guy flees or surrenders, that’s a very successful defensive firearm use and you’ve met the goal. If your first shots stop the threat, don’t take more shots that can turn a defensive encounter into charges for you. Shoot as many times as you must in order to stop the threat, and once the threat stops, reassess and stop shooting. The armed robbery stopped not when the bad guy ran, but when the second armed robber surrendered. Great job by the officer of shooting when he had an active threat, and NOT shooting when the second guy surrendered.
- The rules of firearm safety apply in a gunfight, just like they do on the range or in your home. Whether you prefer to articulate them as Colonel Cooper’s four rules or the NRA’s three rules (I have a discussion of my preference here: https://get-asp.com/cfgf if you want to read it), you must have the presence of mind to keep your firearm pointed in the appropriate direction and only fire when you will not hit an innocent. You are morally and legally responsible for the rounds that leave your gun, so make sure to train and practice so that you take responsible shots in the moment of need.
- The rules of firearm safety apply whether you’re training or fighting for your life. One of the most difficult to follow in a real life gunfight is Colonel Cooper’s Rule #4: be sure of your target and what lies beyond it. It is exceedingly difficult to do, but self-defenders must stay aware of what is behind their threat so that they take minimal risks to innocents when defending themselves.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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