Would you have shot if you were in this officer’s position? I think this off duty officer practiced great Active Self Protection in stopping this armed robbery, but boy he took a chance by not shooting!
Original video of the armed robbery with some details: https://get-asp.com/9v22 (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 video teach us about protecting ourselves in an armed robbery?
- Every person gets to decide who they are willing to protect. For some, their “flock” is only themselves and their immediate family. That’s an acceptable answer. For others, they are willing to protect their friends, coworkers, and extended family. For a few, it might mean being willing to protect anyone who is weak, powerless, and in need. Each of us must decide the size of our flock and have that decision firmly in mind when it is time to act. This officer decided to stop the armed robbery and that’s a commendable decision, but I wouldn’t fault anyone who decided to stay obscure and not engage either. That’s a personal decision that we each must deal with.
- 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 number of people coming and going tells you this is a transitional space!
- Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. The off-duty officer here was aware of his baseline, and when the motochorro came in with his helmet on, the officer KNEW something was out of place and he acted accordingly. Very nice work!
- Successful self-defense against an armed robbery often involves a counter-ambush, where the victim finds the right opportunity to seize the initiative from the armed robber 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. This officer clearly counter-ambushed the armed robber, and because of it won the day.
- Regular people really battle Normalcy Bias. Normalcy Bias is a mental state that causes people not to react to disaster, or to underestimate the ability of that disaster to affect them personally. In defensive encounters, Normalcy Bias makes people stand around in the danger zone and not take defensive action. That clearly happened here with all of the people standing around!
- 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. The officer didn’t pull the trigger here but the bad guy surrendered, so I would certainly call this a successful defensive gun use. Stop the threat!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.