Have you thought much about which situations you’re willing to intervene as a self-defender, and which you will just be a good witness? This shootout involving an off-duty officer and two armed robbers shows us how important that question is to practicing Active Self Protection.
Original video with a few details: https://get-asp.com/jms7 (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 shootout teach us about protecting ourselves against armed robbers?
- 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 that his flock included all people and his off-duty time, and that decision was his to make.
- Parents must consider their children in their defensive plan. The younger the child, the more the parent(s) must consider how holding or dragging their child will affect their ability to protect both of them. Naturally, the more children you have the more you’ll be constrained in retreat or running, and the more you’ll have to “stick your foot in the ground” and defend yourself without retreat. The shop owner had a little boy in this store, and that little boy was right in the middle of all the danger. You’ve got to think about your kids in your defensive plan!
- We must each be ready to face the cost of defending ourselves or others, as well as the cost of not defending. If you defend yourself, especially with a firearm, you might well face significant costs financially, socially, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. You must be ready for those costs! The same holds true of defending others, and you must decide if the costs are worth paying for your family. If you live, you can expect to hire an attorney, spend time in jail perhaps, face social pressure from the media or family or your church, etc. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t step in, but it does mean that you have to count the cost and accept it. Certainly, to defend your life or the life of a family member, any cost is bearable. But whether you’re willing to pay that cost for a stranger is a matter for personal reflection and consideration. And let’s not forget, the cost to this officer was his life. You don’t get to know in advance what the cost will be, so count the potential in your plan.
- We must never settle for being able to protect ourselves against a lone attacker because of how common multiple attacker engagements are. Rats travel in packs, so we must always be prepared to face multiple attackers!
- Marksmanship matters! The old saying is quite true: you can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight. In most instances that we see on surveillance video, the first person to put shots on target wins the gunfight. That’s not 100% because injured people can stay in the fight a long time, but it is a good “rule of thumb” because once someone gets shot they usually stop thinking about whatever it is they were doing and start thinking about the pain they’re in and how not to get shot again. The lesson in that is clear: be the first to put shots on target. (this is the corollary to Joe Frick’s Rules for a Gunfight #3, “Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.”)
- 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. In this instance the officer’s counter-ambush failed because the bad guy heard or saw the door opening, and that’s what got him killed. Think about your counter-ambush before diving into a gunfight.
- Spiritual fitness is an important part of Active Self Protection. You don’t often get any advance notice of the last day of your life, but we see over and over that self-defense isn’t a guarantee of winning every fight you might be placed in. You want to be at peace with your loved ones and with God, because you’ll need that peace on the day that you meet Him. Since you can’t guarantee advanced notice, make peace today.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.