If you were a bystander in this convenience store robbery and the robber started attacking the clerk, would you step in? Thinking through your responses and how your Active Self Protection comes into play is an important part of protecting yourself from a robbery!
Original video of the robbery: https://get-asp.com/tn4j
News story of the robbery from local news with details: https://get-asp.com/qqck
What does this video shooting teach us about protecting ourselves against a robbery?
- Since criminals are looking for victims and not fights, they tend to look for vulnerable people to target. This robbery certainly speaks to that! Think about a pride of lions chasing wildebeest in Africa and you get the picture. They target the elderly, the young, and the sick for easier attack and greater success. Likewise, robbers pick victims who they think will not effectively resist them, or that the criminal can quickly overwhelm. This includes the elderly, the young (kids and early teens), the sick, pregnant women, and the distracted. Men (the overwhelming majority of attackers) also target women because women tend to be physically weaker than men. If you’re in a vulnerable population take extra precaution and train to defend against a robbery!
- The Bystander Effect is real. There were several people around at the start of this robbery, but no one stepped in. You cannot count on anyone breaking the Bystander Effect to help you, especially if the attacker is armed and any help would be at a force deficit from it. Usually the best way to break the Bystander Effect is to have a force multiplication advantage, which is a great reason to keep your force multiplier on you at all times.
- 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 in a robbery. The clerk’s coworkers responded once the robbery was launched, and helped her survive the ambush.
- If you have spiritual fitness by knowing what you’re willing to fight for and that you’re willing and ready to win the fight no matter what, you place yourself way ahead of most attackers. Attackers are looking for victims and not looking for fights, so many times when an intended victim puts up a significant fight they will disengage and find other prey. This robbery is certainly evidence of that.
- The root word of gunfight is “fight,” not “gun.” Whether you carry a firearm or not, recognize that you need to know how to fight and protect yourself against a robbery! Even if you do carry a firearm, you need empty-handed skills to be able to fight your way to your gun or defend yourself before you get the opportunity to draw. To think otherwise is madness. This robbery probably didn’t rise to the level of deadly force, but physical force was definitely key. Learn how to fight with your hands!
- If you have a partner with you when you’re attacked (be it a LEO partner if you work on a team, or your spouse or martial artist buddy, or as in this robbery, coworkers), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. Knowing each other well and communicating clearly will help you protect yourself from danger and fight off an attacker, like the workers did in this robbery. This takes training and practice and commitment, but two or more partners working together present a formidable challenge to any attacker.
- One of the challenges that is more and more common with multiple attackers is the concept of a “trailing accomplice,” which we see in this robbery. What we see fairly often is a point man/gun man who launches the attack, and a trailing accomplice who observes from a distance and comes in when it’s time to secure what they’re after or after they identify any resistance. Just because you don’t see multiple attackers at the beginning of an encounter doesn’t mean they’re not there, so if you’re in a defensive encounter expect there to be multiple attackers.
- As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it! The third coworker took the robber to the ground here, and you might need to do the same if ever you’re in a robbery. Knowing how to use the ground to your advantage is important.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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