A long gun is a show-stopper in an armed robbery in a way that a handgun simply isn’t! Shotguns and rifles certainly have a place in your Active Self Protection, and this armed robbery is a good example of the use of a shotgun.
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Original video with some detail on the armed robbery is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
What does this shop owner teach us about defending ourselves against an armed robbery?
- 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. Almost every armed robbery occurs in a transitional space, so understand when you are in one that your risks go up.
- 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. The lady at the desk in this armed robbery didn’t have the attitude and skills to face the armed robber, and so she didn’t. That’s not a bad strategy, in reality, especially if you know someone else has some skills and is nearby.
- 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. In this armed robbery several customers still hang out in the vicinity of the threat, and that is a huge mistake. Fight Normalcy Bias!
- It is very easy in a deadly force encounter to get tunnel vision and forget that there might be additional threats nearby. That can be a deadly mistake to make! Make sure to break that focus on the immediate threat once it’s been sufficiently stopped and actually LOOK for any trailing accomplices or additional threats that might be coming your way. The shop owner likely checked for additional threats in this armed robbery after shooting the armed robber on screen, and that’s admirable!
- Do not stay in the danger zone if you can possibly help it in an armed robbery. So many times people get decision paralysis and freeze, but you cannot stay in a place where a deadly threat exists! Either act to leave the area, or act to protect yourself. Every second you give an attacker is another opportunity they have to do you and yours harm, so don’t allow that. If you can, get out of there immediately. If you can’t, then look for your opportunity to ensure your own safety by whatever means necessary. Before your Kung Fu, and before your Gun Fu, you should consider whether your best defense is Run Fu!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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