Sunday, September 16, 2018

National Preparedness Monday Day 16--Self Defense

Whether you are five or 95 years old, everyone needs to learn self defense.  And while many people automatically think self defense means hand to hand combat or shooting someone, there are a lot more things to learn--and a lot more ways to handle self defense situations--than those two options.

  • The first, and most logical, method of self defense, is to not put yourself into a situation where you need to defend your life or that of a family member.  This could mean hardening your home to prevent intrusion (this topic will be covered later this month), staying away from high crime areas, not hanging out with people who others are gunning for (gang members and drug dealers top this list), not being out alone at night, not becoming intoxicated to the point of stupid in public, etc.
  • Learning how to de-escalate a tense situation is another skill for avoiding the need for self defense.  Walking away from an incident that could evolve into a violent situation, not going back to a domestic violence abuser, not calling out a drunk fool in a bar who is running his mouth at you, not getting into a road rage incident if someone cuts you off in traffic...talking people down or simply walking away can stop a possible violent situation before it even starts.
  • Running away--literally--from someone who is coming after you is not a bad idea.  If a bullied kid is faster than his opponent he has the upper hand when it comes to running.  And while I am all for standing up for yourself in a fair fight, these days every other coward is carrying a gun (yes, even junior high school-age kids) so the possible deadly outcome just isn't worth it.  If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, run if at all possible.  If you can escape a situation that could devolve into violence, leave.  It's that simple.
  • Hiding is another option.  This is an especially useful skill for kids who could be easily overpowered.  This is also a good idea for victims of domestic violence or stalkers as well as people being chased by an active shooter.  If you can't be found, you can't end up in a situation where you need to defend your life.
  • Learning physical self defense skills like karate or krav maga is a good idea for everyone.  Although getting into a hand-to-hand combat situation should be the very last way you defend yourself, having fighting skills to fall back on is a good idea (it's also good exercise).  Even if you are a big strong guy with a penchant for MMA, your opponent could always be stronger and better skilled, but you won't know this until you get your ass handed to you.  Plus the possibility that one wrong move--even being knocked down to the ground--could end up in a brain bleed and death, should put everyone off physical combat unless there is no other option.
  • Less than lethal force options may be considered.  Using pepper spray or Mace which will give you enough time to escape once deployed is an option.  Having a knife or baseball bat is OK but too close to hand-to-hand combat to be a very good option for most people.  Ditto a taser or stun gun--you don't want an assailant close enough to disarm you because then you end up with no other options to protect yourself.
  • Lethal force is a viable option for many people.  Note that this isn't an option for everyone because those who live in countries where gun ownership is restricted would have several problems defending themselves with a firearm.  Ditto keeping firearms in your home if someone in the home is often suicidal or prone to violence; the high likelihood that the firearm would be used for suicide or domestic violence in these situations should preclude having an accessible firearm in these cases.  For everyone else, shooting someone is self defense is a viable option--it keeps the assailant far enough away for them not to become a physical threat to you and has immediate stopping power depending on how accurate your shot is.  If you choose to use a firearm for self defense, know the laws in your area about this backwards and forwards, get trained on the use of your firearm (take both basic advanced firearm self defense classes if at all possible), and practice.  A lot.

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