“Risk,” Warren Buffet said, “comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” Applying that to armed self-defense does not mean you have to develop great marksmanship and gun handling skills. They’re useful and all, but they are not paramount. To “win” an armed encounter you have to know your goal. I know: survival. Sorry, that ain’t good enough. There are simply too many options in a self-defense situation to try and formulate a plan—or react instinctively—based on the general thought “I want to stay alive.” You have to break it down. There are three basic strategic goals. Choose one . . .

Attack!

In the Florida school board shooting [above], security officer Mike Jones wasted precious minutes deciding how he was going to deal with the lethal threat facing his employers. He went and got a bigger gun, put on a vest, yada yada yada. When he finally acted, he did so from the back of the room, from behind a row of seats.

That, my friends, was a man who didn’t know what he was doing. If he had, he would have run up to Clay Duke and shot him where he stood. Speed, surprise, violence of action; the three attributes of a potentially successful attack on a threat.

Once you decide to attack, you enter attack mode. You may be able to create a plan. And then modify it, if necessary. You may not. But at least you’ll know what you’re trying to do, so that you can try and do it. Hesitation kills.

Defend!

In a lot of self-defense situations, an armed civilian gets caught “on the hop.” The attacker has what’s called “the first mover advantage.” More technically, the good guy’s behind the perp’s OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act).

In short, you may be outgunned, out-manned, out-maneuvered and out-motivated. You may have children to protect (hint: move them away from you, the guy with the gun, the person who’s the bad guy’s natural target).

In that case, your best option may be to get to cover or concealment until the perp or perps leave or the cops arrive. Or until you think, screw it, this isn’t working, here’s my chance, and attack.

Covering fire? What the hell is that? An idea that’s best left on the military battlefield. If you need to shoot, you need to attack. Again, you can switch from defense to offense (and back), but you don’t want to get stuck somewhere in the middle. As Lyndon Johnson said, a bad decision is better than no decision.

If you’re thinking Big D, at least you’ll be looking for cover or concealment. In this scenario, I reckon not one member of the school board thought of jumping under the desk until the shooting began. I guess they thought they were going to talk their way out of trouble.

It’s best to think of defense as a prelude to . . .

Escape!

Wonderful escape! Glorious escape! As our very own Ralph reminded me the other day, “a gun gives me a chance to get the hell out of a situation I don’t want to be in.” Don’t get so focused on fighting the bad guys that you miss an opportunity to run the f away. You know; if you can.

You’re not a cop. You don’t have to “resolve” a potentially deadly situation. All you have to do is survive. And your best chances of doing so comes from eliminating the risk of not knowing what you’re doing. Make you choice, make your move, take your chances. Wash, rinse, repeat. That’s about as good as it gets.

7 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Know What You’re Doing

  1. It’s not hard to imagine something like this happening at a school board function. Go figure. Not generalizing – the school system is full with idealistic liberal minds. K-12, colleges, and universities are full of them. How many people are going to have to be assaulted (used lightly) before American society as a whole decides to take back the streets? This kind of foolishness should not be tolerated. F me? No – F YOU, bad guy! I pray that it doesn’t come to shots fired, and it will be done if need be. In my town there is a NorthWest section that you just don’t travel – there’s at least one shooting every night there. Funny that this section of town happens to be laden with gang activity and drug dealing… Blame the guns, the Libs would say, as they have a mind of their own – very similar to those chain saws that just crank themselves up…

    • I don’t really think what is depicted in this video has anything to do with idealistic liberal minds.

      I think it has to do with a sad, unstable man with frustrations he can’t effectively address and a death wish attacking volunteers engaged in a thankless civil service. It is unfortunate those board members, regardless of political or social ideology, were not equipped to defend themselves.

      I am very impressed by the character of the board member who ended up being shot. Given that he didn’t have a means to defend himself, he was admirably composed, calm, and self-sacrificial. The woman who tried the futile attack on the crazy guy was also extremely brave given the position she was in, as was the woman who went to her aid when she was knocked down.

  2. Amazing how a clip and an event like that can so polarize audiences.

    One half of viewers say “if guns were banned, this couldn’t have happened”

    the other half says “if guns were more commonplace, this couldn’t have happened”

    The former is an untestable hypothesis, as it is of course impossible to remove guns from any society unless you wear brown uniforms and speak a lot of German. And that was considered by some to be a special case.

    In fact, the closest that we can come is the removal of guns from law-abiding citizens, which is not quite the same thing as removing guns from society.

    The latter hypothesis is, of course, completely accurate and has been proven accurate in every weaponized society since the beginning of time. Mutually-assured destruction: it really works.

  3. “As our very own Ralph reminded me the other day, ‘a gun gives me a chance to get the hell out of a situation I don’t want to be in.’”

    I think my language was more, well, colorful than you give me credit for, but yes indeedy, that’s what the roscoe is for. A gun that can’t help me get out of Dodge in a hurry is as useful as a crutch made of the purest India rubber. There won’t be room or time for “suppressing fire,” which is military-speak for spray and pray. Keeping the BG’s heads down is for the battlefield. So if my heinie is on the line-ie, I intend to deploy fast, shoot straight if I have to shoot at all and above all, I want to exit the stage just as fast as I possibly can. It would be especially rewarding to disappear before the excrement hits the air moving apparatus. If a burglar alarm is the best home-defense tool, then I think that the best PD tool would be a great pair of running shoes. I prefer New Balance. Your footage may vary.

  4. You write:

    “…If he had, he would have run up to Clay Duke and shot him where he stood”

    I think your statement is irresponsible. I almost laughed at your idea. Ok, I did laugh.

  5. Just to confirm my previous post, here is a quote from those facing the barrel of Mr Duke’s gun. And the security officer who you claim did not respond appropriately, was clearly following protocol and perhaps saved the situation from going any further. What you MUST look at, Mr Farago, is the OUTCOME of the situation. The end game was this: Perp dead, all others OK.

    Now let’s hear from those who were there and not those who are playing Monday morning QB:

    After the shots were fired, Mike Jones, a security officer in the building, responded.

    “He knew he was supposed to wait for backup, but he knew at the time he couldn’t,” Husfelt said. “Mike saved our lives. … This tragedy could’ve been huge on many levels.”

    Jones and Duke exchanged fire before Duke was struck. In the video he is seen falling to the floor before using his gun to take his own life. Police said 10 shots were fired altogether and no one else was hurt.

    “Mike saved the day. There’s no doubt,” Littleton said.

  6. The bad guys don’t scare me but the responding ‘officers’ do. If I ever get shot by one and survive, which is likely, considering the reputation for marksmanship they have, I am going to be very pissed. VERY pissed.

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