Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Operate on Instinct Alone

 

If you’re confronted by someone who’s angry or aggressive, there’s no need to go all alpha on his ass. Either walk away or do your level best to walk it down. What does it cost you to say “You’re right” or “I’m sorry guy. Let me buy you a beer” (assuming a barroom scenario)? Yes but—there are times when any attempt to “talk your way out of it” is a fool’s errand. Sometimes you can’t avoid a fight; you need to ramp-up for extreme offensive action ASAP STAT PDQ RIGHT NOW. After that it’s all about timing. Keeping your powder dry until . . . you don’t. At that point, speed, surprise and violence of action are your friends. Being friendly? Not so much. To wit:

Cook described the moments that led up to the C&F Bank robbery. [Click here to read more about the crime]

“He come up to the teller and he pointed a gun right at that girl’s face. I saw that and thought this is not good,” Cook recalled.

At that point Cook said his instincts took over. Cook put his pet dog on the bank counter and stood in between the robber and bank employees. After he told the robber to take the money and leave, Cook said the robber shot him in the thigh.

“I thought to myself, you SOB, you shot me,” Cook said.

Cook said as the robber turned to leave the bank, he grabbed the first thing he could to fight back, a bucket of lollipops.

“I took a bucket of suckers and threw it at him I was so mad. It was the only thing I could find to throw,” Cook said with a slightly embarrassed grin on his face.

What happened next was not so funny.

As Cook followed the robber out the front door, the robber turned around, re-entered the bank and shot Cook in the stomach.

“I stumbled on the table and thought then, damn he’s shot me twice now,” Cook said. “Adrenaline took over. I did not feel any pain.”

The pain followed.

Click here to check out wtvr’s security camera footage. Judging from the above image, I suspect that Mr. Cook was offering the bad guy lollipops rather than throwing them (hence stills rather than raw footage), at least initially. Either way, the sucker punch was never going to be anything more than a momentary distraction. Mr. Cook was engaging the robber when he should have left him the f alone.

If Cook had been carrying a concealed weapon, that would have been a different story. Actually, not. He still should have left the robber alone—until and unless he perceived his life was in immediate danger. Or, if we’re doing the Boy Scout thing, the life of an innocent person was in immediate danger.

I’m not saying the tellers weren’t about to get blown away. A loaded gun pointed at another person is a lethal threat. And the fact that the bad guy shot Cook twice pretty much proves the point that Cook was right about the bad guy’s willingness to shoot an innocent person.

Nor would a gun heavy Cook have been legally constrained; shooting an armed bank robber in Texas is more a matter of paperwork hassle than a legal challenge. Still . . . who the hell wants to get shot, even once?

Cook claimed “his instincts took over.” If you, the concealed carry guy or gal, have instincts like that I suggest you find a way to practice stifling them. Do NOT draw attention to yourself unless you have a plan to deal with the worst case scenario. Do NOT attack unless you have a good chance of winning, or no other option.

Don’t get me wrong. Instincts are highly evolved subconscious stimulus – response patterns; they exist to save your life. Many a life has been saved by an instinctive block or punch or DGU. But it’s better if you can control your instincts than not.

Throwing a small basket of lollipops at a bank robber, for example, is a good instinct gone bad. It may have worked, but the odds were low. If you’re operating entirely on instincts you can’t make that kind of calculation. You’re surrendering yourself to luck.

Some people are genetically predisposed to be “cool under pressure.” No matter how much excrement is hitting the rotating air circulation device, they’ll keep their wits about them and think before they act. And after. There’s only one way to learn to control your instincts: training. Operation familiarity training (a.k.a., force-on-force) is ideal. Short of that, shoot under stress.

Find a range where you can get creative—in a safe kinda way—with your self-defense training (prep the RSO). Have someone scream at you while you’re shooting. Do physical exercise (push ups) and then get up and shoot. A certain gun guy I know throws spent casings in front of the shooter as a visual distraction. And make sure you have to select a target AND do shoot no-shoot drills.

The rabbi has a good one. When he’s convinced that a shooter is safe enough in a safe environment, he grabs their belt from behind and pulls and pushes their body as they try to fire. Anything along those lines that increases stress—physical, mental or emotional—is good thing. [Note: stress-inducing Airsoft and blue gun training can increase safety and overcome range limitations.]

At the end of the proverbial day, anyone with a concealed carry weapon should avoid negotiating with bank robbers, home invaders, terrorists and their ilk (unless it’s a ruse). And they should think before they act, as much as possible. But know this: thinking before acting  is a lot more possible than you think.

comments

  1. avatar Coyote Gray says:

    Hate to hear about innocent people getting shot by bad guys. That said, this sounds like this could be one of those Budwieser commercials:.

    Two EMT’s are patching Cooks wounds, when one offers him a Bud.

    Cook: “Naw…I’ll just stick to my no-name Beer”.

    EMT’S: “Thats the THIRD unmanly thing you’ve done today”

    Cook: “Third? What were the first two?”

    Flashback of unmanly act #1: Grainy bank security footage of Cook walking in to a bank carrying a fruity lap dog

    Flashback of unmanlty act #2: Grainy bank security footage of Cook feebily throwing lollipops at robber as the thug exited the facility…lap dog cowering and throwing up behind him.

    Cook relents, and accepts the Bud, and then begins to scream in a high pitched squeal as the EMT’s come at him with an IV pick.

    All “manly” people are brave. Not all brave acts are “manly”.

    1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

      I think it is a Miller Lite commercial

      1. avatar Coyote Gray says:

        Confirmed! Just checked Youtube. Miller Lite it was. Must not be too memorable if it required verification…

    2. avatar Anthony Meruelo says:

      FUND IT!

    3. avatar JustSomeGuy says:

      Hey, I get the joke. I even chuckled. But questioning the manliness of a guy who stepped in front of a loaded gun to protect the innocent…seems a little misplaced, as far as criticisms go. Was throwing lollipops (really? Lollipops??) at the robber both silly and profoundly stupid? Absolutely. Was following the guy who just shot you out the door a moment of supreme brain fail? Without doubt. But…I think he filled his man card to overflowing with the first action. So maybe a few more unmanly moments before we rush to revoke?

      JSG

      1. avatar Coyote Gray says:

        No…I concur with your sentiment.Hence my final statement.

        All “manly” people are brave. Not all brave acts are “manly”.

        Sorta like the guy who over comes his fears of roller coasters by getting on the most insane coaster at Six Flags. And then squeals like a little girl the whole time. Brave yes…manly…no

        1. avatar JustSomeGuy says:

          Conceded.

  2. avatar JSIII says:

    LOL WTF! maybe he should have thrown the dog at the bank robber..

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      The cops would have nailed him for animal cruelty—even in Texas.

  3. avatar Blake says:

    My ex brother in law works as a bank guard.

    One of his best stories was the time he noticed a guy acting a little odd while in line to see the teller. My ex BIL quietly got in line behind the guy and followed him up to the teller window. The nervous guy handed the teller a slip of paper. The teller looked at the paper and said “No.” The guy replied “but I’ve got a gun!!” To which the teller replied: “Yeah, but so does he.” The would be bank robber turns around and is staring into the chest of my 6’5″ ex BIL. The would be robber ran out of the bank.

    NO, the ex BIL didn’t chase the would be robber. Didn’t see the point and it’s hard to run when you’re laughing so hard.

  4. avatar Tio Volatito says:

    Mr. Cook is very lucky he didn’t die. The robber was likely under as much stress as anyone, and he managed hits on the thigh and stomach at near point-blank range. If he had done double-taps or leaned this way or that, the shots could have been lethal. It turns out the robber was more than willing to kill someone, and it was only luck that he didn’t. This is a perfect case of disparity of force gone bad. Gun vs no-gun? Gun almost always wins. Mr. Cook might be brave, but he’s not smart.

    The antis are talking about the ultimate fighting martial arts guy in Chicago who pummeled an armed robber. The take-away? You don’t need to use lethal force to protect yourself against someone with a gun. Non-lethal means are better. Riiiiight… play that Chicago scenario out a few times, and the martial arts guy winds up dead.

    1. avatar matt says:

      To play devils advocate, I think it is hard to say “the robber was more than willing to kill someone”. If he was willing to kill someone Mr Cook would be dead, or at least have more than 1 round in the gut. The robber was simply attempting to incapacitate Mr Cook.

      1. avatar Tio Volatito says:

        Interesting take, but I’d guess many prosecutors would try an attempted murder charge on any CHL who shot someone in the arm or leg just to incapacitate, or fired a “warning shot”. Lethal force against lollipops. You point a gun — particularly a center fire caliber like a .40 — at someone and pull the trigger, you know you could kill that person. I don’t give the robber that much credit for his marksmanship. Look at a lot of police shootings. The bullets hit all over the place, even at close range and presumably aiming for center mass.

      2. avatar GS650G says:

        When he shoved the gun in the teller’s face, would a shot at that point merely incapacitated her?

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    When confronted by an armed robber with evil intentions, my instincts would also be to hurt a lollipop at him. However, under Massachusetts law, lollipops are illegal since they cause diabetes and unfairly burden the Kommonwealth’s Health Care Kollective.

    1. avatar Cameron says:

      That, and Marsha discourages self-help.

  6. avatar mpresley says:

    “He come up to the teller and he pointed a gun right at that girl’s face. I saw that and thought this is not good,”

    I’m guessing the teller is behind safety plastic? If the bank doesn’t care to hire armed guards then why should I be their security? Unless the bad guy is shooting people I’m laying low.

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