What if you were the subject of this walk/drive-by shooting [starts at 1:20]? It’s hardly likely. I can’t find any details on the incident save chicagotribune.com‘s recap of what we see, but I think their title of the YouTube video makes it safe to assume we’re looking at a criminal-on-criminal beef. Even so, the incident highlights the simple fact that violent events happen very quickly. Which underscores the importance of what anti-gunners call “paranoia” and what gun gurus call situational awareness. Here’s the thing . . .
When you’re walking down a quiet suburban street you don’t expect to be the victim of a violent assault. When you see something out-of-place happening, the natural tendency is to disbelieve your own eyes. It takes a lot of evidence to shake you out of your complacency and convince you that something bad is going down. And even if and when you accept the reality of a developing dangerous situation, you’re behind the curve. Action beats reaction.
As I’ve said before, moving is your first best reaction to life-threatening danger. But you have to know to move. To do that, you have to be prepared to move. And you can’t be prepared to move if you’re going through your life assuming that everything is – and will continue to be – A-OK. I’m not saying it isn’t and it won’t be. I’m saying you need to have a part of your mind that’s thought about what you’d do if things go south.
For example, I’m writing post this in my garage. The door’s open, the birds are singing. The tornado threat’s gone and the air is as clear as a bell. I’m nursing a fresh cup of coffee. An Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva’s smoldering in the ash tray. Life is good. Should a stranger walk into this space, I know to get up and move towards the front of my car. Or withdraw into the house. Or run like hell into my backyard. Should the threat become unavoidable, I have a gun on my hip. I will move then draw.
I don’t expect this to happen. I don’t want it to happen. But if it does, I have options. And now that I have them, I can get on with the business of writing this post. That’s the same process I use when I’m out and about. I survey my surroundings, think about what I’d do if a threat arises (focusing on the location of available cover and/or concealment), then continue with my life.
Does that make me paranoid? If so, so be it. I don’t want to be caught flat-footed in a potentially deadly scenario; remembering that”highly unlikely” doesn’t mean “impossible.” Besides, if you’re carrying or have access to a gun, you’ve already accepted the possibility that you might have to use it. Why not be mentally prepared? Again, threat => move. But before that dreadful moment arrives – and you and I both hope it never does – briefly consider your self-defense options. That kind of quick and painless “paranoia” might someday save your life. [h/t DC Studios]