A SIG SAUER Academy instructor began my armed self-defense class by dividing bad guys into three groups: opportunists, professionals, and stalkers.
Opportunists are compelled by drug addiction and/or the possibility of an “easy score.” They don’t plan. They take advantage of a low-risk opportunity when they stumble upon one: an empty car idling by the curb, an unlocked front door or a single woman walking down a lonely street.
Professionals plan their attacks. They’re good at what they do, and why not? It’s not their first rodeo. And don’t confuse “professional” with “gentlemanly.” The pros are ready, willing and able to use violence to achieve their goal. They use the same tactics that armed self-defenders should adopt: speed, surprise and violence of action.
The worst of the bunch is, well, check this out [via mercurynews.com]:
According to the [Santa Clara County, CA] Sheriff’s Office, the encounter occurred sometime around 11 a.m. Friday when William Brady [not shown] walked up to the Los Altos Hills home and appeared to be armed with a handgun. A woman inside called 911 to report Brady’s appearance at the home — where she was staying with relatives — and said he had been stalking her.
She was still on the phone with emergency dispatchers when Brady reportedly forced his way inside the home and started shooting at the woman and at least two other residents, the Sheriff’s Office said. A male resident armed himself when Brady was approaching and fired back, hitting him several times and forcing Brady to flee.
Responding deputies, joined by a SWAT team and an armored vehicle borrowed from Sunnyvale police, approached the home and soon found a wounded Brady outside, and he was taken to the hospital, the Sheriff’s Office said. A handgun thought to belong to Brady was also recovered.
No one inside the residence was injured, and the man who shot Brady was not expected to be charged with any crime. A law-enforcement source told this newspaper that the shooting by the resident is being treated as a case of self-defense.
You may or may not be surprised to know that Mr. Brady was the subject of emergency protective restraining orders for both the subject of his attention and her relatives. At least one of the victim’s relatives knew enough to keep and bear a firearm for self-defense. But notice that he didn’t shoot first. If the stalker had been a better shot, or timed his attack better, he could have avoided or killed the defender and finished his murderous assault.
Whether it’s a former co-worker/employee/lover or just someone random who fixates on you, stalkers are your worst self-defense nightmare. They’re cunning, patient, methodical and highly motivated. They’re ready to sacrifice anything to achieve their delusional ends. You can’t reason with them. You can’t threaten them. They’re not scared of you, the police, or the courts.
So, what do you do if you’re facing a stalker? Assuming, that is, you have a heads-up before they strike.
By all means, file a restraining order. The paperwork increases the odds of a successful police intervention, which, admittedly, is probably low. More importantly, a restraining order establishes a legal framework for a future claim of armed self-defense. You’re the good guy trying to mind you own business. They’re the stalker that’s a danger to your safety. Says so right on that piece of paper. See the judge’s signature? Like that.
At the same time, plan for an attack.
Remember: it’s not random. It’s personal. They’re stalking you. Watching, waiting, planning. So think like they do. How, when and where would you attack you? As I’ve said before, transitions — when you’re entering or exiting a building or vehicle — are your most dangerous time.
Change your patterns. Keep your head on a swivel. Layer-up your security with an alarm, a dog, a safe room, etc. Home carry. Extend your safety concerns to family members and significant others. If you can, show them a picture of your stalker and tell them to call the police if he or she ever approaches.
It’s no wonder people upend their entire lives to avoid a stalker. Victims hide. They move. Some even change their name. Yes, but…the gentleman above followed his victim from Georgia. Disrupting your life to deal (or not) with a stalker is difficult, expensive, and traumatic. And there’s no guarantee it’ll work.
I reckon it’s better to tool-up, raise your situational awareness to its highest possible level, and stand your ground. Oh, and when I had a stalker in London, I hired a private detective to investigate her background. The info gathered eventually led to her deportation. Result? So far, so good . . .