A resident in North Carolina successfully used a handgun to defend his home against two intruders. One of the intruders was found in a vehicle with life threatening injuries: the other fled on foot and was captured. The reporter at WCNC comes to the exactly opposite conclusion of what most people would, and felt compelled to give the following advice. . . .

Police say the answer is clear — you should never fight back. Their biggest piece of advice — DO NOT RESIST!

Here are other ways to protect yourself:

— Try to stay calm: Don’t make any sudden movements to upset the robber.

— Tell the robber about anything that might surprise him for example, someone is on their way home.

— If you have to move or reach, tell the robber what you’re doing.

— And of course, try to get a good look at the robber so you can describe them later.

The reporter would have us believe that robbers never want to rape anyone, beat anyone, or kill anyone. I expect reporters to be exposed to reasonably frequent reports of assaults, rapes, and murders. To give such advice, a reporter must believe that those people only were hurt… because they resisted!

From acclaimed criminologist Gary Kleck, using the National Crime Victimization Surveys, you can see that this advice is incorrect.  From pulpless.com:

Based on nationally representative samples of crime incidents reported in the National Crime Victimization Surveys, victims who use guns for self-protection were less likely to be injured or to lose property than otherwise similar victims who used other forms of self-protection or who did not resist at all. For example, among robbery victims who used guns, only 17% were injured and only 31% lost property, compared to 25% inury rates and 88% property loss rates among victims who did not resist at all, and 33% injury rates and 65% property loss rates among all robbery victims.

Kleck goes on to explain why some police do not advise people to resist crimes. He writes that some officers may be politically motivated to push gun control; others, because they see a disproportionate number of victims. Successful resistance of robberies is under-reported, compared to completed crimes, by a 3 to 1 margin.

Not all law officers agree with the reporter’s opinion. Many give exactly the opposite advice. Sheriff David Clarke took out public service announcements to advise people to resist. From npr.org:

With officers laid off and furloughed, Clarke says, calling 911 and waiting for police is no longer your best bet. “You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you could fight back. But are you prepared?” he asks. “Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family.”

Here is the table from Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, the seminal work by Gary Kleck:

As a firearms and concealed carry instructor, I will not make a blanket recommendation that victims “always” resist, or “always” be ready to “give them what they want.” Life is much too complex and nuanced for such overarching pronouncements. Every situation is different, and may call for different responses. Individual cost and benefit ratios need to be constantly evaluated.

That said, there are psychological, emotional and financial benefits to resisting and not being a victim, even at the cost of injury. Feelings of powerlessness, impotence, self-doubt and rage can linger long after any physical scars have faded.

Missing from the analysis above, is the cost and benefit to the rest of society. When criminals are “given what they want,” they are taught an important lesson: crime pays, and violating others rights is a rewarding activity.  This leads to more crime.   People respond to incentives.

When crime is resisted, criminals learn that crime is a dangerous activity. They eventually learn to avoid it. Most criminals give up their criminal activities as they age. If a criminal is captured, wounded, or killed, during a crime, the potential number of future crimes is lowered.

This is not a difficult concept to master. Two hundred years ago, Thomas Jefferson quoted Cesare Beccaria’s Essay on Crimes and Punishment.  Here is the English translation:

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.”

Gary Kleck’s statistical analysis reinforces what people have known for all of mankind’s existence.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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58 Responses to Guns for Beginners: Don’t Be A Victim!

  1. Do not resist. Give a robber what he wants. You might get hurt. There is nothing worth fighting for that could risk injury or death. Better red than dead. Better that you drop your pants, bend over and grab your ankles than to chance getting hurt or killed.

    Sigh. Yep. The creed of slaves.

    • I like how one can replace “robber” with “cop” and all the gung-ho 2A individualists suddenly start mewing about “good guys”. 🙂

      • When cops start shooting people for exercising their constitutional rights, then those cops deserve to be shot back at.

        Till then, I believe a higher percentage of whiny aholes like you deserve it more than most LEOs.

        • So when cops assault people for videotaping them in public (1st amendment), or steal peoples’ property via “civil forfeiture” (4th amendment), or accost and threaten open carriers (2nd amendment), are you OK with shooting them?

  2. Criminals might not be the sharpest tools in the school, but most are smart enough to figure out that leaving witnesses that can identify you might have detrimental impacts on their freedom in the near future. This is doubly true for any criminals that live in “three strikes” states and have already racked up two strikes, or for career criminals looking at doing significant time for their crimes. The best defense is a good offense; home carry, and sling lead when they break in. Most criminals are cowards and run at the first sign of armed defense. For those that dont invest in good locks, a loud dog/alarm, and training with your guns.

    • That’s why I was confused by “try to get a good look at the robber so you can describe them later.”

      I would think that the line of advice presented would end with “cover your eyes and sing la-la-la so the robbers hopefully won’t think you can ID them. Then pee yourself for good measure.”

    • Yes; isn’t it VERY interesting that what that reporter wrote reads almost word-for-word what we constantly hear about interacting with cops?

      And, I’ve got to say…it is very unlikely that I will warn an effing robber that something is about to surprise him. ANYTHING that can get inside his OODA loop is an advantage to me, no matter how I choose to exploit it (or not).

      Geez; where do such people come from? I agree with Dean’s assessment that blanket statements are not helpful, but the level of compliance this reporter calls for it not really human.

      • @JR
        “it is very unlikely that I will warn an effing robber that something is about to surprise him”

        No offense, but it should be that you will NEVER warn an effing piece of evil scum that something is about to surprise them, because that is what a muzzle flash is for.

        An armed citizen is not a cop in the eyes of the law, and there is no tactical advantage trying to act like one by placing a thug under citizens arrest. A statist prosecutor could use not firing as evidence against drawing your firearm, and don’t forget the new law of mob justice will call you a vigilante no matter the truth.

        Citizens/subjects can only draw their weapon if there is an immediate threat to them or others, and that is if that individual doesn’t have to first try running away from evil. That is if their state privilege to not be a victim requires to flee.

        The decision to use the firearm against an evil man intent on harm should have been made before walking into the gun store. Hesitation and unfamiliarity with the weapon is mostly what gets good people killed. In the other cases the victims had a slim chance, because the attacker was a ruthless predator confronting its prey, after the stalk. Remember, armed citizens are not the only ones using the OODA loop.

  3. Perhaps the good reporter should practice what he is preaching… drop a couple of carloads of thugs of at his house about midnight on a quiet evening? On second thought I’d never be able to get the “thug” stench outta the car. Having had to inspect the county lock up for compliance as part of a grand jury duty stint, I will never forget the smell!

    • If I could get a car full of thugs (make it a 9 seat SUV) the last thing I’d do would be drop them off. No, not even at a police station, because then you’d be a vigilante, an anarchist, and various other things people say about Spiderman.

  4. A reporter with no gun experience giving advice.
    About as qualified as a celebrity.
    I accept advice ONLY from those who can demonstrate that they actually KNOW what they are talking about.

    • I know what I am talking about. I am a retired cop, a police firearms instructor, a concealed carry instructor and an NRA pistol instructor.

      Here’s my advice, meet force or threat of force with an overwhelming return of force. Consider every threat as real and imminent and react accordingly.

      • That’s funny because threat of violence is literally the cornerstone of all police authority.

  5. The reporter from the WCNC needs to get outside and experience life. If someone is so insane or evil (or both) that they would break into your house, armed, why the world would you trust them to not shoot you? If they’ve already crossed that line, why would they turn back?

    • If you have no way (and mindset) of defending yourself you’ll make up all sorts of good-sounding advice to justify your own position.

      • I think you have hit on a strong motivation of disarmists. They do not want to take the trouble, time, and effort to learn to defend themselves. At the same time they do not want to think or feel less of themselves.

        Their “solution” is to demand that no one defend themselves, and to preach the superiority of that position.

  6. If the reporter didn’t just make that up, and the local police were paid tax dollars to say what I read above, those folks need to start paying different police officers, or at least the department needs a new media spokesperson.

  7. Everyone should read Kleck’s book, “Armed”. Its a tour de force of research and analysis of the existing literature on gun use. He’s a liberal, John Lott is a conservative, and they both agree–more guns, less crime.

  8. The reporter was giving the CMPD’s “official advice”. Reading the comments section at the TV station’s website leads me to think that no one will be heeding their “advice”.

  9. The reporter at WCNC needs to read about the Petit family in Connecticut and then get back to us about the “wisdom” of complying with home invaders.

  10. Somebody is a complete whack job there, whether it’s the reporter or the police. “The answer is CLEAR”?? “NEVER resist”??? Not even the sappiest police spox makes black-and-white, no room for variance statements like that. I generally try to be reasonable about things, but I just concluded that the reporter is a total panty-wetting gun-o-phobe.

  11. So this panzy pacifist would throw himself at the mercy of evil men in hopes that his kind or tactful words might dissuade them from their evil ways and hopefully spare his life and the lives of his loved ones. What a naive fool. Evil suffers no fools and grants no mercy for naivety. And only fools learn this lesson at the price of their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Good luck with your fantasy world, Mr Reporter. I choose reality.

  12. I remember during the 70s,80s, and 90s the government telling us that if your plane is hijacked to no resist. Now? God (or Allah – whatever the case may be) help those that hijack. It’s the passengers that put a hurting on the hijackers.

  13. But wait, Mike the Gun Guy Weener said “the data doesnt prove that…”
    Or maybe it was Shannon from Moms Demanding An Illegal Action.

  14. I note the first link to the article doesnt have a byline- its just WCNC…
    So you cant really tell WHO wrote it- it just looks like someone phoned it in, almost like a cut and paste job from the two sentences above the bold “here are other ways to resist”

    “After this incident CMPD offered advice to the community if someone ever does run encounter a intruder in their home. Police say the answer is clear — you should never fight back. Their biggest piece of advice — DO NOT RESIST!”

    Makes you wonder who is in charge of CMPD and what the heck they are smoking…

    Maybe its that new Chief, and new way of doing business, putting the numbers in “context”…
    http://www.wcnc.com/story/news/crime/2015/08/14/crime-rate-up-in-charlotte/31735499/

  15. Guessing who ever scribed this work of genius is from the same crowd that would suggest we should unilaterally disarm ourselves and dispose of all of our nuclear weapons in hopes that the other side(s) decide never to attack us out of the goodness of their hearts. Brilliant.

  16. DW, I’ve taken to conclude from other opinions you have posted that you are a stickler for details (e.g. your copyright/share policy). So am I. I respectfully suggest, if you are going to use quotations, and particularly if you are going to include a link to the original source material, then the quote ought to be accurate. I don’t take issue with your paraphrase, but a quotation it is not.

  17. I find it hard to believe that a cop in NC said that but…most top cops in NC these days came from stink holes like NYC, Chicago and Baltimore so there you go.

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