Thanksgiving is in a few days, folks. As if you didn’t know. And the day after, the dreaded (or perhaps welcomed, depending on your POV) holiday shopping blitz officially begins.
The holiday season presents a particular challenge in terms of self-defense. It’s common for home and car robberies and assaults to go up by a good margin at this time of year. The reasons for this are likely varied, but from a common sense perspective, no doubt some of them include:
- Around stores and shopping malls, people are purchasing high-dollar goods in higher quantities than any other time of year.
- People are more distracted by crowds, long lines, and their shopping lists, and are less situationally aware.
- When coming out of malls and stores, people not infrequently have multiple bags and/or big boxes in their arms, rendering them unable to easily grab a weapon or fight someone off.
- Having to park far from stores and malls due to crowds can mean having to park in less well-lit or secure areas.
- Crowded parking lots give more cover to lurkers waiting for shoppers headed for their cars.
- People are frequently out of town for family visits, leaving their homes more vulnerable.
- People are more likely to be carrying larger sums of cash or multiple credit cards on their person than usual.
Just to name a few.
Now, I don’t know how others were trained, but I was taught from the beginning that a firearm was for one thing and one thing only: to defend life. Not to defend property.
I remember well how this lesson was delivered after an incident in which I went outside to confront a man trying to steal a lawnmower from the house I live in. I was armed, but I never drew my gun. He ran off, and I was proud of myself.
As it happened, I had a training session two days later, and when I told my teacher that I had done this, instead of being proud of me, he chewed me out for a good half hour.
He said, “I’m teaching you to defend one thing, and that’s your life. You are NOT to use a gun to defend property, EVER. Property can be replaced. Your life can’t. I need you to promise me you will never do such a thing again if I am going to continue teaching you, because that is not what this is about.”
Those words made an impact; I remember them like they were said yesterday. That same week, a Williamson County deputy was killed in his back yard by two thieves in the process of stealing tools from a shed. He went out to investigate, duty pistol in hand, and that was the end of that.
I often think about what my former teacher said that day, especially during the holidays when obviously so many of us are turning our hard-earned, carefully-saved money into gifts. I’m curious to hear how TTAG readers protect themselves during the holidays, and also your thoughts on the defense of life vs. defense of property question.