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Kamakura Japanese restaurant (courtesy

“The robber entered the Kamakura restaurant [above] around 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, stepped to the cash register just inside the door, pulled what appeared to be a revolver from his waistband and demanded cash from the hostess,” reports. “‘He just stood there and started asking for money,’ said [ Chef Tetsuji] Miwa, who was only a few yards away from the 17-year-old hostess. ‘I saw her face. She was very scared . . .

“He said, ‘Give me your money. Open the drawer.’ ” Miwa said. “That’s when I instantly grabbed my sushi knife, walked up to him, wrapped my arm around his shoulder and asked him what he wanted. He saw the blade, got scared and started running.”

He and two other workers wrestled him to the ground, with the help of a stool that assistant manager Joe Pendzialek grabbed “and cracked him over the head with it,” he told the newspaper.

The suspect, 23-year-old Clayton Dial of Ogden, Il., was arrested and charged with attempted aggravated robbery, intimidation and aggravated battery.

Result. There’s a simple lesson for self-defense here: use what you’ve got. If you don’t have – or don’t have effective access to – your gun, use something else against your attacker. Get the perp’s muzzle off target by hitting/stabbing/blinding them with an “improvised weapon,” and you might inflict enough force to end the threat. Note: might.

The opposite is also true. If you’re holding a gun against a bad guy, you are in no way safe from an attack. While the amount of danger is distance dependent, a perp can cover an awful lot of ground before you can react (action beats reaction). There are two corollaries to this armed self-defense issue.

First, as you’re [probably] not a cop, you have no obligation to detain or apprehend a bad guy at gunpoint. You may choose to do so, but it might be wise not to. You have to balance the possibility of a return visit by the bad guy and/or harm to others against the possibility of losing your life, and the right-here, right-now potential threat to surrounding innocents. There’s no shame in telling a perp to piss-off.

Second, remember that guns are not death rays. You can shoot someone numerous times with a handgun – any handgun – without eliminating their ability to wound or kill you or others. The bad guy can find an improvised weapon just as easily as you can. Probably more easily; they’re bound to have more experience of close-quarters-combat than you. Again, moving out of range of any attack is a sensible strategy (e.g., into the next county). And always be prepared to re-engage.

In short, the old adage “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” is good advice. But don’t assume a gun beats a knife. That is all. [h/t VE]

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  1. If non-lethal objects keep the perp from shooting, keep throwing them: books, chairs, silverware, anything the bad guy has to duck. Better than sitting there and taking a bullet.

  2. “First, as you’re [probably] not a cop, you have no obligation to detain or apprehend a bad guy at gunpoint.”

    Must… resist… snarky… comment… that… would… twist… El Mac’s… panties….

  3. “Probably more easily; they’re bound to have more experience of close-quarters-combat than you. ”

    WTF makes you think so? They are most likely more experienced in assorted methods of consuming drugs, but why would anybody assume they have ANY experience in dealing with an armed opponent? If you can’t shoot him, and he does not have a gun, kick the doofus’ ass for him. Once in a lifetime you will be wrong, but Navy Seals rarely rob sushi restaurants.

    • Bad guys who are good at personal combat don’t need to break into houses; they tend to get their livelihood from bashing heads for people who will pay them to do it. Those who break into houses are the bad guys who can’t make it in a “professional” criminal capacity.

      At least that’s how I understand it from the few young guys I’ve tried to help get out of that scene.

      • Odd thing, waaaay back in my younger days it was supposedly the housebreakers who were at the top of the criminal pecking order. But that was when burglaries were get in, get money, and get out without being noticed operations, not half-baked break-ins or strongarm home invasions done by drug-addled goons.

        • My only insight on things ‘way back is from a former criminal, now an assistant D.A., who commented to me on a kid I was trying to help straighten himself out, “His trouble is he thinks he’s a bad-ass burglar, when he’s just a bad burglar”. He remember when burglary was a skill with a theme we now associate with back-country camping: leave no trace. Now we associate those skills with secret agents.

          There are still some like that. The cops here got a guy a year or more back who they knew was the burglar in a number of cases, but there was never any evidence — no prints, no damage, and he specialized in taking things that weren’t obvious and wouldn’t be missed for a while. They actually got him because his GF had moved in with him, and she was in possession of stolen goods, which, since the place was shared and he used some of those items, made him in possession of stolen goods. They still couldn’t get him on all the other stuff, even though they knew, and he knew they knew, and they knew he knew they knew, and it was almost a shared joke. There was gossip that he was offered a job as a detective in a nearby jurisdiction, once he’d done his time.

          Sitting here musing, I wonder if one difference might be that the skilled type is constantly aware of all the errors they could be making, while the brasher types now are totally sure they are so good they can’t be touched. And that thought leads me to hwy so many armed criminals just cave when someone stands up to them: they’re so cocky, so sure that they’re the untouchable, invincible bad guy from a grade-B movie, that when the victim doesn’t follow their script, they’re lost.

          And that has me looking around the room thinking something that could be a good question of the day here: what items within your normal reach at home could serve to fight back at an intruder, if for some reason your proper armament isn’t available or fails you?

    • I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take Navy SEAL. Your average person does not really know violence. They might think they do because they did Tae Kwon Do in college or took a 3 day tacticool course, but they’ve never been in a fight where someone wanted to literally rip their throats out. Normal people don’t get into situations like that, being normal and smart enough to avoid it- heck, most have never REALLY been clocked in the face. A few people do know interpersonal violence up-close, however. SEALs do, as do other members of the military who have seen the closest of combat. Certain sportsmen do. But more numerous are thugs and criminals who have grown up with it. They use violence like a nocturnal animal uses the dark.

      That doesn’t mean normal, average citizens should cower and wait to be preyed on, but it’s very unwise to underestimate someone.

      • It’s been around 50 years since I was in a fistfight, but I’m out of the equation anyway, I am always armed, and if someone takes a swing at me he better make it good.

    • He’s a funny guy, didn’t want to use his knife because he was afraid it might get damaged, so he laid it down early on in the fight. I did note how the waitress was so effusive in her praise for the cops, when it was her colleagues who did all the heavy lifting…

      • You think firearms aficionados go crazy about a nice gun you should see how chefs (sushi chefs included) revere their blades. It’s just short of a religion.

  4. If someone points a gun at you, whatever the situation, they probably intend you harm.
    At that point you should decide that they will remember where the scars came from no matter the outcome. Make the criminal remember you bite, kick, pour hot coffee on them but don’t let it be easy. If someone draws on you put everything you got into making them dead because that is what they intend for you.

  5. We can second guess it all we wish, but the bottom line is really who walked away alive from this. Luckily, everyone.

    A bush pilot once told me that any landing you can walk away from is a good one. Doesn’t mean you can’t learn to make better, smoother landings, but the key is to be able to walk away no matter how awful they are.

    And yes, any stool in a bar fight is smart thinking. Almost anything can be a tool… or a weapon. Some are better than others, but whatever is at hand might be the ONE you need at the moment. It’s good to give that some thought even if you carry a gun.

    • This was where I used to live, 130 miles south of Chicago (which is where I live now). It’s a quasi-rural farming community with a ginormous frickin’ university attached. Sans students, it’s about 100k population. Students add another 60k-ish seasonal population. Without the uni, it’d probably be about 10k pop, max.

      Very few people there have any first-hand familiarity with violent or gun crime.

  6. I used to eat at this restaurant every chance I got when I lived in Champaign.

    Good to see they still don’t take any crap from low-life bumpkins from the next town over.

  7. Like Clint Smith says re a fire extinguisher for defense; “spray them with the white stuff & hit them with the red can”.


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