“Risk,” Warren Buffet said, “comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” Applying that to armed self-defense does not mean you have to develop great marksmanship and gun handling skills. They’re useful and all, but they are not paramount. To “win” an armed encounter you have to know your goal. I know: survival. Sorry, that ain’t good enough. There are simply too many options in a self-defense situation to try and formulate a plan—or react instinctively—based on the general thought “I want to stay alive.” You have to break it down. There are three basic strategic goals. Choose one . . .
In the Florida school board shooting [above], security officer Mike Jones wasted precious minutes deciding how he was going to deal with the lethal threat facing his employers. He went and got a bigger gun, put on a vest, yada yada yada. When he finally acted, he did so from the back of the room, from behind a row of seats.
That, my friends, was a man who didn’t know what he was doing. If he had, he would have run up to Clay Duke and shot him where he stood. Speed, surprise, violence of action; the three attributes of a potentially successful attack on a threat.
Once you decide to attack, you enter attack mode. You may be able to create a plan. And then modify it, if necessary. You may not. But at least you’ll know what you’re trying to do, so that you can try and do it. Hesitation kills.
In a lot of self-defense situations, an armed civilian gets caught “on the hop.” The attacker has what’s called “the first mover advantage.” More technically, the good guy’s behind the perp’s OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act).
In short, you may be outgunned, out-manned, out-maneuvered and out-motivated. You may have children to protect (hint: move them away from you, the guy with the gun, the person who’s the bad guy’s natural target).
In that case, your best option may be to get to cover or concealment until the perp or perps leave or the cops arrive. Or until you think, screw it, this isn’t working, here’s my chance, and attack.
Covering fire? What the hell is that? An idea that’s best left on the military battlefield. If you need to shoot, you need to attack. Again, you can switch from defense to offense (and back), but you don’t want to get stuck somewhere in the middle. As Lyndon Johnson said, a bad decision is better than no decision.
If you’re thinking Big D, at least you’ll be looking for cover or concealment. In this scenario, I reckon not one member of the school board thought of jumping under the desk until the shooting began. I guess they thought they were going to talk their way out of trouble.
It’s best to think of defense as a prelude to . . .
Wonderful escape! Glorious escape! As our very own Ralph reminded me the other day, “a gun gives me a chance to get the hell out of a situation I don’t want to be in.” Don’t get so focused on fighting the bad guys that you miss an opportunity to run the f away. You know; if you can.
You’re not a cop. You don’t have to “resolve” a potentially deadly situation. All you have to do is survive. And your best chances of doing so comes from eliminating the risk of not knowing what you’re doing. Make you choice, make your move, take your chances. Wash, rinse, repeat. That’s about as good as it gets.