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A great many gun owners suffer from what I call totemgunopia (totem + gun + myopia). OK, I just made that up. But I’ve met plenty of gun guys and gals who’ve come to believe that their gun is the centerpiece, the be-all, end-all of self-defense strategies. Setting aside the legal requirements needed to even display the possibility of lethal force, it’s an extremely dangerous mindset. Most violent confrontations are swift n’ nasty sneak attacks (why wouldn’t they be?). Acknowledging a threat, bringing your weapon to bear and using it effectively is a three-part process in a one-part world. Chances are you’ll need to counter an attack and gain space before your firearm becomes a factor. You need to think outside the holster. Like this guy . . .

“He showed me a gun. He said, ‘I’m not playing, give me everything,'” said [Maryland pizza] store owner Choudhry Younis.

He said he attacked Ensinger with a pizza spatula, hitting him several times until the gun fell, and chased him out the door. The surveillance video showed that Younis grabbed him and, with the help of an employee, wrestled him to the ground and held him until police arrived.

“I had a spatula and thought, ‘Let me do something.’ This was the second time in the past couple of weeks we’ve been robbed, so I just took my chances,” Younis said.

There’s your self-defense mantra [via]: let me do something. Something. Anything. Throw the money at the robber and run/attack. Hit him or her with whatever falls to hand. Although pizza dough is not ideal, a big ass professional pizza spatula (a.k.a. a “peel”) is, at least potentially, a plenty powerful weapon.

That said, if you have a child or other friendly nearby, you may need to comply (the subject of a separate post). But you can make that calculation more efficiently and effectively if you don’t fixate on your firearm as your only self-defense option. Truth be told, it shouldn’t even be your first.

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  1. You mistake the comments and attitudes of the armed carry populace as a end-all-be-all with firearms alone (myopia). You neglect to do even a modest level of research showing many schools teach knife fighting, improvised weapons, and hand-to-hand combat. You also ignore that most of us carry a pocket knife. Many carry a lead weight or other heavy object on our key chain. Some carry brass knuckles or load their hands with heavy rings. Others carry mace. You look at our avid and animated discussion and the upfront recommendation of "gun" as the end-all of the self defense arguement. On the contrary, its simply the easiest for everyone to master well enough dispite nearly any level of physical disability while remaining equally effective. The fact is that most of us consider the choice of firearms to be the same as the choice of 9 iron or baseball bat. These are but tools. We, with our minds focused and discipline and will, are the weapon of our defense… all the rest are tools to use.

  2. Second of all, your theorization of an act of self-defense is only one third-part right. You see, we teach and practice awareness of surroundings (ie, don't walk close to a blind corner, or down dark alleyways, or bad parts of town if possible) and avoidance (path and route planning to avoid possible danger and descalation to avoid making a situation worse). You paint us as all ready to take on the world and the truth is that most of us don't hold that attitude and the few who do, most of them are bluffing, swelling up to make themselves look bigger in the hopes of scaring away potential predators (many violent crimes are committed by people who know each other).

  3. Finally, the home is our castle and where states legally recognise this right, why would you grab an inferior weapon to defend your family? I used to work at a pizza shop and this situation is something I remained alert and concerned about. I would money the unfortunate individual in your story would have much rather had a gun than a spatula. Just because someone succeeds with an inferior weapon under some circumstances does not warrant throwing out the greater weight of some 2 million defensive uses of firearms each year. For those who are in a wheel chair or pregnant, how do you feel about telling them "Well, you don't need a handgun… you could use a spatula."

  4. The fact is your accusation of a gun being a totem is right, but for the wrong reasons. The gun supplanted the sword as the symbol of power over one's life and destiny centuries ago. It is a totem; it is the reminder of that liberty to sterr your own course without permission and of the awesome responsiblity the CITIZEN holds as sovereign of the nation. I've not met a person yet who held a gun for the first time in their lives at an age above 18 who didn't admit to feeling that power of mastery. The lifelong training discipline comes in remebering the terrible responsibility that comes with being your own master and that yielding to the symbol's power because its there is the same as the siren's song.

    A strawman argument with no real basis in any signifcant portion of the self-defense community.

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