If you face an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death, it doesn’t matter who your assailant is or why they’re after you. You are legally justified in using lethal force to stop the threat, regardless (check your state’s laws for the inevitable caveats). But if you know the three types of bad guys, you may be able to avoid shooting or, in one case, shoot sooner. Here they are . . .
1. The Opportunist
A criminal opportunist is someone who sees — or simply stumbles across — a chance to make some “easy money” and takes it. Like a bad guy who sees you walking down a street yakking on the cell, wearing some nice clothes, and he or she thinks, yeah, I’ll have me some of that.
Drug addicts desperate for a fix certainly fit in this category. So-called “petty criminals” too.
While opportunists aren’t planners, they will ambush to attack — why wouldn’t they? “‘Scuse me I’m lost.” Like that. Or they’ll simply hide behind something and surprise their victim. An opportunist’s attack’s highly likely to go down in a public or semi-public place (e.g. a parking garage or gas station).
The best way to deal with an opportunist: don’t give them the opportunity. Avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things (e.g., meeting that nice guy who sells you weed meeting in an unknown location). Maintain situational awareness (SA), especially getting in and out of your vehicle. LOOK like you’re aware (that Facebook post can wait).
Note: you can never assume that any attacker will be satisfied with your cash or valuables. An opportunist may be the least likely of our three criminal types to hurt, kill or rape you, but the potential is always there.
Carry a gun, and make sure you can get to it quickly and efficiently.
2. The Professional
What kind of criminals are in jail? Stupid ones. If you think all criminals will fold at the sight of your firearm, think again. Professionals are experienced and they’re good at what they do.
Professionals criminals calculate risk/reward the same way your banker does. They plan their attacks to reduce their risk and increase their reward. To that end, they know how to ensure compliance, often by hurting you: beating, stabbing or shooting. Which is also a good way for them to eliminate a witness.
A professional criminal might be a mugger. Or a rapist (note how many rapists are only caught after multiple attacks). Your average home invader is also a professional criminal, often working with a partner or partners. They may case a neighborhood and target your home.
Avoidance and situational awareness also help defend against a professional criminal. If you’re a better-than-average target — someone who carries cash, drives a Ferrari or works in a high value goods business — up your SA game. (Some might say attractive women are a particular target but I couldn’t possibly comment.)
You know all that operator operating operationally training? Close-quarters combat, seeking cover or concealment, having a knife for a back-up, etc.? It’ll come in very handy when facing a professional criminal. God forbid.
Make no mistake: if you engage a professional you’re in for a serious fight, possibly to the death. Odds are they’ve been in that situation before — and won.
3. The Psycho
I’m talking here about stalkers, terrorists, aggrieved employees, psychopaths and the like. These are by far the most dangerous threat to your existence.
Psychos aren’t motivated by traditional ideas of personal gain. They’re out to hurt or kill you. Period. It’s not about risk. It’s all about psychological reward.
In other words, they don’t care if you call the police or other people are nearby. They don’t care if you fight back. They may want you to fight back. And they’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish their mission, the realization of a deeply planned attack, come what may.
You may be “lucky” enough to get advance warning from a psycho; they like to mentally torture their victims. If you do, if you get a warning letter or phone call, your normal life is dead. Take action.
Contact the police immediately. Home carry. Change your locks and reinforce your doors. Practice a home defense plan. Use your alarm system. Keep your head on a swivel. Vary your routines.
Send your children or significant other to a distant relative. How about you leave town? Consider that option; you are in imminent danger.
The cops aren’t very good at stopping psychos, who are patient, cunning and determined. Consider hiring a private detective to go out and find the bad guy (I did for a stalker and it paid off.)
Not to be much of a Debbie Downer, but defending yourself from an attack from a psycho — especially if you don’t get a heads-up (e.g., a terrorist attack) — depends as much on luck as your ability to fight.
As always, the best personal defense weapon is a firearm. Know how to use it. And be ready to do so at a moment’s notice.
[NB: I’ve written on this subject before. I reckon it’s worth repeating. Keep calm and carry one. Or two.]