Self Defense 101
Today, my son texted me and asked me how much it cost to get a Handgun Carry Permit. I gave him the ball park figures for the class and the application. He thanked me and told me that his roommate had been robbed at gunpoint the night before.,
Yeah, I called him immediately.
My son lives in an apartment in the Old City close to the railroad tracks. He described what happened. Apparently, his roommate was coming home from work at around 12:30 AM and when he parked his car, he noticed a couple of black men hanging out in front of the little coffee shop across the street. When he got out of his car and headed towards the entry to the apartment building, they left crossed the street towards him. He assumed they were just going to bum some change and turned to open the entry door. As he turned his back to them, they drew guns, and demanded all of his money.
He gave them everything, all $8.00 of it, and they ran off.
So now my son is thinking about getting a gun.
"Well, first things first," I said, "What would you have done in that situation?"
"I don't know," he said.
"Then you don't need a gun. What would have happened if your roommate had a gun at the time?"
"It probably would have been stolen too."
"Exactly right," I said, "Carrying a gun won't do you any good if you don't pay attention. The first thing you have to do is realize you live in a bad neighborhood."
"No I don't," he answered. "It's the Old City. It's well lit and..."
"Your roommate was robbed at gunpoint at your front door. You live in a bad neighborhood."
"It's not that bad! There are lots of people who live down here and..."
"One more time. You live next to the railroad tracks. Have you ever heard of anything good happening by the railroad tracks?"
"Stop. Listen. Your roommate was robbed by two men with guns right at your front door, on a well lit street, and they got away clean. You live in a bad neighborhood."
"Ok, you might be right."
"Good. The first step in self defense is being aware of your surroundings. Now that you understand that you live in a bad neighborhood, you have your eyes open and you can defend yourself. Now then, your roommate saw the two guys before he got out of his car, right?"
"Ok, the store has been closed for hours; it's late at night, and downtown is deserted. Are those two guys there for a good reason or a bad one?"
"Alright, so what are you going to do about it?"
"Call the police."
"When they start coming at me."
"Remember the official police motto: When seconds count, we'll be there in a few minutes. Try again."
"Ummm...sit in my car and call 911?"
"What if they come after you while you are sitting in your car?"
"Oh. Ok, should I just keep driving and call 911?"
"Bingo. You're still mobile, and our two would be thieves learn very quickly that there are better corners to hang out on."
The point I was making with him was that self defense starts long before you get into a bad situation. You have to remain aware of your surroundings at all times, and plan to avoid trouble whenever possible. Your goal is to never have to use force to defend yourself. Only when that option is removed should you consider a forceful response.
Now this doesn't mean to live in fear, or go 18 blocks out of your way to avoid a confrontation. What it means is that the easiest way to win a fight is to avoid it entirely.
The thing that most anti gun folks don't understand is that those of us who chose to arm ourselves take that responsibility even more seriously than those who don't. We know that if we get into a confrontation, there's a good chance somebody will die. I have liberal friends and I'm guessing that most of them are thinking, "But not everyone who carries a gun thinks like that!"
They're right. Criminals certainly don't. But the vast majority of those who chose to apply for and get a carry permit do think that way. Every study ever done on crime and permit holders shows that those of us who chose to arm ourselves are more law abiding than even the police departments. But we still hear the same tired canards about vigilantism, and living in fear, and other disparaging remarks.
Locally, we have a County Commissioner, Greg Lambert, who has an HCP. The local liberals love to make fun of him, and one in particular is quite vocal about her belief that he is too unstable to be allowed to carry a gun. Of course, when I asked her to provide an example of Lambert using his gun in reckless or dangerous fashion, she couldn't name a single incident. On the other hand, Commissioner Lambert has been involved in two incidents where he could have acted recklessly or dangerously and he didn't.
In the first incident, Lambert, who owns a used car lot, was sitting in his office when a young thug tried to hold him up at gunpoint. Lambert, who happens to be a quick draw champion, drew down on the kid, but didn't shoot him. Think about that for a second. Lambert could have shot the kid dead and been justified as the kid was trying to rob him and had already pulled his gun. INstead, he outdrew the kid, talked him down, and held him until the police got there.
Hardly a reckless use of his gun.
In the second incident, Lambert was in a mall when a man shot another. He heard the shot and went toward the scene, but when he got there, he realized that the situation was not one where he could safely contribute, and he let mall security and the police take the shooter into custody.
I pointed out both of these incidents, and her response was typical. In essence, she said it didn't matter what he actually did; he was still unsafe.
You can show a liberal logic, but you can't make them think.
Anyway, I believe I got the point across to my son that carrying a gun is only one small part of self defense. The first piece is maintaining an awareness of your surroundings, and the people in them. The second is forethought. Have a plan. Know what you're going to do when things go south. The third piece is to have multiple layers of defense, but that's a post for another day.
Only a Liberal Could Say This with a Straight Face
Gunnies are the soggiest bedwetters on the planet... I have no problem with gun owners or permit holders. I do think the State of Tennessee should look into handing out free diapers with each carry permit.
Comments like this one help to explain why we are winning. I think rikki and this young lady should get together.
I'm sure they'd have a lot to talk about.
Who Says the Law Must Make Sense?
I can carry a gun to defend myself from an attacker because I went through the process of getting a license to do so. However, if I carry a stick so I can defend myself without killing my attacker, I can go to jail.
CODE: 39-17-1302 TITLE: PROHIBITED WEAPONS
a) A person commits an offense who intentionally or knowingly possesses,
manufactures, transports, repairs or sells:
(1) An explosive or an explosive weapon;
(2) A device principally designed, made or adapted for delivering or shooting an
(3) A machine gun;
(4) A short-barrel rifle or shotgun;
(5) A firearm silencer;
(6) Hoax device;
(7) A switchblade knife or knuckles; or
(8) Any other implement for infliction of serious bodily injury or death that has no
common lawful purpose.
So I can carry a tire iron, but if I carry a chunk of wood with a taped grip, I'm guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Unless it's a baseball bat or a golf club, in which case, I'm good.
I started researching this because I want to carry a serious, but non-lethal, weapon; one that I can use to defend myself without necessarily killing the bad guy. Just like dressing for cold weather, I think the layered approach to self defense works best. The old saying goes that when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail. Sometimes a screwdriver or a wrench works better. The problem is that Tennessee Law makes it very difficult to legally achieve that layered defense. If I carry a stick with the intent of defending myself, I can be in violation of the law.
Reading further, I did find the following:
TITLE: DEFENSES TO UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OR CARRYING OF A WEAPON
...(9) By any person possessing a club or baton who holds a certificate that the person
has had training in the use of a club or baton for self-defense that is valid and issued by a
certified person authorized to give training in the use of clubs or batons, and is not
prohibited from purchasing a firearm under any local, state or federal laws;
There are a couple of problems with this. First, I've only found one instructor that says he's certified by the State of Tennessee to teach baton classes and he's in Nashville. That's a problem I can deal with; as long as I have some way of verifying that his credentials are good and that Tennessee will accept his training, I don't mind driving to Nashville for a class. The real problem is that most of the law enforcement officers I've spoken to are completely unaware of this section of the law. One told me straight out that it didn't matter what certifications I had; if he caught me with a baton, he would arrest me for carrying an unlawful weapon.
Sure, I'd win the court case, but after significant expense. Even worse, you can bet that my record would be flagged and the next time I tried to renew my HCP, I'd have all kinds of fun.
The way the law is written, my best legal option is to carry no other weapon but my gun, and that's just ridiculous.
Stupidity On Parade in Nashville
Yet somehow, business as usual went on. Bars operated, people drank alcohol, and had a good time. BUt now that Tennessee has passed a law allowing non criminals to carry a gun into a bar, ie HCP holders, bar owners are afraid all hell will break loose. According to an article in The Tennessean, one bar plans on using hand held metal detectors to make sure that none of us dangerous HCP holders bring a gun into their bar.
At Tootsie's, owner Steve Smith plans to go a step further. He started looking Monday for two metal-detecting wands that the honky-tonk's security staff can wield at the two entrances. Smith said the devices, which he expects to set him back at least $2,000, should be in place by the weekend.
Oddly, they weren't as concerned with the criminals who were carrying into their bar for the last 20 years. At least, not enough to spend money on metal detectors.
I support the restaurant owners who post the required signage to keep law abiding citizens from carrying a gun within their establishment. It's their place of business and they can run it as they see fit. That's how this country works. If they chose to take on the liability of maintaining security for their business and their patrons, more power to them. However, since I doubt that they will take on the expensive proposition of providing actual security for those patrons, I will not be eating at any of those establishments.
An Interesting Thought
Conservatives want open gun laws, but very restrictive voting laws.
Why not meet in the middle and require the same criteria for both?