Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


Self Defense 101

I am not a self defense expert, nor do I intend to play one on the internet. However, there are certain simple principles that I'[ve come to realize aren't as commonly known as I would have thought. And since the subject just came up in a very close way, now is as good a time as any.

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?"

"No, but..."

"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?"

"Probably bad."

"Alright, so what are you going to do about it?"

"Call the police."

"Ok, when?"

"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.
Posted by Rich
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Great post~!

Two books on situational awareness I recommend:

Defensive Living, Ed Lovette


The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker.

Then if you decide you want to carry a gun, two must-reads are:

The Snubby Revolver, Ed Lovette

Bullseyes Don't Shoot Back, Col. Rex Applegate
Posted by Ed Harris  on  09/02  at  02:52 PM

Software, not hardware. The operative word in "gunfight" is not "gun" it's "fight." The best fight is the one you don't have to fight.
Posted by Lewis  on  09/02  at  09:43 PM

"You can show a liberal logic, but you can't make them think." I'm going to have to steal that Quote.
Posted by Joat  on  09/02  at  10:53 PM

"You can show a liberal logic, but you can't make them think."

That's a good one, Rich. Do you generalize much?
Posted by mikeb302000  on  09/03  at  01:05 AM


That is rich coming from you and your over-generalizations about gun owners.

How exactly did you derive your "10%" again?
Posted by Bob S.  on  09/03  at  05:32 AM

<blockquote>That's a good one, Rich. Do you generalize much? </blockquote>

So speaketh the man who would deprive all Americans of their rights to self-defense based on fabricated and fallacious "statistics" he made up himself. The irony amuses me, but the hypocrisy does not surprise me at all.

Good to hear that your son is ok, Rich, and that you were able to clarify what the first steps for self defense are... Is he still going to procure his permit, or is that something you all are going to work on later down the line?
Posted by Linoge  on  09/03  at  05:35 AM

Rich - new to your blog. Love what I see and I'll be back.

Question - Old City, Philly?
Posted by Brian  on  09/03  at  07:08 AM

Great post Rich - I got here via Uncle->Tbolt and will be back for more common sense.
Posted by Another Gun Guy Brian  on  09/03  at  09:14 AM

Brian, my Old City is Old City in Knoxville TN.

MikeB, just like any rational person, when I'm dealing with a group, I will use that group's defining characteristics to do so. Generalization allows us to process a large amount of data and react appropriately and in a timely manner. Weak minded people abhor this idea, even as they indulge in it themselves.

The key is that the generalizations must be reviewed, and amended or completely discarded, when dealing with the individuals comprising the group.

More to the point, you should have noted that the comment was made in reference to a specific liberal as a response to her complete dismissal of all facts in order to cling to her prejudice, a practice I've seen used by many liberals on the losing side of a rational argument.
Posted by Rich  on  09/03  at  09:19 PM

Rich, At the risk of being one of the "Weak minded people," I would suggest that your justification of the use of generalizations was nothing more than a wordy rationalization. You wrote, "You can show a liberal logic, but you can't make them think."

On both sides of the Liberal / Conservative divide you've got those who just parrot what the leaders say, whether it's talk radio or MSNBC. The rest of us, on both sides, do a good bit of thinking about these things.
Posted by mikeb302000  on  09/04  at  01:51 AM

Once again, the comment came after a specific example of a liberal refusing to acknowledge the facts. This type of response is very common, nearly universal, when a liberal is losing an argument.

Your point is also flawed in that while many people do accept information from a trusted authority without question, when they are confronted with undeniable facts to the contrary, they re-evaluate the trust they had in that authority figure and integrate the new facts into their way of thinking.

This is how we acquire knowledge. I have yet to meet a liberal who was willing to admit that they were wrong on the facts, and that few that did then went on to claim that the facts don't matter; it's the principle that counts.

I'll tell you what. Find me an example anywhere on the web of a liberal who, when confronted with facts contrary to their position, changed their position to incorporate the fact. For every one you find, I'll find ten who act as I have described, rejecting the facts in favor of liberal orthodoxy. I'll even give you the choice of subject, either gun control, or health care.
Posted by Richard Hailey  on  09/04  at  12:32 PM

Rich, Thanks for the challenge. I'll decline mainly because I don't have the time to do it, but also because finding such information would be difficult in any case.

Without spending any time on it at all, aren't there many examples of folks moving from one side of the liberal / conservative divide to the other? On guns, we always hear about how Prof. Kleck was a gun control supporter until he did the research. Our friend and frequent commenter Weer'd Beard says he was too.

On guns I've moved in the other direction, although I was never conservative, per se.

Anyway, I don't think you can generalize the way you keep doing. You stubbornly refuse to admit that silly quote you made about liberals was generalizing because a single particular person is what triggered it. I don't buy that. But then you go on to challenge me to find an example of a liberal who's changed, which is another way of generalizing, is it not?
Posted by mikeb302000  on  09/04  at  11:36 PM

Mike ... if there are many examples, then it shouldn't take much time or effort to find some examples, should it?

Rich knows of someone that changed from being mostly liberal, to being very conservative. In fact, he married her.

On guns ... I used to HATE them. I harbored a deep-seated and irrational fear of them. I refused to be around them, refused to touch them. I strongly felt that there was absolutely no reason for anyone to own a gun, outside of law enforcement or the military.

Why did I feel this way? Pure emotional reaction. When I was 16 years old, I was assaulted and threatened with a gun by a man trying to get me to go with him in his car. Largely because of this one incident, I decided that because of what this one man did with a gun that no one should have a gun.

Today, I have a handgun carry permit and I enjoy shooting guns at the range. I am shopping for a personal firearm to carry for self-defense purposes.

How did I make this journey? Simply put, I stopped thinking in emotional terms (fear, anger, retaliation) to thinking in logical terms.

There is not one single rational, logical, fact-based reason to deprive law-abiding citizens the right to own and carry firearms. Not one.

Those who try to oppose that statement are, by and large, liberal. There are some liberals who do agree with 2nd amendment rights, but they are in the minority. The basis for the opposition being not grounded in rational facts and logic, therefore must be grounded in emotion and irrational thinking.

Thus we come around to Rich's statement that has your drawers all in a twist - "You can show a liberal logic, but you can't make them think."

We have shown you the logic, but you refuse to let your brain process it. Thanks for proving the point.
Posted by LissaKay  on  09/05  at  10:14 PM

Your point is also flawed in that while many people do accept information from a trusted authority without question, when they are confronted with undeniable facts to the contrary, they re-evaluate the trust they had in that authority figure and integrate the new facts into their way of thinking.

This is how we acquire knowledge. I have yet to meet a <a href="">charm bracelets</a> liberal who was willing to admit that they were wrong on the facts, and that few that did then went on to claim that the facts don't matter; it's the principle that counts.
Posted by cuff links  on  12/03  at  12:03 AM

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