History teaches. During the Civil War, Generals Robert E. Lee and his able assistant, James Longstreet, were far more successful when fighting from a defensive position than when on offense. Athletic competitions will also lend credence to the axiom that a good defense will beat a good offense with amazing regularity. Let’s talk personal defense for a bit.
Indulge me while I remind you why this is important. America with 4% of the world’s population accounts for 40% of the civilian owned firearms in existence. We now own an estimated 350 million firearms, and recent sales have tilted in favor of handguns, which we now believe constitute over 40% of all firearms in civilian hands. Purses, pockets, backpacks and various holsters are placing handguns within easy reach of folks who find themselves in some form of an encounter with people who lack civility. How we respond is critically important, both for the belligerent and for you. Enough numbers.
Television, video games and our beloved cinematic aristocracy teach us that when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. How unfortunate. Verbal skill and the ability to remove yourself from the confrontation in the first place should be in the top of your tool box. For citizens, that means running away from the gunfire instead of toward it, the sworn duty of the police. When you have assumed a good defensive position and are cornered by someone hell bent on hurting you, out comes the hammer. Translation: When a crazed sociopath is in your front yard, waving a machete around and threatening you, leave your little Micro 9mm in it’s holster, go inside, call the police, and grab your shotgun or AR and wait until the bad guy leaves or the police arrive. When he starts kicking your door down, you will be far better equipped to deal with the problem than in a yard fight. It will also make far better reading on a police report.
Civilians should be concerned with protecting themselves and folks within a few feet of them. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but going on the offense is not in your best interests. This is a job best left to the professionals….when at all possible. You carry for those precious few times when a belligerent individual will not leave you alone, pulls his or her handgun or knife and threatens you, and you cannot get yourself and your companion to cover or away from the situation.
Okay folks, the long and short of it. Learn to shoot effectively, holster and un-holster your firearm, and maintain it. Avoid arguments with strangers, especially those that have not read this piece and may be carrying a “hammer” with no thought given to avoiding confrontations. I have taught retention techniques to hundreds of police officers in years past, and you must give thought to keeping your firearm out of an assailants hands. I DO NOT like open carry, for the aforementioned reasons. Open carry complicates the situation when you are scrambling from an active shooter situation to a position of cover. It creates unreasonable expectations from both the bad guy and those around you who now expect you to respond instead of seek cover. This is not a good situation to be in.
Embrace the concept that a “hammer” is the last resort to be employed when no other option exists. Always carry concealed. When you are cornered and have no other option, then the production of a firearm MAY resolve the problem, and if it does not, the flash and loud noise that follows likely will. We are not the police and our job is not to go after bad guys, rather to protect ourselves from imminent harm. Make them come to you.
The handgun is not a tool for idle threats. We use deadly force as a last resort and only when we are forced to. You are not much of a carpenter if your only tool is a hammer….
Have a great weekend.