Predator Nor Prey, by Mark Spungin
John Lott's "More
Guns, Less Crime"
I Am NOT A Victim
By Susan Callaway, Editor
June 11, 2012
Why do I need to defend myself?
This question is asked often as I talk to people who see me carrying a gun. After much thought, it seemed good to expand on and share my answers.
The most important answer is that I own my life and am personally responsible for it, and therefore I am responsible for my own safety. I might hire an armed guard, of course, but I would remain responsible for myself. I'm also responsible for anyone in my household who cannot exercise that for themselves; children and fragile elderly, for example.
Do I have any obligation to contribute to the safety of my neighborhood and community? I think I do. I would call for help if I saw a house burning, or help to rescue a child or animal that was in danger. So I see no reason not to extend my awareness and preparations for my own safety to those who might be near me out in the community.
We read about home invasions, robberies, carjackings, rapes and murders all the time. Did any of those criminals make an appointment with the victim or give some "fair warning" of their intentions?
Of course, not. What a silly idea.
So then, each and every victim was surprised, unprepared for the attack? Not all of them. We read many accounts (though not enough of them make it to the media circus) of people who fight off their attackers, often with deadly force. And, amazingly, many of them are successful in eliminating both the threat and the criminal. Even more amazing, and very difficult to document or prove, is the well known fact that the mere presence of an armed individual - especially one who carries openly (as police do) - actually deters criminals all the time. Even during a documented attack, the need to actually fire the gun in self defense is quite rare. Criminals, it seems, would far rather not attack those who are armed and demonstrate the ability to resist.
Sadly, just as often we read about those who were overcome by the criminals, usually because they had no realistic way to defend themselves to start with, or were ineffective using whatever tools they did have.
You can prepare to meet any emergency or threat, and give yourself the greatest probability of coming out alive and unhurt, but there is a price to pay for that probability. You must take serious steps now to change at least some of your environment and lifestyle for effective safety and self defense.
I can hear some of you asking the other questions so often presented in this conversation, so let's deal with them now.
Aren't the police supposed to protect me? Isn't that what we pay them for?
In a word, NO. If you have not yet read Dial 911 and Die, do so, please. Find it on line or in a book store.
Of course, you might get lucky... but remember:
1. The police have NO constitutional or legal obligation to protect or defend any individual, ever. Shocking? It should be if you think the police somehow MUST protect you. If you don't believe me, call and ask them if they are legally required to protect you or even to come if you dial 911. They will probably hem and haw around it, but the final answer is NO. They have NO liability for any failure either.
2. It is physically impossible for the police always to be present when that unannounced criminal decides to target you or your home. We'd each need three shifts of policemen to have one at arm's length night and day. I don't know about you, but that certainly doesn't appeal to me on any level, even if it were possible and they all had the most altruistic motives.
3. How long is the police response time where you live? If it's more than 3 seconds, it's not going to be fast enough to let them do much beyond clean up the mess and write the reports. Oh, and think about the fact that many crimes are never solved* either. Even if you survive, the chance of recovering your property is almost nil.
Emergencies happen fast. The average attack starts with only a few seconds warning, at best. That doesn't give YOU much time to respond, let alone expect the police to arrive. And in many cases there would not even be an opportunity to call them until it's all over.
Several of the ladies I know have said their husband takes care of the defense in their home.
OK, fair enough - when he's there, and if he's armed. Does your husband hover at your elbow day and night? How does your husband defend you when you are at the grocery store and he's at work? Mine died years ago, so that's not too handy for me or anyone else who lives alone. And isn't that a big burden to place on someone else anyway?
So, dear friends and precious sisters... just who IS responsible for your safety and defense?
YOU are. Ultimately, you are the only one who can be responsible for you.
Who is the one person with the greatest incentive to fight for their life, defend their children and prevent theft of property?
YOU. Each and every one of you, both alone and in voluntary cooperation with others for mutual aid.
Does this mean you must become a fearful, paranoid person who can never trust or be at ease again?
Of course not.
It means that you must learn how to be aware of your surroundings, how to identify potential dangers and threats early, how to safely and effectively meet those dangers and take precautions to minimize being seen as a potential victim. If you learn these things, and PRACTICE them, you will vastly reduce the chances that a criminal will decide to target you in the first place. You will also then be able to help your family and neighbors learn how they can avoid being a victim as well.
You can reduce the potential, but a criminal could strike any time, anywhere. A lot depends on where you live, obviously. Large population centers, especially where self defense (and the necessary tools) are either discouraged or illegal, present criminals with a smörgåsbord of available victims, mostly disarmed and helpless. See John Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" for an excellent overview of this situation.
"But, there isn't any real crime where I live! It can't happen to me."
There isn't a square inch on the planet, including all the oceans, where there is zero risk of being killed or hurt. The possibility exists everywhere that someone wants to end your life or take your property. What are the odds? They might be very low, but they will never be zero. The people who were killed in the recent mass shootings, or any of the school shootings didn't believe anyone could or would hurt them either... yet they died. And one of the reasons they died was because the criminals KNEW that there were few or none there armed and prepared or able to stop them before they could carry out their evil plans. If just a few of the ordinary people in those situations had been armed and trained to defend themselves, the stories would be very different... or would never have happened at all.
What can you do, then?
First, get some self defense training and practice what you learn. No book can replace a good training course, whether or not you choose to buy and use a gun for self defense.
But if you are really serious about defending your life - and the lives of those you love, be prepared to buy, maintain and learn to use the most effective self defense tool - a gun. If you decide to do so, it is important that you understand not only how to use it, but when. You must understand the laws and customs where you live, and be prepared to suffer at least some inconvenience and possible discomfort from neighbors and the police if you ever do need to use it in self defense. But these problems are trivial compared to death or life changing injury that might result if you don't have any way to fight back.
The NRA has some of the most comprehensive training available at reasonable cost, nationwide. There are many others. Sign up for a class, even if you have not yet made up your mind about buying a gun. The instructor will help you find one when you are ready, and further classes will help you become both safe and effective in using it, as well as teaching you about all the other ways you can increase your own safety and that of your family.
Only you can decide if you are going to develop the mind set and skills to defend yourself and family - or be a helpless victim.
* Latest data available from the FBI is from 2005. Not much chance things have improved.
*NRA Certified instructor and other certification for handguns, self defense. Thirty years teaching and shooting experience.
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