In Ohio this week, a woman defended herself from an attempted abduction by two men — one of them armed with a baseball bat. You can read the whole story here, or watch the video below.
Lots of lessons in this one. Here are a few things you might consider.
1) While many dog owners rely on their animals to keep dangerous people at bay, that doesn’t always happen. In this case, the woman had a big dog — it looks like a chocolate lab in the video — and yet the criminals still approached her. Some criminals aren’t afraid of dogs, which means smart dog owners always have a back up plan for personal safety.
2) Walking paths in urban and suburban locations are often “fringe areas.” This means it’s someplace relatively private, but also has a steady trickle of potential victims for criminals to choose from. Whenever you’re in a fringe area, you should work to remain especially alert to changes in your surroundings and the behavior of other people you see while there.
3) Many potential attackers will flee at the first sign of effective resistance. In this case, drawing the firearm and saying, ‘I have this and I’m not afraid to use it’ was enough to make the criminals run off. Simply drawing the gun was apparently not enough; she also had to verbalize her willingness to use the gun if she needed to.
4) From the article, I can’t tell whether she called police right away. She definitely should have called 9-1-1 just as soon as the incident was over and she was in a safe place. If a situation is serious enough that you need to take your gun out of your holster, it’s also serious enough that you need to take your phone out of your pocket to report it. It’s not just more defensible if there’s a question later, it’s also the right thing to do for the sake of your community. To keep your corner of the world safer, always report crimes committed against you as soon as it’s safe for you to do so.
And here’s the big one:
5) THIS IS A WIN!! No mess, no fuss, no paperwork — and the good person went home unharmed. She did exactly as much as she needed to do in order to go home safe to the people she loves. That’s a win.
That last point is a difficult one to accept. Emotionally, we want self-defense to be about justice. About fairness. About taking out a less-than-human monster who “has it coming to them.” We want it to be about someone who “needed killing.” But it is not.
It’s just about staying alive. It’s about staying on your feet and able to breathe. That’s it, that’s all, end of story.
That can be hard to accept on an emotional level. But on the level where laws interact with the practical world, you cannot lawfully shoot someone unless you are literally in extreme danger of dying. It’s better to avoid putting yourself into that much danger.
And ultimately: civilization is better than barbarism. It’s better to live in a place where criminal offenders end up in court where calmer heads can decide what to do about their offenses, than it is to live somewhere where anyone can shoot anyone else for any reason at any time.