One of the questions we ask in training class is why you purchased a handgun. By far, the majority of our students have them for personal protection. The world is a nasty place, and for the most part, seems to be getting worse each day. However, we hope that we never have to use it. We also know that hoping doesn’t make it reality.
There are a number of things you can do to make sure you reduce the chances of being put in that situation. In this posting, let’s look a few of the things we can do to help keep us out of a bad situation.
The first thing you can do is to not go to areas that are notorious for violent issues. In a city nearby, there is an eight block path that runs east and west through the entire city. This is where the majority of homicides occur every year. These are due to drug and gang activity, for the most part, but that doesn’t keep an innocent bystander or someone driving by from inadvertently being involved. Use common sense and stay away from there. Anytime you are aware that a place is dangerous, don’t go there.
Along these same lines, but very controversial is the recommendation to stay away from gun-free zones. These are intended to be safe areas, such as schools, sports arenas, malls, and other such places. However, the bad guys also know that there will be little to no resistance should they decide to do whatever they want to do. Who’s going to stop them? Look at a number of the past mass shootings. Where did they occur? Gun-free zones. If you aren’t given the ability to defend yourself, you’re taking a big risk. Stay away.
Second, be aware of your surrounding and what’s going on around you. Get your head up, out of your phone, and pay attention to where you are and who’s around you. This doesn’t pertain to just walking down the street or driving in your car. It also means knowing your neighbors and those in your neighborhood. Our well-intentioned government has decided to let thousands of refugees into our country. There is no possible way each and every one of these people were properly vetted to ensure that they are safe and/or harmless. It’s not just foreigners that you should be aware of, either. Have you checked with your local police or sheriff’s department to see about sexual offenders in your area? Know who everyone is, what they do, and what’s going on in their lives. How many times have you heard someone being interviewed on television or radio after their neighbor just committed a heinous crime say, “He seemed like such a nice guy. He was quiet and kept to himself, and I never expect he was capable of doing this.” Well, he was and you didn’t know it.
The last point is to learn to be a hard target. Criminals are lazy. They don’t want to do anything hard. They like soft and easy. If you look nervous or scared, uncertain of yourself, or carry yourself in such a way that the criminal thinks you would be an easy person to overwhelm, you’re a soft target. Walk with confidence. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, don’t be there alone. Make sure they notice that you are aware of them, and that you’re keeping an eye on them. Don’t let yourself be surprised. Again, you’ve probably heard folks being interviewed say, “I’m not sure what happened. He came out of nowhere.” No one comes out of nowhere. The victim wasn’t paying attention when the criminal got out of the car across the street, and headed right for them. Why didn’t they see them? They had their head down looking at their phone.
The intent of this post is not to make you paranoid, but to improve your awareness of your surroundings. Don’t be the person who says, “I didn’t know,” or “I never saw it coming.” If you improve your skills in these areas, hopefully you’ll never have to use that gun you bought for self-defense.