By Sheriff Jim Wilson, American Rifleman
I fear that we often put too much emphasis on guns and gear when we consider our own personal defense. A person can be armed with the latest firearm, the very best ammunition and still lose the fight. It happens because we fail to see the trouble brewing until it is right in our face. At that point, it may be entirely too late to put all that excellent equipment to use in time to make a difference. In addition to the surprise, we may have never given serious thought of what to do when violence is visited upon us.
Decent people often fail to understand what is going on in the criminal mind. Planning criminal acts is just something that is not part of our daily lives. In consequence, we have to get over our surprise and then figure out what to do about this unexpected attack. Obviously, by the time we sort through all of this, it may be entirely too late.
To be forced to respond to such attacks when we haven’t prepared ourselves mentally causes us to respond in a state of panic or a state of rage. Neither of those mental states is conducive to making good decisions that will actually solve the problem at hand.
We can see this lack of mental preparation in the news. Some fail to identify their targets properly. Some open their homes to strangers, only to become the victims of home invasions. We have seen examples of this in cases where people panicked and used deadly force when it simply was not justified, such as in the case of someone committing a theft.
Law-enforcement officers can understand what can happen and how quickly it can happen, because they have had to deal with the criminal mind on a regular basis. The citizen who has been lucky enough to survive a criminal attack now has a much better understanding and will be a much harder target should they ever be attacked again.
How do we harden ourselves as a target through better understanding? Many of us devote regular practice sessions at the range, improving our shooting skills. I would suggest that it is wise to spend at least an equal amount studying criminal attacks that are reported in the news. We study those attacks to try to determine what mistakes the victims made and/or what they did right. Never pass up the chance to talk to someone who has survived a criminal attack – what did they learn? What would they do differently?
Having the latest guns, ammo and gear but not being prepared might mean you end up injured or worse. On the other hand, your neighbor, armed with grandpa’s old .38 Spl. revolver, may survive because he or she recognizes the threat, understands it and does something about it right now. When the balloon goes up, which will you be?