This dad was shot in the head trying to save his 1 year old baby from hijackers. What steps can you take, right now, to improve your odds?
I’d argue there are 3 main steps you can invest your time in.
1 – Know your lines in the sand
Know your lines in the sand, in advance.
Know what you are, and are not, willing to accept. What Kathy Jackson calls Personal Boundaries.
Who is more likely to act decisively and win an encounter? The man who waits until the “oh shit” moment to try come up with a plan? Or the man who has made his decisions beforehand and is truly committed to them?
When you get stressed out and tense, your emotional brain tries to take over. And your emotional brain hates making decisions (the monkey brain loves itself a status quo). And this translates into grasping onto whatever hope it can invent. Including shit like “Well, he’s beaten us, tied us up, cut us with his knife, but if we cooperate he won’t hurt us.”
(Yes, really – read a book where the author interviewed housebreakers in jail, and most said that torture was a standard procedure, even if the people were cooperating already. The the author ends the book by saying that cooperating is good and resisting is a bad idea)
2 – Understand this well
“An unarmed man only has one option – surrender and hope.”
-Gabe Suarez in Combative Perspective (or words to that effect)
Once you give up your ability to use violence to defend your family, you give up control of their fate. You surrender their fate to the criminals of the world. And your entire safety strategy is reduced to hoping any criminals you meet are the benevolent and kind ones.
This includes deciding up front that you’re not the type to fight or resist. Well guess what asshole – your wife and kids are counting on you being the type who fights and resists. They’d really also prefer that you were smart about it – which leads to the next point…
Not being armed is a decision. People have it backwards in my opinion, they think you have to decide to carry a weapon. I think that human history has taught us it’s really the other way around – that you have to decide to not carry a weapon. The last how-many generations of humans took weapons to be the default. But only if they were interested in, you know, living.
Mindset and ability. Or put another way capacity and capability (hat tip to Rory Miller).
All adults are physically capable of protective violence (especially if they have a weapon). But how many have the mental/psychological capacity to make themselves commit that violence?
You need both. One cannot help you without the other.
3 – Train
Training does two things for you. It increases your capacity (physical ability) to commit violence on behalf of your family. And it helps you to mentally forge yourself, to increase your capacity to make yourself commit that violence (mindset).
You don’t go out and buy a gun, then tell yourself “I’ll kill any motherfucker that touches my wife and kids” and then declare that you’re good to go. That you’ve won already.
Put yourself through the mental (and emotional) steps necessary to harden your resolve and push your limits. I personally love shoot/no-shoot type training because it forces you to make decisions. And I suspect that, in a stressful situation, most people’s monkey (emotional) brains will choose hoping-for-the-best over making the decision to take action.. In fact that’s part of what makes such situations shut down people’s brains – not knowing what to do.
You don’t freak out on the highway when someone drives dangerously near you. You know what to do in that situation, so you do it. You don’t shut down and hope “he won’t crash into me”. No, you take action to avoid getting crashed into.
The difference is that you have plenty of experience driving, but not very much experience with violence**. Training is what helps bridge that gap.
And maybe train some more.
** – Odd as it may sound, if you do have lots of experience with unwanted violence, you may want to consider a lifestyle change.