Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What is Proportional Response?

Basically, it is the reasonable response to a threat, without over responding. Only you can judge the level of threat, but there is a risk you will have to defend your choice if you opt for a lethal response. That doesn’t mean a lethal response shouldn’t be used, if you believe you or your family are in mortal danger, a lethal response is the right choice. In some situations, not all, you may have to start small and ramp up. You can start with eye contact, let them know you are aware of them. Posture is strong, alert, head up, scanning the immediate area around you, avoidance if possible.

There are many tiers between being a clueless victim and using lethal force. Trust your instincts, if you believe yourself to be in mortal danger, you probably are. If not, you can try walking away, using pepper spray, stating in a forceful voice “Stay Back” or “No, don’t come any closer”. Remember, you may have to explain your actions at a later time. In a pepper spray class the words that popped out of my mouth, unplanned, were “Back off Dirt Bag”. The “Dirt Bag” might be considered a little inflammatory. 

Can you shoot someone for asking you what time it is? No. Can a woman shoot a large man who is running at her screaming “I’m going to kill you!”, probably.

It is important to consider three things;
Means – does the other person(s) have a weapon of physical size to cause you serious injury or death?
Opportunity – can the other person(s) get to you without you having a reasonable opportunity to avoid or escape them?
Intent – has the person(s) indicated they wish to injure or kill you?

In many cases you need all three to justify the use of lethal force. If you haven’t thought about this before, during an attack you will not have time to consider these options. Your brain is your first line of defense. Think about what could happen as you are walking through a parking lot, do you see someone who doesn’t look or feel “right”. Can you avoid them? Can you go back into the store and ask security to walk you to your car? Where are you keys? Is your pepper spray in the bottom of your purse? Imagine a mugging and asking the assailant to wait while you did for your pepper spray? When he finishes laughing, you will be lucky if all you lose is your purse.

Disclaimer: the above post is intended to provide you something to think about, it is not intended to be legal advice.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adventures with Pepper Spray

Great Stuff, legal in most areas (don’t try to take it on an airplane). If possible, take a formal class. I thought there was nothing to it, just point in the general direction and spray. Close, but not quite. There are different types of spray (stream, cone, foam) and you deploy them in slightly different ways. Also, each canister has a different mechanism to activate the spray. I didn’t know that, either. You need to understand how yours works, and keep it available. You don’t really have the option of asking an attacker to wait patiently while you dig in your purse for you pepper spray. Another important aspect, keep it in YOUR hand! When I took the class, I drew the canister from my pocket, brought it forward to spray my “attacker” and…it kept on going, landed right at his feet, where he promptly picked it up and pointed it at me. Well, aside from being embarrassing in the classroom, in life it could have made the difference between escaping and becoming a victim. If you are in the Northern Virginia/DC area, IDS (www.innovativedefensivesolutions.com) holds pepper spray classes on a regular basis. If you are elsewhere, look up SabreRed www.sabrered.com/servlet/the-template/Pepper-Spray-Training-Class/Page) on the web, they not only manufacture pepper spray and other defensive devices, they certify instructors and can refer you to a class in your area.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I carry a gun and I can use it to intimidate an attacker.

Think so? If you are going to carry a gun, you need to be prepared to use it if the situation warrants. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at greater risk. Imagine being approached by someone intent on doing you harm, you pull your gun and point it at him with a trembling hand. You avoid eye contact and in a soft voice say “stop, please don’t come any closer”. What do you think will happen? Counter that with a determined stance, direct eye contact, a loud firm voice saying “Stop, Get Back, Do Not Come Any Closer” while you are pointing your gun directly at his chest. Remove the gun from the two scenarios. Standing with shoulders down, eyes averted saying “leave me alone” or standing tall, feet shoulder width apart, one hand out in the universal signal for Stop, using a loud firm tone of voice to say “Stop, Leave me Alone, Get Back!”. Practice with a friend, get used to the idea that social conditioning can leave you vulnerable and it is OK to tell someone he is Too Close, Back Away, Don’t Touch Me…You have the right to protect yourself. If the person didn’t mean any harm and is a good guy, he will apologize for making you uncomfortable and back away, or he will run away in fear for his safety. If he is a Bad Guy, you may very well have interrupted his victim fantasy and he may mutter something like “bitch” as he moves on. Or, he will challenge your resolve and keep coming. Then, you fight. Kathy Jackson titled her book The Cornered Cat, for good reason. Have you ever seen a cat when it is frightened? They run away as fast as they can, if that isn’t an option, they fight with everything they have, teeth, claws, growling and hissing, hair standing on end to appear larger…and they do not stop until the confrontation is over.

Remember, being called a “bitch” is the least of your concerns. I take it as a compliment. Think of it as an acronym. Being In Total Control of Herself! (I wish I could take credit for that but I first heard it at a Saffire, the Uppity Blues Women concert. Unfortunately, they are no longer touring, but their CDs are still available and some of the songs are very funny.)

Channel your inner cat and be prepared to fight like your life depends on it. Stay safe!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day one - Welcome to my Blog! A little bit about me...

A little about me; I am a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and am working toward additional qualifications. I teach with a great company in Northern Virginia called Innovative Defensive Solutions, LLC., (www.innovativedefensivesolutions.com) which is run by two wonderful, patient and caring guys, Evan and Dave. I have been shooting for about 15 years. Yes, I name my pistols…LOL. I’ve been studying women’s issues related to shooting, concealed carry challenges and personal defense. I hope to share some of what I’ve learned here and hopefully learn from you!

One comment I have heard a lot when I go in to the Sporting Goods store to buy ammo is “you don’t look like the type”. What is the type? I’m educated, smart, feminine, I like to have fun and I don’t deliberately put myself in dangerous situations. I’m exactly the type! I always laugh. I could be that I’ve left my 40’s behind and I remind them of their Mom.

I bought my first pistol in response to a threat from an ex “boyfriend”. I filed charges against him but it didn’t take me very long to figure out that “catch and release” wasn’t going to help me if he decided to follow through. The only one responsible for my immediate safety was me! That leap, which is actually huge, took me a surprisingly short time. I went to a local gun store and threw myself on the mercy of the man behind the counter. Not my recommended way to shop for a gun, btw. But it worked and I still have “Rachael”, my first and favorite. My next stop was the range where I literally wore a hole in my thumb reloading the magazines while I practiced for several hours. Also not something I recommend, but I was stressed. After that, a basic NRA course so I could file for a Concealed Carry Permit. I got lucky. He went to court, the charge was reduced and he got community service, but he also got a stern warning from the judge, which he opted to heed. I have not seen or heard a word from him since. In some ways I owe him a gratitude. Without that life altering incident I might not have discovered my passion for shooting.

So join me as we wander this path together. My target (no pun intended) audience is women who do, or want to, shoot; and those who love them. As my husband likes to say; “If you can’t be a gun nut, be a gun nut supporter!”