I recently got this link sent to me. It covers ten self-defense tips to handle a situation where burglars target your house. Some of the information (like having a cell phone on you) is pretty good. Other things, I disagree with. My biggest issue is with tip #9: never carry a weapon. Here’s why:
I understand the reasoning: don’t carry a weapon because the criminal can use it against you. It’s a fair statement. If I recall correctly, the statistics say that in a large number of self-defense situation, people have their weapon taken away and then used against them. So a logical conclusion seems to be: don’t carry a weapon.
It may be logical but that still doesn’t make it right.
My guess is, and it is just a guess, that a truckload of those people became a victim of their own weapon because they lacked the training and/or commitment to use it. I’ve met a lot of people who have a weapon in the house. “For self-protection” they claim. But when I ask them how often they train with it, I usually get a blank stare. And then they don’t understand why a criminal takes their precious weapon away from them…
Tip #7, “Cooperate” also irks me a bit. This may be because where I live, there has been an immense increase in home invasions and tiger kidnapping. You can obviously never predict which way these things go, but depending on the goodwill of a criminal to keep you alive doesn’t seem all that smart to me. Simply because you have no way of knowing what his intentions are when you come across him.
You come home one day and walk into your living room. There’s a man you don’t know there. He startles when he sees you and the look in his eyes is anything but friendly.
What do you do?
- Drop to the floor and tell him he can do anything he wants?
- Talk and try to negotiate?
- Start yelling at him?
- Charge him and try to put him down?
Regardless of which course of action you take, you only have a split second to make the decision. The thing is, you’ll have to make it with incomplete information. Because all you know is that there’s a stranger in your house. Is he a professional burglar? Is he a junkie trying to steal your stuff to pay for his fix? Is he a psychopath who’s planning on torturing you for hours on end until your wife comes home and then it’s her turn?
You just don’t know which type of criminal you have in front of you. Which means you can’t know if cooperation is the right response or not.
So how can you decide which way to go?
Me, I’m the kind of guy who assumes the worst. If somebody is in my home, I’m not going to assume he’s there to sell me Girl Scout cookies. Nor am I going to assume he’s alone. So I’ll only use cooperation as a tactical tool to get what I want: make it out of there alive. If I can run, I’ll run fiercely. There’s nothing wrong with running from an ambush; it’s the smart thing to do if you can spot it in time. If I can’t run, I won’t go silently into that dark night. If I have my kids with me, I’ll get all Gandalf on their asses.
As with all things related to self-defense, picking a reaction when you’re facing burglars isn’t always a black or white decision. The best thing you can probably do is to think it all over well in advance and train accordingly.