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Module 8: Weapons

If someone pulls a gun on you, never go with them where they want you to go, particularly if you are in a place where someone can hear or see you.  He’s not putting a gun on you to take you to a birthday party. 

Create a distraction by throwing something they may want on the ground near their foot (a purse or wallet) and as he glances down at it, RUN fast.   Wearing shoes that make it hard to run is very detrimental to your safety. 

If you have nothing to throw at his feet, look over his shoulder and yell out “Dad, don’t come any closer!  He’s got a gun!”  When he turns to look, RUN fast. 

In a public place, you are better off trying to run than going with him.  He’s probably not that good of a shot, and if he wanted to shoot you then and there, he’d have already done it.  Playing the odds, if he is a stranger to you, he has no interest in killing you and does not like the idea of standing in the street over a dead girl with a smoking gun in his hand.  He’s more likely than not to lower the gun, pick up what you left him, and wait until another girl comes along.

Disarming someone who has drawn a gun is extremely difficult unless the person holding the gun is hesitant about pulling the trigger.  Our own experiment pitted a 275 pound 7th degree black belt who held a world record in board breaking against a 11 year old girl with no firearms training and a drawn “gun”.  The black belt was “shot” every time he tried to take the gun away.  Guns get taken away from people who draw them and are not willing to use them, like someone who pulls a gun on their abusive spouse but “loves” them too much to hurt them.  Guns almost never get taken away from people – good or bad – who are willing to pull the trigger. 

Thus, a gun can be very useful when someone is trying to break down your door or your crazy ex is approaching yelling about how he’s going to kill you.  On the other hand, a gun in your purse is of little value against a sudden criminal attack.  A gun is great when you know an attack is coming and you have time to draw it (and, depending on the model, chamber a bullet), and a gun carried openly is a powerful deterrent to being attacked.  Criminals react to the sight of a citizen with a loaded firearm just like you do: “I sure hope this lady is stable and I’m not going to do anything to set her off.”  But it is impractical and likely illegal in your jurisdiction to walk to your car with a loaded gun in your hand.  While some states allow open carry of firearms in a holster, most people are not interested in terrifying the local population.  So, we are left with concealed carry, which prevents the firearm from serving as an open deterrent and also makes it difficult to get to during a sudden attack. 

Mace or pepper spray is of little value during any attack.  Not as potent as the gun, it may be useful as a deterrent when you know an attack is coming and there is space and time between you and your attacker, like when your crazy ex is approaching.  But in a sudden attack, experiments show it has a 100% rate of failure.  An experiment done by the news show 20/20 had women who attended a tear gas school walk a parking lot knowing an attack was coming from a deputy who was playing the “bad guy”. The tear gas failed to stop a single attack.  Even with the tear gas canister in their hands and the advantage of knowing something would happen, the women only hit the deputies 20% of the time, and almost never hit the deputies in the face.  In those rare cases, the deputies felt some ill effects after a minute, long after the attack had been completed.  Prior to the experiment, the women were ignorant and arrogant – a dangerous combination that often precedes death or serious injury.  “We’re going to wipe you guys up,” one of the women told a deputy.  After the experiment, the women’s primary emotion was dismay that the tear gas school misled them.  The school’s promotional videos showed instant incapacitation.  That doesn’t happen in real life.  In one recent video, a robber gets a sustained blast of bear repellant in the face and is able to run out of the pharmacy and even make it home.  He later wound up in the hospital, of course, and was arrested, but the claim that these products produce instant incapacitation appears inaccurate. 

It is smart to have next to your bed something that doesn’t look like a weapon but can be used as one.  Keep it slightly concealed but available should you wake up with someone on top of you or in your bedroom.  A heavy flashlight that can be used as a club is a good option, but again, make sure it is concealed so it isn’t used against you in your sleep. 

How you walk can be a powerful deterrent to an attack.  A researcher recorded video of people walking and asked convicts which were easy marks.  The convicts identified the same people repeatedly, some of whom were healthy looking males.  The common denominator was that the person appeared distracted (today, that would be walking around looking at your cell phone) or walked as though they were walking on egg shells.  People, regardless of their apparent physical strength, who walked with purpose and moved from the center with good symmetry (hands out of pockets, arm swinging in opposition to the leg, foot rolling from heel to toe) were not identified as “easy marks”. 

This is a critical point with weapons because it is very difficult to escape if you let someone press a gun or knife to your head or throat, but relatively easy to escape if there is distance between you. 

Want to get attacked by a criminal?  Walk around while texting or otherwise staring at your phone! 
Following this module, invite students to stand and teach them to run fast with proper form. 

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