Myths and misunderstandings about self defense (part 2)

By: Grant Cate, NRA Certified Pistol and Self Defense Instructor

In part 1 of this series we have attempted to debunk some of the myths and misunderstandings about defending one's life with what is possibly lethal force. We talked about how making the decision to defend one's life by carrying a handgun is a very serious decision that should be made with soul searching deliberation. We also pointed out that defending oneself with a handgun is NOTHING LIKE TV AND THE MOVIES, and MUST BE USED ONLY AS A TOOL OF LAST RESORT. We pointed that out because frequently, the only information that people have about these kind of situations comes from Hollywood.

So, if it's nothing like we see on TV and the movies, what is it like?

First: violent criminal attacks happen very suddenly, without any warning. The attacker frequently stalks their intended victim and strikes when their victim is not paying attention to their surroundings.

Second: Violent attackers get as close as they can to their victims before "showing their hand" and attacking. If you are not being situationally aware, the attack will be under way before you even recognize that you are being stalked.

Third: Frequently, the person being attacked does not notice that they have been harmed until they feel the wetness of their own blood. They are hit by the attacker so suddenly that they do not recognize that this is an attack. Their mind is trying to get past the thought, "Why is this guy bumping into me?" Frequently, by this time, it is too late. The damage is done, and the attack is over. Unfortunately, too often, so is the victims life.

In a case like I have just described, whether or not the victim was armed is completely inconsequential. Because the victim was not on his or her guard by being situationally aware. By the time the attack started it was far too late for the victim to defend himself. At times the false sense of security that comes along with the pistol on ones hip makes the carrier of the pistol an easy target for the street predator. Many weapons carry license holders are woefully unprepared to actually use the pistol to fend off an attack. They have absolutely no concept of just how fast an attack of this nature happens.

Let me give you an example. You are walking down the street and a violent thug who is 21 feet from you yells and waves their knife at you and charges you. You have 1.5 seconds to pull your pistol from wherever you are carrying it and fire a shot that will actually hit the attacker center mass.

There are a number of elements in this s