Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Meditations on self defense

Posted by Lissa on November 17, 2009

If a goblin broke into your house, set off the burglar alarm, and was holding you at knife-point, what would you expect the police to do?

You would expect them to drive over, show up, and talk the goblin into surrendering, right?

And if the goblin didn’t give up?  If he steadfastly held a knife to your throat and promised to kill you if the police did not retreat . . . you would expect the police to shoot to kill, would you not?  Certainly, you would expect them to be WILLING to do that, no?

So . . . you expect a total stranger to realize that you are in trouble, drive across town, correctly analyze the situation, and shoot to kill from across the room/house/yard, just because s/he signed on for a job that pays perhaps $50K per year.

But it is UNTHINKABLE that you would do the job yourself.  (Around here, at least, it’s more or less unthinkable.)

You, who are already on the scene, who can very clearly identify which human in the scrum is the victim (that’s you) and which human on the scene is the goblin (that’s the one who wants to rob/beat/kill/rape you) expect a stranger to come from a distance to defend you, because you have no tools to do so yourself.*

Doesn’t this seem a little . . . irresponsible?  Short-sighted?  Foolhardy?

I spoke with a police officer in the Charlotte airport last weekend.  Among other conversational bits, he gruffly declared that the motto on police cars — Protect and serve — would more accurately be stated as We can’t protect you, but we’ll show up after the damage is done and try to avenge you.

Don’t get me wrong — I believe that being a police officer is a tough, grueling, sometimes deadly job.  I highly admire the dedicated professionals who serve their society as such.

I just don’t expect them to be at my house at the very moment I need them most.

Because, you know, telepathy and teleportation aren’t really where it’s at.

And oh, by the way . . . that situation I described above is highly undesirable from the goblin’s point of view.  It’s much nicer for the goblin if you are quickly robbed/beaten/killed/raped and the beast can disappear from the scene BEFORE the police show up . . .

*Of course, a firearm is not the only tool to defend yourself.  There are knives, clubs, baseball bats, teeth and claws available.  It’s just that a firearm is most certainly the most EFFECTIVE tool to defend yourself, especially against an attacker who is much larger than you and/or may have brought his goblin buddies.

H/T to Brigid by way of Jay — that’s what got me thinking.

9 Responses to “Meditations on self defense”

  1. Jay G. said

    See, I don’t understand that mindset. I don’t get the whole “Oh, I could never do that” (meaning fight off an attacker).

    Someone breaks into my home, they’re sending the unmistakable message that they will not be constrained by the laws set forth by our nation, our state, and my town. If they’re willing to break the sacred covenant of a man’s castle, what else are they prepared to do?

    Am I to rely on their good graces to not kill me? To not kill my children? Force themselves on my wife? These are people that start off their introduction to my life by breaking the law and violating my personal space.

    230 grains of .45 caliber goodness seems to be a right tame response, when you look at it that way…

  2. mike w. said

    I find the whole “I’d never shoot a gun in self-defense” thing bizarre as well. It goes against our most natural, basic human instincts.

    I’m reminded of an exchange I had with a commenter on our University newspaper.

    Frankly I find it almost immoral to proclaim that you won’t defend yourself, but will expect a stranger with a gun to risk his life doing what you refuse to do. Perhaps I’m just biased because I have a brother and other family members who are cops.

    Read the comments by “JH” for an example of the thinking of those you discuss in your post.


  3. Very nicely thought out.

    After the killing of that chick in her lab at Yale, I devised a lab self-defense scheme: Tactical mirror on my bench so I can see someone coming into the lab behind me, 2 L flask of 1M sulfuric acid (my least favorite/ most wretched of the acids I commonly use), and a graphing calculator with which to break bones. Seeing as I can’t carry in the building, I had White Mike show me how to break someone’s face with my graphing calculator. And that, I figure, would buy me enough time to go for my knife…

  4. This is pure denial. I know a Buddhist pacifist (as opposed to the above “Pacifist” who is simply a coward wanting to get others to do their dirty work, then spurn them for their moral inferiority) who believes that violence is NEVER justified. Not to protect his life, not the life of his wife, or his friends. (I totally disagree with him, and love to push his belief system…all the while praising him for his spiritual devotion) I asked him if I for-reals put my hands around his throat and started choking him with the honest-to-betsy goal of killing him if he would be able to resist fighting back. I didn’t get into the possibility of raping his wife in front of him, which I’d personally think would be a might harder to resist.

    He said he honestly couldn’t confirm that he could maintain his vow of non-violence in that scenario. Now if a devoted religious pacifist couldn’t tell me for sure he couldn’t hurt somebody to save his life or the life of others, NOBODY can say that legitimately.

    But one thing being said, if you’re making the decision only when the hands are around your throat and the world is closing in on you….your decision probably won’t make much of a difference.

    Meanwhile I’ve decided years ago that if my life, or the lives of others around me are threatened I WILL fight back. I won’t fight fair, and I will fight dirty, and I will be more ruthless than my enemy can dare to be.

    Not on my damn watch, not if it’s put at my feet!

  5. Borepatch said

    Now if you had teleportation, how about teleporting the scumbag to, oh I don’t know, maybe 30 feet in the air? 60 feet for a second offense.

  6. […] Meditations on self defense […]

  7. […] that bad?  I don’t know.  Potentially, I guess. When I wrote Meditations on Self Defense, I was trying to explain in a logical manner why someone would choose to own a gun.  In certain […]

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