Five NEVERs of Self-Defense

From an email forward, no attribution. It is, however, so important that I thought I’d post it anyway. If you know who wrote this, please let me know in comments. MamaLiberty

Five NEVERs of Self-Defense

There are some things you must *never *do when confronted with an armed assailant. We mean *never, *ever, not because these events *never *end well, but because they *usually *don’t, and because violating these hard and fast rules takes the agency of your survival out of your own hands. You owe it to Adam and Eve and all the rest of your bloodline to preserve your life.

– *#1: NEVER *go with the assailant to a second location. Why do you think he wants you to go there? (There are actually several possibilities, but they’re all bad).

– *#2: NEVER* give up your gun. This standard Hollywood trope, where the hero gives up his gun because the villain is threatening Sweet Polly Purebred or whomever, and then manages to free them both through some brilliant stratagem, *only works in the hands of a trained and certified member of the Writers’ Guild. *Don’t let him have your gun: just “Let him have it.”

– *#3: NEVER* get in a car with someone threatening you with a gun, or even with someone who *might *threaten or harm you or who has an *incentive* to harm you.

Here’s what happens to real people who violate Nevers #1, #2 and #3, from the non-fiction movie *The Onion Field *(1979).

The victims were LAPD officers. The dead guy’s partner lived, but he was finished as a cop and had problems all his life. He died young. The assailants died in prison. They were wrong about the Little Lindbergh Law (a California law, back during a brief moment of judicial lucidity in the Golden State, that made injuring or killing a kidnap victim a capital crime). It did not apply if the kidnap victim was released unharmed, and so was a positive incentive, if only the criminals had understood it. Instead, they misunderstood it as making murder no less capital than the kidnap they’d already done. (Write this down: as a class, criminals are not very bright, and violent criminals are usually the dullest of a dim bunch). The two murderers died in prison, despite the 1960s and 70s California courts’ many attempts to set them free.

The Onion Field killings not only led to a great book and good movie (of which the above is a chilling excerpt), but they changed police training forever

Now cops are told these Nevers. It shouldn’t just be cops who follow these rules: you should, too.

– *#4: NEVER* let someone tie you up. He doesn’t mean you well to begin with, and you have just made the decision to outsource your survival to him. Being bound is an intermediate station of the cross on the way to dusty death for many homicide victims.

Here’s what happens to real people who violated Never #4, a non-fiction scene (with dialogue perhaps fictionalized, although the male victim survived) from the fact-based movie *Zodiac *(2007). We start 2:18 in to focus on the tying-up business — and where it leads. You can slider back to the start of the four-plus minute clip if you want to see where it leads. (No link to this clip was included in the email. If you have a link, please post in the comments. ML)

Always, fight or run. The cop who ran in the onion field survived, by finally doing something right after doing so many things wrong. Run away from the assailant. If you think he can run faster than you, jink and dodge, and use terrain, obstacles, and darkness. IF you think you’re faster, run straight away on the most level, smoothest ground you’ve got.

What if he shoots at you? Consider this:

1. He probably won’t shoot. Shooting complicates his life, while yours is pretty simple at this point (*Run, Forrest, run!*).

2. If he does shoot, he probably won’t hit. Most criminals can’t hit the broad side of a barn, from inside the barn. Contrary to their portrayal on TV, they’re not IDPA competitors who spend their spare time doing ball and dummy drills.

3. If he does *hit *you, *it probably won’t kill you. *You are not out of the fight (or flight) until you give up. Which brings us to the encapsulation of all rules, the one rule to rule them all:

– *#5: NEVER *give up. Never give in. Never surrender. Run, fight, attack. In the aftermath of the Onion Field, LAPD Commissioner “Two-gun” Powers told his men to use any weapon they could, and pointed out that a #2 pencil can kill. (Exercise for the reader: how many ways can you kill someone with a sharp pencil? For extra credit: which way disables him fastest?).

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4 Responses to Five NEVERs of Self-Defense

  1. “#4: NEVER* let someone tie you up”. That goes double for cops who want to put you in handcuffs.


    • MamaLiberty says:

      That would present a real problems for me, unfortunately. Fortunately, I’ve never come close to that situation. Terrible thing to contemplate.


  2. Ted Ball says:

    ML – TBall here. I’d like a PDF copy of your _I am not a victim_ work, if you please.

    Side note – uh… using a pencil (assume regular size #2 with a point)… it’s a CQB weapon. A “knife fight in a phone booth” type of distance, so I am thinking use it against the temple – from the side; the eye (one eye, go deep); perhaps the ear — harder to hit the soft spot not well-armored by bone. Secondary, hmm…. maybe throat or jugular — neither would be nearly as quick to incapacitate as the temple or eye, IMO.

    At that distance (knife fight in a phone booth), I’m also thinking of punching the throat (not the chin); kicking a knee from the side; kicking the crotch.

    Punching or striking at the nose will break it, causing autonomous eye watering, a lot of pain, and temporary breathing problems… none of which are fast enough for quick incapacitation, IMO. It would be a good way to end a (pardon the oxymoron) “relatively harmless bar fight” — to break a nose and not permanently damage someone (or not badly at least). Ditto punching or striking the cheek, or the top of the head, the side of the head (there are exceptions there); or the back of the head (some exceptions there as well).

    Trying to cover a lot of the bases here, from “put him down like a bag of dropped sand, with a pencil or your hands/feet” through “stop the conflict but not attempt potentially life-ending techniques to do so”. The latter of those two may seem a bit soft or unnecessarily dainty, but are not IMO: consider being around a friend or relative who is drunk, or having major blood sugar issues, and attacks you out of that drunkenness or medical issue — I’d want to stop them but not take them out. Make sense?


    • MamaLiberty says:

      Makes a lot of sense, but we don’t always have the choice. Some of us are simply not physically able to do much with our hands or feet, or even a pencil, a knife, etc. If that’s all I had available, I would fight to my last breath of course, but I’m going to do whatever is possible not to leave that as the only option. That’s why I carry a gun.

      As for the family drunk or medically combative, that’s a whole other subject. We don’t always have full control of that kind of situation, but I’d be taking steps to solve the problem long before there was any need for physical restraint. Nobody gets roaring drunk all of a sudden, and most blood sugar issues involve confusion or coma, not violence. It can happen, but the person who tends toward that would be known and I’d take the necessary precautions. Situational awareness… Think and plan ahead so you are not simply reacting to something that blindsides you.


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