Every now and again, I find myself watching, and trying to enjoy a good action flick. Then it happens… The antagonist (bad guy) sees the protagonist (hero) from across a busy lobby area, full of people. He pulls his gun and begins to shoot our hero as he runs away. Hero then turns around and begins to fire back, all while there are dozens of terrified bystanders running around screaming.
Ok, yes, that is indeed a movie, however, with today’s violent society who is to say that cannot happen for real? As a matter fact it would not take long for me to produce a dozen such incidents that have indeed happened. A murderer opens fire on a large crowd of people. Put yourself in such a situation, for just a minute. How would you respond?
Shooting into a crowd is an incredibly dangerous and complicated process. The best hostage rescue teams in the world train every day for years on shooting around people they don’t intend to kill. How much time have you spent doing this?… Yeah, me either… Some operations, if time allows, the teams will create a replica of the area, and train for days, weeks, or even months on executing a specific rescue mission.
While hostage rescue is a little different, it is more simplistic than shooting at a dynamic (moving) target around a lot of other moving people… My point here is: The best in the world would not flippantly take a shot like this, think twice before you do…
Let’s go beyond the typical scope here, and look at no gun incidents. How can you defend yourself if a gun is not warranted? Well, a non-lethal approach is obviously needed. What are our options? Depending on where you live and the laws you have the following open to you:
- Pepper spray
- Electronic Control Device (stun gun)
- Air Horn / Whistle
Any of these can be used to defend yourself. Given the situation, different tools will be more applicable or effective. An air horn or whistle is great to alert the police that are 40 yards away, but, in the middle of getting punched, I would recommend a more hands on approach…
Some basic hand to hand skills and techniques will go a long way. You do not have to be a master martial artist to defend yourself against some addict looking for a hit. The appropriate amount force, applied properly can be enough to save your skin.
We will take a look at pepper spray in-depth another time, but let’s look at it briefly here. Pepper spray comes in many forms, shapes, brands, concentrations, etc.. However, they are all aerosols and the contents atomize upon release. One thing you need to be aware of, if you release it, you may get some too; especially if you are in a small area (car, room, etc.).
Pepper spray has a great ability to temporally “blind” the threat and cause panic, pain, and disorientation. It also works on animals such as dogs.
One benefit to having people around and having to defend yourself in a crowded area is: witnesses! Others will be able to substantiate your account of what happened. This will help law enforcement with their investigation.
Defending yourself or others in a crowded environment is not where you want to be. It stinks, no two ways about it. So, we have to have a plan going in and be wise about it! Know what is legal in your area before hand, and prepare yourself accordingly. Train and equip for defending yourself, especially without a gun, in a crowded environment. Consider the options for tools, and employ them!
What can we learn?
- Shooting into a crowd = terrible idea
- Lethal force is not always available, nor a good idea.
- We are liable for all that we do, be careful and wise with your strategy.
- Don’t always assume a gun is the best option.