Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

April 24, 2007

Defending Yourself

by Stephen Littau

In the post I wrote last week, In Defense of Self-Defense, I lamented how our culture is changing from one which once saw moral justification in self-defense to one which values self-sacrifice. I also shared some of my in-expert opinions on how the students and faculty at Virginia Tech might have protected themselves from becoming victims of a crazed gunman.

I have since found a Slate article, Fight or Flight at Virginia Tech: What Should You Do When Confronted with a Gun-wielding Madman? The article’s author consulted with self-defense experts Richard Kobetz of Executive Protection Institute and John Whitman of Krav Maga Worldwide. The most obvious thing you should do, as the article points out, is to run (ideally in a zigzag pattern) or find an escape. Short of escaping, you might have to fight back. As a public service to the readers of The Liberty Papers, here are a few excerpts on how you can fight back if you find yourself in this type of situation.

To disarm a gunman, you’ll need to take his focus off his weapon and his plan of attack. To do this, you might throw chairs, laptops, or fire extinguishers at him, or set off the sprinkler system or fire alarm. Then, you’d want to pick up a desk or some other shield and charge right at the killer. There’s a chance you’ll be killed in the process, but if two or three people rush at once, there’s also a chance that somebody will take him down. (Unarmed civilians who band together have a much better chance of surviving an attack.)

If you’re already within a step or two of the gunman, you might be able to grab his weapon. If he’s facing you, quickly reach up and take hold of the barrel, and then aim it away from your body. The move should be as clean and economical as possible. The gunman will reflexively pull the gun back away from you. Go with him: Keep gripping the gun and push your weight forward. Then, punch him in the face or the throat as hard as you can. Hit him on the nose, jab your fingers into his eyes, or strike him with the heel of your open palm. Then use your free hand to grab the nonbusiness end of the gun. With two hands on the gun, you can knee the killer in the groin or head-butt him. A better idea might be to twist your hands like they are revving a motorcycle engine. The weapon will pivot and break the gunman’s finger inside the trigger guard.

The article points out that the above strategy would have had to been modified in the case of the Virginia Tech massacre since the gunman had a gun in each hand. If this is the case, you should grab both hands while kicking until others can help you. I urge everyone to read the whole thing; taking this advice could possibly save your life.

Hat tip: Boortz

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  • http://tfortruth.blogspot.com trav.is

    I have an alternative strategy.

    1.) Pull out the handgun you have a constitutionally-protected right to carry, use any available cover, and turn the gunman’s head into a canoe.
    2.)Next, assemble a crack team of legal counsel since, for many, you’d the criminal and the gunman the victim of violence.
    3.)Listen to founding fathers turning over in their graves.

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