Archive for July, 2013

640_011013_fx_judge_guns

Do US citizens have a right to defend themselves? Is it a natural, God-given, right inherent in every human being or is it a right granted to the masses by Laws and Legislators? The question of our right to self-defense has recently been playing out in the media in varying subtleties and degrees. The Zimmerman case brought a lot of attention to self-defense laws and precedent. My interest in the Zimmerman case, and my inherent aversion to any proposals that would limit my ability to defend myself or my loved-ones, induced a desire to familiarize myself with the “Right of Self-Defense.” From where does this right originate? Is it compatible with my Christian beliefs? Is it a Constitutional Right?

Christian Compatible?

bible

As a Christian, the first place I turned to was the Bible. What does God say about defending yourself or your family? I first see in Genesis 9:6 that God established the value of man’s life by requiring life for life. Life is so sacred that the punishment of taking a life is to lose yours. I next see Abraham gathering a group of men to chase down his nephew’s abductors. They rescued Lot, his nephew, and all the spoil. In Exodus 22:2-3, a home-owner is declared innocent of bloodshed if he kills a thief in the uncertainty of darkness. In Esther, the Jews gathered together and fiercely defended themselves from their enemies. In Luke 22:36, Jesus tells His disciples to buy swords, purportedly for self-defense from robbers and wild beasts as they were sent out to all the lands. A little while later, Jesus also tells Peter to put his sword away. This verse, combined with the “turn the other cheek” verse, is often construed to mean Jesus is a pacifist. Seeing as how Jesus had just told his disciples to sell their garments and buy swords (which were illegal in Rome-controlled Judea), that interpretation does not seem logical. The verse is better understood to be a lesson in obedience to the will of God. There are times for us to walk in sacrificial obedience and surrender our life wholly to Him and there are times to protect this being that He created in His image. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament (Rom. 13:3-4), death is clearly seen as the justifiable punishment for taking life, so why would death not be justifiable in protecting life?

Founding-Fathers1

Where Does the Right of Self-Defense Come From?

According to Ancient Greeks, John Lock, our Founding Fathers and many others, Natural Law is “that law which corresponds to a spontaneous order in the absence of a state and which is enforced, (in absence of better methods), by individual unorganized violence…. Natural law follows from the nature of men, from the kind of animal we are. We have the right to life, liberty, and property, the right to defend ourselves against those who would rob, enslave, or kill us, because of the kind of animal we are.”1 Or in the words of Thomas Hobbes, “A Law of Nature is a Precept, or general Rule, found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved…. The first branch of which Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamental Law of Nature; which is to seek Peace, and follow it. The Second, the summe of the Right of Nature; which is, By all means we can, to defend our selves.”

John Locke, the inspiration of many of our Founding Fathers, put it this way:

john_locke_05

“And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life. This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any further than by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases from him: because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretense be what it will, I have no reason to suppose that he, who would take away my liberty, would not when he had me in his power, take away everything else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.

My Conclusion?

The right to defend one’s self and others from violence is not a right given by the State (government) nor can it lawfully be taken away by the State. The right of Self-Defense is an unalienable right endowed by our Creator. Technically, it’s not even a Constitutional Right. For if the Constitution gave us the right then making the Constitution irrelevant would also make the rights therein irrelevant. The 2nd Amendment affirms and enumerates the Right of Self-Defense as an unalienable right endowed by the Creator. The Right of Self Defense comes not from the Constitution, nor from Government, nor from Man, but from our Creator and, as such, it is irrevocable.

declaration_bible_gun_xlarge

Sources:

Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan. (New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 2004), 79, 80.

John Locke. “Book Two,” Two Treatises of Government. (New York: A Mentor Book, 1963), 320.

James Donald. http://jim.com/rights.html

For Further Research:

I highly recommend the top 4 links. They were extremely helpful to me in my research.

http://jim.com/rights.html

http://www.bastiatinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/On-the-Right-of-Self-Defence_Michael_Carl.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCk90Xvv3EI Divine Right of Self Defense (Mike Adams)

http://www.lonang.com/conlaw/B/cB1a.htm

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/338845/biblical-and-natural-right-self-defense-david-french

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frenchrevolution/2013/02/05/the-biblical-and-natural-right-of-self-defense-responding-to-critics/

http://www.volokh.com/posts/1216392861.shtml

http://constitutiondefender.com/natural_law_to_defend_yourself.htm

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/cherry/130206

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=d7vNj2sb_00 The True Story of Gun Control WorldWide

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZNSX9sqJm0 iCarry

http://nomomrniceguy.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/the-28-principles-of-liberty/

classic_battle_catvsdog

The following is a favorite passage from Natural Law and Natural Rights by James Donald (http://jim.com/rights.html)

“A right is only a right if, as with the rights to life, liberty, and property, you can rightfully use necessary and sufficient force to defend yourself against those who interfere with your exercise of that right. A right is no right at all if it is granted to you by the benevolence of your masters.

“The state commands and spends ever more wealth, intrudes into our lives in ways that are ever more intimate and detailed, exercises ever greater power, backed by ever more severe punishments, often for deeds that it only declared illegal a few years ago, while at the same time the states capacity to coerce, to collect taxes, and to generate legitimacy continues to decline at an ever accelerating rate. Ever fewer people listen to political speeches, or feel identification with the winning party. People are less inclined to imagine that voting can make any difference, less inclined to believe that legislation or courts possess moral authority. Both trends are driven by simple and powerful forces that are easy to understand. Numerous books, both serious (public choice theory) and humorous, and even a television series (“Yes Minister”) have explained these forces and why they are unstoppable. These two trends will inevitably collide in the not very distant future, are already beginning to collide. The states every increasing use of lawless coercion will collide, is already colliding, with its ever decreasing capacity to coerce.

“This collision will recreate, over several decades, a situation where there is plurality of force. Free societies have only arisen where there is plurality of force. Of course plurality of force does not guarantee a free society. It merely makes it possible. Social collapse is also possible. During the coming crisis we must keep our eyes fixed on the simple ancient truths of natural rights and natural law. We must discriminate between those who use force lawfully and those who use force unlawfully, and must act accordingly, we must discriminate between those who deal honorably and those who deal dishonorably, and must act accordingly. If we do that then we will have a functioning civil society.

“The Greeks, in their war with the Persians, demonstrated that the true unity that comes from common adherence to the rule of law is more powerful than the appearance of unity that comes from common submission to centralized authority.”

TUELLER DRILL REVISITED

Posted: July 23, 2013 in Self Defense

This is why we cannot rely on firearms alone.

United States Krav Maga's Blog

We do this very drill with law enforcement officers in our LE training. We have one officer with a training knife five feet away draw that knife and sprint towards the other officer to see if he can get his handgun out of the holster and trained on the attacker before being stabbed. We then repeat at ten feet, then fifteen. When we finally move the attacker back far enough that the officer can get his sidearm out and trained on the attacker we remind them that one shot isn’t going to knock the attacker off his feet. We have videos we show where an attacker takes ten or more shots mid chest and keeps stabbing and slashing. Most officers know that they need to be twenty-one feet away to draw and fire on an attacker with a knife before that attacker can get to them. This number has actually…

View original post 632 more words

police-interview and interrogationDue to recent events, I recently began researching Stand Your Ground laws. This study indirectly led to countless articles and videos on what an armed citizen should do in the event they use their firearm to defend themselves or others. As I delved into this hotly contested arena, I discovered two main ideologies: 1. tell the responding officers nothing until you talk with your attorney and 2. Cooperate with the responding officers, tell them the key details and then ask for your attorney. The first ideology seems to have the most fervent evangelists (composed largely of lawyers and litigation-wary commentators). The second position has Massad Ayoob, the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network and other well-respected and experienced commentators.

Shhhh

The premise of the first group is that familiar phrase: “anything you say can, and will be, used against you in a court of law.” The argument boils down to this: if you don’t say anything then law enforcement can’t use your words against you. The typical advice given is to tell the 911 operator there was a shooting at your address, describe what you are wearing, and not much else. Variants of this belief include stating “I was in fear of my life” and then shutting up.

While keeping silent will certainly prevent your words from being used against you, keeping silent may also get you arrested and put in jail. Now depending on where you live, getting arrested and jailed may be guaranteed just by the use of a firearm,self-defense or not. If you live in an anti-gun state (or city) not talking with law enforcement may just be your best bet.

Empire-State-Building-shooting_1_1-e1346168287857

However, for most of the USA, not talking with the responding officer will probably cause undue suspicion to fall on you. In a defensive gun use scenario there are two roles that are played: victim and perpetrator. The guy laying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk is doing a wonderful job playing the part of a victim. If you do not talk with the police, they will likely assign you the role of perpetrator and then it will all have to be worked out in court. Remember, the responding officers set the tone for the investigation of the shooting. If they suspect you of murder, they will look at the situation with a very different view than if they are pretty sure you acted in self-defense. As an experienced Police Officer and an expert witness in self-defense shootings, Massad Ayoob advocates following a 5 step plan.

  1. Point out Perpetrator to Police: “Officer, this man laying here threatened me with a knife and said he was going to kill me.”law-enforcement
  2. Tell Police you will “Sign the Complaint”: In cop language, this is affirming your role as the victim.
  3. Point out Evidence to Police: Evidence will disappear if not immediately marked and documented.
  4. Point out Witnesses to Police: Many people in our society prefer not to get involved and will simply walk away. These witness will probably provide great supporting testimony for your case and it is very important the police interview them.
  5. Give full cooperation in 24 hours: “Officer, you know how important this is. You will have my full cooperation in 24 hours after I speak with my Attorney.” People need time for the physiological effects of a traumatic event, such as a shooting, to wear off before they can make accurate statements. In fact, many first responders aren’t allowed to make a report until a certain time period has elapsed (typically 24 to 48 hours). Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police actually fought against the city to ensure the Independent Police Review Authority wait at least 24 hours before interviewing the officer involved in a shooting.

After much reading and analyzing, I personally have decided to go with Massad’s five point plan. It strikes the balance of giving the responding officers enough information for them to know I’m a good guy yet also lets me know when to stop talking so I don’t say something that will later come back to haunt me. I hope you too will carefully research and decide the approach you will use if you ever have to use your firearm for self-defense. Prepare for it now, so you can limit the risks of doing something stupid if the situation ever arises. Also, find a local attorney, experienced in justified shootings (the lawyer the local cops use would be a good one), and keep his number on hand or programmed into your phone.

On duty

For Further Research:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vaC6jCIyLo Wrong way and Right Way Shooting

http://www.stevemunden.com/selfdefense.html

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/episode-1094-massad-ayoob-on-lethal-force-aftermath

http://hardtargetfirearms.com/company/tactical-safety-info/22-the-aftermath-of-a-self-defense-shooting

http://www.gundigest.com/gun-blogs/after-the-shooting-do-what-the-police-say

Police-Home-InvasionLast week, we began talking about home invasions and what you can do to deter and prevent criminals from entering your home. Now that we have examined the steps you can take to harden the exterior of your home, let’s look at what you need to do inside your home.

 Have a Plan

It is imperative you talk with those with whom you live and establish a plan of action. Figure out which room in your house will make the best safe room. The safe room should have one entry door and a window that will allow escape, if need be. Establish an action word that will trigger your family to run to the safe room. (Once you have called 911, make sure you stay in the safe room. For a succinct explanation of why staying put is so important please watch this video.) In your safe room, get as far from the door as you can while staying behind cover. This will give you the advantage of time should the intruder come through that door.

Home-Invasion-Defensive-Position

Determine which family member  is responsible for:

~calling 911.

~shepherding/carrying the young children into the safe room

~arming themselves

~any other activities your particular family needs done.

Develop plans for situations where you don’t have time to get to the safe room. What will you do then? If you choose to fight back, what weapons are readily available for use in each room? As most home invaders enter the front door, it is probably a good idea to place helpful items near the door. Some people choose to have a firearm in every room. With whatever weapon you decide to use, make sure it is readily accessible. Having a baseball bat by the door does you no good if the door will block you from the bat when it is open. You also need to mentally prepare with detailed imaginings of the potential scenarios that will trigger you to reach for the weapon, what you will do with it, and the aftermath.

BaseballBat
Practice Your Plans

Home-defense1Take the time to drill with your family. Home Invasion (HI) drilling with your family will increase the reaction speed during a crisis and may save lives. Caution: if you are drilling with firearms, be especially careful to remove ammunition from the firearms before beginning the drill! (Personally, I would put the ammunition in a separate room and on semiautomatics I would lock all the slides back. Remember, simply ejecting the magazine does not mean the firearm is unloaded. There may still be a round in the chamber so make a point of locking the slide back and physically inspecting the chamber. Many people have been shot with “unloaded” firearms.)  For the same reason schools have fire drills every month, it is important for your family to HI drill frequently. Practicing once a year will have little, if any, positive effects on your family’s reaction time. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

Maintain Your Tools

Periodically check the equipment you plan to use. Make sure the flashlight batteries are still functioning at full capacity. Rotate spare magazines through your semi-automatic firearms to reduce the possibility of malfunctions.0018132e_medium

Other Considerations

_wsb_175x129_DSC01428

Retreating to a safe room is one of the best case scenarios for surviving a home invasion. And certainly, the most recommended by security experts and police alike. However, life is not entirely comprised of best case scenarios. There are situations that necessitate leaving the safe room and venturing out into the rest of the house.  For example, one of your family members did not make it into the safe room. Most (if not all)of us would leave the safe room in search for the missing child. In such a situation, knowing how to safely clear each room is vital knowledge. Honestly, while there are countless videos, tutorials, and articles on the subject of clearing rooms and other home tactics that I could direct you to, watching,

_wsb_205x129_DSC01427

reading, and talking about it will only take you so far. Finding a local instructor in home tactics or traveling to a well-renowned tactical training course will be of  far more value to you than watching hours of videos. Hands-on instruction by experienced trainers and supervised implementation of tactics will serve you much better than practicing strategies learned through YouTube. If you are serious about protecting your home and your family, participating in a professionally taught tactical training course is your next step.

Such professional courses should also include instruction on interacting with Law Enforcement and the aftermath of shooting incidents. There are right and wrong ways to talk with Law Enforcement (starting with the 911 call) and this knowledge is just as vital as knowing how to shoot and clear rooms. We will delve further into that topic next week.

 

Final Thoughts

Each home must be evaluated individually to determine the best defense plan for your family. This post is designed to be more of a summary than a definitive article. Many others, far more knowledgeable than I, have devoted extensive articles, videos, posts and books about this topic. A few of them are listed below. If you feel I neglected an important component of home defense, please comment and let me know. If you have any advice or tips to add please do the same. I find I often learn more from conversations and comments than I do from articles.

sefl-defense-at-home

 

For Further Research:

Two well known and highly respected training centers are:

http://massadayoobgroup.com/

http://www.thunderranchinc.com/

 

Articles and Videos:

http://www.sammyfranco.com/home_invasion.html

http://www.survivalblog.com/2013/04/excerpt-from-home-invasion-prevention-by-frank-hilliard.html

http://offgridsurvival.com/homeinvasion/

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10738954.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1ylI0ujaGE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD3zIA6vJkQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsxbn3-2ohg

http://nationalcitypd.com/crime-prevention/home-invasion

http://www.sbtnj.net/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={40116E30-5118-45CD-B688-EBEAFA36E03C}&DE={57D44B4F-5B29-43C4-B38E-8FCC4102DD18}

http://homeinvasion.ecoffeeonline.com/

http://www.livesecure.org/preventing-and-surviving-a-home-invasion/

http://full-contact.military.com/2011/01/07/5-tactical-tips-to-survive-a-home-invasion/

http://www.handgunsmag.com/2012/09/17/mind-games-how-to-mentally-prepare-for-danger/

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 11.02.52 PMAs was so graphically illustrated by the nanny cam video from New Jersey, home invasions are quick, violent and brutal. Burglaries are quick, sudden, and sickening but at least the homeowner typically is not home. Unfortunately, with the downturn in the economy, burglaries and home invasions have increased nationwide and here in the Atlanta area. In fact these types of crimes are now all too common in the Metro Atlanta area. Doing all that you can to stay safe while out and about does not do you any good if a criminal can enter your home with one swift kick.

The average burglar or home invader is looking for an easy target. For them crime is all about risk versus reward. For the criminal the risk is getting caught or shot. The reward is getting your valuables, money or you. (Stalker or other psychotic type criminals have a different way of thinking and require a different security approach–preferably a full-time Secret Service team).

goldt

If you, as the homeowner, can up their risk they are less likely to choose your home. While digging a moat and/or surrounding your house with razor wire would certainly make your home much more secure, it probably won’t go over real well with your neighbors (or your family). Since crooks are looking for targets with the lowest risk and highest reward you don’t have to make your home Ft. Knox, just make it higher risk than the house down the street.

So how do you make your home appear to be a higher risk? Let’s start at the perimeter and work our way in.

  1. Establish a border for your property. This establishes a clear line of demarcation. There is no doubt they have crossed a line. The border may be a fence, landscaping or anything else you may come up with.
  2. Most of the articles I read and videos I watched strongly urged people to display security alarm signs in the front yard. The idea is the crook will see the sign and move on to a house that doesn’t have security. However, with all the false alarms and budget cut-backs law enforcement departments across the country are de-prioritizing alarms. Burglars can be in and out of a house in a matter of minutes yet recent reports suggest police in large cities will respond in 30+ minutes if they respond at all. Crooks are well aware of this fact. So I’m not sure how much of a deterrence those signs really are.
  3. Trim your landscape to eliminate hiding places, especially around windows and doors. That delightfully aromatic Gardenia Bush is lovely but may provide the perfect hiding spot for a criminal. Modifying your landscape to include prickly things may also discourage burglars. Nothing quite like encountering a thorn-bush to dissuade one from one’s intended path.
  4. Light up the night! Criminals prefer darkness (see John 3:19). Position the lights in such a way that dark spots are eliminated. Motion detector lights are good, but only activate once motion is detected. That doesn’t necessarily help with deterrence.
  5. Remove objects in the yard that could be used to help a thief access your house (ex. the ladder lying in the back yard).
  6. Reinforce your windows with films and hardware.intruderprotection
  7. Lock your windows!!!
  8. Keep your garage door closed!!
  9. The front door is the number one entry for home invaders and burglars. There are multiple steps you can take to enhance the security of your front door.
    1. Replace your screen door with a decorative iron security door and keep it locked!
    2. Make sure your front door is solid. Hollow-core doors are very weak.
    3. Reinforce the hinges with 3 in. screws, the door jamb with strike plates, and make sure you have a good dead bolt.
    4. Do not count on security chains as they snap very easily. Instead go with a Door Club, OnGARD a LineBacker door bar or some other such device.
    5. Glass on or near your door is also a weak spot in your security. I would suggest reinforcing it with the same film as the windows.
    6. Install and use a peephole.
    7. You could also install a door like this: Sur Door. (But that’s going a bit overboard for most of us…seeing how we have easily accessed back and side doors).
  10. Don’t open the door to strangers!!! While this sounds simple, a large portion of home invasions happen when an occupant opens the door. Frequently a home invader will use a decoy to knock on your door. This person may be a child selling magazines, a man dressed in a utility uniform or a lady asking to use the phone because her car broke down. In the case of an uniformed person, get their name and the name of the company they claim to work for and call the company (don’t ask the person on the doorstep for the number… look it up). If they are legit, they should understand your concerns and have no problem with you checking up on them. Offer to call somebody for the lady with the broken down car. And while talking through the door may seem rude, it’s better to be alive and rude than robbed/beaten and polite. Having an iron security door, in place of a screen door, can certainly help in these situations. That way you can open the front door while maintaining a level of safety. That locked, iron door may also give you that precious second you need to slam and lock the front door. Something like the Door Club or the LineBacker would also work well for these situations.
  11. And of course, Fido.Angry+dog+Bite+Children+Body Language+Nonverbal+Expert+Expert+Speaker+Speaker+Keynote+Keynote+Las Vegas+Orlando+Southern California
    Any size canine will add some level of deterrence. Obviously, larger dogs are more intimidating but small ones are also very good at alerting their owners to incoming traffic. Don’t trust your dog to be much of an actual guard dog though. Many burglars will come prepared to deal with your Best Friend, one way or another. The criminal may bribe Honey with a treat, let Max rush past him and lock the door after Max or kill Marley.

Implementing as many of the above steps as feasible will certainly make your home appear as a higher risk target. However, don’t bask in a false sense of security after doing all that. A determined person will get through those barriers. They will slow him down,  alert you to his presence, and give you time to implement your defense plan but they are not a guarantee. In addition to these external barriers, there are many other things that can be done inside the home to increase the odds of you and your loved ones surviving an attack from a determined home invader. We will explore the internal safeguards next week.

Please comment with any other tips or advice on protecting our homes.

For further research…

http://www.itstactical.com/intellicom/physical-security/protecting-against-home-invasions/

http://www.homeinvasionnews.com/

http://www.globalsecurityexperts.com/home-security/crime-prevention-advice/home-invasion-stats.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRtupSpEGQc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsxbn3-2ohg

http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/preparing-for-home-defense/

http://modernsurvivalblog.com/security/21-things-your-burglar-wont-tell-you/

http://www.thewellarmedwoman.com/Does-A-Woman-Need-A-Gun-For-Home-Defense

http://www.nrablog.com/post/2009/02/27/NRA-Basics-of-Personal-Protection-In-the-Home.aspx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0nD6i-NqV0

http://www.gunsandammo.com/2011/11/29/prevent-home-invasions/

http://offgridsurvival.com/homeinvasion/

http://www.crimedoctor.com/home2.htm

MuggerAfter writing the last few blog posts, I am now looking around and noticing my environment. I observe people as they enter the store, I look for people standing near my car in the parking lot, and I watch out for suspicious people on the sidewalk. Yet, one question has pestered my brain. How do I know when a suspicious person is a threat (because it’s typically not as easy a masked man with a big knife)? It’s easy to be suspicious of people in general. In fact, it’s not too hard to get suspicious of everybody. But since I want to stay in the land of the sane, there must be a way to determine if there is an active threat or not. That young man in thick sweatshirt walking towards me on a sweltering June day may work in a freezer all day long. He may genuinely be cold. He may also be cold natured or fighting off some kind of illness. Or he may be concealing a weapon and preparing to attack. A person of any age, race, or sex may be a threat. How in the world is anyone to know which of the people below is the real threat?

Man-in-Suit-Walking Woman+with+Coffee Red-Stripper-Advocate-375x375 Man+with+Beard+and+Shades1

There must be some cues to look for that will reveal the truth. Thankfully, we humans are not very good at hiding our thoughts. If you know what to look for, you can frequently determine the immediate plans of all but the most skilled actors and criminals. We humans communicate our intentions through countless ways, ranging from subtle to blatant. As one specific action could potentially indicate multiple things (e.g. eye contact may indicate romantic interest or an impending assault) behavioral signals are often grouped into clusters. There are clusters for indicating happiness, anger, depression, etc…  To read a person’s body language you must look at the cluster of behaviors they are exhibiting. As my goal is to be able to identify an impending threat, I focused my research on two clusters: an assault is possible and an assault is imminent.

An Assault Is Possible

What behavioral signals should I look for in that too warmly dressed man coming toward me to see if he is planning on attacking me? What are the early warning signs?tumblr_mfo3q44m861s1pgdso1_400
1. Does his face change color? A light-skinned face will turn red as the body prepares for a high level of activity. His blood is pumping faster and adrenaline is starting to flow.
2. What are his lips doing? If they are pushed forward, baring his teeth, that is a bad sign. Remember, if it’s a warning when done by an animal, it’s probably just as bad a sign when done by a human.
3. Wait, did he just spit? Excessive salivation may be an indicator that his body is getting amped up for major activity. However, he may simply be partaking in the old southern tradition of chewing tobacco. The difference should be obvious by the color of the spit. Either way, I’ll keep my distance.
4. Is he breathing normally? His breathing will get quicker and deeper as his body prepares for the attack.
Angry-guy-Ver-2-by-blackand5. Where is he looking? Is he looking at me? Does he have the “Thousand Yard Stare” (looking through you with eyes glazed; an empty stare)? Red Flag!!
6. Direct, uninterrupted eye contact is also NOT GOOD!
7. Are his movements within the normal spectrum of movement? Exaggerated movements, pacing, pointing and uncontrolled scratching can all be indicators the body is trying to find something to do with the high levels of adrenaline now coursing through him. Or he could be scratching due to his recent discovery that burning Poison Ivey is really not the best idea.
Other things to look out for include:
1. A person standing with their head and shoulders back, and squared off to you. Picture two teenage boys about to get into a fight… They walk up to each other, size each other up, talking trash the whole time… Thankfully, as the teacher, I could normally get between them before things went further but I know that stance well. It does not bode well for the person on the receiving end.
2. A person standing as tall as possible. Frequently, an attacker will make himself look as menacing as possible in order to make you afraid and thus an easy victim.angryman
3. A potential attacker may also redirect their activity if they are too frightened to directly assault you. Be wary of them! They may try to surprise you from the side or behind.
4. Sweating can certainly be a good indicator on cooler days, but is not a reliable metric during these hot Georgia summers. It’s just plain hot. No rush of adrenaline or nervousness needed to make a person sweat here.
5. And the obvious: If a person is belligerent, challenging, yelling, cursing, hostile, etc.. lookout!

While these early warning signs should certainly put you on high alert, or Condition Orange, force is not justified at this time. At this point, the best action is to create distance and by using body language or words discourage the threat from continuing his chosen course of action. Depending on the situation, stopping your forward movement and putting your hand on your firearm or other weapon while maintaining eye contact may be enough to discourage the attacker. You have let him know you see him, you are not intimidated, and you are prepared. He may choose to wait for an easier victim. Look for the following signs to determine if the attacker will escalate or submit.

An Assault Is Imminent:

If you see these signs go to Condition Red and create distance!!!

1. Face goes from red to white. As he is about to attack, blood will rush to the internal viscera and to major muscle groups of his body and leave the face looking white or grey.
2. The lips will tighten over the teeth. Again, picture a dog about to attack.3949045681_1ce9b3914a_z
3. Breathing becomes rapid and deep. His body is sucking in oxygen as it prepares for the outburst of energy needed for the attack.
4. His stance may change to a bladed position or he may shift forward or back.
5. The hands are frequently held up between the hips and face. They may be clenched or clenching and unclenching. If you have ever taken martial arts or even just done Tae Bo you are familiar with this position.
6. The attacker may begin bobbing up and down on their toes as they try to bleed off the excess oxygen in their system.
7. They may also rock back and forth for the same reason.
8. You may see them give a quick glance to a soft point on your body, such as your stomach, groin or even your jaw. This is the Target Glance. They are picking the place they will attack first.
9. The head will go down-breaking eye contact in an instinctual move to protect their neck.
10. Eyebrows are brought forward in a frown.
11. Verbalization stops. If the attacker has been cussing, challenging, etc… up to this point, but he or she suddenly goes quiet, be prepared for an attack.
12. Movement stops. The phrase “the calm before the storm” comes to mind.
13. Body lowers and center drops. They are assuming the “combat crouch.”

Signs of Submission or Escape:

De-escalate your use of force when you see these signs.

fearful dog in another submissive posture1. The attacker pulls his hands up in front of his body with his palms out.
2. He lowers his tone and volume, slowing his rate of speech.
3. He may freeze and become totally inactive.
4. There is a chance, however small, that he may fall to the ground as a means of clearly showing his submission to you. Again, I revert back to dog behavior… think of a submissive dog that goes belly up when they meet with a dominant dog.
5. A clear indicator of submission is a reduction in violent movements.
6. Turning and walking away is one of the most obvious signs of escape
7. And running away has to be the most obvious.

While these signs are good to see, keep in mind that the attacker may say “Ok, Ok, don’t shoot. I give up.” in an attempt to get you to relax and lower your guard. Remember, somebody who is willing to attack you will have no problem lying to you. Don’t believe them unless their words are accompanied by the corresponding body language.

Concluding Thoughts:

Do not shoot the attacker once they have clearly demonstrated their submission or intent to escape. It is illegal in most, if not all, states to shoot a fleeing suspect. If they are no longer a threat to you or your loved ones you are no longer acting in self-defense. To shoot them when they are not a threat constitutes murder not self-defense. Our goal in self-defense is to stop the threat, not to kill.

One other thing to keep in mind, while much of the body language described above is primitive and not affected by culture, actions that are viewed as hostile by some may be culturally acceptable by others. Learn what is normal for the area you are in. Be wary of the “not-normal.”

Overall, listen to your gut. God built us with a wonderful alarm system. Listen to it. If something feels “not right,” even if it doesn’t logically make sense, follow that feeling. Get out or move away or whatever you need to do. And if your actions cause a stranger to think you are rude, so be it. It is better to have a false positive and be alive than be polite and dead. Don’t let social rules and fear stop you from obeying that voice inside. It may just be God’s voice.

Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer nor am I trained in the law. I am simply passing on the knowledge I have gained from others (who also are not lawyers). Do your due diligence and research the laws in your state. I also recommend you find a 2nd Amendment friendly lawyer in your town and get together with him or her to discuss the laws in your area.

Additional Reading:

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob87.html
http://submissions101.com/articles/signs-of-attack-real-world-self-defense-by-darren-laur.html
http://www.self-defense-mind-body-spirit.com/understanding-body-language.html
http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/monkey_dance.htm