Avoid Confrontation When Possible
In The Art of War, Sun Tzu observed, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” That’s not only good advice for warfare, it’s good advice for self defense as well.
When it comes to justifiable use of deadly force, you should seek to avoid confrontation unless you have no choice and your life is on the line. This is easier to say than to do because it requires that you be calm and peace-loving throughout your life, but ready to use with deadly force at any moment.
Here are some practical points that can help you avoid situations that can put you in both physical and legal peril.
Should you defend others?
There are some situations that can present ethical uncertainty. On one hand, it is our obligation to help our fellow citizens whenever they are in trouble. On the other hand, it can be difficult to assess a situation accurately in the heat of the moment.
If you see one man on top of another man throwing punches, should you intercede? How do you know who is the victim? Is the guy on top the bad guy? Or is he a victim turning the tables on his attacker? Is he a cop subduing a criminal? Or is this mutual combat where the two are both bad guys who got into a fight?
Defending others takes you into very dangerous legal ground where an error in judgment can cost a life or rain down a legal nightmare on you.
Should you stop a crime in progress?
There is a thin line between being a good citizen and being a vigilante. The rule of thumb is to never get involved in any criminal activity unless you are threatened with death or great bodily harm. In most cases, you will do more good by reporting the crime to police and letting them handle it.
What about defense of property?
Is it legal to shoot someone who is attempting to take your car or big screen TV? In some places and in particular circumstances, it may be. But in most cases, it is not. Moreover, using deadly force and potentially taking a life just to protect an object is difficult to defend morally. Life should be taken only if life is being threatened. Objects can be replaced, lives cannot.
Are you aware of your surroundings?
Most people spend their lives in a perpetual state of distraction: daydreaming, fumbling with groceries, talking on the phone or texting, thinking about what they did yesterday or plan to do tomorrow. This provides criminals a wide selection of potential victims, because bad guys almost always prefer surprise attacks.
Being aware isn’t about living in fear or being paranoid 24-hours a day, eyes darting left to right, looking for attackers around every corner. It simply means maintaining a relaxed but active state of environmental perception. Who is around you? What is going on? What might happen? Where are your escape paths?
It’s really just about paying attention and NOT being preoccupied. Attention is like a spotlight. When you shine it on one thing, that thing is easier to see while everything else is harder to see.
We might also say that situational awareness is about focus and what you choose to focus on at any given moment. Multi-tasking is a myth. While you might think you can focus on more than one thing at a time, your brain is really switching back and forth between the objects of your focus. So situational awareness is about making wise choices about where to focus your attention in different situations. The sooner you spot potential trouble, the more time and options you have to avoid a confrontation.
This is an excerpt from our Free Report, 7 Proven Strategies to Survive the Legal Aftermath of Armed Self Defense. Click here to request a copy.