OPINION – Any time we are confronted with a great tragedy, there is a concerted effort to learn from it in hopes of preventing a similar recurrence. One painful lesson that has emerged from the Colorado movie theater shooting is the realization that, in most violent crimes, too many intended victims simply refuse to fight back.
This observation in no way places blame on those who, through no choice of their own, unwittingly found themselves in a deadly encounter. It is simply the recognition that a vast majority of Americans have become so dependent upon authority that they don’t believe they can act to save their lives without permission.
This mindset of dependence did not take hold overnight. It is the product of several generations in which government has assumed greater control over virtually every area of our lives. During this time, the average American has been indoctrinated to believe that only someone imbued with state authority can actually make a difference in a life-threatening encounter. This is not how a free people think.
As a result, we are becoming a culture of passive victims who can dial 911, and call for help, but who lack the decisiveness to personally take action in the face of fear. This sad truth is confirmed by numerous eyewitness accounts of the movie theater shootings in which people fled, hid, and screamed, but nobody fought back, attacked, or attempted to shoot the gunman.
Contrary to popular myth, even an active shooter can be physically assaulted and stopped by his unarmed intended victims. Self-defense instructor Kenny Allred explains it this way: “The key element is convincing students, or theater patrons, that neither permission nor authority is necessary to counterattack with anything and everything within reach. Training and practice is always key to surviving a low probability but high-risk event.”
This type of defensive training is not limited to agents of the state. It is also readily available to law-abiding citizens who are willing to shoulder this responsibility rather than waiting for the government to protect them.
Journalist Mike Adams also encourages this type of self-sufficiency by pointing out that, “Once you outsource your personal security to the government – usually by having no defense skills and hoping 911 will respond quickly – you make yourself an easy victim for violent criminals.
Naysayers and statists often dismiss the notion of non-state actors successfully taking an active role in stopping an attack as so much Walter Mittyish fantasizing. But anyone who has attended a quality firearms training or self defense academy knows better.
This is because they have actually paid the price, monetary and otherwise, to develop skill at arms and the crucial mindset that allows them to act rather than simply react. They have consciously chosen not to be good victims and they will fight, not just to survive, but also to win.
Jeffery Snyder’s essay “A Nation of Cowards” offers a powerful antidote for our current trend of learned helplessness: “One who values his life and takes seriously his responsibilities to his family and community will possess and cultivate the means of fighting back, and will retaliate when threatened with death or grievous injury to himself or a loved one. He will never be content to rely solely on others for his safety, or to think he has done all that is possible by being aware of his surroundings and taking measures of avoidance.”
Martial artist Keith Owen advises having and practicing a “crisis rehearsal” as part of one’s training. He said: “It’s having a predetermined plan in a self-defense situation such as a bank robbery, home invasion, car-jacking, road rage or personal attack. This line of thinking will help you react quickly in doing what you need to do to survive or help someone else survive a life or death encounter whether it be running, protecting or attacking. It doesn’t always mean you’ll make the right decision or even the best one, but it will help you take some action and not just freeze with indecision.”
Those who have never paid the price of this type of preparation can protest all they want, but the truth is that even an unarmed person, with the proper mindset, can turn the tables on an attacker.
The bottom line is we should be armed. We should be trained. And we should be perfectly willing to defend ourselves, without waiting for permission, when facing a deadly threat.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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