How do you know when to act?

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Hawke, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. Hawke

    Hawke Master Black Belt

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    Scenario:
    Mugger has a gun pointed at you and wants your money.

    How do you know this mugger will not shoot?

    I hear a lot of people say that if the mugger really wanted to kill you he would have shot you first then take your cash.

    I'm going to assume (this is dangerous) that if the mugger is close enough to demand your money he is close enough to disarm.

    What signs do you look, listen, feel for to see if it's just a basic robbery or something more dangerous?

    This is a story I heard....

    A woman walking down the street gets pulled into an alley and sees a mugger with a gun. After the mugger gets the purse he tells her to drop her pants. She says why. He says so she cannot run after him. He then tells her to close her eyes. She says why. He responds by telling her he doesn't want her to know which way he is going. This story does not end well.

    After you give up your money, jewelry, watch, wallet, purse what do you do?

    Run away?
    Walk away?
    Ever turn your back on the mugger?
    Where do you run/walk to?
    Would you yell FIRE!?

    What advice would you give your mother? grandfather? child? loved one?

    Thank you in advance. Hope the responses will be helpful for others.
     
  2. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    Well, first of all, those people who say that if the robber was going to shoot you, he would have already done it don't know much about REAL armed robberies.....grave yards are filled with cooperative victims who gave their robber everything he wanted, and got murdered for their troubles.....I seem to recall several murdered victims in a Lane Bryant store in Chicago, Illionois, herded to the back and murdered during a robbery.

    So the short answer to the question of how do you know if they are going to shoot or not is....YOU DON'T! Which makes the argument 'Your life isn't worth your money' silly in it's assumption that cooperation will mean you won't die, when the outcome very well could be your money AND your life!

    One thing I would remove from my mind, though....the notion of a 'basic robbery'.....that's like a 'basic murder'......there's not such thing. A robbery, especially where a weapon is involved, is a DEADLY SERIOUS proposition!

    If someone wants a one size fits all response, again, there isn't one! What do you do? Well, cooperation can get you killed......fighting back can get you killed. So which one is appropriate in any given situation? It's a good topic for debate, but ultimately you pays your money and you takes your chances.....spin the wheel.

    I can tell you what I have every intention of doing......handing him my wallet with one hand and drawing and emptying my gun at point blank range in to him with the other! Does it guarantee my survival? Nope, but it's a plan of action....and A plan beats no plan any day.
     
  3. KenpoTex

    KenpoTex Senior Master

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    along the lines of what sarge said...

    I think people sometimes hear the "if he was gonna kill you he'd have done it already" thing and assume that since they're still alive, they're going to be okay.

    The way I would put it would be: If he's standing there talking he didn't want to kill you YET. That doesn't mean he isn't willing to do so, or that he won't after he gets what he wants (or if you provoke him, or if he's on drugs and suddenly freaks out, etc.).

    There is no way of knowing what's going through his mind. To say that "I'll give him what he wants and only fight if I think he's going to kill me" is, IMO, rather dumb. The only way you're going to know for sure whether he's going to shoot you or not is when you see the muzzle flash and by then it may very well be too late.

    I can't tell anyone what to do and I can't say specifically what I'd do. However, I think having "I'm going take him out at the earliest possible opportunity" as a general rule would be better than "I'm not going to fight unless I know for sure he's going to shoot."

    The fact that he is robbing you with a weapon is justification for deadly force...make sure that you have the capability to deliver this level of force and use it as quickly as possible to stop the threat.
     
  4. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    TRUE THAT! +1
     
  5. SenseiBear

    SenseiBear Blue Belt

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    I would agree that sounds like a misunderstanding. I mean, I agree "if he was gonna kill you he'd have done it already" - but that just means their sole purpose isn't to kill you. Now you have the opportunity to fight back or escape.

    I think if they ask for your wallet you should give it, and if that makes them go away great. But you shouldn't count on it and cooperate thinking that will make you ok. Again, cooperate, but while looking for those opportunities to escape and/or fight back. Have a game plan, try to manipulate the situation to increase your chances...

    For someone to think that they can just cooperate and the attacker will stroll off like nothing happened is rather dumb... They are, after all, and attacker...
     
  6. LawDog

    LawDog Master Black Belt

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    The average person does not know if someone is really going to kill you or not. Most have never been in an armed confrontation and because of this they will be on a very high level of stress. This stress will could cause you to,
    * miss read your attacker
    * think to heavily, this will cause much eye motion which is readable,
    * tend to look down at the weapon which tells your opponent that you could be thinking about doing something,
    * your high stress level could cause you to second guess yourself which causes a hesitation, telegraph, and your opponent will read this.
    * etc etc.
    Unless you can do, without thinking, your defense techniques during live interaction drills I would not recommend that you try one. If you know that he is going to kill you then you must, mithout hesitation or thought choose your course of action.
    Even the professionals have a tought time with these situations.
     
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  7. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    I refer you to the thread on Predatory behavior for how to act in these scenarios.....using the predatory masking of behavior and misdirection, one can see how you can go from sheep......to LION in sheep's clothing....by appearing to cooperate, appearing to be concilliatory, by appearing to be harmless.....you can lull your attacker in to making his OWN fatal error!

    Talk nice, THINK EVIL!

    I know from personal experience how simply giving the impression of total surrender right before a moment of TOTAL attack, you can turn the odds.
     
  8. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    i do believe the man has a plan like mine.. i agree
     
  9. FieldDiscipline

    FieldDiscipline 2nd Black Belt

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    What you can do is limited greatly by the situation. Not least the attackers range. If the weapon is close to you; you only have to move the barrel two inches to be out of the line of fire.

    You have to make a decision. Yes or No. Based on a very quick assessment and then commit yourself 100% to that course of action. Bang it out of the way and give the attacker everything you've got, as brutally and aggressively as you can. Otherwise you're gonna die.

    If the weapon is out of reach on the other hand, you're gonna have to bide your time. But make a decision, its all about the decision!
     
  10. theletch1

    theletch1 Grandmaster

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    Hey, SgtMac, I'm stealing that for my sig line. I like it and will probably use it in class sooner or later.:wink2:
     
  11. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    If he's showing you the gun it means that he isn't planning on killing you right at this moment. That may change in half a second. But it gives you a precious instant or two to do something. There's no way of knowing exactly what he's going to do. He may not know himself. Most robberies do not end in shootings. Sometimes they will zip you anyway. Sometimes fighting back works. Other times it turns an economic transaction into a murder. There are no guarantees.

    You can run.
    You can comply.
    You can attack.
    You can yell or talk.

    Whatever you're going to do do it immediately and wholeheartedly. Napoleon said "I may lose a battle, but I will never lose a minute."

    If you're going to comply give him the money quickly and efficiently with a minimum of interaction, maybe tossing the wallet one way and running like hell in the other.

    If you're going to run, be over the horizon before "Give me" gets out of his mouth.

    If you're going to fight, tear his head off and beat him to death with it. Don't let him get his feet - physical or mental - under him until he's been taken apart. Remember that the gun is only dangerous if the little hole is pointed at you.
     
  12. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    Feel free......I stole it from someone else, but exactly 'who' escapes me at the moment. :)
     
  13. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    What he said...
     
  14. The_Fish

    The_Fish Yellow Belt

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    Another point to bear in mind is that I’ve heard people discussing these sorts of scenarios say the following:

    “If he looks quite nervous and shaky then he’s not going to have the balls to kill you – he’s just going for the money.”

    On the contrary, whilst that could be true in some encounters, in others it could be this ‘fear’ the attacker has that causes them to kill the person they are mugging.

    “If a person is aggressive and confident, they mean business. They’re really going to crack skulls.”

    Again, whilst applicable in some cases, in others it could be a person knowing that having a demeanour that shows you mean business, gets you what you want without the fuss of having to kill.

    In short, it’s extremely unlikely you are going to know what the attacker is going to do – just like the folks above said.

    My actions would depend on the conclusions I drew from my attacker. Try and make as many observations as possible – whilst some may be off the mark, the more you can learn about your attacker the more likely you are to know what course of action to take. Body language, build, coherence of speech and the like – I am going to have a different feel for a situation where my attacker is a skinny teenager practically ****ing their pants with nervousness with a shaky voice than a large burly fellow with very meaningful, dominant body language and a very confident tone of voice.

    For the former situation as an example, I would co-operate but attempt to negotiate whilst I am co-operating in a way so as not to offend – “Why are you doing this? There are plenty of other ways to make good money” as I hand over the wallet. Try to get a feel for the person. If I’m told to ‘shut up’ then I will. If they take the bait then I’ll continue speaking to them for a bit and try to gently dissuade them from the mugging if possible. My conversational, observational and reasoning skills are very strong (wish I could say the same for anything else :D) and I am a very diplomatic person by nature.

    For the latter, I would be 100% co-operative, ensuring my nervousness was showing (so as not to arouse any suspicion) and hope for the best. If I felt as though I was going to be killed anyway then I would probably try for an attack – though I’d probably make a fumble of it and get killed anyway, not being a skilled combatant.

    These are just blanket statements for situations – what I’d do (and probably what everyone else would do) would be dependant on the individual circumstances. My choices may get me in serious trouble if I misread anything (highly possible in a stressful situation) but I would feel most comfortable taking the co-operative route.

    A little story though – three years ago, I was walking in a particularly bad part of town in broad daylight, which was completely quiet, and I was approached by a mugger with a knife. He was just like the guy in my first example earlier – quite young, skinny build, did not carry himself with confidence and conviction and so on. He asked me for my wallet and phone, and the way he spoke suggested he wasn’t really confident in what he was doing. I took my phone out of my pocket (a new model), and asked if I could keep the SIM card, explaining it had my numbers saved on it and would be no use to him – trying to both test the waters with his smarts and also see if I could save myself the hassle of reclaiming unauthorised phone charges. He nodded, I took the SIM out, and handed him the handset (completely useless, as you need a SIM to use it, and handsets over here are usually free when you take out a contract and get a SIM for it). It suggests to me he didn’t really know what he was mugging me for (no clear goals, he hadn’t though anything through, just asked me for my phone without thinking about it) and wasn’t the brightest spark about. I then told him I had no wallet, and £20 in my pocket – I promised not to report the mugging and give him all the money provided he didn’t harm me (trying to suggest to him I am willing to do what it takes to survive). He agreed, I handed £20 from my pocket (I had about £80 in there) and then I ran like hell.

    In total, I was down £20 (my phone handset covered with insurance) and I remained unscathed (apart from a slightly damaged ego at being taken for a mug by some puny little wimp :D). Just to add, I don’t let that encounter cloud my judgement. I understand that in any of these sorts of situations, my life is at stake and I will do what I feel is right at the time in order to survive – that is ultimately what matters over material possessions.
     
  15. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    The idea that giving your items to the mugger and being able to walk away uninjured may be more wishful thinking than anything else. Yes, those things, such as your car, money, jewelery, etc can all be replaced, but there is nothing to say that the person won't shoot you anyway. Just a few days ago, there was another home invasion in CT. The person claims to have only intended to take some things and leave, yet out of fear that the 2 women would remember his face, he shot both of them. One survived, and one was killed. Fortunately, this dirtbag was caught.

    IMO, if there is no way to tell if you're going to make it out alive or not, I'd rather take my chances and fight.
     
  16. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    Yes.....a bad man who comes to victimize you is already demonstrating evil intent....the rest of the debate is about how evil he intends to go.
     
  17. The_Fish

    The_Fish Yellow Belt

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    999 out of 1000 times in this situationI would not feel comfortable with attempting to settle the situation with force. I am physically weak and currently have insignificant MA training and little 'real fighting' experience. I respond well to stressful situations and pressure however and I can keep my mind ticking over - but in a situation where I have a gun pointed at me, I can only assume that I will be a bit of a terrified mess.

    My train of thought is, if a person is mugging me, it stands to reason their primary concern is my wallet and not killing me. If I can appeal to this nature in a way I deem fit by trying to draw observations on my mugger then my chances of survival could well be higher than making an attempt at fighting them off whilst they are armed.

    May well be the last thing I should be doing - but truth be told, this is a question I wouldn't be able to answer becaues I would have no idea in reality, what I'd do until I was put in this situation.
     
  18. Andy Moynihan

    Andy Moynihan Senior Master

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    Well that's the thing--you have to decide NOW, before it happens, what you are willing to do, because in the midst of it there won't be time. It's not fair, but neither is life.
     
  19. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    In America we have something called a 'Gun'......and while he may have one, I have one too that he doesn't know about....and in a little less than a second i'm going to draw mine while handing him my wallet.....and shooting him until mine's empty. I refuse to make guesses of his intent, because that gives the initiative ENTIRELY to him! I'm not leaving it up to his good will.
     
  20. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    ABSOLUTELY! There's no time to have a debate and form a committee while it's happening!

    Though I most movies are very unrealistic in weapons use......I found Michael Mann's 'Collateral' with Tom Cruise quite the opposite....I suspect Tom spent CONSIDERABLE time researching and training with REAL weapon's experts to make his gun handling look real.

    There is a scene where he has his brief case stolen that I think illustrates very well the concept i'm referring to....that, though it's not a good place to have a gun pointed at you and trying to beat the drop.....IF the other guy doesn't know you're armed.....ACTION IS FASTER THAN REACTION!

    This is a prime example of how fast a trained person can draw from concealment and fire shots on target!



    Though I don't recommend the 'coup de grace' at the end.....remember Tom Cruise's character is a 'bad guy'....the tactics, not the motives, are the point of the clip.

    Note the act of 'submission', the hands raised so as to not to appear 'offensive', the clearing of the suspects gun off-line with your body with one hand, while drawing with the other....the 'Power Rock' at close range.......then the 'Mozambique Drill' on the second suspect!123
     
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