“The importance of an effective self-defense mindset can no more be valued than can a ship to a sailor.” — Steve Pearl
“Teenager gets in car with man in parking lot.”
“Woman opens door to stranger, taken from house, neighbor says”
“Young man out of boot camp robbed and carried off in suspects car.”
“Man struggles with robber in front of restaurant, wife shot and dies.”
“Man grabs grocery cart with child in it, abducts mother and child.”
You alone have the combination to your personal security and self-defense. All effective self-defense starts and ends with your attitude not a particular weapon. Many of us have attitudes which work against our own safety in a crisis. The reason that a “proper” self-defense mindset is so important is time. In an assault you normally have about one to three precious seconds to make a decision and effect a response.
It is critically important that these one to three seconds be used to safely escape or terminate all of the hostilities toward you, whatever that may mean. There will be no time for you to figure out what you are willing to do in defense of yourself or your family. There are some very tough decisions to make before that one to three second window of action that may either end your life or radically change it forever.
A man dies
This week in my city, a man pulled into a car lot and left his car running. The man looked out the window of the dealership and saw a car thief getting in his car. The hard working and well meaning citizen ran outside and pulled his legal handgun out and fired several shots at the thief. The car hit a light pole and rolled over. The thief was put out of business permanently. Some would say, GREAT, mark one down for the good guys. While it is true that one less criminal will be walking the streets, the honest citizen will be defending himself in court as to why he killed a person who was driving away from a crime scene and not putting anyone’s life in jeopardy.
Don’t think I have any misplaced sympathy for the lowlifes and predators that walk our street and make advise like this column necessary. I do, however, have sympathy for this man and his family who will endure years of litigation and maybe even jail time because he never thought out before the fact what a reasonable moral and legal response would be for the various robbery or assault situations.
Also in my city…
Within the last couple of months, several honest citizens have killed predators who were threatening their lives with deadly weapons. If these brave citizens had not responded instantly to the threat, they might likely have been on the casualty list of the good guys. The local DA quickly dismissed these acts of self-defense as merely that, justifiable cases of protecting one life against some lowlife. (Actually the legal system does not use the terms lowlife and dirtbag yet.) Criminals are more correctly called suspects, defendants, and assailants.
Most people live under the assumption that you never know what you will do in an emergency so why get all bothered about it beforehand.? This is just not true! There is a reason that every skill, vocation and profession goes through extensive training to do what they do. It is so that they will predictably respond to the training in their area of expertise.
A self-defense mindset is nothing more than mental training to respond in a predetermined manner under a variety of different personal security scenarios. It does not require you enlisting in the FBI boot camp or joining a paramilitary group. It does not require you going out and buying a weapon. This may be part of your plan but that will be determined by you, not by someone like me.
“If you think you are a victim, you are right!” — Steve Pearl
A mindset is more than just information in the data bank of your brain. It is information propelled by an attitude. We seldom have conscious input into our attitudes. Why is it that we like or dislike certain things? Why is it that certain things make us happy, angry and even terrified? How can one small mental trigger send our mind and our body into an emotional and even physical trauma? It is because attitudes are what make up our “operating system.” Attitudes are an actual tendency to act or react in a predictable manner. They are the result of unconscious programming of information that has been set in place like a building stone with mortar. If information were the stones, emotion is the mortar. Together, information which has been reinforced by an emotion is like a brick wall in our mind.
To respond in an appropriate manner in a crisis is usually the result of training, either conscious or unconscious. A self-defense mindset is an conscious effort to program responsible and effective information into your mind and then allow that information to be “set in stone” by your emotions. It is now a mindset!
“Accepting violence in a marital environment makes as much sense as learning to live with one end of your sofa on fire!” — Steve Pearl
These are attitudes which many people tend to embrace. They will have a negative impact in any self-defense crisis:
- An attitude of denial, oh it could never happen to me
- That I can talk my way out of anything
- That I cannot defend myself, I am too old, too small, too large, too nice
- That all I need to do is obey the criminal and everything will turn out ok
- That the power of positive thinking will put a protective shield around me
- I do not believe in firearms so there is nothing I can do to protect myself
- That the chances of something bad actually happening to me are about as rare as getting struck by lighting
- That going around with a self-defense consciousness will put me in a bad mood and spoil the rest of my life
- That caution and fear are the same
- That one never knows what they will do in an emergency so why get stressed out beforehand
- That it is morally wrong and un-Christian to harm another one of God’s children
- That when I am assaulted, there will be plenty of time to work out a plan
- That I only need to be alert when I am in “bad” parts of town
- To always be unaware of my surroundings
Yes, I am bad
Although there is no “right” philosophy of self-defense, incorporating some or all of the following attitudes into your mindset will undoubtedly increase your odds of reacting in an appropriate manner when assaulted. It is very important that you formulate, cultivate, and practice your self-defense mindset.
- Self-defense must begin with a plan that is carefully and realistically adapted to my gender, my physical condition, and my skill level.
- It is ok for me to have controlled anger or righteous indignation, this is a justifiable anger against someone or something that is in total disregard to the established laws of God and man.
- Look at the big picture of crime, it is good against evil, it is a war that transcends history and geography and affects all races, cultures and religions.
- Take offense at crime, even if you think it does not affect you directly, crime does affect our entire society, it is like decay that tends to spread more decay.
- Self-defense is not a right but an obligation to our family, our friends and our society.
- Any person who would rob, rape, or cause serious bodily harm or death to me is not deserving of mercy, a second chance, or any other consideration as a “normal” human being.
- Giving up is not an option when I am assaulted.
- Knowledge of personal safety and self-defense is always more desirable than ignorance. Knowledge is power which displaces fear.
- I will think of the criminal as a cancer on our society and I will not be devoured by it.
- I will take positive steps toward improving my self-defense mindset by using the emotion generated by violent crimes. I understand that the things I have reasoned out about self-defense must be become attitudes to be of use to me in a crisis.
- I will use self-defense knowledge and planning to build confidence instead of paranoia and fear.
- I will use crisis rehearsal to maintain a calm response when offended or assaulted.
- I will guard my will and never relinquish my right to choose in favor of my personal safety. I will not let the criminal chip away at my will and tell me what I MUST do.
- The personal safety of me and my family is my responsibility not that of the police department.
- The odds are very significant that me or one of my loved ones will be the victim of a violent crime.
- I am prepared to use any and all means necessary to survive an attack.
- It is incorrect to assume that since nothing bad has ever happened to me, it probably never will.
- Never, ever make an excuse for evil or presume to absolve the criminal of ultimate responsibility.
The first step in developing your self-defense mindset is to reason out what you believe about protecting yourself. It must be in keeping with your moral, spiritual and the legal guidelines of your community and state.
In self-defense, our actions and our reactions will be governed by what we truly believe about crime, about the criminal, the taking of another life, our right to life without assault, and by what we really believe about the inherent goodness or evilness of man. We will predictably respond according to our attitudes. In the absence of a proper and functioning self-defense mindset, your mind and body will react to your fears and your worse mental nightmares.
“Sympathy and self-defense are mutually exclusive.” — Steve Pearl
Your Attitude: An Amazing Weapon!
Yes, it is true. Your most valuable weapon is your attitude. It is more important than a stun gun, pepper spray, or a 44 mag. handgun. The reason the tiny chihuhua dog can chase a German Shepherd out of his yard is not might and power but attitude! The reason a frail-looking little of lady can chase off a street punk with only a madly flying purse is attitude. An attitude disregards the circumstances, the odds, and sometimes even common sense. An attitude is a mental inclination which always manifests itself outwardly. In other words, it is hard to hide an attitude. If you truly want to be able to defend yourself and your family begin work on your most important, the most effective, and the most dangerous weapon you can find, your self-defense mindset!