Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Never bring a battery to a gun fight

Even though "gun" is in the name, a stun gun is hardly as effective as a firearm, as this unlucky, and unprepared, victim found out, five times over:
A man tried to use a stun gun to fend off a carjacker and ended up being shot five times.

The man was taken to the hospital Wednesday with wounds to his abdomen and leg but was expected to survive, Atlanta police Sgt. Lisa Keyes said.

The man was driving a minivan in southeast Atlanta when he was confronted by a carjacker at an intersection. The carjacker jumped in, told the man to drive and demanded money, police said.

While trying to reach for his money, the man also pulled out his stun gun and shocked the carjacker.

But the carjacker reacted by shooting the man at least five times, Keyes said. The van, which was still moving, crashed into a tree and the carjacker ran away.

The victim, whose name was not immediately released, was conscious and talking to investigators when he was taken to the hospital, Keyes said.

Keyes stressed the importance simply giving up the vehicle when confronted by a carjacker.

"Make the situation safe for you," she said. "You know you have to get away from that person. Just try to give the car up."
Keyes is right; possessions are not worth your life, or anyone else's, for that matter. The key word is try. If your life, or that of your loved ones, is in danger, then by all means you should take all available precautions and actions to secure your safety. This is just a general rule, however, and I don't mean to suggest that the victim in the above story didn't fear for his life or that his life was or was not in imminent danger. If I was in that situation, I would certainly believe that my life and/or physical well-being was in jeopardy and would hopefully make the appropriate response. . . which would not include a stun gun.

However, using deadly force (a firearm, most likely) wouldn't be my first choice.

Remember folks, if you're behind the wheel of a car, you have the ability to get away. Just don't make it easy on your attacker(s): I keep the doors locked and the windows up, especially if I'm in a "bad" area; Southeast Atlanta, where the above crime took place, is, for the most part, an example of such an area. It's better to see a threat coming rather than be surprised by one, so I keep my eyes up and scanning the area, including my mirrors. I do it when driving anyway, might as well do it when stopped. If my doors are locked and a would-be-assailant attempts to gain entry, remember, I'm in a VEHICLE. If there isn't a car in front of me, I'd floor it and rapidly remove myself from the area. If there is a vehicle in front of me, but not behind, I'd shift to reverse and floor it. I attempt to keep enough room in front and behind my vehicle to avoid being boxed in.

Only if I were unable to maneuver away from the threat would I escalate my response into the "deadly" range. Hopefully, the assailant would cease assailing, but if not, force would have to be applied. I sincerely don't ever want this for myself or anyone else. Deadly force is the last resort, but "going home alive" is always rule #1, at least in my mind.

To me, having a reaction plan is half the battle. After all, a prepared mind always has an advantage over one that is unprepared.

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