Being the victim of a crime can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Hopefully, no criminal will ever make you their target, but if they do. you need to be able to defend yourself - to fight back.
There are some 'experts' who would advise you not to fight back, but instead to comply with the criminals requests and to call the police if you can. The truth is that law enforcement officers are first responders.
They respond after the bad thing has happened or is happening. Depending on where you live, it may take them an extended period of time to arrive, so relying on their presence to save you is a risky gamble.
Passively complying to the criminal's request, hoping they won't hurt you or your family is also a game I don't suggest playing. The best choice is to be able to defend yourself.
Very simply put - you are your own first line of self defense.
How you defend yourself is a matter of choice and preparedness. I have heard a lot of people say, "If someone attacks me I'll just kill them". While this sounds good, and makes them feel powerful, the reality is that very few people are truly prepared to take the life of another human, even in self defense.
There are also the legal implications. If someone threatens you, and you can prove to a judge that you reasonably believed your life was in jeopardy, you may be within your rights to kill them in self defense. But if they are unarmed and are merely intimidating you with their physical size, you are likely to face criminal charges if you take their life. Even if you don't face criminal charges, you may expose yourself to civil liability. Legal fees and other expenses can be crushing and you will likely spend years resolving the issue.
There are many ways to defend yourself. You don't always need to take another life just to protect your own. Additionally, when you prepare yourself with non lethal methods of self defense, you are more likely to take action without the hesitation that accompanies the moral dilemma of taking a life.
So, what are some forms of non-lethal self defense?
Avoiding crime in the first place seems like an obvious way to protect yourself from crime. However, unless you live in utopia, there is always a chance that someone will be willing to make you a target. It is wise to remember that there is always someone who wants what you have. It could be your materials goods, your body or your life. No matter how little you think you have, someone else has less, and they may just be willing to eliminate you to get it.
Yes, there are places and situations that are inherently safer than others. But relying merely on avoidance is not an "end-all" solution to self defense. You still need to be able to defend yourself, just in case.
Verbal self defense.
Verbal self defense basically means using your voice for self defense.
Verbal self defense can deceptive in nature. You can try mumbling to yourself in an angry tone, hoping your aggressor thinks you're mentally unstable and leaves you alone. Or you can aggressively threaten your attacker, hopefully causing them to realize they picked the wrong person to mess with. It can also be talking to them in a calm, cold voice and saying something like "I really don't want to go back to prison again, you need to go find yourself someone else to pick on today"
Another form of verbal self defense is to scream FIRE! or RAPE! or HELP! to attract the attention of others in the area. Most criminals don't want an audience, and if you attract unwanted attention to them they may take off in search of a quieter target. If you're unable to scream, for whatever reason (physical or psychological) then consider buying a personal alarm to do the screaming for you.
Which brings me to our next form of non-lethal self defense...
Self defense devices.
Personal alarms, pepper sprays, stun guns. These are three of the most basic non-lethal self defense items.
Personal Panic Alarms:
Personal alarms are small devices that work by either pushing a button or pulling a pin from the device. They emit a loud siren type noise that can often send an attacker running off in search of a less noisy target. At the very least they can attract attention to your situation and possibly bring assistance from people nearby.
Pepper Spray is the most popular non-lethal self defense weapon. It can disable most attackers for 15 to 45 minutes or more, allowing you plenty of time to get to safety.
Stun Devices work by introducing a high impulse current of electricity directly to your attacker's muscles. A two to five second contact will override the body's voluntary muscle control and can temporarily disable the person for 2 to 10 minutes.
While these self-defense devices are all good methods of "non-lethal" self defense, they do have one major limitation: if you don't have them with you, they won't do you any good at all.
Which is why this next step is probably the most important:
Learn some self defense techniques!
All the previous steps are effective. But there are situations where the only thing you might have available to you is your physical ability and willingness to fight back.
You may not have the time or money to take a self defense class but you can learn one or two self defense moves, such as eye jabs or shin kicks. The key is to practice them over and over again until you have mastered them and can perform them quickly and decisively. If you want to learn more advanced techniques from the comfort of your own home, consider getting an instructional self defense DVD.
Ultimately, self defense is your personal right and your personal responsibility. Using lethal or non lethal force is a choice you have to make. Just make sure you are willing and able to live with the consequences of the choices you make.
Wendy Megyese is a Deputy Sheriff and a Self Defense Expert. Her passion is educating and empowering law abiding citizens with self defense tools and techniques so they can be victors and not victims. Visit her website at http://www.bestlinedefense.com to find the best self defense and survival products.
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