Escape Routes

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

As one who carries daily, I have to remind myself from time to time that I’m not Bruce Wayne, ready to battle the crime which grips Gotham City. Perhaps you have that problem too, as we all seem to have a tendency to want to be the hero in somebody’s live. But it’s not really our responsibility to be that hero, no matter how much we might want to take over from the caped crusader.

While vigilantes were fairly common in the early days of our country, current law makes no place for them. If anything, the law states the opposite; that as citizens we have no right to interfere in criminal activity. This is especially true in cases where we would be proactively seeking out criminals, rather than passively waiting for them to come to us. We might be able to get away with the latter, but there’s no police department who is going to give us a pat on the back for doing the former, especially with a gun in our hand.

What the law does allow for is the use of deadly force in self-defense. Depending on the state you live in, that can extend to the defense of others and the defense of property as well. A further legal definition tells you whether you have to abandon your home to a hostile attack or whether you can “stand your ground” and defend it. But all of this is purely defensive, not offensive.

The law limiting me to acting defensively means that I can’t even draw my gun until I see a credible threat towards me or towards others. I personally don’t really like that, because it means that I have to wait until the bad guys have their guns pointed at me or at someone else. That gives them a distinct advantage, which I have no practical means of countering. I don’t care how fast you or I can draw, we can’t do it faster than a bullet.

So what do we do?

This is why I started out by talking about being a hero. As much as we might like it to be, that’s really not our responsibility. Our only responsibility is to get ourselves and our family members out of the situation, without harm. A gun might help with that, but then again, it might not.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is get out of there, rather than stay and shoot it out with the criminals. Granted, in 70% of the cases, all you have to do is draw your gun and the bad guys will run away. But you have no way of knowing whether you’re in that 70% or in the 30% who will decide to shoot it out with you. There’s no way you can know how good a shot they are either, until the lead starts flying.

Since they are starting out with an advantage, it doesn’t seem to me that staying to shoot it out is always a good option. Rather, it seems that my best option might be to get out of there, as soon as I see a credible threat. That way, I won’t have to find out if I’m a better shot than they are.

The nice thing about getting out of there is that I don’t have to wait until they take action, before I can. While I have to wait for them to take action to draw my gun, I don’t have to wait for anything to leave. Well, I’ll probably have to wait for my wife and daughters, but that’s not the same thing.

So, always be prepared to get out. You may not be able to; but if you can, that’s to your benefit.

This means always having an escape plan ready. I know, one more plan that you have to keep up with. But this really isn’t another plan; it’s just one of the options in your defensive plan. Even if you do end up shooting it out with the bad guys, you’ll still want to know how to get out of there, just in case you have to.

Everywhere you go, you should already be looking around to see where the egress points are. That should be an integral part of your defensive plan. Knowing how to get out is important for other things than active shooters too, like getting out in the case of a fire.

All I’m saying really is that you change the order of your responses, should an active shooter appear. Just move leaving the premises up the list and drawing your gun down it. Ultimately, leaving is better for you, because there is no police investigation of your actions and no risk that you did the wrong thing. At the same time, it can guarantee your safety and that of your family.

So, if we’re going to do this, why carry? Simply because you may not be able to leave the situation. carrying and having an escape plan are two parts of the same defensive plan. The only real difference is whether or not you have to face the music for your actions. Personally, I’d rather avoid that. So, be ready to shoot, but also be ready to leave. Then, when the time comes, you’ve got more than one option you can count on. And in the mean time, always be sure to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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