Dear Fellow Survivalist;
Most of the time, when we talk about defense, firearms are the weapon of choice. There’s a very valid reason for this, as firearms are well known as “the great equalizer.” If a woman or elderly person needs to defend themselves from thugs entering their home, a pistol gives them a much better fighting chance than using a floor lamp to defend themselves.
But there is one glaring fact about firearms, which we must always take into consideration. It’s the fact that liberals love to crow about. That is, firearms are meant to kill. Any time you use a firearm, it is legally defined as the use of deadly force. Even if you’re an expert shot and shoot to wound (which no firearm instructor would recommend, as it increases your chances of missing), the law will still consider it the use of deadly force.
That’s okay, as long as you use the firearm in accordance with the law. That means only using it for self-defense, when you or a family member is at risk of life or limb. Chasing a thief down the street, shooting at them in an attempt to recover your television doesn’t qualify.
But there are two problems with the use of deadly force. One is that your actions will have to be approved by the criminal justice system. As long as it is clear-cut self-defense, that shouldn’t be more than a formality, albeit an expensive one. The other issue is that you may have to live with the reality that you have killed another human being. In such a case, you would pass through the same stages of grief as if a family member had died; and the reality of it will be with you the rest of your life.
This alone is enough to give us reason to consider the use of alternative, non-deadly means of self-defense. In addition, the courts would likely look more favorably upon your use of a less deadly means of self-defense, especially in situations where the need to use a firearm could be considered questionable.
A woman who is being attacked by a man can pretty much always state that she was in fear, because the man was stronger. Likewise, a man being attacked by two men is at a clear advantage. But what about a man being attacked by a one man? Unless there is an obvious difference, such as the attacker being much younger or much more physically fit than the defender, the case may not be seen by the courts as being clear-cut. The defender could be accused of using excessive force.
A knife is considered lethal at 21 feet of distance of less. So the use of a gun in self-defense against a knife-wielding attacker is justifiable. But what about a gun against an assailant who is armed with nothing more than a baseball bat? Once again, we fall into a questionable area, which will probably have to be decided in court.
The bottom line is that there is a place for alternative weapons, even for those of us who carry concealed and love our guns. That’s why police officers carry a variety of weapons, including some variety of night stick (a club) and in many cases a taser. Even SWAT teams are starting to use less-lethal options, such as beanbag rounds in shotguns.
Personally, I don’t consider a case of simple theft as grounds for deadly force, even though the laws of the state I live in allows the use of deadly force in defense of property. Nothing I own is worth a human life, and that includes the life of a criminal who might be trying to steal it. If I can’t stop them with non-lethal weapons, I’ll let them take whatever they’ve grabbed and file a claim with my insurance.
I’ll need to write a separate letter getting into alternative weapon options sometime, but let me mention just a couple here.
The most common alternative weapons we find today are tasers and pepper spray. While police tasers are pistol-type weapons that shoot electrified darts into a person from across the room, the tasers that most people buy are contact weapons. Likewise, most pepper spray dispensers don’t work at more than an arm’s length, so they can be considered to be contact weapons as well. That means before using them, you have to get close enough to the assailant or allow them to get close enough to you.
These weapons are only intended to incapacitate the person they are used upon for a short period of time. The idea in both cases is that you use the weapon and then flee, getting free of the area before they can attack you again. That might be useful if you are trying to avoid getting mugged in Central Park, but if you are trying to protect yourself from a home invasion, it means turning your home over to the invader.
Granted, your life is worth more than anything you own, so that’s still worthwhile. But it’s only a limited win. If the police can’t get there fast enough, the criminal can still get away, possibly even with your jewelry of television set.
Looking at it that way, I personally don’t see these as viable weapons for home defense, even if I want a non-lethal option. However, you might see them as viable. We each need to decide for ourselves, where we draw the line and what we’re willing to do to defend ourselves and those we love.
So don’t give up your guns, but consider your options. As always, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.
Chris and Dr. Rich