When things begin to get serious in a situation and you feel you need to do something to protect yourself and those around you, you’re not going to have time to call anybody except 911. And…calling 911 doesn’t really need much advance preparation. Just have your phone in your hand and call. Other than that, forget it.
As I spend months and months preparing to defend myself, I know there are a few basic situations:
Movie theater/mall invasion
Whenever you drive into the parking lot of the movie theater or mall, mentally review how you’ll act if you suddenly see a heavily armed person in the building.
Don’t be afraid to mentally rehearse this scenario. Rehearsals will only make you a stronger person if you’re ever confronted with such a situation. And, let’s face it, movie theater/mall invasions are happening more and more often. It’s almost as if they’re a fad.
School campuses, churches, movie theaters, malls are magnets because attackers go where crowds gather.
The first thing you want to decide is how you’re going to protect yourself in this situation. If you’re ever in a situation where you see a heavily armed person in a theater or mall, know it’ll be scary and life threatening.
Before you do anything, decide if you’re going to arm yourself. If you decide to carry a weapon, what can you legally take in the building? What does your state/county/town permit?
Can you carry a gun?
Must it be concealed? Must it be open carry?
What kind of firearm can you use…if you can even use one?
If the answer is that you can take a gun, then your next question is this:
Do you have one?
Is it right for the job?
Are you trained to use it?
Is it properly stored in your home?
Do you have a permit for it?
Are you comfortable with this option?
If not, what do you have to do to become comfortable?
If a gun seems out of the question, what about a knife?
Do you have one?
Do you know how to use it?
Is it the right size for the job you’re intending to use it for?
Do you have Mace or pepper spray?
Like with the gun, is it legal in your state, county, community?
How can you legally carry it?
After you answer the questions, you know what direction to go in. Your first step is to get comfortable with carrying and using the weapon you have chosen. Then, you need to get comfortable with the idea that you can now go into a mall/movie theater armed to protect not only yourself but those around you.
People have a tendency to freeze when they see someone with a weapon. Weapons are such powerful intimidators. Spend some time mentally adjusting yourself to scenarios where you won’t be intimidated by an armed person who is aggressive.
What you will do in this situation?
Do you think you’ll be able to run?
Will you have time to run?
Will you be ready to dial 911?
Can you charge this person if you need to?
Have you taken self defense classes which will help you?
As you mentally rehearse this situation, imagine how it will play out if you are in a seat watching a movie. How will it play out if you are in a line getting popcorn? What might happen if you are in the women’s room? Imagine what will happen if you simply freeze up. Imagine what will happen in all of the different ways you can come up with.
Every time you go to the movies, notice the exit signs. Look at the people around you.
How crowded is the theater?
Notice what each person looks like.
Pay attention to who is sitting where.
Where is the safest place in the theater for you to sit? The front of the theater, the middle rows, the rear rows?
How close can you get to the exit?
As you sit in the theater, try to figure out where the attacker might stand. Imagine a scene playing itself out. Consider the time frame of any actions the attacker might take. Imagine how you might react in different scenarios.
Imagine what you will be doing.
How much time will you have in each scene?
What will you have to do to overcome the attacker?
When the situation is real, there will be no time to contemplate the situation. You have to be ready to take control immediately.
Mentally rehearse situations where you are in the movie theater, in a public area of a mall, in the food court of the mall, in the mall parking lot. The settings will be different but the actions will basically be the same.
How will you act in each situation?
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As usual, thanks to Paul LaCroix
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