You notice that a much larger man is following you to your car at night and you start to get that funny feeling down your spine. He yells in your direction and says to stop. You being to worry. He quickens his pace and within seconds he’s right in front of you, heavily breathing, full of dirt, smelling to high heaven, staring at you like a wolf who hasn’t eaten in days and then suddenly you feel like a scared furry little bunny. Knowing that your loudest yell isn’t going to stop him from continuing, what do you do? You notice something in his hand. It’s shiny and he’s clenching it tightly. He begins to raise his hands… What do you do?
Yell and scream anyway? Use all your adrenaline in one hellish cry only to find yourself even more vulnerable and without air?
Mace/Pepper spray? Maybe, if you can find the time to open your bag, sort through your items, unlock the safety, aim, and then remember how to push down on that funny looking red button. Oh, wait, or is that the funny looking safety cap?
Perhaps you should just go for it and shove you palm so hard into his nose that it causes him to go blind for 2 weeks, gouge out his left eye, slam your knee into his groin and watch him buckle over in agony. Then finish him off and drive your elbow into the back of his exposed neck, giving you the opportunity to run as fast as you can away to safety. Sound good?
Wrong, try again. Because as soon as you got to your car you’d realize that your keys were missing! You’d turn around and there next to the guy’s head you just shattered are your keys. Then it hits you. It’s Dave. The substitute custodian who was filling in for Al, the usual guy. Dave was trying to return your keys that you had dropped while running down the stairs to the parking garage. Only you didn’t recognize him because it was dark and you let your imagination run for a bit.
Guess what happens next? You go to jail. For a very long time.
Don’t think so? This interview conducted by Sam Harris might clear a few things up. He gathered Steven Graff Levine, Rory Miller and Matt Thornton to discuss California’s laws regarding self-defense. Steven Graff Levine has specialized in California state criminal law for more than 23 years, was a Los Angeles County district attorney for 13 years, and a staff lawyer for the California Supreme Court for three years. Rory Miller served in corrections for 17 years as an officer and sergeant working maximum security, booking and mental health. He led a tactical team and taught courses ranging from Defensive Tactics and Use of Force to First Aid and Crisis Communications with Mentally Ill. Matt Thornton trained in martial arts for more than 30 years and was among the first Americans to receive a black-belt in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has been a mixed martial arts (MMA) coach to some of the world’s top athletes including Randy Couture, Dan Henderson and Forrest Griffin.
So when is it OK to use deadly force?
In Sam Harris’ piece, they discuss some very interesting “dos and don’t dos” about self defense. After all, knowing how to defend yourself is a useful skill but, knowing when to defend yourself can be even more important. Enjoy.