An aggressive assault. Even though I prepare for this possibility, I pray it never occurs. I really enjoy just shooting for fun with family and friends, but I learned this skill for self-protection. I realize that is its greatest value. I had an encounter with someone who intended to harm me many years ago. I was not injured because when I sensed I was in danger I acted quickly to get to safety. Before I began to learn to shoot, my soon-to-be teacher asked if I thought I would be able to shoot someone. I said yes, I knew I could. How did I know that? Because that evening long ago, I got to the best weapon I had available to me and was ready to use it - my car. I have a family and dear friends I hope to enjoy for many years. If my time is cut short, it will be by natural occurrences, not - if I can help it - by the immoral acts of an aggressor.
Let's say the unwanted self defense event has just begun and ended. You’ve had to defend yourself from a threat of serious bodily harm or even death. The training and mental preparations kicked in so your actions resulted in the best outcome for your survival. You were alert to the threat before it escalated and you were made a firm decision to act to protect yourself. Now the assailant is down, and the very next thing you did was call 911.
Why? First and foremost for your own protection. YOU are the victim of a life-threatening assualt. Even though you have prevailed, you did NOT start this encounter. You stepped up to defend yourself (and perhaps someone under your care.) Even if you are not injured, or not to the extent of the criminal, do not forget you were the intended victim. You need to quickly relay your information to the authorities so that they can get to the scene and begin their investigation. You also need to protect yourself for the possible legal consequences of your act. You need a lawyer and you need to be mindful that everything you say and do can be used in court. You need any witnesses to relate what happened. Your actions and motivations - acting to protect yourself - must be expressed clearly. The United States Concealed Carry Association distributes a free card that describes what to do after a self-defense shooting and what to say to police. In the inevitable stress of the situation this could be very useful reminder to have on hand.
Do you step forward to aid the criminal? Some might say yes, but I say NO. Inform the 911 operator that the assailant needs medical aid. But you must maintain control of the situation until the authorities arrive. The potential for your injury still remains. An injured criminal can still act to harm you. There may be accomplices nearby or by-standers who step forward intending harm.
There can also be a perceived disconnect between shooting to defend yourself and then giving aid to the person. Some might wonder if you were really in danger Others may wonder if you did further harm with your attempt to render aid. There will be confusion when the authorities arrive. Until they can sort out who is who and what has happened, everyone is a suspect. Remain in a safe self-defense mode until you are able to turn the situation over to the authorities.
The reality of an attack may be rather slim, but taking time now to decide upon your plan of action will prevent confusion in the heat of the moment. Several self-defense writers cover this topic in detail, which may help you come to your decision as to what you will do. Once you have determined how you will proceed, you may find comfort in knowing you have strategy in place.
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