*"Layering" Personal Defenses*
By: Goshin
26 June 2003

A good retreat defense-plan will include "layers": Long-Range Recon Patrol, outer perimeter, pre-set positions, fallback positions, inner perimeter, stronghold, covered line of retreat, rally points, escape plans.

Similarly, your personal defense strategies should be "layered". Is your plan one-dimensional? If you depend ONLY on your defensive handgunning, or ONLY on avoidance, or ONLY on pepperspray/knife/911/etc...it's one-dimensional. Why is that bad? Any single strategy can fail, especially if you are attacked in an unexpected way...which is often the case. So how do you "layer" your personal protective strategies? Glad you asked...

1. Life-habits: Simply put, live a lifestyle that doesn't invite trouble. Don't do drugs or drink to excess, or hang around people who do. Don't frequent redneck bars and gang hangouts. Stay out of dark alleys and the "bad part of town". Be prepared for emergencies, like having a flat tire in Scumbag Central. Don't go around with a chip on your shoulder, looking for a reason to start something. To paraphrase your Mom, "It's all fun and games until someone loses their life!"

2. Awareness and Avoidance: See my article on the subject of avoiding crime. In brief, keep your head up and your eyes open, trust your instincts, and when you see anything or anyone that looks like trouble, go around or bug out (if you can, once in a while you don't get the opportunity, which leads to numbers 3 onward...)

3. Setting Boundaries: if you think someone is following you, and you can't avoid them, you might have to confront them and say something like "Stop right there. Why are you following me?" If a person who makes you uneasy tries to get close to you, move away and tell them "Keep back bud!" Often, making it clear that you will set a firm boundary on your personal space, WITHOUT getting personal and offensive about it, will cause a criminal to seek easier prey.

4. If you have to defend yourself with force (and if you do, something went wrong between 1 and 3;)...have options. For example, I was approached in a parking lot by someone I'd already pegged as a grifter or possible robber. We ended up in a confrontation where I had my hand on my gun, and I believe he did also, but neither of us drew and he decided to walk away from it. In another lower-key confrontation of a similar nature, I found myself wishing for pepper spray or something I could pull that would deter the criminal, but not attract as much attention as a gun. As a result of these experiences, I added a Mace-brand OC/CS spray to my daily carry of gun & knife. Don't forget protection...if you are really expecting trouble, and for some reason you can't avoid it (ie someone trying to break in your house), body armor is nice to have...mine hangs from the front of the gun cabinet, "set" to where I can just pull it over my torso if something goes "bump" in the night.

Legalities and society require that you respond to attacks with equivalent force. If you shoot an unarmed man, you may do time, even if he was hitting you. On the other hand, if you go hand-to-hand with some schmuck, when he starts losing he may pull a blade or other weapon and use it. A good defense spray can be a literal lifesaver here...but there are other times when a gun or knife would be better, assuming you have the appropriate skills, tactical tripwires and knowlege to employ them effectively.

ANY weapon can be lost, forgotten, left in the car, taken away from you, or simply forbidden to you to carry...this is where solid, practical hand-to-hand skills are worth their weight in diamonds.

If you have Mace, knife or baton (I prefer baton, actually), gun, and good unarmed skills, you have a multi-layered, highly versatile defense platform with a range of force to choose from....but remember, positive life-habits, awareness and avoidence are your "outer perimeter"!


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