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He Ain’t Scared - Street Smarts (permalink)

You: “Freeze, or I’ll blow your (insert array of foul words here) head off!”

Bad guy: “So what.”

Have you ever been in such a situation? Our little tableau sounds like bad movie dialogue, but it really happens. In fact, it happens all the time.

“That’s crazy,” you might say, but if you make such a statement, you obviously haven’t participated in many armed confrontations.

If you have experience, you’re likely shaking your head thinking about the times when you produced your Wunderblast Custom Shop Pistol to defend truth, justice, and the American Way, only to discover the dirtball on the other side of the equation wasn’t scared.

It’s a rude awakening but a concept that is too-often overlooked in defensive firearms training. So I would like you to burn today’s central theme into your frontal cortex: There are many people who don’t care that you’re pointing a gun at them.

This is one of those things in life that goes against common sense, but I’ve personally seen it countless times. Of all the people I’ve “held at gunpoint” (a misnomer), it didn’t matter to roughly half of them that my cohorts and I were instantly ready to facilitate severe body fluid leakage.

Contrast that with the countless times I’ve heard a common statement from people considering the purchase of a firearm: “I want to own a gun for protection, but I don’t think I could really shoot anybody. I just want to scare them.” In essence, these well-intentioned folks naively believe display of a firearm will instantly cause a bad guy to reconsider in mid-felony.

Such an idea makes a bunch of sense to you and me. Anybody with even modest brain function knows that bullets often result in chronic death, so it is wise to comply with someone who has a gun barrel aimed at your cranium. Unfortunately, the bad people of the world operate under a whole different set of rules.

First and most common, miscreants are frequently under the influence of various chemical immoralities. Drunk, stoned, high, wasted, whatever—“recreational” chemicals impair judgment to the degree that common sense gets tied up and thrown into a burlap sack inside the brain.

With the suppression of fear, and feelings of euphoria and invincibility marching alongside a non-existent pain threshold, many frequent-flyer felons don’t comprehend nor care that you are ready and willing to give them a 180-grain frontal lobotomy.

A portion of criminals also have some type of mental impairment to go along with their addictions. If someone is not living in the “here and now,” but having ongoing dialogues with stoplights and men from Mars, display of your firearm probably won’t bother them too much.

The most difficult category of bad guy for “normal” people to understand is the hard-core criminal. Regardless if he is a straight-up gang-banger or the common criminal sociopath, these people live in a world where death is merely the cost of doing business, and they have utterly and completely resigned themselves to the fact that they could, or are even likely to, die in a violent manner.

In fact death and the threat of death are so common in their world that they aren’t really even considerations. To them, dying is like the fear of getting stuck in a long line at the grocery to you and me—something that should be avoided but will probably happen regardless.

Truly, these folks don’t care and don’t have a gram of pity, remorse, sympathy, or basic human decency inside them. They don’t care about their own life and certainly don’t care about yours. We all “know” that such people exist, but it’s difficult to get your head wrapped around the concept when facing it for the first time, especially in a moment of crisis.

That’s why it’s critical to your mental pre-planning and visualization of violent encounters that you embrace the likely scenario wherein the display of your pistol, rifle, shotgun, or handy Hellfire missile results in ... nothing. You pull your gun and the bad guy doesn’t stop, wet his pants, slow down, or even give notice that you’ve got a large-caliber weapon aimed in his (or her) direction.

I often liken this to the situation where a dog is chasing your car and you suddenly stop: The dog ends up standing there with a bewildered look on its face for a few seconds before trotting off because the vehicle didn’t respond as the dog expected.

What we don’t want to happen is a good guy having the same, potentially fatal, pause when a dirtball doesn’t respond to the magical deterrent effect of a pistol or racking the action of a shotgun, sometimes called the “scariest sound in the world.”

It is, but the select classes of people we’re talking about simply don’t bother to get scared, and that is deeply difficult for normal, decent people to comprehend.

If you hold the tiniest hope that the threat of a firearm will stop a fight, banish it from your mind immediately. Instead, focus on how you will always respond quickly and appropriately to any threat, or lack thereof, presented to you.

Careless, hopeless, debauched people are out there and ready to ignore you and every one of your weapons. Make sure you’re ready to give them something they can’t ignore.

Brent T. Wheat is a former SWAT officer, canine handler, detective, and patrol supervisor who retired after a 30-year law enforcement career. He is the publisher of WildIndiana Magazine, a regionally focused outdoor magazine. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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