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Old June 1, 2016, 10:25 AM   #82
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Join Date: April 22, 2016
Posts: 2,192
The situation presented where you are approaching your car at a gas station actually presents some interesting fodder of this discussion. The aggressor is between you and your vehicle and you cannot simply turn and run because your children are in the car. While I get most of us don't just leave our children in the car I'm letting it be as part of the scenario. I don't believe that turning your back to a threat and blindly fleeing is a good move anyways so as presented unlimited retreat is not an option.

An aggressor is approaching with a threat "you cut me off. I'm going to kick your butt" There is no massive disparity of force - your aggressor is neither an NFL linebacker or a frail octogenarian. You have no knowledge of a violent criminal history. You visually check and your aggressor has empty hands (no weapon).

Unknown to you your aggressor is going to hit you. You do not have enough room to retreat and maintain visual contact with your vehicle. You do not have enough room to maneuver to enter your vehicle and lock the doors. Your hope is that you can use whatever "verbal judo" you can to escape the situation.

The problem I am finding for myself in this situation is a genuine unwillingness to throw the first punch. This extends to a genuine unwillingness to use pepper spray prior to the first punch (assuming I had it and its use was tactically sound). So as this aggressor approaches I am hoping that showing him my hands, holding them in as non-aggressive as a way as possible while raising them and apologizing, is going to convince him to not throw the first punch.

The issue is by the time I realize this is not going to work that first punch is going to be in the process of being thrown. In an ideal world I can deflect this and not suffer any damage. In a slightly less than ideal world I'm hit but my attacker being some combination of not greatly competent and not totally committed does not strike me hard enough to do serious damage.

Now at this point we can likely all agree some non-lethal options are on the table. Using the "force escalator" described earlier this probably includes the use of pepper spray, restraint, and / or returning strikes.

I should note in the spirit of this discussion that I argued originally, incorrectly it appears, that such an attack was so far out of social norms that the attack itself could be used as evidence the attacker intended severe harm.

The thing is this attack is going to come as such a surprise to me (even after this discussion) that I am likely to take a step or two back, raise my hands again, and repeat an attempt to deescalate (again assuming the attacker has empty hands).

The issue I have currently is that I really have an "all or nothing" mindset. I don't want to be in a physical fight with anyone. What limited experience I have in martial arts tells me I am capable of horribly misjudging the capability of an opponent. I also find most "drills" to be so scripted in regards to the methods your attacker will use as to be suspect in value.

So now I have to make some decisions on how to deal with this. Do I work on honing my hand to hand skills in a way that makes me more likely to deal with this or do I consider different options such as pepper spray, a "stun" gun, or similar ideas?

I have a series of issues adding another level of force tool into my inventory and I do mean tool in the strict meaning of the word - adding another item such as pepper spray or a similar item.

1) I already have as much on my belt / pockets as I want - my firearm, a flashlight, and a pocket knife in addition to the normal cell phone, wallet, and money clip (I keep a "disposable" amount of cash in a front pocket).

2) I am concerned about reaching for something during the attack. My primary concern in this is watching for empty hands. If my attacker suddenly reaches for a pocket I assume at that point he is escalating the level of force. I am concerned my attacker may have a similar reaction.

3) Tactically I am not certain deploying pepper spray at contact distance is a great idea - I would have to create at least some space and time to be able to draw and use it. That being said I am unfamiliar with pepper spray and may have to try a couple options just to see how it works.

4) As a question: how controlled is the disbursement of most of these pepper sprays? Both of my children have asthma related to lung infections early in life (RSV). If this is not super targeted it presents another issue that is unique to my situation.

While I realize that there is this hole that is now identified and I need to correct I am still working my way through how to correct it and what is going to work best for me - its something I have given more thought in a short time than I should but I still have not resolved.
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