Decisive Action: Don’t let the bastards kill you

Entering into physical combat is not something generally done by “civilized” man.  Many people are taught throughout their lives that talking and compromise are always the best solutions to any conflict.  And if violence need be done, the best alternative is to call upon some member of government to take action.


This type of thinking is pervasive beyond the academic elites decrying the use of the military to protect our national interests.  All too often, people apply this fallacious logic to their own use of force in defense of themselves and others.

When a citizen tries to negotiate in the face of imminent violence, the citizen is going to lose.  Tense situations can be de-escalated.  People intent on doing you harm, however, are more likely to leave you cold and lifeless than to parley.

Don’t plan on a police officer arriving to rescue you either.  As a law enforcement veteran, I can tell you that I rarely have responded to a scene and stopped a crime in progress.  The laws of physics simply prevent a victim from obtaining a phone, calling 911 and having a police officer arrive in the scant seconds between the start and end of an assault.  Having a phone is great for reporting a crime after it happens, but it isn’t much help at stopping one in progress.

Decisive Action

Let me be perfectly clear:  You cannot reason with a violent attacker.  Someone who is attacking you has no interest in negotiating or compromising.  They seek to do you harm, and if you fail to take immediate, decisive action to stop them, they will likely succeed.

Avoiding an attack is always preferable.  There are times, however, that a fight is inevitable.  Once the violence is inescapable, take immediate, decisive action.  The time for contemplation is gone; seize the initiative and overwhelm your enemy.


Timid voice commands, weak strikes and displaying weapons without the obvious intent to use them will only embolden the attacker.  You must shout louder than a drill instructor, hit harder than Bruce Lee and shoot faster and more accurately than Rob Letham.

It is said that hesitation kills, and based on my experience, this is true.  But most people will hesitate in the face of violence, rather than immediately act to defend themselves.  Part of the slowness to respond is because of the “Why is he attacking me?” question that seems to enter the civilized mind.  Many people hesitate, however, because they don’t know what to do.

Why are they attacking me?

Don’t know; don’t care.  Look, the harsh reality of the world is some people are crazy, others are mean and some are just evil.  When someone attacks you, does it really matter why?  Not unless you started the incident.  If you started it, you are on your own.

However, if you are wandering through life, minding your own business, you still can be violently assaulted.  Your attacker might be a sociopath looking to kill you for the sport of it.  The thug could be looking to score some money and doesn’t want to leave any witnesses.  Perhaps the aggressor just hates people that look or sound like you.

Maybe, the guy you run into is a complete freak who wants to eat your raw flesh.


Does it really matter?  No!  The only thing that matters is your response.

Probably the biggest mistake anyone can make in self defense is assuming your attacker shares a similar belief set to you.  Their values are not your values.  Whereas you might respect life, the property of others and honor, your attacker is likely to only respect violent strength.  They have no respect for women, children, the elderly, the law or anything else in society.

Becoming Decisive

Decisive action requires your forethought and commitment to winning.  Only with preplanning, which includes training, and a passionate desire to survive can you win a determined assault.

To best prepare yourself for decisive action, get away from thinking “if” and consider “when.”  By this I mean, don’t think about what you would do if you are attacked, consider what you would do when you are attacked.  The slight change in wording can force you to honestly consider your options.

As you mentally consider what you would do when attacked, think about what you are able to do with what you have now.  Then consider what you could do if you changed something about yourself.

For example, if you don’t know the law and are not intimately familiar with when you can use force to defend yourself, seek out training that covers your state’s laws.  If you don’t think you could win a fight because you are overweight, start working out and improve your fitness level.


Sometimes, a problem may exist with your current gun or holster.  For many people, though, the serious problems are ones that are harder to fix.  Buying a new gun won’t increase your likelihood of winning when your real problem is that you don’t know when you can, and cannot, use it.

There is a solution for every reasonable problem you encounter when thinking out your response to an attack.  Some solutions are not easy, but they exist nonetheless.  The toughest solutions are, unfortunately, often for the most pressing problems.


If you are to survive a violent assault on more than sheer luck, you must be committed to winning.  This means you must improve your weak areas before a hostile encounter, and you must be willing to fight with everything you have once one is thrust upon you.

Your reasons for winning might be your desire to see your kids grown up or as simple as you’re not going to die in some dirty alley.  Only you can find a source of inspiration and strength.

I have used a dash-cam video from a deputy sheriff’s cruiser in many of my training classes.  In this video, a deputy stops a man in a pickup truck.  The incident spirals out of control to the point where the man retrieves a rifle out of the truck.  The deputy fails to take immediate, decisive action to prevent the man from obtaining the weapon and then fails to take action for almost a minute after the man is armed.  The suspect eventually shoots the deputy multiple times, killing him with a bullet to the head.


It is not my intent to belittle the efforts of the murdered deputy, but to rather illustrate the dire consequences of failing to take decisive action in the face of a real threat.

Why did the man shoot and kill the deputy?  Don’t know; don’t care.  What I do care about is preventing evil degenerates from harming good people.  You have the tools available to you – it is up to you to learn how to use them, learn when it is legally permissible to do so and to decisively deploy them should they ever be needed.  Hesitation at the moment of truth can spell disaster.

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