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Defend Thyself Personal Defense

Mental Exercise For Personal Defense

by George Wehby   |  June 20th, 2011 52

As a personal defense mental exercise, I often sit around and imagine myself in wild but very plausible scenarios. I have heard it referred to as “Crisis Rehearsal” or “Visualization.” I get to experience emotional responses, and quite enjoy this type of mental training.  I have been taught and have read that visualization can effect how you respond to certain situations. Plus, its fun and a good way to kill some time. Mental training exercises are the time to go through all of the "what if's" in personal defense.

Recently, I was watching two men argue from a distance while behind a fenced in area and thought to myself, “What if one started to bludgeon the other with an impact weapon?” Now mind you, they were definitely within 25 yards, but there was an 8 foot fence separating us. What if the one doing the assaulting would not stop when I yelled out for him to stop? Being armed, I would definitely consider intervening, but I also consider the legal ramifications of such an act on my part. Human decency would prompt me to do something, even though I do not know the victim, and I am in no way under attack. I am pretty sure I would not climb the fence, so anything I could do would have to be done from my side of the fence. Calling the police is definitely called for, but it will not save the victim receiving the beating from grave bodily harm, and calling police will most likely be done after I intervene since the attacker is using what I consider deadly force.

Now since this is all being played out in my head, I run through all the options I can come up with. Of course, I yell out and the guy doesn’t stop (What fun would it be if he did?–For training, that is.). Seeing that he is about to kill (if he hasn’t already) the other guy I am forced to use my CCW. I go through all the legal ramifications in my head. Dealing with the police, calling for medics, dealing with a civil lawsuit that may come down from the attacker or his family. It’s a lot to consider. What would you do? This is definitely a possible scenario. Enjoy the training!

  • John Sell, Jr.

    I go through these type of scenarios on my head a lot. I agree that in your situation above, human decency requires you to get involved. What bothers me is when I talk about these type of situations many of my friends and family think getting involved is the wrong thing. When I mention using my legally carried weapon, the conversation almost goes to the point of calling me insane.

    I don't understand how a person could stand by and not intervene. I also feel that if you are going to carry a weapon, you need to go through these mental scenarios to help prepare for the "what ifs" of the world.

  • love41911

    I would do nothing. I carry a gun to protect me & my families life.

    • John Sell, Jr.

      I have 2 questions for love41911: 1. How would you feel after the fact if the person died? (Good examples of this, the Arizona shooting, how would have felt if you could have stopped it and did nothing?) 2. What if the victim turns out to me a friend or a family member but at the time you don't know it… how would you feel they were killed by the attacker because you choose not to get involved?

      • Stacy

        We live in sue-happy times, so chances are that if one did intervene, such a heroic act could have ridiculous consequences.

        Help anyway.

        If my son were in a situation where he needed help, and people passed by without helping, I would find that pathetic and disgusting.

        One helps because it's the right damn thing to do.

      • canuki

        nevermind trying to describe scenarios like that, just tell anybody to read the human rights, I bet those are active part of the constitution of your country as they are integral part of the constitution of mine….IT IS MANDATORY TO HELP ANYONE IN DANGER WHO DEMANDS YOUR AID…. that`s is.

    • guest

      Let us hope that this never happens to someone YOU care about. If it were your wife, or one of your children involved, and I had the means to either stop, or prevent it, would it be your wish, that I stand by, and let it happen?

  • Jhon Baker

    I would fire into the air or ground to alert the perpetrator to my seriousness. Call the police and just as likely – as long as the confrontation has stopped – leave. Or – go around to see if I can enter the fenced in area and then do the above – also, recording the situation on the cell phone could help – I would most likely keep the separation of the fence, yell to cease the altercation, demand it stop with threat of force, show threat of force, fire to underline threat of force and if only to save a life – at this point would I begin to consider firing at the assailant.

    • Tim Lovern

      Either the situation warrants deadly force or it does not. If it does not, you do not fire your weapon. You are opening yourself up to a whole set of problems if you do what you describe.

      Forceful verbal communication is key, 911 is also important.

      A lot would depend on what the exact situation is: urban, suburban, rural, etc.

      • Jhon Baker

        good point and point well taken.

    • Jayhawker

      Once the police get involved in this scenario, the one person that is sure to go to jail is the guy who fired the "warning shots"… call 911, be a good witness, There is no place in the real world for firing warning shots…

    • Jman777

      Shooting in the air is not a very good choice. Don't forget the bullet you shoot will end up someplace. I have always been taught to consider my background and where that round may end up. In a situation like this I would be concerned about being sued but if I were being attacked, I would want someone else to intervene to save my life. Tough call but I cannot see not helping.

    • Randy

      What did the air and ground do to make you want to shoot them and where did your bullet wind up afterwards. This is what you will be asked by the police when you fire your gun to scare this guy.Your comment is wrong. There is no such thing as a warning shot and there is no shooting to wound. When faced with ability, opportunity and jeopardy you shoot to stop the threat. In the scenario you described you should call the police and stay on the line. Nothing more nothing less.

  • Erik

    love41911- So if someone saw your wife or mother getting assaulted you would want them to ignore it, since it's not a family member of theirs? Everyone is somebody's family… it could be an argument between friends that got outta hand, stopping any assault (smartly, of course) is generally a decent responsible thing to do.

  • George

    Hello to all the "CCW" folks! We can not play the role of a LEO! If it was life or death on our part! different situation. In this above issue, call 911 . but stay at the seen if questions need answeered ..

  • T.D.

    There's no justification for firing a warning shot. No matter what you see on TV or in the movies. A stick is a deadly weapon, and seeing another person attacked with such is justification for the use of deadly force in most states. You have no obligation to protect a fellow human being. But visualizing such a situation helps you role-play when lives are not at stake.

    I personally don't want to get involved in another person's dispute. Like love 41911, I defend friends, family and self. But I do think I'd make a friend if I kept a decent human being minding his or her own business from being killed by someone else.

  • RichardInWA

    This is a very good visualization exercise. Most of my visualizations aren't this tough. They kind of go like this: Thug hammers on my front door, kicks it in, waving a weapon. What to do? Easy: Pull the trigger. Buckshot acne.

    Not so clear cut in this case. Well done.

  • geometric1

    I absolutly disagree with the I'd "do nothing" scenario.

    In most all CC courses, you have a the right to engage with deadly force when a life…any life… is what you believe to be in grave danger. Even if that life is one of a "stranger." What if the victim was a woman being bludgeoned by a man…what if it was a woman being bludgeoned by another woman? A lot of "ifs" here! And the worst thing you could possibly do is to discharge your weapon and then leave for goodness sake! If you are a law abiding person you would stick around until the police arrived or possibly face a unlawful discharge of a firearm charge if questioned after the fact. At any rate…I believe if you are going to carry a firearm for protection…you should protect any life not just that of your family and self. And I also believe it is my duty, being properly trained and mentally sound TO carry a firearm and protect those that are not able to do so themselves.

    When seconds count and are a matter of life or death…the cops are just "minutes" away….

    Kindest Regards,

    W.D. Fincke

    Edgewood, New Mexico

    In God WE Trust…..

  • Oz.

    I would give verbal commands and ready myself to respond based on the attackers action. In most cases all it takes is for someone to speak up and the attacker will run off

  • Rick Phelps

    I have thought about these scenarios many times, and as a result am very carfull about carrying. There is still a fine line, legally, that exists between self defense, or in this case, someone else's defense, and murder or homocide. Supposed the two were brothers? In this case I agree with Jhon, intervene and demonstrate your ability to use force, chances are the altercation will cease. However, if you have one, a video on the cell and call to police for assistance and instructions in making a citizens arrest and possible use of deadly force is a no braainer. You could drop him with a knee cap shot, however the consiquences might be even worst (if he lives a cripple, you could pay the rest of his or your life). I now only carry at night when I am in a strange place or bad neighborhood, and I never draw down to threaten, only to fire my weapon. If you are not carrying then you can't do anything if the other person is armed and not threatening you.

    • SlyMC182

      Rick Phelps-There is no place in self-defence for a" Trick Shot" shooting some one in the knee cap is just something you see in the movies. I a high stress situation the chances of hiting some one in the knee cap are slim to none, even at close range. And you must account for every shoy fired, what if you miss and hit a bystander. Just like law enforcement is trained to do, if deadly force is justified you shoot for center-mass only.

  • Scott Harmon

    What if the guy beating the other was actually the victim who just gained the upper hand and was trying to subdue the real thug? You better be sure you know what is going on before you unleash deadly force, especially if the fence is opaque and you didn't see it start

  • geometric1

    Wow…good thought Scott…But…if the victim who just gained the upper hand was killing the guy…would that be a justifiable reason to let the vic murder the perp??

    Hummmm…this could go on and on it seems??!!

    KIndest Regards,

    W.D. Fincke

    Edgewood, NM

    In God WE Trust….

  • geometric1

    P.S….I'd like to see some LE chime in here!

    Kindest Regards,

    W.D. Fincke

    Edgewood, NM

    In God WE Trust…

  • Tad

    Great Comment!!!

  • "TAC" Tact

    I do this all the time. I constantly mentally rehearse various "what if" scenarios as I go through my daily activities. It gives you a mental edge in the event that something does suddenly erupt in your AO so you're not sitting there, like most sheeple, simply staring at the bad-guy wondering what you, or he, will do next. Access or escape? Defensive or aggressive? How many, what distance, weapons, etc., are the things that constantly run through my mind. It keeps me mentally "locked & loaded." It makes me happy :-)

  • geometric1

    Where in the heck is Massad Ayoob of the Lethal Force Institute when you need him!!! LOL!!!

    Kindest Regards,

    W.D. Fincke

    Edgewood, NM

    In God WE Trust…

  • jerry

    You never Know what is going on in a situation like that. Maybe the "victim" is this case is being attacked, maybe the attacker is protecting another victim that has been raped or a child that was molested by this "victim".

    Maybe someone else will see 2 guys fighting and some wack job shooting at them. If a cop rolled up on this senario he would draw down and possibly shoot the guy shooting at the other 2 guys. Unless it is very clear what is happening and who is who you could be making a deadly mistake. You will end up in jail in this senario even if you do shoot the "bad guy".

    Carry some pepper spray and use it in a case like this but don't go shooting someone unless it is clearly required.

    • "TAC" Tact

      I agree. You're always in "tactical jeopardy" if you're ONLY source of defense is "deadly force." Hand-to-hand training, cell phone, pepper spray, impact weapons, flashlights (great weapons in their own right), are all necessary to give someone options.

  • doctor

    There are certainly moral if not legal implications of not interviening as in the very least calling 911. The use of deadly force should always be a last option since very little is lost by yelling at the other person to stop. In fact I would first do so without pulling out my weapon as even displaying a weapon in public can get you in trouble (menacing if I remember). If he stops great if not it becomes tough, and you better know the laws of your particular state. If he is really crazy and advances on you on to your property with a weapon you just watched him beat another man near to death you have a very strong self defense case. If he continues on ignoring you, a follow up warning with your weapon drawn I think is reasonable. Actually shooting, in that case with a person's life clearly in danger seems justified. However, if you live in an antigun community with a DA with something to prove be prepared for a fight. Even if you don't you will certainly have a great deal of questioning in front of you.

  • Mike Peach

    What to do? Photographic or video evidence with the cell phone first. 911 next and while in communication with the dispatcher, challenge if one believes that to be a good next step. There is no great response. Defense of others is a tricky legal move. One must know the primary aggressor and the victim can become the aggressor. Warning shots are intentional misses. We are responsible for each shot we make. Bullets always hit something. What did your bullet hit?

  • Pete

    Old rule: “Never draw a gun unless you’re prepared to use it.” If you can’t stop the attack without shooting, be carrying a revolver. They don’t spit cases.

    • "TAC" Tact

      First rule of evidence – Gotta have evidence :-)

  • geometric1

    Amen, Pete! LOL!
    Kindest Regards,
    Edgewood, NM

    In God WE Trust…

  • don

    just the mere presence of the you being seen by the armed individual creates a new senerio for him .1 he is identified if he commits such act as murder .. 2 if he shoots gives you the right to shoot him i’m sure both go through his mind . a disabling shot could be possible .. giving the victim time to react or run in both his and your defence .. i would personally draw my weapon aiming and demanding to dis arm .. at the time call 911 alert police .. then identify the person by remembering basics .. hair color , what there wearing , possible weapon .ect by training thus senerios over ad over when time comes could possibly save anothers life ..make changes as needed..the deadly force could possibly be a potetial grey area if not law enforcement or equal to .. if being shot at in the act deadly force applys to you .. by all means shoot back to assure your safety and self defence ..

  • Ghostsniper1

    Dang fellas, did we all forget WE DO have fists as well??? Whats wrong with jumping the fence, trying to break up the altercation, and if the guy with the upperhand doesn't stop, then call it a freeforall??? I would try to keep my CCW as a extremly last resort in this case. Rather get a misdemeanor for fighting than a possible murder charge.

    • Adam

      Exactly my thoughts, +1.

    • JJ Wolf

      how about a non-lethal taser on both after calling 911 if it can’t be stopped … Or mace, pepper spray? Works on fighting dogs (so does pulling both their tails but then you have to be quick). Barring that out comes the ccw because now I have their attention and that could end it. I would use it to protect myself. If I really knew who the bad guy was, I would use it on him/her.

  • Bruce Redding

    I think doing nothing, although legal, is morally reprehensible. However, a scenario like this is no different than when I was a medic. I have a moral obligation to help, but not if it puts me in immediate danger. Jumping into a fight with two combatants already pumped with adrenaline is a bad idea. I adhere to calling 911, forceful verbal commands to stop, and if it appears that the other person is in a position to be killed then the decision has to be made as to the use of deadly force. Videoing the attack is not a bad idea as long as it does not get in the way of stopping the assault.

  • Fred

    Two things come to mind with all the comments here. First, the escalation of force/levels of force and, second, if it becomes more than words the first thing to do in an emergency is communicate. The mental exercise is great for that as in: What is the non emergency number for the police department? Communication before it's a physical confrontatation might insure it never becomes a confrontation. When I trained people I emphasized 3 things. 1, use your eyes, see what's happening around you. 2, use your brain, it's the greatest weapon, everything else is a tool for it's use. 3, your best/greatest tool is a communication device, USE IT FIRST.

  • Rook Raven

    What if the guy that was doing the beating was actually the good guy that had just gotten the upper hand and was now beating the heck out of the bad guy , what are you going to do, shoot the good guy ?

  • Rick

    SlyMC182, you are correct. I reread the scenario and the distance was 25 yds. not 25ft., in that case a center mass shot would be appropriate. But, if it were 25ft. I don't think that would be a "trick shot", depends on how good you are and if you just want to stop the violence or you just want to kill another person. I was just using the knee cap as an example.

    • SlyMC182

      Rick-As I said in my post if deadly force is justified you always shoot for center-mass. It is not about wanting to kill someone. It is about stopping a conflict as quickly as possible. Death may or may not be the out come for the person that is attacking you. If you choose to intervene you must be prepared for this possible outcome. You never hear about police shooting some one in the knee cap or fireing a warning shot. It just is not done . It dose not matter how good of a shot you are. Under high stress with all that adrenalin flowing you lose fine muscle control and a shot like that is next to impossible. Law enforcement and firearms defense experts all teach center-mass only. If you try a shot like this you are more likely to hit or kill a bystander then you are the person that is attracting you. If you truly believe that a knee cap shot is a valid defensive tactic then you may be more dangerous with a gun in your hand then the bad guy that is attacking you. You do not have to believe me. Please do some research on self-defense and you will see that what I an saying is true. I do not recall an article in G&A or any other self-defense magazine or book that recommended a knee cap shot. It is just to dangerous.

  • Chris

    Do we know if the person getting beaten was protecting themselves from a mugger? Would you have just shot and killed an "innocent"?

  • George Wehby

    The scenario is one guy bludgeoning another. For those who are confused, he is going above and beyond personal defense with the use of his IMPACT WEAPON (read pole, brick, club of some kind) Who would Bruce Lee him again with their bare fists? Someone has watched too many movies.

    • ghostsniper1

      Nope not to many movies. Just a drunken Irishman with a short fuse lol. Besides Im still young and dumb. And yes I have comfronted people with heavy objects being used as weapons before. Its amazing what a person can take with an adrenaline rush……………………… But, being serious….. I would do like others said and try to yell, make noise, etc to distract and hopefully stop the aggressor. If that doesn't work, then I would hope I pull a fast one out of a hat because the last thing I wanna have to do is shoot somebody that aint dirctly threating me or my family.

  • Tom

    All kinds of moral and ethical issues here. But jumping in to "Bruce Lee" is taking on medical risks. What if one of the assilants is HIV positive or hs some other communicable disease? Not for me!

  • jeff

    how about call 911, leave the phone open and get the attackers attention, then, with no helpful response, escalate to match the threat by throwing an object like a rock or something. Not lethal force but definately a way to deflect the attention the poor neighbor is recieving. Then, if the attacker comes at you… Well, thats why Sam Colt made men equal.. just sayin..

  • Ron

    That's the problem in the USA todaly, not wanting to get involved. Afraid of what, being sued? I have never drawn my handgun in the USA and hope I never do. I am on the wrong side of 60, carry a handgun, good knife and a walking stick or cane(don't need but great weapon). I would try verbal distraction, cane intervention and yes I have trained with a stick for years. I go with my instincts, maintain distance and do believe I could stop the situation long enough to define the good guy from the bad. If attacked I know I can defend myself and I was taught never turn my back to someone in need, damn the consequences I will take my chances.

  • Mick

    I was an EMT for 10 yrs. and have been a nurse for 30+. My family/friends freak if I stop at a wreck to offer aid, but it's in my genes. That said, I'd say close the distance, pull out that pepper spray (you DO carry something non-lethal, don't you?) and cut loose with it, right or wrong. Worst case, the "good" guy gets hosed. If attacked after that, up the level of force. I am 54 with a bum neck from lifting obese patients (Are any of you out there?) for 30+ years, so fighting is out. Then and only then does anyone even need to know I'm armed. Cell phone vid helpful too, if you have it. Mine is cheap, and so am I. I spend my cash on guns and ammo to practice with.

  • olyman69

    A friend of mine intervened on a situation kind of like this outside a bar in Mpls between two individuals. Turns out, one of them was an undercover officer. He spent alot of time and money going through the court system fighting it. He was in the country on a work visa, so they used that against him and shipped him back home.

  • Jeepers Creepers

    It is to bad that this guy was not a U.S. citizen. He could have taken the officer to civil Court and sued him if he did not fully provide proof that he was in law enforcement. This is not Cuba. Has an under cover cop I would think that kind of thing he would want to keep under wraps. Personally I would have dragged it through the courts and the media.

  • Jeepers Creepers

    I would walk up to the person that is on top and ask him how he is doing. If he attacks me I have good reason to defend myself. If he ignores me. I would ask him if he needs any help beating the other guy. I hope for the first. That way I would have good reason to stop his breathing for ever. The third thing, both of the people decide that I'm a nut and run for thier lifes. In all three I have done a good deed. Isn't life sweet.

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