Guest Post by a read­er who wish­es to remain anony­mous.

You can’t get away from it. Prep­ping/survival blogs, web­sites, books, videos etc. all inevitable (and some­times ini­tial­ly too) dis­cuss the need for a defense strat­e­gy in the face of a SHTF event lead­ing to liv­ing (at least tem­porar­i­ly) in a WROL envi­ron­ment. That form of defense is almost always described in terms as some kind of firearm. Oth­er defens­es occa­sion­al­ly men­tioned include the cross­bow, knives, and club­bing weapons. In fact, for some peo­ple ‘prepar­ing’ is sim­ply a col­lec­tion of guns and ammo (the “gun prep­pers” as some­times referred to). But that is a dis­cus­sion by itself for anoth­er time.

By “non-lethal” weapons I am refer­ring to items such as per­son­al defense mace (includ­ing pep­per spray), per­son­al defense tear gas, stun­ners, and tasers. (“Scream­ers” and “Blind­ers”– portable often hand­held devices that emit loud sounds or bright lights designed to stun and dis­ori­ent an attack­er – are often very lim­it­ed in effec­tive­ness for per­son­al use unless in very close quar­ters. Any such device that is effec­tive over larg­er areas is extreme­ly expen­sive and any­way reserved only for law enforce­ment and mil­i­tary use.)

While it is clear that a firearm like any tool has its place in a plan, the top­ic of a non-lethal defense strat­e­gy is very rarely if ever cov­ered. Oth­er than hand-to-hand fight­ing tech­niques often cen­tered around some form of the Mar­tial Arts, oth­er non-lethal defen­sive weapons do not get any men­tion yet I believe have a very impor­tant role in your over­all defen­sive plan for an SHTF/WROL sit­u­a­tion.

Too often you will read/hear some­one say in an oh so cav­a­lier tone say things like “If the SHTF and some­one tries to rob my house I’ll put a 9mm between their eyes!”, or, “My neigh­bors bet­ter not try any­thing – I have a 12 gauge!”

How very macho.
But imprac­ti­cal in all but the most extreme sit­u­a­tions.
Even in an SHTF/WROL sce­nario.

Stop and real­ly think about what such a stance tru­ly would mean to you, your fam­i­ly, your life!

First off — These are your neigh­bors! Or at least peo­ple in your local com­mu­ni­ty. Regard­less of how you feel about your neigh­bors, any dis­agree­ments you’ve had over the years, these are still peo­ple you live next to.

Do you real­ly want to greet them at the front door with a gun in hand?
Do you real­ly want to threat­en them with a gun?
Do you real­ly want to shoot at them if they don’t back off?

(Same thing applies to strangers as well.)

Such may inevitable be nec­es­sary in the end. But wouldn’t it be bet­ter to deter the aggres­sion with­out even need­ing to show a firearm? Or at least make them think twice about try­ing?

SHTF and WROL does not nec­es­sar­i­ly mean liv­ing in “Mad Max” anar­chy. And not for­ev­er. Almost cer­tain­ly some form of order and rule of law will be restored soon and you will have to face the legal and social con­se­quences of your actions. What­ev­er your com­mu­ni­ty looks like after the event there will def­i­nite­ly be some form of for­mal­ized inquiry and jus­ti­fi­ca­tion need­ed.

Fur­ther, depend­ing on what the SHTF event is, dur­ing the event or in the after­math you can­not count on the same legal sys­tem as in nor­mal times being there for your pro­tec­tion, nor being under­stand­ing of the sce­nario. In many local­i­ties sim­ply draw­ing a gun has the same legal ram­i­fi­ca­tions as actu­al­ly pulling the trig­ger. Sim­i­lar­ly, fir­ing a “warn­ing shot” whether into the ground or the air is still con­sid­ered using lethal force regard­less of where the gun was point­ed. You can argue the mer­its of defense but once the SHTF event is over and some kind of nor­mal­i­ty returns for sure your neigh­bors won’t soon for­get the guy down the street with the gun! (whom they will no doubt describe to law enforce­ment as “crazy” or “crazed” or some oth­er unsta­ble term.) It would be much eas­i­er to go to your neigh­bor, hand out stretched, and apol­o­gize for spray­ing them with mace than to apol­o­gize for stick­ing a gun in their face and threat­en­ing to blow their head off. Or worse, hav­ing actu­al­ly tak­en a shot at them! The for­mer stands some chance of being accept­ed, the lat­ter high­ly unlike­ly to say the least.

If the SHTF event is real­ly that bad there also are good secu­ri­ty rea­sons for not let­ting your neigh­bors know that you are armed with a firearm. You prob­a­bly want to keep a low pro­file as to all your resources. If it’s known you have a firearm that can make you a tar­get for some­one who thinks they can take it from you. Or, pon­ders the ques­tion “If he has a gun he prob­a­bly also has food and oth­er sup­plies I/we need!” Or just some idiot who thinks him­self a Ram­bo and wants to chal­lenge you on some kind of testos­terone kick. Maybe to try to estab­lish him­self as some sort of bad-ass leader in the com­mu­ni­ty.  Where­as a can of mace or a stun­ner isn’t all that unusu­al. It is a mat­ter of per­cep­tion which tru­ly often is 9/10th’s real­i­ty.

Anoth­er very real con­sid­er­a­tion is the phys­i­cal after­math of using a lethal defense.

Spray­ing some­one or a group of peo­ple with mace doesn’t leave last­ing phys­i­cal harm (pre­sum­ing no aller­gic reac­tions or oth­er med­ical issues). The effects will wear off in time even with­out treat­ment but the mem­o­ry remains. And that’s what you want – some­one to say “That person/house is too much trou­ble” and go for an eas­i­er tar­get.

By con­trast if you do employ a firearm and actu­al­ly do end up shoot­ing a per­son, or sev­er­al peo­ple, then what? Just as law enforce­ment may be scarce in a SHTF/WROL event so would emer­gency med­ical ser­vices. What are you going to do with your neigh­bor bleed­ing to death at your front door? Or per­haps sev­er­al peo­ple lay­ing there in var­i­ous states of injury, pos­si­ble some already dead from their wounds. Mean­while the whole neigh­bor watch­ing in shock and awe. Not a good thing regard­less of the sce­nario.

Then there is the issue of putting the­o­ry into actu­al prac­tice.

Most peo­ple have nev­er drawn a firearm in defense in their entire lives. The most ‘dan­ger­ous’ thing most gun own­ers have had to shoot at are paper tar­gets, per­haps wood or met­al plates or some bowl­ing pins. But not a liv­ing thing much less a human. Even for active hunters, tak­ing aim at their query is dif­fer­ent than a human. No mat­ter what kind of for­mal or self designed train­ing you have done when the real­i­ty is in your face it can’t be easy. Even law enforce­ment offi­cers have a dif­fi­cult time of it. Few have ever need­ed to point their ser­vice gun at a sus­pect and even few­er have had to fire it in the line of duty.

So imag­ine the shock of an oth­er­wise ordi­nary per­son in any­thing but ordi­nary times hav­ing to defend them­selves and their fam­i­ly. And mul­ti­ply that by poten­tial­ly know­ing well the per­son or per­sons you are tak­ing aim at. Life just got a whole lot real very fast!

And there is the moral issue to con­sid­er.

When your neigh­bor is at your front door ask­ing for your help, per­haps ‘just’ a lit­tle food or water, maybe with his/her fam­i­ly stand­ing behind them, do you real­ly want your response to be a gun in their  face?

If you have decid­ed not to share your sup­plies, that’s your choice. I can­not tell you oth­er­wise. Argu­ments can be made both ways (also a dis­cus­sion for a lat­er time).

But when an emphat­ic “No!” does not per­suade your neigh­bor to leave, wouldn’t it be bet­ter to have an inter­me­di­ate step of force before going to the gravest extreme in front of their (and prob­a­bly yours too!) fam­i­ly?

Or what if it was sim­ply a woman and her chil­dren at your front door beg­ging for help? Even if you won’t help (your deci­sion, no judg­ment) do you real­ly want to point a firearm at them as your only means of mak­ing your point? And if she does try to push her way in are you real­ly going to shoot her in front of her kids?

No mat­ter how much you think you have stiff­ened your resolve to be firm on the issue of shar­ing sup­plies you are still a human being, an Amer­i­can, who has sud­den­ly been thrust into an unbe­liev­able real­i­ty that up until a moment ago was just fod­der for table talk or forum mes­sag­ing. You may ulti­mate­ly need to reach the gravest extreme of lethal action but at least in this authors’ opin­ion there should be con­sid­ered an inter­me­di­ate step of non-lethal action as an option. Bet­ter to have more choic­es then few­er.

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