It has been an eventful time for legally armed South Africans. During the past quarter there have been a myriad of successful defensive gun uses (DGUs for short) by ordinary citizens, placing the effectiveness of armed self-defence in the spotlight again.
During this same period we have also witnessed a series of atrocious crimes during which unarmed and completely compliant victims were cold-bloodedly murdered by their attackers. This brings into serious question why authority figures and media personalities consistently advise South Africans that their best course of action when faced with armed and dangerous criminals, is to give their complete and unquestionable compliance.
This is patently terrible advice that has resulted in the deaths of innumerable people who may today have well been alive if they possessed the capacity to resist their murderers, and decided to fight back accordingly.
There have been numerous DGUs that caught media attention during the last few months. In most of the incidents the defender escaped the confrontation unscathed, however in some cases they were injured to varying degrees either prior to fending off the attack, or during the resistance phase.
Among the more notable examples,
- Members of a Krugersdorp community confronted suspected home invaders attempting to make their escape. The suspects fired upon the community members, who returned fire killing one suspect and wounding another. The two surviving suspects were arrested.
- An elderly Krugersdorp man encountered two men attempting to steal his bakkie. One of the men shot and wounded the resident to his leg and side, who then returned fire and killed his attacker. The second criminal fled the scene.
- A security guard walking home near Derdepoort was confronted by three knife-wielding robbers who threatened him. He took out his own firearm and shot the one assailant, causing the other two to flee. The guard was not injured.
- A woman and her friend were walking along Melville Koppies when they were fired at by two men. Her friend retrieved his/her own firearm and returned fire, causing the attackers to flee. The victims were not injured during the incident.
- Three armed home invaders attempted to rob and hijack another resident of Chatsworth shortly after robbing a house in the neighbourhood. They opened fire on the resident, who returned fire and fatally wounded two of his attackers.
- A Mossel Bay man was attacked in his bed by three robbers, one of whom was sitting on top of him. He retrieved his handgun from under his pillow and shot his assailant, causing all three to flee. The wounded criminal was found dead outside his property a few meters further. The resident and his wife were not subjected to further harm.
- An Edenburg farmer was ambushed and attacked by three criminals who awaited him in his house. They badly assaulted him before he managed to draw his revolver and fire at them, causing them to flee. The three suspects were arrested shortly afterwards. The farmer was extensively injured during the attack, but likely saved his life through his actions.
- A woman in Kwadwesi was being robbed at an ATM by two men when a member of the public came to her assistance. The Good Samaritan was shot and wounded in his hand while exchanging gunfire with the robbers, one of whom was fatally wounded on the scene.
- Six armed robbers attempted to rob a jewellery store in Louis Trichardt by holding the store owner and his staff at gun point. The owner drew his own firearm and fired at the suspects, fatally wounding one and causing the others to flee. No innocents were injured during the incident.
- A Pinetown man fought off four armed home invaders who attacked him and his family. During the exchange of fire the resident was wounded. One of the attackers was shot dead, and the other three fled the scene during the shootout.
- A Port Elizabeth woman chases off several armed home invaders by firing at them with her revolver. Neither she nor her partner were injured during the incident.
- A Bloemfontein man was attacked in his house by an armed home invader who proceeded to stab him 17 times during the scuffle. When his wife ran to get help the attacker chased after her, during which time the home owner retrieved his .22 calibre firearm and fired at the robber. He struck the attacker in the head, causing him to fall. The assailant later died in hospital. The home owner was severely injured and was recovering in hospital at the time of print.
There are a few pertinent and important points to note regarding the abovementioned examples.
Firstly, these people are ordinary citizens just like you and I. They are not Special Task Force trained urban operators. In fact, I am willing to wager that the vast majority of them possess only minimal firearm training beyond what is required to be deemed legally competent and safe.
Secondly, in many of these cases the defender is completely outnumbered and outgunned – the attackers have the advantage of superior numbers and the element of surprise. However, despite the odds appearing to be entirely in favour of the criminals, successful self-defence is completely possible.
Lastly, even injured people are fully capable of effectively fighting back against their attackers. Being shot, beaten, or stabbed doesn’t mean it is automatically Game Over for you.
These observations are significant because they illustrate something that not enough people realise: defending yourself with a firearm is not rocket science. Most humans are fully capable of safely and effectively operating a firearm under stress with minimal training, and so doing use it to save not only their own lives, but also the lives of innocent people they care about. Even when injured, outnumbered, and outgunned the average person can still fight back and live to tell the tale. With added training and practice the odds improve immensely, but you don’t need to be superhuman to win a gunfight against criminals.
The Fallacy of Compliance
Compliance never guarantees safety. I’ve said it numerous times before, and I will probably end up saying it many times over again. The mere thought of willingly surrendering your life into the hands of a violent criminal is so gloriously irrational, so utterly devoid of reason that I cannot imagine any sane person seriously considering it. Criminals break the law. They don’t have some perverse code of honour or a system of terms of conditions: they do what they want, when they want, to whomever they want, until somebody else stops them. Obediently putting oneself at their mercy can, and does, end very badly for the compliant victims.
- A man was cold-bloodedly shot and killed in an Eastdene liquor store after fully complying with the demands of his assailants.
- A Johannesburg mother of two was shot and killed in the driveway of her Glenvista home by two hijackers. She was murdered for her car.
- Two teenaged Winterveldt sisters were raped after their father was shot dead and their mother wounded during a home invasion.
- One of South Africa’s best veterinary surgeons was raped and murdered in her Mpumalanga home. She was brutally stabbed to death.
- A Bela-Bela father of three was stabbed to death on his smallholding during an attack in which his 3-month old baby was threatened with a knife.
- A female jogger was brutally raped at knife-point in Howick after fully complying with her attackers.
These bloodcurdling examples of criminal brutality are but the tip of the iceberg as to what South Africans experience on a near-daily basis. The single thread that connects all these events is that if you are unlucky regarding the type of criminal who targets you, you will end up brutally murdered.
How do you know what type of criminal you are dealing with? You will not know until it is too late.
Resistance Starts with You
When faced with dangerous criminals who intend on making you their victim, the only certainty you have is that nothing is guaranteed. You can resist and be killed, or you can comply and be killed. However, where compliance puts you completely at the mercy of your assailant, resistance at least allows you to determine your own destiny to a large extent. Fighting back makes you dangerous, and criminals don’t like dangerous prey.
The crux of the matter goes beyond merely increasing your odds of survival. How can any reasonable person expect a woman to place her dignity in the hands of a man who breaks the law for a living? Is it really acceptable for society to be thankful when a woman is merely raped, but at least survives to talk about the ordeal? What about all of those that comply with the rapist’s wishes in the hope that he will at least not kill them if they play along, only to then be murdered anyway? Are they better off too?
Of course they are not.
The good news is that ordinary people can, and do, successfully fight back. Normal people no different to you and I are out there every day fighting, and winning, battles that sometimes don’t even make the news. You do not have to be a Special Forces trained soldier. You do not have to be exceptionally strong, fit, or clever to succeed in doing so. What you do need is the correct mindset: the willingness to fight back and the refusal to become just another victim.
Larry Mudgett, a retired LAPD Chief Firearms Instructor with 35 years of service, puts it best in his piece Why Surrender is Never an Option – “How does one man defeat 40? How does he summon the courage to fight such odds? He utilized all of the Principles of Personal Defense: Alertness, Decisiveness, Aggressiveness, Speed, Coolness, Ruthlessness, and Surprise. He was skilled in the use of his weapon. Most importantly, He refused to be a victim and allow evil to triumph!”
When this fighting mindset is combined with the right tools, such as a reliable handgun, and the right training, the ordinary citizen becomes a formidable adversary for the criminal. You can start to make a difference today. You can refuse to be a victim. It all starts, like all great things, with a single step taken by none other than you.