Violence can be surprising, fast, and random

A few months ago, we talked about how you never know when you'll have to defend yourself. And we cited results from a survey we ran on how often people carry a gun.

The results were interesting because they showed how people appear to decide in advance the level of danger they may be in and whether or not they may need to defend themselves. People operate on a "feeling" about what will or won't happen in a given situation.

But take a look at some recent Armed Citizen stories from the NRA:

Sex offender attempts to break into home:

A woman was at her Van Zandt County, Texas home when she became aware of a man attempting to gain access to the house through a side door. The woman retrieved a gun and shot and killed the intruder.

It was later determined by local media outlet KLTV that the home invader was a suspect in an arson investigation earlier in the week, had an extensive criminal record, and had only recently been released from the county jail on charges of failing to register as a sex offender.

...

Meth head tries multiple carjackings:

A man who was high on meth attempted to carjack three different vehicles in Clay County, Ind. before being stopped by a Right-to-Carry permit holder.

First, the meth user attempted to gain access to a woman’s car, after which she used cell-phone to alert police. When this failed, the carjacker attempted to enter a vehicle holding three children. The criminal then stuck his hand through the passenger’s window of a third vehicle and attempted to unlock the door. The passenger sitting in the car, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, responded by retrieving a gun and leveling it at the carjacker, prompting the criminal to flee.

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Violent brothers break into the wrong house:

A Springfield, Mass. resident was at home with his 3-year-old daughter when a pair of brothers attempted to break inside. The criminals appear to have believed the homeowner was someone else, referring to the resident by the wrong name, kicking the door, and shouting threats. The resident retrieved a gun, retreated to a bedroom, and fired at the criminals when they got inside the home. The gunfire struck one of the home invaders and caused both to flee. The intruders were captured by police shortly after leaving the home.

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Armed man attempts store robbery:

The owner of MiPueblo Food Store in Smith County, Texas was tending to his business when a customer alerted him to two suspicious men who had asked the customer what time the store closed. Later on, an armed and masked man entered the store and attempted to rob it. The owner responded by retrieving a gun and exchanging gunfire with the criminal, killing him.

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Woman attacked by her own dog:

After a woman arrived home with her pet pit bull in Exeter Township, Pa., she was attacked by the dog as she tried to remove it from her car. The woman’s partner came to her aid, but was also attacked by the dog. One neighbor described the scene to a local news outlet by stating, “The dog would not let [him] go.”

Other neighbors came to help the couple. When the dog failed to stop after one neighbor hit it with a metal bar, another neighbor shot the dog, ending the attack.

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Car accident leads to mob violence:

Steve Utash was driving in Detroit, Mich. when he accidentally struck a 10-year-old boy with his vehicle. Retired nurse Deborah Hughes was inside her nearby home at the time, and once she became aware of the accident, she retrieved a .38-caliber pistol and went to see if she could help. While she was trying to comfort the injured boy, a mob began to attack Utash, who had stopped and gotten out of his vehicle.

As the beating was taking place, Hughes rushed over to the crowd and told the mob, “Don’t kick him anymore, don’t hit him anymore, get back,” halting the attack. Hughes later told a local media outlet, “I had a gun in my pocket, I was ready to do some damage if I had to.”

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Shoplifter attacks with drug needle:

An admitted heroin addict was confronted outside a Home Depot in Roseville, Mich. by two loss prevention officers that suspected him of shoplifting. When the employees tried to apprehend the man, he responded by drawing a syringe from his jacket and slashing at the personnel, striking one of the employees several times. A customer, and Right-to-Carry permit holder, witnessed the incident, drew a gun and ordered the addict to halt his attack. 

Can you see a pattern here? No, because there is none. You can be attacked in your home, in your car, or in a store. You might be the victim of mistaken identity. The weapon might be a gun, but it could be something else, like a needle. The attacker may not even be human.

There may be certain places and circumstances where you "feel" safe, but that's an illusion. We all think of danger in terms of one or two specific scenarios in our head. But that doesn't reflect the chaos and unpredictability of the real world.

When you watch the news after something terrible happens, what do people invariably say to reporters? "I never thought anything like that could happen here." Really? Why?

If you're the victim of violence, you are unlikely to know when it will be, where it will take place, who will attack, or how they will attack. It will be a surprise. It probably won't be a scenario you have rehearsed. It will happen at the worst possible moment. You won't react as perfectly as you imagine you will. It will be sudden and chaotic. No matter how amazing you think you are while at the gun range, in a real life situation you won't be the model of perfect technique or calm. You'll make mistakes.

So are you ready for that?