This 48-second video clip teaches so many vital lessons about the reality of violence. The lessons are universal and apply to everyone, whether they carry a gun or not. So please consider sharing this post with others.
I came across this video clip that shows a supposed off-duty New York Police Officer inside a gas station store. The video is short, only 48 seconds. It appears to be a clip from the store's video surveillance system.
Video shows disarm of Off-Duty Officer —
First, I want to mention that I haven't confirmed that the woman in the video is an off-duty NYPD officer.
In the video, we see a criminal disarm the woman and leave with her handgun. However:
the brevity of the video doesn't diminish its incredible value. Actually, a big part of its value comes from how much we see transpire in such a short time.
Other writers have addressed the obvious takeaways from the video. I'll mention them but decided not to go in-depth. Not because they aren't essential lessons. Instead, I think some of the obvious points can obscure some of the “bigger picture” principles.
So before jumping into any “lessons learned,” check the video out for yourself.
Watch the video here –
Breaking down the video —
So much more is going on in the video than what I described in the synopsis above. Let's dive in.
The cell phone –
First, when the victim enters the gas station store, she talks on her cell phone. I've read many comments stating that the assault and gun disarm was partially her fault, “she shouldn't have been talking on her phone.”
If we are honest, don't we all use the phone from time to time in public? That doesn't mean the point isn't valid. We must be aware of our surroundings, especially when armed. We should address what she could have done better, but we can't blame the woman for the actions of a criminal.
Method of carrying –
We should put a lot of thought and consideration into how we carry our guns. Some positions are better than others, but people often just opt for what feels the most comfortable, often leading to small back (SOB) carry. I highly recommend using a holster designed specifically for appendix carry, as I find it has the least downsides.
I am a proponent of the right to open carry but believe that people should avoid doing it for most situations. Some have suggested the gun is visible because she is open carrying. I can't entirely agree.
I think the gun is visible because of the way she is carrying it, and she doesn't realize it's showing. I've seen this happen to many concealed carriers, and it's just one of many reasons I dislike small of the back (SOB) carry.
Defense from gun disarms –
Even if the gun isn't obvious, like it is here, the nature of where it is means the criminal has it before you can even respond. Gun Disarms can happen far quicker than we want to believe. Again, consider the appendix carry for this reason.
Tactical positioning –
When the victim enters the store, one man is standing at the counter. Almost immediately after she enters, another man follows behind her, placing her in the middle of the two men.
At first, she is in a horrible position between the men. But either instinctively or accidentally, she positions herself to see both men and places her back against a store display. She may or may not have done this on purpose, but we should pay attention. When the man at the counter pays and steps away, she is next. Here is where we need to make some decisions.
If she positioned herself like that because something made her uneasy about one or both of the men, it's time to make some decisions. Consider some of these options:
- hang up the phone
- leave the store, walking around the back of the man, not in between
- pay more attention to the men and give non-verbal cues you are alert
- without telegraphing it, naturally, put your hands and body in a position to defend better or draw
- tell the man in the back, “I'm not in a hurry, why don't you go in front of me?”
The assault may have still happened, but she would have been in a better position to respond.
Direct communication –
In addition to all the things mentioned above, here is a recommendation of something I've used several times as a police officer and an average joe on the street. Consider engaging someone who makes you uneasy in small talk, especially if you're in a place where you can't leave, like in line at a store, or waiting for an elevator, etc.
A conversation gives you some advantages.
- lets you direct your attention and body toward them without looking weird
- lets them know you see them and can identify them
- throws them off a bit because most people do not talk to strangers,
- gives a little insight into their possible motives
We see in the video that both the men knew each other. I suspect the man at the counter didn't immediately know the woman was armed. I believe his partner was outside and saw a crime of opportunity when he saw a gun sticking out of the back waistband of a distracted woman. Criminals are not always smart, but they are cunning and predatory.
Right before the assault, the man in the back only had to point to the woman, and the other guy knew what time it was. During the assault and disarm, the partner calmly watched other customers while his buddy did his thing.
Violent crime is…violent –
I don't mean to sound cute, but we must have a genuine understanding of violent crime. Someone willing to use force to disarm you is not reasoning. A person with that mind isn't concerned with the moral or legal consequences of shooting them in the face at point-blank range, even after getting what they want. Thank God that didn't happen in this incident, but I don't think it was because the criminal was afraid for a moment. He just chose not to.
Have a realistic understanding of your ability to fight off an attacker who wants your gun. Have you thought about it? have you considered the strength, technique, and stamina necessary to prevail? An unrealistic understanding of your abilities, the determination, and the level of violence an attacker brings could mean the attacker overpowers you, like the woman in the video.
Physical conditioning is important, but we also have to understand our physical limitations. Some people are out of shape, and it would benefit them from a self-defense and health standpoint to lose weight. Other people have physical constraints, injuries, etc., limiting their abilities. Therefore, comments like those below are wholly unhelpful and may not even be truthful. In my assessment, the woman's weight and whether she needed to lose weight or not had nothing to do with her keeping or losing her gun in this incident.
Timing is important –
The suspect times his disarm to give him the best advantage in the fight. However, he follows it up with an escalation of physical force to immediately shut down any thought in the victim's mind that she should try to fight back. Plus, the criminal had her gun, her options just became very limited, and the chance of the suspect shooting her with her gun increased.
We should also consider if we ever need to draw on a suspect who has brandished a firearm, choosing the best time to respond. Compliance sometimes works, and sometimes it doesn't, but it can be a tactical decision to buy time and opportunity.
Post assault actions –
If you are the victim of a crime, what are some things to consider afterward?
The criminals didn't dash from the scene. Instead, they calmly hopped in their car, parked out front, and drove away.
Some folks have mentioned she should have run after them. It's an option, but is it the best option? Also, it isn't unheard of to be in a bit of disbelief after being assaulted. It may take a moment to collect your thoughts.
It may not be safe to run after someone who ripped the gun out of your pants. However, most public locations have video cameras all over the property, and I suspect these two will be identified and arrested. Sure, they have a gun and can commit more crimes in the meantime. But you have to balance what good will come from pursuing them and weigh it against the risk that comes with the chase.
Uninvolved 3rd party –
I think it's also important to consider what you would do if you were another customer in the store or happened to walk in during the assault and disarm. It may not be immediately apparent that there are two suspects. It could turn out bad if you focused on the man assaulting the woman and didn't see the other armed suspect.
I'm not saying you shouldn't consider getting involved in a situation like this. However, we learn when we look at these videos and start the “what if” mental exercise.
I hope we will use this video, and others like it, to better our self-defense mindset and posture. But unfortunately, the tragedy is that the people who toss the prideful and unhelpful comments are the very ones who could learn the most from watching the video in humility.
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