Citizens and self-defence
What should you do if you are confronted by a terrorist? Over at INI Signal, a decorated former army officer argues that potential ‘victims’ must charge on the terrorist and incapacitate him.
A marksman who can ‘shoot to kill’, achieves that status by practice, practice and only practice. In contrast, a terrorist in most of the cases is introduced to the weapon and after a very minimal induction, sent on a mission. With such minimal exposure, he resorts to indiscriminate firing and escapes if confronted with least opposition. His reflexes will only push him behind and the intended victim though unarmed, will gain an upper hand…
This myth of an assault rifle being disastrous should be killed and we should realize that it is the man behind the weapon and not the weapon which needs to be addressed. If the man behind the weapon is weak, a state of art weapon is equivalent to that of a block of wood. Soldiers who have had occasion to demonstrate courage under fire would perhaps be the first to accept that almost no one is devoid of fear when bullets fly. An understanding of the real destructive power of the enemy, training, being in a ‘kill or be killed’ situation and the knowledge that ‘offense is the best form of defense’ is what allows soldiers to overcome their fear and do the seemingly impossible. I am not suggesting that we train every citizen to be a soldier, but if we can do just enough so that every citizen is aware of the basics of what is the real capability of the commonly used ‘terror weapons’ and if we can educate them on how to react in adverse situations, we may have done our bit. [INI Signal]
Ram Kumar calls for a national movement to educate citizens so that they do not end up as easy prey in a soft state.
14 thoughts on “Overcoming the fear of the assault rifle”
Nah, if I saw somebody firing away with an AK-47, I’d run the hell away, not run towards him. If he even trains the gun on you for a fraction of a second, that’s enough to riddle you with dozens of bullets.
The very fact that people are having to talk about how to dodge assault rifle attacks is itself an ominous sign that India has totally lost control of its environment and is simply adrift and easy pickings for whatever forces choose to prey upon it. This problem has to be dealt with too, rather than fatuously demanding that Mumbaikars “show more spirit”. We all know how that “spirit” crap was just a line put out by complacent politicians trying to protect the status quo.
I also think that Ram Kumar forgets to account for the mindset of a civilian in his analysis.
Even if (by some miracle) civilians followed his advice ‘offence is the best form of defense’, just imagine what the police would have to deal with 🙂
Sanjay, photonman: what happens if you happen to be with family when that happens? Do you still run away? Ram Kumar’s take is most interesting.
An 60-something Israeli professor at Virginia Tech saved 20-30 lives by resisting that fool with 2 pistols – lost his own life – but went down as a hero. The state is soft – the people must be taught to resist.
libertarian, that’s why an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or dead family.
That’s why people have to be strongly advocating policies that place a higher emphasis on security now, and not merely after terrorists strike. Because when the terrorists show up to kill you, or your family members, then it’s too late.
Soft state is not an unavoidable, inevitable thing over which we have no control or choice. Soft state can and should be stopped now — and if for some reason it can’t be, then it’s not a state worth sticking around in.
Soft state can and should be stopped now — and if for some reason it can’t be, then it’s not a state worth sticking around in.
India has historically been a pacifist state. Can’t throw out the genes. And with our political mess does not allow for the “turn on a dime” reaction. In the meantime, why not train the citizens in art of self-defense?
Disagree very strongly with your assertion: “if for some reason it can’t be, then it’s not a state worth sticking around in”. There’s several reasons to choose a state. While protection of life is a primary one, it must be placed in context: the probability that an Indian citizen would be randomly killed in terrorist violence in 2008 was 3K/1G. Most people would bet against those odds and stick in India – if that were the only criterion for leaving. The odds of dying on Indian roads is orders of magnitude greater than that.
We have to trust that We The People – the Indian Nation – will force the state to change its soft stance. All open societies self-correct towards common goals. But the process takes time – whether we like it or not.
“India has historically been a pacifist state.”
Let’s strip off the romanticism, and admit that Indians have historically been a conquered people. If you look at the track record of its various local statelets making war on each other, then things don’t look pacifist at all. But you’re right – can’t throw out the genes, as miserably incompetent as they are.
I wouldn’t call charging at an automatic rifle the “art of self-defense”, but more like the “art of hara-kiri”.
Regarding dying on roads vs dying from gunmen – I’d point out that such threats are not mutually exclusive, they are additive. One can also compare the odds of dying of cancer with the odds of dying in a road accident too, but it doesn’t help. All it does it lull oneself into false complacency. We Indians tend to rationalize inaction – can’t throw the genes out, as you say.
In this case, we are rationalizing our inability to reform our politically leaky state roof, by naively hoping to walk between the raindrops.
I don’t see the Israelis counseling each other to charge at AK-47s. But they seem to have different genes than us.
“The very fact that people are having to talk about how to dodge assault rifle attacks is itself an ominous sign that India has totally lost control of its environment and is simply adrift and easy pickings for whatever forces choose to prey upon it.”
“I don’t see the Israelis counseling each other to charge at AK-47s. But they seem to have different genes than us.”
Do you really not know that Israel has compulsory military training for everyone? I can’t even think of another country that includes women in a military draft of this sort. So, they do much more than just counsel each other. Now, what would you say about Israel losing control of its environment etc or having apparently better genetic material?
PS: Yes, I would probably run away too. But I am not going to blame the entire genetic pool for that.
India has historically been a pacifist state. Can’t throw out the genes.
I presume you mean the Indian state that was formed in 1947. I disagree with you, because history contradicts this. What about the long covert war that culminated in the creation of Bangladesh? What about support to Tamil separatists in Srilanka? Just to mention a few…
While protection of life is a primary one, it must be placed in context: the probability that an Indian citizen would be randomly killed in terrorist violence in 2008 was 3K/1G.
All human habitations in the country is not equally likely to be targeted. If you consider only the economically important areas in major cities, the odds are much higher. You also do not consider the spillover effects like unnecessary expenditure on private security and damage to the social fabric. Not to mention the resources wasted in trying to manage these effects. In any case, no data can rationalize a soft stance towards terrorist violence.
We have to trust that We The People – the Indian Nation – will force the state to change its soft stance.
I agree here. From the first point I made above, the key issue is the lack of political will to raise the costs of such a covert war to Pakistan. But unfortunately we are running short on time…
BOK, my point was that the Israelis keep their own people armed and prep’d for military service, and not unarmed and charging into assault rifles. They don’t tell everyone to “show their spirit” by absorbing attacks and doing nothing. The Israelis are about “an eye for an eye” and not sitting around impotently. Remember that it was Israel which privately approached India for cooperation on destroying Pakistan’s N-reactor, but Rajiv Gandhi went public to rebuke them. Now that bastard is dead — but the rest of us have to live with the legacy of his stupidity.
We have only 2 options left when encountered with an armed ( with any weapon ) attacker. One is to flee and in the process you may simply be shot while fleeing. You will have the honour of dying even without the least resistence. The other way is to muster up a couple of people and charge or charge all alone where you may die resisting at the least. The chances of your survival are more only when you resist because the attacker is also in a state of panic and you are not giving him peaceful time….where he can take a pot shot at you. Last month in a Bank in Haryana, an old man ( retired Professor) nabbed an armed bank robber who had placed his weapon on the Bank Manager’s head and was threatening him. The professor rushed into the Manager’s cabin and nabbed the culprit in more or less the same way that was suggested.No casualties at all. I saw the video in the news. I am saying that we may not have a choice at all and the only possible way is “Offence the best form of defense”
Pak’s N-bum isn’t the outcome of Rajiv’s cowardice or stupidity alone. Chances are unlike Iraq after Osirak, Pak would still have gotten its bums courtsey China anyway.
That said, I am starting to like the idea of training citizens in the art of self defense. Just that they’re a billion of us requiring training and its not feasible or practical to train everybody.
A better idea would be to give folks who are willing and able to train and learn firearms licenses. Just like driving licenses must be earnt, so must firearms licenses and each licensed firearm should be accounted for. Conceal and carry permits to ex-servicemen would not be a bad idea either, perhaps.
Let the terrorshit know that that seeming crowd of cowardly unarmed softy civilians might contain some who could and would fire lead back.
Teaching martial arts and enlightening the people to proper procedure is a good start but telling them not to fear an Ak-47 is like telling a deer not to fear a lion.
It’s instinct. And in a clinch, hormonal emotions will override logical thinking.
“Oh, there is an AK 47!”
Step 1: Assess the situation
Step 2: Run towards the flying bullets
Step 3: Remember that they won’t hit me.
Step 4: Assume you have impenetrable skin and act accordingly.
did you remove my comments?? I missed an interesting debate. Please don’t do that again or I will charge at you to defend my honour in sync with Ram Kumar.
His take is OK, but for that India has to shun “chalta hai” and for that please visit http://www.slideshare.net/naveeta. You will understand pictorially why we can’t “just do it” like the Israeli teacher right now.
Give it another fifty or so years and then may be..just may be
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