I was approached by a middle-aged female, and asked “What do you recommend for self protection, in my rural home?”. After dwelling on personal defense for the untrained, I could only come up with 1 simple answer.
The Final Option – Personal Defense for the Untrained
About fifteen years ago, I was preparing to depart for an eleven week training event in Quantico, Virginia. At this time, my wife, two younger children and I lived in a rural area in northwestern Ohio. At that time our county seat, a city of approximately 40,000 persons, was the most violent city, for its population base, in Ohio. We lived about ten miles north of that city and I was concerned about the safety of my children and my family during my absence. My wife was not afraid of firearms but I had not taken the time to give her the instruction she needed to be comfortable and proficient with a gun.
I was faced with the dilemma; leave a handgun with an untrained person which could possibly prove more harmful than an attack or assault, or, find another option.
Last week, fifteen years later, I was approached by a middle-aged female, in a public venue, and asked the same question, that my wife had asked me 15 years ago.
“What do you recommend for self protection, in my rural home?”
“Do you have any firearm training?” I asked.
Her response was, ”No.”
I proceeded to give her the same advice that I had given my wife fifteen years ago.
I am a firm believer that it is never a good idea to take a knife to a gunfight. But there are times when options are limited or non-existent that a good sharp knife is a fine companion in the absence of Sam Colt or one of his buddies. But it is necessary, as with any weapon or tool, to realize and understand its limitations.
. Many cheap serrated knives are little better than a butter knife so I purchased an oversized paring knife from Cutco Cutlery through a friend who was selling them as a door to door sales person. It was a good choice. I did not want too large of a knife or one too small. This size could be slid into a bathrobe pocket or under a pillow very easily. The key to any weapon is accessibility. It doesn’t do you any good if you leave it under a counter somewhere where you “think” you can readily find it.. If you do not keep it within arm’s reach it will probably not be accessible when you really need it! Violent confrontations can occur within fractions of a second and without warning.
I made a duct tape-wrapped cardboard sheath for the knife, so my wife could keep it with her, close at hand, but safe.
Several important things to remember if you have only a knife for self defense:
- If someone is breaking into your home, call 9-1-1 immediately. The communications operator will want to ask you many questions, which in reality, you may not have time to answer. Give them the basic information if you are able, but do not lose your focus on what is occurring. If you cannot talk, keep the operator on the line. They will be able to monitor much of what is occurring even without your responses. In most areas across the United States the GPS in your cell phone will give them your location.
- Retreat with your family members, if possible. Do not confront or antagonize the aggressor. Try to lock yourself into a secure place if possible. Remember, keep your knife with you; it now should be an extension of your weapons hand! If you cannot find a secure location and are in an urban area, move outside if the area is lighted and you know your neighbors. Make as much noise as possible, scream, pound on trash cans, anything to attract attention.
- If you are unable to continue a retreat, do your best to remain calm. Remind yourself that you did connect with the 9-1-1 center and help is on the way.
- If the aggressor comes into the area where you are, do not try to intimidate him/her with your knife. At this point it is best to keep the knife hidden by holding the knife in a blade forward position in your hand and with your knife hand slightly behind your leg to hide the knife. If the aggressor continues his advance it will be necessary for you to step forward into him/her. Do what they do not expect you to do; throw your non-knife arm around them in a tight hug while bringing the knife into their abdomen. Do not stop with one thrust. Keep stabbing the aggressor until he retreats or falls to the floor. Hang tightly onto the knife so that it does not slip from your hand.
- If you are in bed and the aggressor attacks, ensure that the blankets do not hinder your hands or arms. The procedure is almost the same except that you are horizontal instead of vertical. Do not allow your arms and hands to be trapped by the assailant’s body weight. Wrap both arms around your assailant. His/her back is now the target area. You will not have the opportunity to cut into the soft abdomen area. Your primary targets will be the lower back/kidney area and anywhere in the spinal area as you hug him/her close to your body. Regardless as to how ugly or smelly the aggressor is, hug them tightly and keep stabbing him/her until there is no more life left in them.
- Never allow the aggressor to restrain you in any way. If they do, you are then at their mercy and you may have given them the time to do as they wish with you and your family members. Fight viciously as long as you have life! If you lose your knife, use anything at your disposal as a weapon. A person’s thumb and thumb nail are devastating when used to gouge an assailant’s eye.
- Once you have engaged the assailant do not release them until you are sure they are incapable of resuming the attack. They may fake unconsciousness or cry out for a “truce” or surrender. Do not succumb to their entreaties! Many times the aggressor will use this ruse to regain the advantage and re-attack you with a vengeance.
I realize that I have painted an ugly picture of survival, but life sometimes is very ugly and very crude. Most people cannot comprehend the evil and cruelty that exist in this world. You may believe that we live in a civilized society. Maybe we do in comparison with many other countries, but most people cannot comprehend the depths of depravity, cruelty and evil that permeates our culture and our country.
If you are unsure about the effectiveness of an edged weapon, “Knives” magazine* printed an article sometime after November 01, 1999, titled, Bear Fight; Knife or Death. The article was authored by J. Bruce Voyles. It was written about Gene Moe, a 69 year old hunter, who was able to kill a 750 pound Alaskan Brown Bear, that attacked him, on Raspberry Island, near Kodiak, Alaska. Although the hunter suffered very severe injuries, he killed the bear with his Buck 110 folding knife. The one true God was surely walking with that hunter on that day but it also demonstrates the effectiveness of an edged weapon during a violent encounter.
* We managed to locate this story online at https://www.outdoorlife.com/articles/larry-mueller-and-marguerite-reiss/2007/09/last-stand