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The way I look at it is that ours is a world governed by the aggressive use of force. Sure, we have civilization in order to temper said force but that's more of a facade really because regardless of how many laws we have on the books at the end of the day when you're alone with someone else in a dark alleyway and they want to do you harm it'll be a true battle of life and death. There will be no cop there to save you, no judge to immediately declare them guilty and no bailiff to haul them away. Ultimately YOU are the only person responsible for your own security.

At that point it's a question of how you will defend yourself. Sure, you can try to talk your way out of the situation (keeping in mind that the situation could be anything, such as a mall in New Jersey, ahem) and that may work... if they show you mercy. However, having a bit of knowledge about the bad guys out there (keep in mind I read just about every police report that comes through my department, including the interviews with the bad guys) precious few have as much as an iota of mercy in them. You could do everything they ask and they may still put a bullet in your head.

So, I don't consider talking your way out of it the best option, at best it's a crap shoot. You could call 911... if you have the opportunity to do so. Then you can wait for the response. And wait. And wait some more. I've worked in a 911 call center, I KNOW the response times. Three minutes is pretty much the best response time you can hope for. That seems fast, but it a life-or-death struggle that's an eternity. Plus, as I said, that's the best case scenario. If you're in Detroit the response time is more in the 45-60 minute range. I'm dead serious. You'd literally be better off calling for a pizza guy, they'd show up sooner and you may be able to bribe the thug with food. Or maybe you're way out in the sticks, when there are two patrol cars on duty for the entire county... again, they won't be there anytime soon no matter how much you scream into the phone.

That's not to say don't call 911, but if you're betting your life on a quick police response then you better be prepared for them to arrive in time to draw a chalk outline of your body and call in the medical examiner. Not a risk I'm willing to take. Call me crazy, but I prefer to live to see tomorrow.

That basically leaves an armed response of some type. Sure, you could use a knife. But you better have some martial arts training, be in shape, being stronger helps, etc. That doesn't really help the 90 lbs 19 year old woman walking home alone at night... she's immediately at a distinct disadvantage to a 200 lbs guy intent on doing her harm. Or a 90 year old WWII vet... fending off that 200 lbs 20 year old guy wouldn't have been a problem for him 60 years ago... but even with a knife he's at a distinct disadvantage even if the attacker is "unarmed" (though fists make mighty fine weapons if you're strong, healthy and young).

At the end of the day the only option that makes sense, to me, is arming yourself with a firearm in order to take responsibility for your own safety. Every other option results in you ceding your responsibility to someone else, whether it be the person attacking you (which is an outright terrible idea) or some good guy with a gun rushing to help you (which is better, but still not ideal). Keep in mind I haven't always felt this way... but having worked with the police for the past 17 years I've learned a few things about how the system works (or doesn't) and how bad guys think (or don't). I'd be lying if I said disarming yourself and letting others be responsible for your safety is a good idea... it isn't.

If you need proof that you're ultimately responsible for your own safety look no further than this recent article about the Virginia Tech shooting:

http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/142769/

Consider what that ruling truly means. The court outright said that neither the state nor the university is responsible for your safety, including their respective police forces. If THEY aren't responsible for your safety, who is? The bad guy? LOL! No... the only logical conclusion is that YOU and only YOU are responsible for your own safety. Proceed accordingly.
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