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Posted on July 3, 2017 by in Uncategorized

Preparation and Avoidance: The precursors to the Civilian Use of Force Continuum

Preparation & Avoidance


In the upcoming weeks we are going to be introducing a new series discussing the use of force in self defense incidents and introducing a new civilian use of force continuum.

Preparation and avoidance are the precursors for this continuum, and should be thought of as a daily routine for those of us who carry concealed, or carry open.

Preparing and avoiding is something that we do everyday, but probably don’t even think about it. We wake up in the morning and most of us check the weather for any warnings, including heat waves, tornadoes, flash flooding, etc.  We grab a cup of coffee and before heading into work, we check the latest traffic reports to avoid traffic jams or accidents that may set us back. We strive to make our days as efficient as possible, and we try to avoid delays and potentially dangerous situations.

When it comes to self defense and personal protection, it should be no different. We should recognize and accept the responsibility that comes with carrying, and we should always have a good understanding of risk, and where there is a higher risk in terms of our personal protection.  Tyler Grey, training advisor for CCW Safe, has talked about this specifically, and has made some great points in a previous video, here on YouTube.

Location is a great example of this. I’m sure we all know of areas where we wouldn’t want to be stranded late at night, or where we wouldn’t want to take our kids anytime of day. But there are probably more locations, that we might not give much thought to, that could have elevated risks in terms of personal safety. If you are new to an area, have relocated, or are just unfamiliar with some of the surrounding areas where you live, most cities now have crime mapping available online. Even though I am not from Chicago, and live nowhere near there, I love this site that breaks down virtually every violent crime related issue in Chicago. If you can’t find anything online where you live, you can always call the non emergency line of your police department, and ask for a PIO (public information officer) or for someone who might have some information on crime in your area.

Knowing more about criminal activity in your area can greatly help you avoid those areas, or if you are in those areas, to have a heightened sense of preparedness and situational awareness to avoid situations that could be potentially dangerous.

This can be situational too, for example crime sprees that take place in areas that are not known as high crime areas.  I worked as a Gang Task Force officer for several years during my police career.  Occasionally, we would have carjacking sprees in areas of the city that there was very low crime due to the opportunity for carjackers to steal high end cars.  During the holidays, starting just after Thanksgiving, we usually had more “smash and grabs” and armed robberies.  So, it is very important to not only continually plan as a concealed carrier, but also to practice good situational awareness.

Once you have taken steps to better prepare in terms of personal protection on a daily basis, avoidance follows. As stated before, we all go through daily work and routines with the end goal of arriving home at the end of the day to our families. We try to avoid high traffic drive times or routes, we avoid driving in icy weather or during tornado warnings, and we avoid high crime areas. With this, we should also always think of not only avoiding those locations, but also avoiding individual situations that may lead to a self defense use of force, and if we find ourselves in such a situation, to always try to work back to avoidance if possible.

It is important to remember that if you are involved in a self defense action, especially a self defense shooting, investigators will look at what role you had in it, and if there was anything that you did that “put you in” that situation, or if there was anything that could have been done to avoid it.

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Mike Darter

Co-Founder/CEO CCW Safe

Mike was a police officer in Oklahoma City from 1991-2001, and a federal contractor for the DOJ from 2001-2011. During his career, Mike investigated and testified in hundreds of violent crimes, including shootings, homicides, and other violent felony crimes. Mike was involved in a shooting as a police officer and went through a lawsuit from that shooting. The lawsuit was later dismissed, but his experience is what led to the creation of CCW Safe.