Gun-Do Trumps Judo When Lives Are In Peril

gun doA nurse I know was nearly choked to death by a psychotic patient before co-workers were able to intervene, several of whom were themselves injured in the process.  In the course of a career as an emergency physician, one of the many lessons I’ve learned is that humans can be especially violent and aggressive.  This makes them capable of causing grievous injuries.

In addition, I have seen that committed attackers can be, shall we say, ‘resilient.’  I have seen individuals on the receiving end of a Taser who required multiple shocks to even take the edge off of their aggression.  Similarly, I once treated a women of no more than 90 pounds who very nearly defeated a contingent of doctors, nurses, deputies and security officers, thanks to the energy and motivation provided by illicit drugs.  (As we Southerners are fond of saying, ‘she was little, but she was wiry.’)

The truth is that when we are victims we can die too easily, thanks to the combination of rage and strength exhibited by attackers, who incidentally are mostly male and mostly young.  (90-year-old men rarely attack anyone.)  Corollary to that truth is this one:  attackers are difficult to dissuade without violence.

So we have a bit of a conundrum.  Fighting is dangerous but we sometimes have to fight.  What to do?  How about ‘hand-to-hand’ combat?  There’s Judo, for instance, as recently suggested by Colorado State Senator Paul Rosenthal as a better deterrent to rape than a firearm.  Why not? It works great on television, right?

I’ve been fortunate to have excellent teachers in both Tae Kwon Do and Aikido.  While I’m certainly no expert martial artist, Ultimate Fighter or Special Operator, I’ve learned a bit about what it takes to engage someone in a physical confrontation, even in the benign environment of a training hall.             You see, unlike movies and television, from which our leftist, pseudo-pacifist fellow citizens seem to derive their knowledge of combat, men rarely fall down when struck with a fist, or kicked, unless it is done with significant precision and power.  Throwing a person, over one’s shoulder or hip, takes a great deal of instruction and practice.  Pins can be effective but can also be difficult to apply in the heat of the moment (especially when leaving one’s assailant lying in pain is probably wiser than staying to pin him).

Fitness is a huge issue.  As the character Columbus says in the movie Zombieland, ‘cardio’ matters!  A fight, at full speed, even without the fear induced in an actual attack, will leave the average person exhausted in about 2 minutes or less.  And if one is choked, functional consciousness lasts less than a minute.  (I’ve come close, and I know whereof I speak.)

Training and repetition are key.  A class isn’t enough.  An honest martial artist will admit that even years of training may be inadequate when sudden, terrifying, life-threatening violence emerges without warning.

And size matters.  A fellow student, and much better martial artist than I, once sat on my Hakama (the bloused pants worn in Aikido).  He is a big man and I couldn’t move.  His comment was, ‘I can’t help it.  It’s how fat people fight!’   He’s not fat, but his size kept me from doing anything to resist.

Finally, ‘pain hurts.’  Unlike television, movies, graphic novels and other sources of popular entertainment, fights are uncomfortable at the least.  When regular persons are hit or kicked, struck with sticks or anything else multiple times, they lose heart.  They don’t have the commitment of the attacker, or the drug or alcohol haze to make it all tolerable.  Or the stunt double to make it more pleasant.

In light of those realities (and I’m sure there are many others the reader will happily supply), the firearm is nothing short of a miracle.  A heaven-sent device that shields the weak from the predations of the oppressor, whether on an individual or national level.  It does not respect the assailant’s fitness, rage, drug use, ethical anemia or psychosis.  It feels no pain.  The firearm does not require great physical fitness by the user.  It does require some training, but proficiency is easier to maintain.  And while it sometimes respects size (some people endure injury better than others), the firearm generally has the ability to overcome variations in human anatomy and physiology with remarkable equality and democracy.

When gun-control advocates wax poetic about the wonders of martial arts, they should spend some time practicing those arts and enduring the pain, frustration and difficulty of hard training.  And they should stop imagining that real world assaults, especially against women, bear any resemblance to the attacks on the stiletto-wearing, hair-tossing girls of Charlie’s Angels.

Because real women, and real men, don’t want to fight.  But they do want to survive.  They know the limits of their strength and the perils of fighting.  And while martial arts training has great value, few things give regular citizens a more efficient, less time-intensive, more widely-available chance of surviving an attack than owning, and using, firearm.

So hip throw the rapist if you must; just make sure and shoot him first.

About the author: Edwin Leap

Edwin Leap, MD is an emergency physician and columnist. He lives in rural, Upstate South Carolina with his wife and four home-schooled children, and their various dogs and cats. He is a 1990 graduate of the West Virginia University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Methodist Hospital of Indiana in 1993. He is board certified in emergency medicine. Dr. Leap and his children are hobby blacksmiths, who love collecting swords, spears, knives and axes. His favorite firearms are the Ruger over and under shotgun his wife gave him for his birthday, the Ruger Mini-14 and Smith and Wesson .357 he received for Father's Day and his big, ugly Mosin Nagant rifle (also a gift from his darling wife). He and his family are members of College Street Baptist Church in Walhalla, SC where he is a deacon.

View all articles by Edwin Leap
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