Too often, we overlook the importance of working out a plan of communication with our spouse, business partner, or buddy, prior to being involved in a deadly situation. In the heat of the moment, as we try to communicate our response, or coordinate the defense, we can often be misunderstood.
Some years ago, a training officer and his rookie were on their way to the jail with a mouthy drunk. Now, this was in the days before squad cars had cages, so the drunk was cuffed behind his back and sitting in the back seat of the patrol car. Getting fed up with the drunk’s jabbering, the training officer said, “If you don’t shut up, my partner here is going to smack you.”
Well, the drunk paused for a little bit, but then, as drunks will do, he started in mouthing again. Whereupon, the rookie reached over the back seat and hit him right in the mouth.
After the drunk was placed in a cell, the training officer asked the rookie why he had hit a handcuffed prisoner. “Well, you told him I was going to do it and I wasn’t about to make you out a liar.”
Most of my time as an officer I worked by myself. However, when I did have a partner riding with me I told him that I had no intention of giving up my gun for any reason. I told him that when he heard me agreeing with the suspect and saying that I would drop my gun, that was the clue to my partner that I was about to draw and start shooting.
The point is to develop a system of words, and even sign language, that lets your partner know what you are about to do. And this needs to be worked out before you are faced with a deadly situation. You work the system out between you, develop it, and even practice it, so that both of you have a clear understanding of what is actually being said or signaled.
Some years ago, in Phoenix, a couple ran a business. The wife generally waited on customers and the husband spent most of his time in the office with paperwork. When the woman was confronted by an armed robber, she told him that her husband had all the money in the office. As they neared the door of the office, she said, “Cowboy, there is a man here to see you.” When the armed robber stepped into the office, the husband shot him dead. Calling her husband “cowboy” was the signal that she was being held at gunpoint.
Don’t wait until you are looking down a gun muzzle to expect words and signals to be an effective part of your defense plan. When the plan is made ahead of time, it can be an effective part of your personal defense. It can mean the difference between life and death.