Written by Greg Ellifritz
I recently was contacted by a regular reader of this site. She had an interesting request for a specialized article for the non-combatant. To paraphrase the request:
“I read all the great advice on your site and try to implement as much of it as I can. But I have to recognize that I have some family members who absolutely will not fight under any circumstances…it may be a mindset issue, an age issue, or some type of physical disability. No matter what the cause, some people won’t fight and I will have to do the fighting for them. What should I tell them to do in the event of an attack?”
It’s a good question and it’s one that’s seldom addressed. For the purposes of this article, I will call the person who won’t or can’t fight the “non-combatant”. It could be your young child, your elderly grandparent, or a friend who recently suffered a disabling injury. If the two of you are involved in a confrontation, what should the non-combatant do? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Don’t make the situation worse. I’ve seen cases where the non-combatant has ridiculed the attacker or goaded him into greater violence through verbal insults. I’ve also seen cases where the non-combatant says something like “You’ve got a gun. Shoot him!” Bad move.
Make sure your non-combatant friend or family member knows to never mention the weapons you carry. If this is a problem, maybe you should keep your armament a secret from the non-combatant as well.
2) Get yourself to safety. Don’t make the fight any harder for the defender. The defender will find it difficult to focus on the threat if they are also trying to take care of the non-combatant. If a fight breaks out or the defender draws a weapon, the non-combatant should be programmed to immediately distance himself from the defender and seek cover. Make sure the non-combatant recognizes the difference between cover and concealment and can use both effectively.
If the non-combatant can safely video the incident or take photos of the attacker without compromising contact with the police, he or she should do so from a position of cover.
3) Call for help. Have the non-combatant get on the phone to police. Police will need the location of the attack and the description of the parties involved. If the defender is armed, make sure that information (along with a good clothing description) is relayed to police as well. Say something like:
“I’m at the corner of Fifth and High Streets. My friend and I were attacked. My friend is still fighting the attacker. The attacker is a white male in his 30s wearing blue jeans and a red sweatshirt. The victim is a white male in his 50s wearing a beige jacket. My friend has a CCW permit and is armed.”
That will help the arriving officers to better sort things out and may keep the defender from being mistakenly shot by police.
4) If the defender is injured, don’t leave cover to provide aid. For all you know, the defender may be playing dead or setting up an ambush for the attackers. If you approach the injured defender you may both screw up her plan and place yourself in danger. Stay behind cover and in communication with the police.
5) Intercept the responding police officers. If the defender has used or displayed a firearm, I’m very concerned about he or she being shot by responding police in a case of mistaken identity. If the non combatant is still in close proximity to the defender, he/she should watch for police arrival and listen for sirens. When the police are nearby, instruct the defender to holster his/her weapon and be prepared to obey police orders.
The non-combatant can also approach the responding cops (with hands in the air) to tell them that an armed citizen is fighting a criminal and provide an additional description of the “good guy.”
If you have a non-combatant in your life, make sure to discuss these strategies. Figure out exactly what the non-combatant can do to assist in the situation rather than assuming he or she can do nothing because they aren’t armed, physically capable, or well trained.