I had always wondered how I would react if put in a life threatening situation… fight or flight? The day I had a gun to my head inside my own house, I quickly learned I was ready and willing to fight. Having established that, I had to get the right tools in order to fight effectively.
I already knew the basics about gun safety, and how to stand and shoot while looking at my sights and taking my sweet time. However, I now knew first hand that real life was a whole new ball game and I had to learn to use every tool in my arsenal to my advantage.
First and foremost, I learned to become vigilant and trust my instincts. I started watching people; the way they walked, where they kept their hands, how they looked around. The simple art of observation can alert us to so much, and can ultimately help us avoid a terrible situation. I started walking more purposefully, shoulders back, head held high, looking around at the people that came near me. I made sure they knew I saw them. To this day, if something seems out of place, or maybe I have that nagging feeling that someone has been walking behind me too long, maybe I’ll stop at a coffee shop, or stop to tie my shoelace; and then watch them as they walk by, always keeping my back up against the wall. Some people may say that is a bit extreme, but most predators want easy victims, not people who are prepared.
Weighing in at 120lbs and standing at a maximum of 5.2” most people would say that I have a natural disadvantage simply because of my petite size, and I would agree to a certain extent. However, that could also make me faster than someone who is 6” and weighs 250lbs. In reality, your size matters much less than how you use it. My husband and a friend of ours taught me some basic self defense moves I could use if attacked from behind or in front, and how to get away if someone managed to get on top, and pin me down. They would make me practice the drills over and over. And when I go for a run to improve my physical fitness (another tool) I mentally go over scenarios and how to get out of them.
Finally, I had to have a tool in my arsenal to use as a last resort, if and when all other means failed. I applied for and obtained my concealed handgun permit, and my husband bought me a small handgun to carry. I took my time finding a holster and place to carry it that was comfortable, and then I started practicing drawing it from concealment. I went to the range and shot it, and then went home and practiced dry firing so I could get used to the feel of the trigger. I continued, and still do, shooting competitively in order to stay fast, and accurate even while on the move, pushing myself to the limits, and then doing it all over again. Still today I run scenarios through my mind, and try to figure out the right thing to do in each, always trying to find a non lethal solution, but preparing myself mentally and physically for that last resort, if it should ever be necessary.
Although no one can ever be completely prepared for every problem or situation, I am confident that as long as I continue pushing myself to improve, I will not be an easy prey again.
– Daniela Johnson