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#1 Re: News » On Self Defense » 2013-08-06 22:14:27

Let's swap dog stories!  I think one's position on self-defense will change a good deal when one has actually been attacked somehow.

In my case, I've spent years defending my unneutered 65 lb. nice lab mix dog from more aggressive dogs at dog parks.  We've had a few scrapes, none of them resulted in anything serious, and the culprits were not the monster dogs you'd think.  Actual attack pattern in that venue seems to be some dog that has a pathological fear of other dogs, maybe has been attacked before (?), sees my dog and attacks it pre-emptively before we even knew what was happening.  Anyways we've handled those, and the worst is getting into it with owners, not the dog problems themselves.  I can usually settle the dogs, although I do have to be vigilant and it makes a dog park more like work.  I haven't started carrying pepper spray or a gun because of anything that's ever happened in a dog park.

However, one time, in a place that wasn't a dog park, my dog was attacked by a really large off-leash pit bull.  I'm not going to get into details about it, because I don't ever want to encounter those people again.  The pit seized my dog's neck and from my perspective at the time, I very well thought the pit could be ripping my dog's neck open and killing him.  One guy did wrestlemania on the pit from behind, restricting his movements.  I stuck my fingers into the side of the pit's jaw, trying to relieve pressure.  I don't know if it did any good.  A third person punched the dog in the balls and that finally got it to let go.  Thankfully, the pit had only caught fur and collar, my dog only had little scrapes.  We got the hell outta there, as fast as we could as soon as I noticed that my dog did not appear to be bleeding.

Regarding self-defense: I have an Israeli-type attitude about this.  "Never Again."  Seeing that my family member / best friend could definitely have died, it steels my heart against any compassion or hesitancy I might otherwise feel on the subject.  That and the attack happened so fast, before I could do any of the usual dog park intervention preliminaries.  This dog was a killer, a whole order of magnitude worse than anything I'd encountered or dealt with before.

I will never, ever be unarmed in the kind of place that I was when this attack happened.  Fortunately, I'm not in such places very often.  I've also realized that rural residential neighborhoods are often loaded with "weaponized" pit bulls.  I don't go into such areas without a good reason now.  Not to explore, not to check things out, not to take a nice walk.  I totally understand you fleeing that city.  I've said to myself, if I ever found myself living somewhere where I felt I *needed* to be armed 24/7, I should seriously consider why I'm doing that and GTFO.  Even if it takes a lot of money to do it, or abandoning personal property.  Life is more important than things.

I'm a martial artist and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.  That said I do not own a gun, and I haven't even been driven to carry pepper spray yet.  This is mainly becuse I feel I have other options, lethal if need be.  I was not happy for many months after the incident though, and it's taken me awhile to de-stress and calm down about how I'd really handle things in the future.  I mastered avoidance a long time ago, it's the best tool in my toolbox, and rationally I have to convince myself that the situation that happened, is just not going to happen again.  I can control where I am and when I'm armed, and that's just not "general life" for me.  In general life, I do have plans and contingencies, but I've made it many years without being in any problem areas where weaponized pit bulls are freely roaming the streets.

I'd like to add a racist note to the end of this.  It is my anecodotal experience that disproportionate numbers of black children in the USA are deadly afraid of dogs.  Not all by a long shot.  Some like dogs just fine.  But if I'm going to hazard a guess as to which children are afraid of dogs, without even looking at them, I'm going to say they're black.  They might be from India, a rare few might be Hispanic, but they're almost never white and if they're scared to death, they're usually black.  Sometimes I get these ridiculous reactions even from pre-teens or teenagers when walking down the street, scared to death and jumping out of the way of my 65 lb. rather nice on-a-leash lab mix dog.  I ran this racist observation past a friend of mine from NYC who did lots of work with disadvantaged youth back in the day.  It didn't surprise him a bit and he said it's the legacy of people growing up in neighborhoods where dogs are viewed as weapons.  Hence why I use the phrase "weaponized" above, as I've met plenty of smaller pits that are just fine.

Sorry Las Cruces sucked.  You did well to leave.  The mildly PTSD-like symptoms will diminish over time.

As for some other themes in your article, like guns being powerful, being afraid of having that power or using it... well I understand, and I can empathize, but enough martial training for long enough will turn those things into tools rather than talismans.  It can take awhile though, and deciding what your Rules of Engagemet are, is part of the martial arts learning curve / growth.  I used to feel funny about knives, and now they're just things I cut my mangoes and cheese with.  I still haven't learned the gun, it's a frontier for me.  I will do it within the next 2 years, because I know I have to have the skill *before* I need to use it.  But I'm not being driven there out of any immediate need, or fear.  By the time I get there, I think all those weird feelings about "OMFG there's all these horrible things I could do with a gun!" will go away.  Just like, every once in awhile I think anyone (including me) could just end their life, right now, by turning the wheel of their car violently while driving down the Interstate.  So why not do it?  Well, I think because it would suck, and serve no purpose other than satisfying a fleeting, crazy impulse.  I'm not that impulsive a guy and I do have a healthy self-preservation instinct.  I tell myself that farmers use guns for things like shooting vermin, that it's a tool and I don't do stupid things with a power saw when I use one.

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