A complete self defense plan is more than just taking a class and perhaps getting your CCW/CHP. There are aspects of self defense that include: the mental preparedness to avoid encounter in the first place, the physical skills you need to stop the threat, then there is dealing with the legal, financial and emotional aftermath, should you have to actually defend yourself. I mention this in a lot of the classes we teach, but it also deserves some additional discussion.
Obviously, having your awareness and a plan in place for the possibility that something could happen is what people think of first and that is great. What people do not always consider is what happens after I have to use my skills or my firearm to stop an attack. This is an important question. It is also something to discuss with your family or loved ones so there is a plan in place. If X happens, here is what we need to do. An example may be: 1st, do NOT discuss anything with the media or anyone else. Perhaps, temporarily relocate the family elsewhere to get away from the media circus. Whatever your plan is, be sure to discuss it and have everyone on the same page. Hopefully it is a plan you never have to use.
An attack and the defense of an attack can leave your emotions running out of control. In my opinion, this is best worked through with a professional counselor or therapist. That is their job – to assist people in dealing with situations like this, among other things. Should you have to defend yourself or someone else, please look into talking through it with a professional.
The legal side and the financial side are closely tied. There is a chance that whatever happened may end up in court. Court and attorneys are expensive… VERY expensive. Some may ask how much could it cost should I have to defend myself or my family? “Legal experts have concluded that even when you’ve done everything right, even if no shots were fired… you will still need legal representation right up until the prosecutor publicly states that no charges with be filed against you, and only after any potential lawsuit from the attacker or the attacker’s family is thrown out.” (Martin, p. 203) Legal representation will start at about $10,000 for something that gets dismissed early, if it goes to trial expect $100,000 and up. You should ask yourself, do I have an attorney? Do I have that kind of money available if I were to defend myself? I can’t answer that for you, but for me the answer is No and No.
So… what can you do about this? There are programs out there that are designed for the purpose of helping you defend yourself legally and financially. One such program is the USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association). Now you may be thinking, I don’t carry or even own a gun. Valid point. However, the USCCA’s program isn’t just for those who have firearms. They are there to protect you legally and financially no matter if you use a gun, stick, frying pan, fist… basically, if you have to physically defend yourself (legally, of course) they are there to get your back. You have insurance for your car, for your health, for your home, why not protect yourself should you have to defend yourself? To me, it only makes sense. Not only is their program top notch, they offer education, legal protection, training materials, articles, and honestly, their Concealed Carry magazine is one of the best publications I have read on the topic. There are sections in the magazine dedicate to women and their particular concerns and needs as well. The USCCA and the instructor team put on many classes from self defense to first aid and they have a yearly conference with seminars, new products, a shooting range and reality based training area, as well as a Women’s Concealed Carry Showroom. I feel their program is a great value and offers protection for me and my loved ones should something happen.
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