Last month, a man walking his dog suddenly found himself in the middle of a domestic dispute that ended up with him needing to defend himself from the victim’s boyfriend. The wise plan is to avoid conflict whenever it’s possible, but this may be one of those times where avoidance was impossible. Even when avoidance is impossible, de-escalation is a valuable survival tool.
But de-escalation is not practical in some situations, and sometimes the best option is the use of defensive force. If you don’t carry a less-lethal force option like pepper spray, your options are unarmed combatives, or deadly force.
In this incident, the man walking his dog was carrying a handgun, and used it to defend himself. Here is how the reports say it went down.
Man Uses Deadly Force Against Off Duty Firefighter—
Around 3:30AM an unnamed man took his dog for a walk in the 2900 block of Sedgemore Place in Bryans Road, Maryland. At that same time, off-duty firefighter, Carl Braxton was assaulting his girlfriend inside the couple’s townhome. Braxton’s girlfriend fled from the home and saw the man walking his dog.
The woman asked the man for his help. Braxton followed his girlfriend outside. Law enforcement stated that:
“according to witnesses, Braxton approached and threatened to harm the man. Braxton continued walking aggressively toward the man, at which time the man, who has a permit to carry a firearm, produced a gun and shot Braxton.”
When police arrived, they found Braxton had a gunshot wound and EMS transported him for medical treatment. Braxton died at the hospital. Braxton and his girlfriend have two children.
Law enforcement believe the man and women were strangers and did not know each other.
Points to Ponder—
There is a lot we can extract from this simple story, but to get the mind going, here are a few things you can consider.
I’m not a resident of Bryans Road, Maryland. However, a brief search of the area has lower than average rates for both property and violent crime. My only point for bringing this up is to say we can’t confine incidents requiring deadly force to a geographical area that has a high crime rate. Sure, there are locations that you have a higher probability of involvement in a crime, but we shouldn’t limit carrying our handgun to “dangerous places”.
My EDC is Only For My Family and Me—
As I mentioned in so many other posts, I’m all about avoidance, and not involving myself in other people’s problems. Our primary focus should be defending ourselves and those we are directly responsible for. I understand this man was actually defending himself from Braxton, not necessarily the woman.
However, the woman drew the man into the situation when she asked for help. We don’t know how visibly injured the woman was, if at all, or what she said to the man walking his dog. But we know she asked him for help. If we find ourselves in a similar situation, we will have to decide what our answer will be.
Do you say sorry, and walk away, or do you help? Of course, get as much information as possible before deciding. But what about when it’s a situation that escalates quickly? Perhaps you’ve purposed that you will, under no circumstances, intervene in someone else’s issue. If that’s you, your decision-making process is simple. If, however, there are circumstances where you may intervene on a third party’s behalf, it would be a detriment not to have an idea of what you’re willing to get involved in.
We Don’t Know the Day or the Place—
I pray none of you ever has to use deadly force. But if it happens, we won’t know for sure when or how it goes down. It could happen at 3:30AM when you’re half-asleep and taking your dog for a walk. It could happen in the blistering cold, when you’re in your car, at dinner with your family, or taking your child to school. These scenarios require different skills and solutions. Stay away from focusing too much on training for the perfect defensive gun use scenario you have in your head, and rather on developing skills what provide you options in a wide range of situations.
More to Glean—
There is much more to glean from this incident, but if you’ve never thought outside the box, I hope these points get you thinking about your overall defensive mindset.