Strength in Numbers?

There is a wave of self-defense instructors breaking from the standard Run, Hide, Fight advice, and instead opting to suggest attacking the attacker. Today I am going to take a look at this and offer my thoughts on the pros and cons of attempting to put this advice to use.

From Government websites to self-defense bloggers, the advice has been pretty standard; run, hide, fight. Run if you can, hide if you cannot run, and fight as a last resort. This is the meat and potatoes of it, although from group to group the phraseology may vary the advice is the same at the core.

And in the interest of playing fair, I need to point out that this has been a major part of what I teach. I am not going to defend this position. I am always looking for a better way to help the most people.

Recently people have been getting a fresh bit of advice with a new take; use the security of strength in numbers and attack the attacker. Rush him head-on and overwhelm him.

And while I get where the advice is coming from, I am still hesitant to offer this as a blanket answer to the problem of “lone wolf” terror attacks.


On the surface, this seems to be absolutely logical. One guy with a knife or a gun versus twenty, thirty, sixty people. The bad guy will be overwhelmed and will assuredly lose.

I like it!

But there is a drawback. How committed will the group stay when those in the first rush get severely wounded or killed?

Not everyone has ever been in a real life-or-death fight. Many people have lived a life almost entirely free of physical conflict, much less life-or-death stuff. The first time that things go to that level of real, it is terrifying. In all honesty, most people will be incapable of much positive action. I will be generous and call it two out of ten, but that is going to be extremely charitable. There are people in this Country who need a room with coloring books and pictures of puppies if someone says mean things. How well with they match up against a killer? Not well at all, I am sorry to say.

So, let’s say there are thirty of you who were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the worst possible time. If we use my two out of ten equation, that gives you six people who will go after the bad guy.

What happens when the first two in range drop dead? Will all four of those who joined in the counter-assault keep going? If only two turned and run, your strength in numbers has dwindled into a mere mismatch.

And I hate to be the one to break the bad news, but if the threat has trained for this and you have not, you are up a creek in a boat with a hole.

Please don’t misunderstand, none of this is to say to not fight back.

See, the terrorists that do this stuff, they train, and they go into the act knowing they will not survive. Their goal is to create as many casualties on their way out as possible. It would be awesome if we became a Nation where so many of us were trained and strong enough to squash all of these incidents as soon as they began. Remember, in Texas, when the terrorist wanted to shoot up a place and got killed before he managed to do anything except die? An entire country of that!

And while I am here, I want to add one thing. If you are hiding during an attack, for the love of God don’t make social media updates about sheltering in place!!! Posting a picture of your barricaded room is foolish and vain – never a good combination.

Short form of the above: If you aren’t trained, jumping into a fight with a terrorist might get you killed. You make your own choices, but be smart. If obviously trained people are moving after the threat, stay out of their way. Get the training necessary to be one of those people taking out the threat, and if you find yourself in a position to stop the threat do it!

Be nice. Be a living, breathing example of all that is good in humanity, until it becomes necessary to stop the threat. Then it’s okay to release the Kraken.