Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bear Grylls' Advice Could Make You An Endangered Species

I was watching a re-run of Worst Case Scenario - the show where Bear Grylls gets into various catastrophic situations and shows you some skills and how to hopefully survive them.

It's a fun show to watch and bear Grylls has done some amazing things, but at least in the segment I saw, concerning dealing with a home invasion, the advice was in one area glaringly counterproductive.

Unfortunately not seen in this clip, the advice (to paraphrase) was to arm yourself with a bat or golf club but not a gun because deadly force could get you in trouble.

This is wrong on multiple levels.

First, using a bat or golf club against someone will likely land you in the same use of deadly force conundrum if you do it wrong - assault with a deadly weapon or felonious assault depending on how your jurisdiction may name it. You would be charged just as using a firearm would result in the same or similar charges if you do it wrong.

Second, if you're acting in bona fide self-defense -- and defending yourself from a home invader in your house tends to fit that quite well -- you generally won't be charged with an improper use of deadly force and the whole thing becomes rather academic.

Now, Bear Grylls is English and in jolly olde England, using force and defending yourself in your home from an attacker is a no-no, so that may be why he cautions against using a firearm. So for a UK audience the run and hide advice works, but then he really should go all the way and caution against the use of bats and golf clubs - his advice does not fully work in either circumstance or country.

Third, going after an attacker (show to be armed with a handgun later in the segment) with a bat or golf club puts you in a rather dangerous position. You're much, much safer keeping your distance and fending off a home invader with an effective projectile weapon then closing with them and trying to hit them with an impact weapon. Getting in grappling range of an attacker is not great tactics when distance options are available. Heck, Grylls later in the show body checks the attacker down the stairs!

Indeed, if the homeowner has a firearm the invader may hopefully run out of your house screaming at the sight of your firearm and you'll be safe without even having to fire a shot, which is a rather optimal ending -- and you'll be safer for it than charging thorough the house pretending to be Tiger Woods.

Overall, Grylls' advice is rather decent - having a cell phone in your bedroom at night, calling the police as soon as possible, and staying locked in your room or if necessary safely gathering the inhabitants back in the room, or if needed to quickly get out of the house is all good advice.

But, his very tentative, contradictory, and confusing suggestions regarding the use of force and self-defense in case of a home invasion, especially his advice for a home owner to not use a firearm to protect themselves, will likely do more harm than good.


ProudHillbilly said...

I'm hoping that if the situation ever arises the "run out of your house screaming at the sight of your firearm" part is what happens.

Aaron said...

Yep, certainly a preferred outcome to any other result.