Does the “WHY” Really Matter at the Moment of a Violent Attack?

Photo of man holding up hand for Personal Defense Connection's Why Attack Post

This post was originally written on June 23, 2015, after a violent attack during a Bible study session at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Nine dead!

A 21-year-old man joined a Bible study group at the church. He sat next to the pastor for an hour, before he stood up and opened fire, killing 9 people. He reportedly talked to the victims as he was killing them. While he was reloading his .45 caliber pistol 5 times.

No one came to the aid of the victims. No DHS, no ATF, no State Police, no Sheriff Deputy, no City Police, no Good Samaritan trained to defend. Not even the victims themselves.

At that moment, the only ones that could have protected/defended those nine people were those nine people.

There Are no Safe Places Anymore

The Bible, in 1 Peter 5:8, says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” And in Nehemiah 4:9 it says, “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet the threat.” Nehemiah knew that they had an enemy and prepared his people to defend themselves.

For some reason, people tend to believe there are “safe” places where we don’t have to be prepared to defend ourselves. That is simply living in denial. There is an enemy looking to do evil and we need to be on guard day and night (and pray to God).

People are Asking "Why"

The President, several members of Congress, as well as national and state pundits, and truly many of us in America and the world are asking, “Why?” Hate, mental illness, racism and psychiatric drugs are being talked about as the “why.” And for some, the presence of firearms in America is the “why.” (As if the above reasons weren't enough to produce the evil that took innocent life.)

Then people discuss what could have been done to prevent it and what can we do to prevent it from happening again. These may be useful discussions for our society to conduct. But discussion is meaningless at that moment when you are facing the imminent act of violence.

The “why” is relevant for the investigation of the horrible crime and for the healing of families, friends, community and our Nation. But is it relevant at the moment of the crime?

But Once the Violent Attack Begins, the "Why" is Not Important

Only the “how” (how to stop the violence) is important. How could you stop someone (at that moment) from shooting your study group (or any other gathering)? Do you have the mindset, tools, skills and strategy to stop the violent act? Or are you just hoping “it won’t happen to me”? And then choosing to live in denial.


Being prepared to defend yourself does not mean you are paranoid, any more than always putting your seat-belt on before you drive does. It simply means that you choose to take responsibility for protecting yourself and your loved ones in a world where evil violence is present.

  • When you are prepared, you have developed a mindset to do whatever it takes to defend yourself and others. Even if it is violent and distasteful (like gouging an attacker's eyes, for example).

  • When you are prepared, you carry the tools necessary to defend yourself and others. Such as pepper spray, knife, flashlight and/or firearm.

  • When you are prepared, you have chosen to take self defense and firearm classes. And you will practice the techniques on a regular basis.

  • And when you are prepared, you have planned -- ahead of time -- what your tactics will be in defending yourself and your loved ones when facing an armed attacker.

Related Post: "Are You Ready to Defend Yourself?"

Armed Self Defense

So go ahead and engage in the discussion of the “why.” But don’t let that blind you to the fact that there is evil in the world. And only you are responsible for your safety.

Fight to eliminate the dangerous gun-free zones. They serve only to disarm law-abiding citizens. And an unarmed, law-abiding citizen finds it very difficult to defend themselves, or others, against someone with a gun, who is intent to do harm.

Push for firearms safety training in our schools. So we allow our teachers to fight back when evil threatens our children. And encourage responsible concealed carry in our churches and synagogues. So we can help our congregations be safer while they are practicing whatever religion they so choose.

If you found this article useful, please let us know.

Be Safe...

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