Anyway, Matthew has a great post here on the ethics of self-defense. Go RTWT, and when you're done, I have a story for you, brought to mind by this part:
Once years ago I was in a pub with some friends. I had just left protecting my Principal (client) and was carrying my pistol (a Kahr K9 if I remember correctly). One guy in our group (not a friend and high on the a-hole quotient) started talking trash with some other guys in the bar. A moment before it went bad he looked over and said to me "you got my back right?"All you young folks reading this, should take some notes. Something very similar happened in my life, back in the summer of 1996. Fortunately, this didn't end in a barfight, at least partially because I didn't do what Matthew did(which was a bit of a dick move if you ask me, but I wasn't there, so I'll reserve judgement).
"Absolutely" then shook my head no to the other guys. He was a problematic personality and wasn't any friend of mine, and frankly not worthy of waiting next to him for bail. On that note he punches (attacks) a guy in the other group and a fight ensues...for him. We stayed out of it. And we were right to.
I had just started my truck driving career, and was still out with my trainer. We'd pulled into our terminal in southern Indiana, and found that there were no loads leaving until late the next morning. Someone said there was a bar within walking distance, so we accompanied four other guys to have a couple of beers. The bar in question was one of those little motel bars that are commonplace across most of America. I walked in, looked around and tried to pick up on the vibe of the place. It seemed like just a small-town motel bar where a lot of locals hung out, not some dive where they had to sweep up the eyeballs off the floor at closing time. OK, no problem.
The instant we sat down, one of the guys starts going on about how all truckers are brothers, and we all have to back each other up, and so on. I told him, "I'll back you if you're right. If you're being cool and someone wants a piece of you, I'll stand with you. But if you're being a dick to people, you can get your ass kicked on your own." Now, anyone who didn't intend trouble would have been OK with that. I know I would be, if the situation were reversed and I had a concern about the possibility of something going down.
Not this guy. He got all nasty and said, "Well, we're not gonna have your back, then." I looked him dead in the eye and told him, point blank, "I don't need your f*ckin' backup." Then I went back to my beer. The rest of the guys were busy finding other things to talk about, and this dude got the hint pretty quick. We didn't have any trouble all night, which would not have been the case if this guy thought he had us in his corner.
If someone's first concern is who has his back--especially when the situation seems benign--that's someone who's a coward on his own, but a jerk when he thinks he's got support. Those are the guys you have to shut down quick, or you'll find yourself stomped or in jail over some crap you had nothing to do with causing. Don't do it--they damn well wouldn't do it for you.
Thus endeth Wraith's Public Service Announcement for those young men who might need it. Back to all that Holiday Cheer and stuff.