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Your best defense - compliance

By Ed Brock

If an armed man approached her and demanded her car, Susie Kelley knows just what she would do.

"Give it to him," Kelley said.

Last week's incident in which courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols carjacked or otherwise attacked several people may have some looking into taking a self defense class. Morrow resident Kelley, however, isn't interested.

"The police were there and they couldn't do anything. What good would a little self defense class do?" Kelley said.

David Wilch hasn't been flooded with phone calls at his Academy of Tae Kwon Do in Stockbridge since the incident happened. Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art, and as a master Wilch has one piece of overall advice for anyone who finds themselves confronted with someone like Nichols.

"Don't try to defend yourself. Just stay alive," Wilch said. "What the police have been saying all these years is right. Don't try to fight a gun, I don't care how good your martial arts are."

More precisely, Wilch said self defense tactics should be used only as a last resort. Just try to stay calm and don't aggravate the aggressor.

Different people have different opinions on whether to fight or flee in certain situations, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.

"In situations like the carjacking, you definitely give him what he wants, give him the car," Turner said.

At the same time, Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Don O'Briant may have done the right thing when Nichols, in the act of carjacking O'Briant, ordered the reporter to get into the trunk. O'Briant ran away instead.

"Try to resist going along or getting in the trunk. There's no guarantee that he's going to let you go," Turner said. "You have to do what's best for you to preserve your life."

Ashley Smith, the Gwinnett County woman taken hostage by Nichols but who called police after he released her, did the right thing.

"Talk to the person, make them see you as a person," Turner said.

David Brown of Jonesboro is also uninterested in taking a self defense class, but for different reasons.

"I don't need them. I'm already prepped," Brown said.

By "prepped," Brown said, he means "some Phillipine martial arts, a .357 (handgun) and a little experience."

"I'm not too worried about it," Brown said, adding that he things the law needs to be tougher on violent criminals. "Fighting violence with equal or greater violence might solve the problem of violence locally and in the world. It will teach people to respect each other."