Stumbled across this Willamette Week article again about the attempted murder of Susan Walters (then Kuhnhausen), and it is as harrowing a story of extreme close quarters combat as I can recall.
Sometimes, I’ve seen the resolve of even certain big, strong, manly-men, good shooters and tactically experienced, crumble when they were OBE – Overwhelmed By Events. Events that were outside their own perceived ability to handle it, or in the emotional aftermath where they were unable to maintain psychological equilibrium, and they eventually crashed and burned.
But I am willing to bet that these men would have looked at Ms Walters, and though they might have been impressed at her resolve in this incident, would have done some mental math and found that in the balance, they brought much more to the game than this middle-aged, overweight, female nurse ever could.
They wanted to believe…. But when it came down to it, they fell short.
Mindset, it is often said, is more important that anything else in these situations. The “Will to Win” is a popular mantra in some circles. Unfortunately at times these are said by untested people as a way to conjure away the need for tactical training, technical skills, or fighting fitness.
Ms. Walters certainly had some experience with violence, but she did not have the advantage of “advanced” tactical training or physical fitness on her side. She had a heightened awareness certainly, and a steel resolve. The cognitive processing she was capable of here was remarkable, trying to leave evidence – even her would-be assassin’s ID – in the event that she did not prevail.
Her resolve is of an entirely different order than what those “Will to Winners” talk about. It’s of a kind that even some highly trained people cannot seem to muster when it really, really matters.
A kind that no one knows they will have, until they do.
This isn’t to say that training isn’t important. Walters may have been even more successful and less injured with training and physical fitness. Armed professionals and Neighborhood Gunslingers – civilian carriers that are absorbed in the tactical and defensive communities – should take note.
* Someone doing everything they can to kill you in a hand-to-hand encounter is combat, make no mistake about it.