You’ve heard us say it before: The best fight is the one you are not in.

If you can avoid a fight, you should make every effort to do so. But the question is often asked, “How can I avoid a fight while still exercising my rights?”

Let’s think about this for a minute. You have the right to keep and bear arms. You have the right to travel unmolested within or through a public place. In some states, you even have the right to stand your ground in the face of a threat when you are in a place where you have the right to be.

None of those rights should encourage you to engage in a fight. None of those rights should prompt you to “stand your ground” when you have a perfectly good opportunity to exit the area of conflict. Fighting should be your last resort, and here’s why.

To Fight Is to Risk Death

Yes, it is a dangerous world and you may feel you are dangerous person, ready to handle anything. But the truth of the matter is that during close quarters engagement, anyone can get lucky. If the person who gets lucky is your assailant, well, that makes you the unlucky one and suddenly someone is making a death notification to your stunned family.

Any fight, no matter how minor, could escalate into a deadly force encounter. One punch can cause death or traumatic brain injury. What if you land that punch and the person with whom you are fighting falls, hitting his head on the curb, and dies? Or what if the person with whom you decided to fight gets the upper hand and decides not to stop the beating? Once you are knocked unconscious, you no longer have any means of defending yourself. Anything could happen.

What About the Investigation?

Are you ready for the investigation that will surely follow any use of deadly force? If you think the “stand your ground” ruling will be made by the responding officer, you are sorely mistaken. If you pull out your gun believing the stand your ground law applies to you, well, you are second guessing the law enforcement establishment and counting on the fact that all the chips will fall your way. They might not.

Any use of force will involve an investigation to see if that use of force was legal. This means that until the investigation is complete, you will be under intense legal scrutiny. Do you have an attorney? The legal system is complicated and the end results can be devastating. It would be in your best interest to have representation throughout the investigation.

Even if you have an attorney, do you want to endure that stress and subject your family to that stress when you could have avoided all of it by simply not engaging in the fight?

The point of all this is that self-defense is not always active. Passive defense through effective conflict avoidance is an excellent way to stay safe. Fighting is sometimes the right thing to do, but stepping away from the fight ensures you get to walk free another day.