In the firearms culture the words "sheep" and "sheepdog" are tossed around quite often to describe people who would seem to be all-too-willing victims and those whose job it is to protect the potential victims. In the strict sense, a "sheepdog" is specifically tasked with protecting the sheep. That's his job. For the average armed citizen, it is not their job to protect the citizenry. They might do so on occasion, but that is not their purpose or calling.
The Porcupine Example
My good friend and one of my original mentors when I began writing professionally, Walter Rauch, introduced me to the term "prickly people" nearly twenty years ago. The way Walt explained it, the normal armed citizen does not really fall into the sheep category, but neither do they truly fit the sheepdog role. Mr. Rauch suggested that armed citizens should attempt to instead emulate the porcupine.
Consider this, in the animal kingdom, the porcupine is not a predator, but neither are they an attractive prey. The solemn porcupine goes about his business not molesting a soul. Should the immature wolf or coyote chose him as their prey they soon discover the error of their decision, painfully. You may have seen these seemingly docile creatures in the wild or at very least in the zoo. The porcupine ambles along, seeking to live their life in peace. It is only when attacked or pushed into a corner that their sharp quills come into play. The porcupine doesn't use his quills to prey on other animals. This prickly creature's sharp quills lie flat and even appear soft until the animal is threatened.
Walt's advice to the concerned citizen was to be the "prickly person". You don't need to be a sheepdog to stay safe in a dangerous world. You should, on the other hand, appear to the potential predator to be "prickly" or an undesirable target. The seasoned predator upon considering you as a prey should pause to think twice and consider a softer target.
How do you become a prickly person? Does it mean you have to be coarse or unapproachable? Not at all. Start by keeping your head up and paying attention to what goes on around you. The difference between a good driver and the average driver is awareness. Good drivers have "near misses". Average or poor drivers are in crashes that they never saw coming.
Don't allow people into your personal space unchallenged. Every human has a personal comfort zone or their own personal space. This will vary based on age, sex, and your upbringing. Nonetheless, strangers don't have some kind of unspoken right to enter your personal space. Don't be afraid to put your hand up, give them the universal stop sign and back them off. Polite people should not be entering your personal space uninvited anyway. Along the same lines, you are not required to shake the hand of strangers. Be wary of strangers who begin their interaction with you by sticking out their hands. Unless we've been introduced by a trusted friend, don't stick your hand out to me.
Mind your back. Putting your back to a wall is always a good habit to practice. The criminal predator is not seeking a one on one boxing match. He wants to land a surprise blow, take you off guard, and commit his crime upon you. Make their job difficult. Don't surrender your back needlessly.
The prickly person advice doesn't just apply to your time spent out in public. You can apply the same thought process to your home. Does your house appear as a choice target or will the predator have to work for it. Do you have an alarm system, ample exterior lighting, and a free-roaming intruder detection and early warning system (dog)?
Use your Quills
Despite your best efforts to remain aware and alert, the immature coyote may decide you are going to be their prey. In this case you must have your quills ready. Your attacker may not be smart enough not to attack you. Having a concealed handgun on your person does not provide some kind of cone of invincibility. Carrying the gun is only part of the equation. You should be both skilled in the gun's use and mentally prepared to utilize it.
It never ceases to amaze me that people will walk into a gun shop, purchase a compact .380 pistol, drop it in their pocket and think that somehow they have covered all the bases for personal protection. A pocket pistol is not a magic talisman to ward off evil. Sometimes, despite your most valiant endeavors, evil finds you. If that happens, its time to give them a face full of quills.
As always, the choice is yours to make. You can put your faith in luck and chance, hoping nothing bad will ever happen or you can choose to be the prickly person, the most unattractive victim possible.