As you likely read, a member of the National Association of Realtors was attacked and groped during an open house after the suspect walked in and claimed to be a prospective homebuyer.

The Realtor said that even though she had mace and a knife, and she’s taken self-defense courses, she froze.

This is completely normal, and something that needs to discussed if you’re talking about Realtor safety in specific, and self-defense in general.

Real estate agents and people in general are told they should take self-defense courses, and I completely agree – if it’s done right. NAR regularly advises members on safety tips, but their advice is just a starting point.

And I preface what comes next this by saying it’s not a judgment on this Arizona Realtor, because no one can know for certain what they’ll do in the moment of truth, and she did her best.

But to paraphrase Tyler Durden in “Fight Club” – Self-defense isn’t a weekend retreat. It’s not a damn seminar.

Whether you’re talking martial arts or carrying a firearm, the worst thing you can do is take that responsibilty casually.

Yes, you went through a four-hour Krav Maga class taught by an authentic former Israeli commando.

No, it likely won’t do you any good if you leave it at that.

Yes, you bought a sweet Glock and you took a class and got your concealed carry license.

Now granted, anything is better than nothing. Better any chance than no chance. But did you ask yourself: Am I really willing to commit to this? Effective self-defense – physical or with a firearm – is a mindset. For it to be effective, it’s something you have to practice regularly.

And aside from knowing the techniques you choose to learn, you have to have the mindset that you are ready and willing to use that technique.

If you have a gun and have to pull it and point it, you have to be willing to pull the trigger. It’s not enough to know how to kick someone in the side of the knee and cripple them – you have to be willing to kick, hear the crunch and know the horrible damage you’ve done to another human body was right.

Full disclosure – I’m completely biased on this issue. I’m a lifelong gun rights advocate, a gun collector, and I practice shooting monthly. I’ve also been practicing Kung Fu for more than half a decade under a fifth-degree Sifu and former police officer. (This is why my tennis game is so weak.)

I believe learning self-defense is a fundamental life-skill, and that every free person’s first duty is to learn to defend his or her own life and property. It is, in my humble opinion, criminal negligence to think you can delegate this responsibility to other people.

That said, one of the biggest risks for people is that they take a class and they think they have it all covered. Like it’s a continuing education credit in finance or something.

My wife works at a psychiatric facility, and once a year they make all the staff go through a three-hour course where they learn basic escape techniques and basic, non-aggressive grappling techniques.

You know how useful it is? Not at all. In fact it could be harmful.

It’s like pilots get in their 200th hour. That’s the most dangerous time for rookie pilots – when they’ve logged about 200 hours. They’re just experienced enough to feel cocky but not experienced enough to know what to do when they screw up.

Yes, every Realtor and real estate agent – every man, woman and responsible adolescent – should learn self-defense. But half measures can be potentially be worse than no measures if it imparts a false sense of security.

All that said, the good news is that while Realtors and agents are out in the public and can potentially be at risk, the sense of danger is worse than the reality. Tragic murders and attacks on people in the industry are news because they are, thankfully, rare.

Violent crime has been declining steadily since the early 1990s. It’s not that there are more attacks against Realtors and agents – it’s that there are more reports of them, thanks to the social media and the Internet. Twenty years ago an assault like the one in Arizona would have made local news, and maybe a national newsletter. Today, you know, Facebook.

Yes, learn self-defense. Yes, get trained and buy guns. (Two is one and one is none.)

But make it part of your life. That’s what you’re defending, right?