We’re all aware of jihadis, the knockout game or mexican cartels, but in an economic downturn when the rule of law is weakened or nonexistent, regular crime (“you don’t go visit family on Christmas eve because its too dangerous”) becomes more prevelant and could be a bigger danger.
Reading around, I came across an article about the Channon Christian/Christopher Newsom murders, I also found this, but I don’t know if its trolling or serious. It was a horrific crime involving days of turture, rape and, finally, murder. I decided this was a good time to plug a favorite site of mine, No Nonsense Self Defense. Its a huge site, I’m just going to copy and paste some bits and pieces and, yeah, I got carried away:
[W]e tend to agree with the assessment of Stanton Samenow PhD about the nature of the criminal mind. Summed up in one sentence: It’s about selfishness … the different manifestations of criminal behavior is just a matter of style.
Literally every negative cliché about criminals tends to come to roost with muggers. They are stupid, lazy, violent and dangerous. And yes, they are often drug addicted. Add onto this that they often come from the most violent, dysfunctional and abusive backgrounds imaginable – and far worse than you can imagine.
To say that these people lack empathy is like saying that Genghis Khan dabbled in real estate — a massive understatement. They don’t care if they hurt you. Let’s start out with the idea that this person is willing to offer you violence to get what he wants. Take a look in your wallet right now and see how much money is there. If you don’t give it to him, he is willing to kill you for that amount.
Muggers are the most pathological, sociopathic and dysfunctional morons(3) of the criminal world and they are the most violent and unpredictable. These are the guys who are so stupid and lazy that they only pry themselves up “to work” to engage in the least well paying and most violent of crimes.
It is important to recognize that the issue of these people’s stupidity is NOT an elitist comment, but rather a statement of fact. Low IQs are very common among violent criminals – simply put, they aren’t smart enough to realize that violence is a dead end long term survival strategy. All they see is that it works for the moment.
Another extreme is these are drug addicts who have sunk far enough into their addiction that they are no longer competent to execute more high yield robberies. Their goal is to achieve money for their next high and often what you have in your wallet is enough.
Still another issue affecting over-all intelligence is that criminals who tend to mugging people are themselves, often children, (not over, or just barely over eighteen). And that makes him MORE dangerous, not less! Because, on top of a dysfunctional, violent and pathological existence, you also have the self-centeredness, lack of foresight, lack of maturity and emotional capriciousness of a teenager. But this teenager has a gun.
He doesn’t hold the same values as you do. He has no sympathy or empathy for you – whether you live or die is no matter to him. Except as it might affect, him, he has no concern about your emotions or what you think. If those do affect him, he’ll view it as interference with him getting what he wants — and you won’t like the results. While he could pull that trigger on a whim, most people are harmed by muggers because quite frankly, they pissed him off. They either tried to stall him, argue with him, resist ineffectively or scare him away.
Realize the mugger is only concerned with two things. Himself and the NOW. He has no fear of the police Nor does he have any concern that his actions may have long term repercussions for him (the threat of prison is like threatening to send him to his room). Often he considers that YOU are holding HIS money for him (so it’s not robbery it is getting back what is rightfully his) And – most importantly – he has absolutely no hesitation about pulling the trigger, because to him, you don’t matter.
What matters to him is that he gets what he wants and with little to no risk to himself. And what exactly that might be in his stunted, drug addled mind is anybody’s guess. It can change from moment to moment and even he won’t know until after he’s acted.
Remember earlier we mentioned that crime is the criminal’s profession? Well, as far as it can apply to violent crime that concept really comes home to roost with robbers.
Robbers tend to be a little more self-controlled than muggers. Well that’s both good news and bad news. We say this because they pose a different kind of danger. While a mugger might shoot you on a whim, robbers commonly are more predictable. The problem with this is that, if you give them reason, they will shoot you faster than a mugger.
And this can include announcing their presence by committing extreme violence (such as shooting or stabbing the security guard). Even if robbers do not kill anyone out right they need to overwhelm and take control of the situation immediately. Due to the more high risk high reward nature of their crime robbers cannot afford to chance an effective resistance to develop or an alert to be issued (e.g. silent alarm to be pressed. Which would bring an effective response).
Another complicating factor with robbers is their love of risk. This is like the high of a gambling addict. There is often something within the personality of robbers that enjoys the rush of power and the thrill of knocking over a high risk/ high yield target. A successful robbery is a coup. It not only gives him the rush, but it also ups his status in the criminal world. This is why there is a distinction between robbers and muggers in that world. Unfortunately, this ‘rush’ can often lead them to making lethal decisions in the heat of the moment. Although most robberies are committed with just the threat of violence, it is very easy to slip over line of yelling, screaming and threatening with a weapon to using it.
It is both their willingness to use extreme violence against innocent civilians and to target businesses that makes robbers a higher priority than muggers. Realize that businesses are an integral part of a communities well being. If businesses pull up stakes and leave the community suffers.
This is why — unless you are ordered to a secondary location — it is advisable to cooperate with a mugger/robber who has gotten the drop on you. This gives your best chance of not being hurt.
The Five Stages of Violent Crime:
Crime and violence are processes that take time to develop. The attack is not the first step, the preliminary triangle must be built. There are five distinct stages that are easily identified:
By intent, we don’t mean that you are a psychic. You cannot read someone’s mind. Although the word ‘intent’ has often been replaced in court with Jeopardy (acting in a way that is consistent with known pre-attack behaviors) we still use the term ‘intent’ for a simple reason. With this system, intent is not what is going on inside of the person’s head.
It’s the visible and discernable physiological manifestations that, a person ready to commit violence, will display. This isn’t you being psychic. This is his body displaying these signs, no matter how hard he tries to hide it.
This is where the person crosses a normal mental boundary. From this point, the person is mentally and physically prepared to commit violence in order to get what he wants – whatever that may be. Being able to recognize when intent is present is one of the key components of your personal safety. yet, this isn’t always easy as you might think. The criminal has often learned how to mask it behind words and feigned innocence. But once you know how to spot the physiological signs, it is easily recognizable. Learn more about intent.
With all violence, the assailant’s safety is a critical factor in deciding whether or not to attack. While in interpersonal violence, the deciding factor may be anger, strong emotion or pride. However, with criminal violence it is more of a conscious decision. This leads us to the interview, where the criminal decides upon your suitability as a victim. There are several kinds of interviews common to criminal attacks
This is the criminal putting himself in a place where he can successfully attack you. A criminal (or even a violent person) doesn’t want to fight you; he wants to overwhelm you. To do this, he has to put himself in a position where he can do it quickly and effectively. An attempt to develop positioning is the final proof of ill intent. Someone trying to position himself to attack removes all doubt that the situation is innocent. Like the Interview, there are several kinds of Positioning.
The attack is the when the criminal/violent person commits himself to using force — or the threat of force — to get what he wants. Like the other stages there are important distinctions to be made about the kind of attack you will face.
Reaction is how the criminal feels about what he has done. However, this is made more complicated by the fact that your reaction is an important contributing factor.
AOI (Short-hand version)
What follows is a parallel system to the Five Stages of Violent Crime. AOI stands for Ability, Opportunity and Intent. Although not as complete as the Five Stages, it will give you a quick-rule-of-thumb set of standards to determine whether or not you are in danger. While the Five Stages is more complete, for people who are not particularly interested in self-defense, AOI is a nice set of fast and easy guidelines. We present both models for you to select which works best for you.
There is a concept called the triangle among firefighters. Along each side is an element that a fire needs in order to burn. If you take away one of these elements, the triangle collapses and the fire goes out. Crime is the same: In order for it to occur, there must be three basic elements
This is easily remembered as A.O.I. (Ability, Opportunity and Intent). Take away any one of these elements and the triangle collapses. In other words, the crime does not have what it needs to occur.
Ability: Does the person have the ability to attack you? Could this person successfully assault you, whether through physical prowess, a weapon or numerical superiority? Many women underestimate male upper-body strength and how vulnerable they are to being physically overwhelmed.
Opportunity: Does this person have the opportunity to attack you? Are you alone with him or even in an area beyond immediate help? Could anyone come to your assistance within twenty seconds or less? As many victims have found, you can be robbed in plain view or raped with people in the next room.
Intent: Is he in a mental place where using violence to get what he wants makes sense to him?
Of the three, intent is the most nebulous, yet it is vital for determining who is a threat. It is the literally the difference between going off with someone to talk and being raped. Skip over to Intent page and to the profile of a rapist. Acquainting yourself with the criminal mindset is also highly recommended.
The fastest way to figure out if you are in potential danger is to look for these three elements. If you see one, look for the others. If you see two out of three stop whatever else you are doing and pay close attention for a moment. If you see him trying to develop the third, withdraw from the situation to a safer area. This is easier than using physical violence. As you will soon see, opportunity often means staying in an area where someone could effectively use physical violence against you. If you do not see these elements then odds are you are safe. There is no triangle.
Predator or Scavenger?
This page is under construction. But when it is up it it will show how criminals although occasionally predatory, are primarily scavengers. Once you understand that while they often turn predator, by nature they are more often prey than predators. Once you understand this, you’ll also understand why it is literally a matter of life or death for them to only choose ‘safe victims’
Extreme Selfishness in Criminals
Believe it or not, you already know what the criminal is and what motivates him, you see it all the time in minor forms. What to most people is a minor character flaw is to criminals a major defining element of their personalities.
We often talk about extremes, but few people recognize them for what they really are. Extremes are everyday behavior, thoughts and ideas taken and magnified out of proportion. Furthermore, the normal checks and balances that keep these elements under control are either missing, turned off or intentionally abandoned.
The magnitude and extremes to which a criminal is willing to go are unbelievable to most people. It is both shocking and unnerving when we encounter someone who doesn’t follow these unstated rules about controlling one’s selfishness. They simply cannot grasp it. It is like the child who was taken down to the shore to see a beached whale. Standing next to the whale, the child turns to his mother and asks, “Where’s the whale mommy?” What we want to do here is help you see the whale.
Some people cannot see the connections of day-to-day behavior to the extremes. They simply don’t believe that the small, annoying conduct they encounter every day could grow become such extreme evil. While others, until they see the extremes, cannot recognize those same behavioral patterns in daily activities. When these people see the extreme, then they can recognize the smaller, more controlled version
Assumption of Power vs. Real Power
Although some — who have no idea of the nature of power — will deny it, there is one underlying truth about power. This truth especially applies to the power women have over men and that is:
Power is loaned, and it can be revoked.
Contrary to what you might think or have seen in movies: Power over people comes from them, not you. If you understand the nature of power, you understand why it can be revoked and how that is different from “your power is taken from you.”
On a larger scale, people grant you power and influence because they believe it is in their best interest to listen to you, be involved with you and, in some cases, follow your leadership. What many people — who will never achieve a position of leadership do NOT realize — is that leadership doesn’t just mean ordering other people around.
Leadership is about trust.
When Someone Is Shooting…
Well the first question is he shooting at YOU specifically?
Or is he shooting at someone else? (And bullets are mostly flying in one direction.)
Or is he an active shooter? (He’s just shooting at everyone)
If you are inside with an active shooter, get outside NOW!!!
A whole lot of people who get killed in school shootings, workplace shootings and spree shootings die because they crouch down behind something and the shooter walks right up to them. They don’t see him coming because the same thing that hides them from his sight, blocks him from theirs.
Don’t hide behind doors or in closets. Head for the exit. If you have to throw a chair through a window to make an exit, DO IT! Getting into another room will give you time to open an escape route.
The other thing to do when exiting an indoor shooting situation is DON’T STOP!
Keep going. Not only does this lessen the chances of you getting shot by the original shooter, but you being gone makes the decision of who the first responders are going to shoot much easier. And that includes keeping you from being accidentally shot by the responders.
As a side note, many schools and organizations have some short-sighted policies in this regard. People are commonly told to exit the building and wait outside. The reasoning for this policy is the concern that if you run, they won’t know if you’re safe or not.
Our attitude is: That’s what cell phones are for.
If you are outside, get inside. But more than that, don’t just run into a building and then stop and watch what is going on (we call this Prairie Dogging). Enter a building and keep going out the other entrance. This not only gets you out of the pie slice, out of view of the shooter, but a building makes pretty good cover.
If you are outside in a wide open space (where there is no cover or concealment) RUN! Put as much distance between you and the shooter as possible. Remember what we said about distance from the shooter to the target? Make the distance as great as possible.
Often you will find yourself in an outdoor situation that is a blend between open space and offering cover. In these situations your best bet is to utilize cover and concealment AND buying distance. You don’t just duck and cower behind a car. You put the car between you and the shooter and run using the car to cover your escape.
So You Got Shot
There’s a maxim among LEO/firearms instructors about the difference between police and criminals getting shot. “When an officer is shot he is usually found on the ground curled up around his wound. When a criminal is shot, they usually find him three blocks away trying to climb a fence.”
Whether this is an apocryphal ‘ lie to children‘ or is based on reported incidents it, introduces you to an important concept. MOST of what happens when you are shot is based on what you expect to happen when you are shot.
If — after watching countless movies and TV shows where someone gets shot and falls down helpless — you believe that is what happens, that is what you’ll do. If, on the other hand, you believe you can keep going after you’ve been shot (or don’t know that you’ve been shot) then you can keep on going.
The cops/bad guy example is not saying that criminals are some kind of supermen. It’s just that escape plans tend to blot out other considerations. He still functions because he feels the need to function beyond having been shot.
Simply stated, many people who don’t know they have been shot describe it feeling like they have been punched. It isn’t until they realize they have been shot that they begin to lose functionality.
This is a critical component for your survival if you are shot.
First off, speaking to an ER doctor, he confirmed the common numbers given about gunshot survival rates. If you get to an ER room with a single gunshot wound, you have about an 80% chance of survival. And that is within TWO HOURS!
Yes, you read that right. Two hours. While it’s not a ‘you’re shot so what?’ issue, it doesn’t mean you automatically fall down and die. The sooner you get medical treatment the better your chances. To do that you need to keep moving. If you trip, get up and keep moving.
This is critical because if you fall down and curl up your chances of dying go up, WAY UP! That’s because your chances of dying are drastically reduced with every extra bullet you take.
Economy and Stress Violence
It is a simple truth that when the economy is bad, crime goes up.
On the surface one would think: Economic hard times = more robberies and burglaries. Except that isn’t the whole picture. In fact, that’s just a small percentage of bad economy = more crimes. While ‘For-Profit Crimes’ (what we call criminal violence) do go up, what goes through the roof are behaviors — that while illegal — are not necessarily criminal in intent.
In these economic hard times, you’re going to see a lot more of what we call ‘stress violence.’
Violence become more common as people’s stress level go up. Fights, homicides, rapes, drunk driving, road rage, assaults, domestic violence, ALL go up as people with poor coping skills come under more and more stress. And economic hard times are very stressful.
Stress violence — while it doesn’t exactly fit in the four kinds of violence model — can be over any of the reasons given in that model. (Territorial, behavior correcting, predatorial and Criminal). Those are more external manifestations of violence (how and why violence happens). But that doesn’t explain why it is happening.
While ‘stress’ is a nice catch all phrase, that doesn’t cover it all either. To fully understand stress violence you must also understand the types of violence. These four types, Fear, Frenzy, Tantrum and Criminal are more about a person’s internal motivations. This is what is internally driving the external manifestations of violence (kinds of violence).
What does all this mean?
Simply stated you’re going to see a lot more s**t happening.
Pyramid of Personal Safety
There is no reason to live in fear of crime and violence. There is however reason to take reasonable precautions. And in doing so, you will have deterred most criminals from choosing you as their victim.
The reason is simple, there are thousands of people around who are easier and safer targets. The harder you make it for the criminal to victimize you, the more likely he is to go ply his trade elsewhere. You won’t have stopped the criminal from being a criminal, but you will have stopped him from choosing you as a victim.
With this in mind, personal safety can be viewed as a pyramid. Each level not only increases your safety, but builds upon the level under it to create a cohesive and consistent whole. This way you have a solid structure, rather than a patchwork of “do this for this situation and that for another” answers for personal safety. Such a fragmented approach requires excessive work, inconvenience and, often, drastically altering your lifestyle. What’s worse is it still leaves opportunities and openings for you to be attacked. This pyramid is designed to work with your lifestyle, not change it.
Start from the bottom and work your way up. Each level takes you higher and keeps you safer. It does this by creating a consistent network that works simultaneously on several fronts. What will stop a burglar will also foil a stalker or a break-in rapist. What works to stop a mugger will also foil a serial rapist or carjacker. This consistency closes the gaps left by a fragmented approach — gaps that crime and violence come through to enter your life.
Customs of Your Tribe
In ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’ George Bernard Shaw wrote: Pardon him … he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.
It is ironic that Caesar was speaking about Britannus (a British Celt). We say ironic because:
A) In modern times the British are considered so civilized.
B) It is civilized, educated people who most often make the mistake of
assuming their customs are the laws of nature.
What many people do not realize is that “When in Rome, do as the Romans” works both ways. It is as difficult to shift gears ‘downward’ as it is upwards — perhaps more so. Yet you can get in a lot of trouble if you can’t do this.
Many ‘civilized’ people feel themselves to be egalitarian, when in fact, they are very much like Romans. A people who’s lifestyle relies on the existence of
A) a working/servant class,
B) a political/business system and
to provide them with their needs and security. These ‘modern Romans,’ seldom travel outside the comforts of their lifestyle; their particular ‘Rome’ if you will. (The “Just because your lifestyle takes all your time …” statement applies here). When we bring this up, those who consider themselves cosmopolitan strenuously object, but understanding this modern Roman analogy is important to grasp what follows and how it can effect your safety. Despite the fact that these ‘modern Romans’ deal with non-Romans all the time, they don’t realize that they are dealing with these people under very narrow circumstances. Circumstances dictated by the ‘customs of Rome.’
In short, they are dealing with ‘barbarians’ who have come to their Rome. And that is a far cry from how barbarians normally play — especially in their own homeland.
Barbarians in Rome
In ‘civilized circles,’ the civilized person has the upper hand in interactions because the ‘barbarian’ is the outsider. An outsider, who doesn’t exactly understand the rules of the circle he has found himself in. Simply stated, in Roman circles there are often two sets of rules: that which is stated and obvious and what’s really going on. These secondary rules are subtle, unspoken and not immediately obvious … as are the repercussions of violating them (e.g. a promotion goes to someone else or someone is subtly ‘excluded’ from events). To really grasp these one must either have spent many years operating in these social circles or born into that social class. In addition to all these unspoken protocols, there are all kinds of subtle nuances that dictate status and power in these circles (this will become important in a bit).
But here’s a little reality break … the barbarians don’t care about what passes as power and status among Romans. They don’t want to become Romans, they don’t want to rule Rome. The barbarian have come to Rome not to invade, but to work. And when they are done, they want to go home again. Therefore, while they’ll follow the obvious rules, they do not adopt the subtleties of Roman ways and thought.
2) In dealing with someone trying to make his livelihood by coming into
‘their’ circle, many civilized people mistakenly assume the same ‘rules’
apply when they are in the other person’s social circle and territory.
“Slumming” is a popular past time among younger people from
more civilized circles. It’s fun to go out and party in places that
have a reputation for danger. Even more mature people will
occasionally find themselves outside their normal circles and
attempting to function in different social circumstances. This is
analogous to “leaving Rome and ending up in a barbarian long
Often this is accompanied with the person outside his/her
normal circumstances making the false assumption that the
unspoken rules of conduct of his/her social circle apply there too.
While usually nothing occurs, when this is assumption is
demonstrated to be wrong, the results are usually traumatic to
the person with the expectation that barbarians adhere to the
same rules of conduct.
The third element is often very hard to define — especially to those who don’t have it. that is how prepared are you to do what must be done. This is a two pronged problem:
A) Does the person have the willingness to act?
B) Does the person have the resources to carry out that decision?
In our Women’s Self-Defense courses, we ask the participants a question: Are you willing to commit physical violence in self-defense, yes or no? Even with it phrased in those black and white terms, there is usually a great deal of waffling, hesitation, discomfort and “Well, it depends”
That is how the entrenched the idea that ‘violence is bad’ is in western culture. Even when only intellectually faced with this choice, people still hesitate. There isn’t some big nasty hairy guy coming at you, this is a question asked in the safety and security of the class room. And yet discomfort and uncertainty cause people to vacillate while desperately trying to find an alternative solution.
Well, now for the not-so-nice news. When a situation has gone beyond the norm and it is time to apply force, you cannot hesitate.
When it comes to crime and violence the biggest difficulty you face is not your attacker. There IS an effective solution to that issue.
The problem is:
How you normally think prevents you from implementing that solution
in the available time.
What we are saying is the biggest challenge you face isn’t the attacker. It’s overcoming your own way of thinking in order to deal effectively with the attacker. And to be able to do it before he is successful.
Have you ever really sat down and thought about how you think? Do you really understand where many of the ideas that you believe in came from? Have you ever asked yourself, “What don’t I know?” and how easily you can confuse what you think for what you know? Have you ever wondered how much of what you do is based in logic vs. natural programming? It’s hard to think outside of the box, if you don’t even realize you are in one.
The truth is we do most of our thinking out of habit. That is to say we have established assumptions, ideas, ideologies and ways of thinking that we use to function in our everyday lives. These paradigms not only guide our actions, but become self-reinforcing AND self-limiting. The more we think a certain way, the less able we are to think in other ways.
One of the bigger problems faced by ‘normal’ people who’ve found themselves in a violent situation is that they are usually desperately trying to come up with — not only an effective solution — but one that works with their personal philosophy/world view. In short, they are looking for a palatable answer. Unfortunately, an effective and palatable answer are often mutually exclusive.
An example of this is that a person who feels that ‘violence never solved anything’ (VNSA) can believe that as long as he/she is not being physically assaulted. While the reasons and motivations for the assault will not be resolved, effective counter-force does prevent you from being brutally victimized during an assault. However, those who subscribe to the VNSA hypothesis have usually not developed the means to be effective using force. Because of their choices, that option is off the table. Therefore they are left casting around for an effective response within their normal paradigms (e.g. talking it out, being reasonable). Unfortunately, attacker is past that point.
It is not hyperbole to say, in a crisis, it boils down to: What is more important, your safety or protecting how you think? The sad truth is that most people are victimized while desperately trying to come up with an answer to an extreme and unique circumstance using their everyday paradigms.
One of the fundamental strategies of both violent criminals and the habitually violent is to immediately apply an overwhelming degree of force to achieve their goals. It is critical to realize this is not a fight, it is an assault. There isn’t the build up, the yelling and screaming (threat display) of fight. That would give you time to mentally prepare to yourself.
The objective of a criminal attack/assault is to immediately render you incapable of resisting. While the set up may take time, the attack is going to come at you fast.
Without pre-existing awareness of the danger, it is often difficult to rally an effective defense against this kind of violence. Under these circumstances, it is nearly impossible to find both an effective and a palatable answer.
Face it, what we are talking about is scary. However, just because you perceive there to be extreme danger doesn’t necessarily mean that level of danger really exists. Putting it bluntly, being emotional doesn’t give you carte blanche to go berserk.
Although those who are looking for an excuse to run amok will often claim “There are no rules in a street-fight” that is an outright lie. There are established legal parameters about what you can and cannot do in ANY situation. To begin with a fight is not self-defense. Self-defense is legal, fighting isn’t. In the heat of the moment though, most people perceive their actions AS self-defense, when in fact, they were fighting.
Why Do People Become Violent?
This is a question that we ask when we train law enforcement in de-escalation. Since LEOs, correctional officers and other security personnel are those most likely to encounter violent people, it’s a pretty important question for them to consider.
Before you read any further, come up with your own answer. Why do people become violent?
We usually receive a barrage of differing answers: fear, anger, dominance, gain, conquest, etc., etc.. All of these answers are right. These are indeed reasons why people become violent. But they are not ‘THE reason’ people become violent.
People become violent because they want something.
More specifically they become violent because — at that moment — it may seem that the only (or best) way to achieve that goal is through violence. While at first glance this may seem like a “No DUH!” statement, realize that the implications of ‘People become violent because they want something’ is this field’s version of E=mc2. Although simple, it has some mindboggling connotations, complications and manifestations.