The 911 Mindset: Making Victims of Us All
We had just about finished another of our women’s self-protection seminars and I began thinking as we approached the end of the seminar, “Wow, nobody even asked today…”and then IT happened. Again, The “Old Faithful” of questions asked by socially programmed people who have been taught to be a good victim raised its ugly head. From a diminutive voice with arm raised to ask permission to question it squeaked out of one of my clients mouths and screamed across the room in protest. “If we do that to the attacker, won’t it really hurt him?” And then just as predictably, every face in the place turned to look for the answer.
It isn’t that myself, or those who instruct with me have some mystical divination. Our answers aren’t “shaped” to suit a particular audience. We simply define the issue and deal with it outside the societal constraints that have allowed criminals to flourish and sacrifice good people to the whim of the violent animals that make up our criminal element. Every single person in that room knows what the right answer is instinctively. They know that to protect themselves they HAVE to physically stop the assailant. The problem is that our social message from pre-k through the rest of our lives stops them with the threat of punishment and the award of an almost pariah-like status for breaking the rules that stop self-protection form occurring.
Here’s how the answer generally goes: “You have a right to self-protection. The rulings of the Supreme Court tell you that you are responsible for your own defense because they specifically relieve the police from being responsible for your personal protection. You are told you have to call 911 and hide or get a restraining order or somehow otherwise rely on someone else to protect yourself, but unless you can afford full-time personal protection specialists, you
are the only one you can guarantee will be there when you are attacked. To not act in a proactive manner is to guarantee you will be a victim, and you have to hope that he chooses not to harm you. Compliance does not guarantee you safety, thousands of compliant victims get killed or maimed each year. Only your commitment to act in your own protection will offer hope of surviving. If you do not act decisively, i.e. if you don’t render them incapable of attacking, you will be a victim. It is more than okay to hurt him. Causing him trauma is your goal in self-protection. He chose to go outside societies rules by attacking and you have the responsibility to yourself and your loved ones to step outside the societal rules and attack him to ensure your safety. The only moral choice when under attack is to act amorally to prevent the criminal from victimizing you. Any other choice means you choose his life over yours and those who are depending on you to protect them.”
After this answer we generally get three to five minutes of follow up on this and then you start to see the whole class demeanor change. It is no longer people timid about being here and unsure of what it is we teach. The clients focus increases, their intensity increases. This is good because it means they are taking it seriously and the concentration coupled with the methods of instruction help them plant the information in the brain where they can use it under stress. Of equal importance, they begin questioning when they would be willing to use the material we teach. They ask themselves, “at what point am I okay, inside my own mind, with me having to use this?” Once they begin that process they are on their way to embracing the responsibility that comes with self-protection and the consequences of having to protect oneself and loved ones.
We never tell our clients when they should use our material other than to clearly delineate that they must clearly see or perceive an imminent threat to their person or someone else’s before they use this. We specifically instruct them to the dangers of using combatives for non-survival settings including telling them that misuse will almost certainly result in their criminal and civil prosecution. As it should, if it is used in a non-threat environment. Our area of operation for terminal combatives is a finite one.
My fear is that people find it okay to walk away from others being attacked rather than getting involved. We see it increasing now in the news, people don’t do anything when a man pulls a hammer out and starts beating another person they just calmly walk by and move seats until the train stops and they can exit. I have written about several cases like that. If we are truly in survival mode and won’t help fellow citizens because we are trained to call 911 or leave the scene and get help, the message of relying on the police and others for protection will make victims of us all and it will do it sooner than later.