What You Can/Can't Do.

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by MJS, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. grydth

    grydth Senior Master

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    Guys, there's no need to personalize this debate.

    Bottom line, to me, is that it you should know as much as you can about self defense and about the law. Know the consequences of your actions.

    Then make your decisions when you have to.
     
  2. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly!
     
  3. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    Ok here is the important fact I'd like to address;

    a) Reasonably is subjective term; reasonable is based on the individual reason of the investigator, prosecutor or judge. Two people can look at the same event and see different beliefs in whats reasonable based on past experiences, personal fears & ideological differences. Saying use reasonable force doesn't mean anything unless you we can agree on whats reasonable?

    b) No one answered the direct questions I asked because they have simple and direct answers.

    c) How many people here beisdes myself have had to defend themselves in court? If you haven't taken part in such, & I don't mean as a wittness, then well you're just a virgin talking about sex. Fact, the system is long and draw out & the DA/PA doesn't inspect cases they just grab a file, read it before trial & go argue whats in the file.

    Better yet allow me to give you all a simple "timeline" break down...
    1. Event happens; you get mugged and break mugger's arm when he tries to stab you with a knife. You then call 911 and LEOs show up...

    2. LEOs on scene don't know whats going on; they know your stand there & your attackers arm is broken. Your story "he tried to mug you..." his story "YOU tried to mug him, and you broke his arm with a baseball bat you got rid of & he tried to use the knife to defend himself."

    3. LEOs arrest you both; charge you with malicious wounding & him for brandishing a weapon & assault. They take you into the station finger print you, snap a picture & then you either have to wait in jail for the magistrate to come in for a bail hearing or you get one that day/night...

    4. If you get bail, the magistrate (an elected offical who is not required to know the law but must make decisions of a legal nature) then asks you two questions; 1) is how do you plea & 2) can you afford an attorney or does the court need to appoint one for you. You then fill out some paper work to be represented by the public defenders off.

    5. Now if you are charge with a misdemeanor, you get bond out and fill out paperwork with the bondsman & won't even see your Public Defender until he grabs your file and shows up to court at your pretrial motions hearing; your public pretender will then try to convince you to take a plea agreement so he go to the next file on his list... Then you go to step 6.

    5a. You are charged with a felony, which means you go through the bond motions & paperwork as before. The state has an "initial appear" somewhere within 3 buisness days from your arrest; you will then meet you Public pretender at the initial appearance & never the person again until your indictment before the grand jury; the feds and some states don't require you be present at your grandjury indictment so you won't see the PD until the pre-trial motions hearing. Then you can get to step 6.

    6. You have your day in court & get your chance to explain yourself and convince a judge & jury of your reasonable actions...

    All of which can take from a week to years if you are adiment about proving your innocence. All the reasonable doubt in the world doesn't mean anything if its not a trial matter. Further more. it is LEOs job to arrest those they feel are guilty, not determine innocence that the domain of the court.

    For further reading;
    Stages of Criminal Defense page 1
    Stages of Criminal Defense page 2
    Duties of a Police Officer

    c) Allow me to point why is not only dangerious but stupid for a self-defense instructor to give legal advise. First, off all your doing is justifying a victim attitude; which is most likely there to avoid liability. Course by giving such advise and not being authorized to do so by passing the "state bar" (paralegals know just as much law as lawyers do, however they are not authorized by the state bar to give legal advise) you are making yourself more liable, because your "legal advise for restraint" is a) not valid legal advise & b) if it causes the injury of death of person using that advise you are criminally responsible.

    Lets examine the Use of Force Levels:
    Level 0: No Confrontation/Need for Violence Present
    Level 1: Verbal Warning/Confrontation
    Level 2: Verbal Confrontation/Threat of Violence
    Level 3: Physical Restraint/Confrontation
    Level 4: Lethal Force applied by unarmed techniques
    Level 5: Lethal Force directly involving a force multiples (i.e. weapon)

    Ok classic use of force SD theory is you climb the ladder as you're attacker climbs the ladder to remain within the confones of reasonable force. Problem as with those two cars racing, whoever gets to higher level first wins, maybe they will stop at knocking you (level 3), maybe they will jump up & down on your skull (level 4) or beat you with a brick (level 5) while you're out. While you are playing catch up they aren't playing. Now just because you're at a higher level mentally doesn't mean you have to go there physically.

    That said, I tell my students to climb down the ladder; they start at the highest level, if unarmed immideately "look for a weapon" within arms reach. Be ready to do severe bodily harm & make threats. Then apply that psychological training they get, if they get multiple warning signs & red flags, go straight into apply a higher level of violence. If a person is directly biligerant and trolling for verbal confrontation they usually want a pretext to engage. Go straight to the level of violence they feel comfortable with that they believe will end the "danger" immideately.

    That means if some comes at me with "friends" or has a history of pulling a weapon; I'm gonna go straight to level 5. I'll post bond and go to trial but corpses can't testafy & I'm smart enough to scream so that everyone can hear me "You & your friend s stay back I don't want to fight you." or "I know you like pull knives (guns) so just keep your distance I don't want to fight you." while drawing my own weapon.

    Now why I choose to follow that course of action is simple;
    a) LEOs don't often have all the info at all & many don't look for all the info; they leave that up to your lawyer & you...
    b) Trying to use reasonable force can get in me arrested and standing before a judge & jury at trial just as easily as my disregard for applying reasonable force.
    c) Its better to be a living prisoner awaiting parol (even if the wife leaves you & the kids think you're the "bad guy") then a dead slab of meat 6 feet under. At least with parol you can't make up for lost time but you can have sometime to try.
    d) I don't believe in fairy tales of heros coming to save the day & I sure as heck don't believe in a victim mentality. All the legal advise in the world doesn't mean squat if its a) not from a lawyer & b) proven in court (which means case law)...
     
  4. just2kicku

    just2kicku Black Belt

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    What I'm saying is that at the time of attack, I'm really not too concerned with what the law is or isn't. In fact, at that point in time, I dont care.

    Now if I'm a driven to the point of having to fight to defend myself, then yes, I am going to finish it. I don't ask for trouble and I don't mess with anyone, so should my choice of just being left alone be taken away from me by no choice of my own, then I am going to finish it.

    I have a friend whose house was broken into at 2:30-3:00 in the morning,
    He woke up and shot the guy twice in the chest at about five feet away with a .357. His wife and 2 small children were in the house also. What do you think happened, 5 fricken' years in prison for excessive force. To shoot the guy once was OK, twice is excessive even tho the guy was dead before he hit the ground with the first shot.

    Should he have asked the bad guy to leave first? That would have been the "moral" and "ethical" thing to do. Wow, come to think of it, it would've been the "reasonable" and I guess the "legal" thing to do.

    I am glad the Founding Fathers had the nuts to stand up and not be sheep, we'd all be singing "God save the Queen".
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    "I don't care what the law says" and "I follow the law" are inconsistent statements, and taken together they mean "I have no idea what I'm talking about. Just wanted to hear my head ring." The advice contained within those two statements consisted of gibberish, which makes for very bad advice.

    No, a person can't always think about what is and is not legal at the time of an attack. However, I don't think about breathing either, I just know how to do it. If you plan to defend yourself, know what the law is - that's your responsiblity. If you don't care about the law, then as I said, good luck in prison.
     
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  6. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Cite or it didn't happen. I do not believe it went down as you're describing.
     
  7. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    A lack of control indicates you aren't planning your attack, so to speak. There is a fine line between ending the threat and playing in the bloody mess.
    Sean
     
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  8. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Great replies everyone. Lets keep this thread going! :)

    My apologies for not returning sooner. After reading the posts, I'll toss in a few more pennies.

    First, unless I missed it, I dont think I really saw a clear cut answer to a question that I asked in my OP, which was if we look at the techs. in our art, we'll see that, if we go by the 'letter of the law' that theres really very little that we can do, without it being considered overboard.

    Regarding some of the recent comments...I think if we were to look at the art in question, we'll see that many of these arts, 2 that come to mind would be Krav Maga and Kenpo/Kajukenbo, we'd see 2 no nonsense arts. 2 arts that pretty much destroy the guy facing you.

    I think that due to the nature of the attitude of the bad guys today, which is basically the fact that they don't give a rats *** about you, what they take from you, what they do to you, your family, etc., so in return, our attitude is the same.

    The other part that I dont believe was addressed, was the fact that it seems, at least to me anyways, that the general consensus is that there will always be a witness to the attack. I disagree with that notion. I could leave work tonight, head to my bank to use the ATM, and despite the bank being on a busy street, at that hour, if I were to be attacked, nobody passing by on the street would see me. Additionally, and I may be wrong in saying this, but its simply my opinion, but I'm not hanging around. Would the bad guy, after he stabbed and robbed me, hang around, tend to my wound or call for help? Not likely.

    My thinking is pretty much in line with Joes....we mind our own business, but at the time of the attack, an attack that we didn't bring onto ourselves, we're going to finish it, plain and simple. As I said, my concern at that time is for me and anyone with me. I always have, and always will, do my best to verbally defuse something, if possible, that being the key word. Of course, dont mistake that for me giving the impression that I'm going to beg and plead for forgiveness. No, instead, I'll attempt to talk thigns down, but I'm going to be firm in doing so. The other person will not get the reaction, the intimidation from me, that he's hoping for. But if that isn't an option, then whatever happens, happens. I'll deal with the other stuff later. I have no criminal record, have a job in which I work in a LE environment, and mind my own business. So if the day were to come, that I land in court, it should be quite obvious as to who the real victim in the matter is.
     
  9. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    Unfortunately, my understanding is that it doesn't matter what you do; you will be charged. Its also up to the opinion of judge and jury. This is where politics comes in at but as an example; you have individuals whose belief are firmly rooted in self-reliance & self-defense and others who are firmly rooted in government reliance & depend on the government to defend them...

    That "administrator of justice" can see "going to the ground for submission hold" excessive force; because once the attacker is on the ground the threat ends & someone else may say that "because you didn't attempt retreat you used excessive force." It really comes down to what the local political view of one's judges, magastrates & other elected offical try to push.

    I think in most cases any MA can be considered "excessive force" in application, take the "Rodney King Beating" the court ruled that the LEOs didn't use excessive force until the last 5 or 6 strikes. If a judge feels the attacker was no longer a threat once knocked to the ground then a simple MMA ground & pound or perhaps even a choke hold common to most MAs is excessive force. Most likely it will be the job around LE more then evidence which will get you out of trouble...
     
  10. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    And this is why, in my OP, I mentioned some Kenpo techs., in which for simple attacks, its taken to the extreme. Its kinda like your reverse ladder theory. The Kenpo techs. start with the extreme, but IMO, its up to the person doing the tech, to be able to modify accordingly. So, this is really where I was going with this thread...no matter what we do, we're damned if we do, damned if we dont. If I'm going to get the potential shaft I may as well defend myself anyways. :)

    Regarding the once you're on the ground the threat is over....think about this...how many techs. do we see, in which we take the guy down, and do a few more strikes? Happens all the time. Hell, look at Kaju...perfect example, with their groundwork. I'm not talking about grappling groundwork, but the multiple strikes that're thrown when the person is on the ground. IMO, just because we take the person down, does not mean that the threat is removed, and thats what the courts will most likely fail to see. I can take someone down, and they could get right back up again. Taking them down, and doing a few strikes to end it, vs. continuing to strike after the threat is removed...thats the difference IMO.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  11. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Bull pockey.

    There're details not being presented, like a delay between the two shots, or he should have fired his lawyer or a plea bargain that may have been more in his attorney's interest than his. It doesn't work that way.

    Folks, very simply, if you use force to defend yourself, you may indeed find yourself under arrest. The general principle of our society is that you don't get to shoot, hit, or beat upon each other. The claim of self defense is an affirmative defense, which means that you admit you did something that you shouldn't have -- but you were justified in doing so because you reasonably believed yourself to be facing immediate attack. If you find yourself arrested -- get the best lawyer you can beg, borrow, or sell the naming rights to your firstborn child to afford. You want someone on your side who knows the rules -- and is going to look after your interests. I'm going to suggest that, while you absolutely should listen to your attorney's guidance, if he's telling you to take a plea to something you didn't do or feel you were justified in doing... At least talk to another attorney before you take the plea.

    And, before it happens, learn about articulation. Cops make their cases in court by how they articulate what they saw, and what they did. So will you in a self-defense case; how you can convince the police, and perhaps ultimately a judge or jury that you were indeed justified in your actions will make the difference between conviction and freedom.

    When you use force to defend yourself, you are permitted to use no more force than a reasonable person would find was appropriate and proportionate to the threat presented. It's not a tit-for-tat stair step or ladder where you must be exactly on the same rung. The force used must be appropriate; you cannot use lethal force unless you are confronted by an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death. (The Castle Doctrine loosely says that you can assume that a person breaking into your house while you're there is probably out to do you serious harm.) Serious bodily harm generally includes things like maiming, or even significant broken bones, as well as lethal attacks.

    If you're going to choose to teach self defense as part of martial arts instruction, or as a stand-alone program, you owe it to yourself (you may wish to review the term vicarious liability) as well as your students to do some basic research and be able to explain the general concepts and principles of these ideas. You also have, in my opinion, a moral and ethical duty to teach students an appropriate range of responses. I think the most negligent thing a security company can do is put a guard out, armed only with a sidearm, no baton, no pepper... nothing between going hand-to-hand and shooting someone. And I see it happen all too often... Teaching someone self defense skills without teaching them to scale their responses and giving them a range of responses is right up there, too.

    It ain't easy -- but you have to remain calm and respond appropriately to an attack. And know when to stop. You don't have to start at the barest minimum response as someone's trying to kill you -- but you also can't shoot someone for throwing dirty looks your way. The general goal of self defense is simple: deal with the initial attack, and prevent further attack so that you can get away. Law enforcement has a different responsibility; we generally have to duty to contain, constrain, and restrain the people we're dealing with. (Cops are also generally held to a higher standard on use of force than a civilian.)

    These are general principles that anyone can learn and share. If you don't trust someone to be able to respond with a reasonable level of control after they've been trained -- what they hell are you doing teaching them in the first place?!
     
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  12. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    Well like I said it goes back to politics; I've had to be wittness at a few trials where students or someone else had been charged with "battery" because they were defending themselves. A lot of times excessive force comes down to ideological or political opinion; liberal judges & juriors seem more willing to "call for restraint" then conservation judges & juriors.
     
  13. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    There's plenty you can do; it's all about control and target selection. You can punch the chest or shoulder rather than the throat; you can slap rather than rip the face off... or you can just stop when the attack stops.
    The predators never have, any more than the lion cares about the antelope. Rather than rehash what someone's done better than I can here, I refer you to Rory Miller's book Meditations on Violence.

    And I'll note that most of us will not encounter real violence or real predators; we're much more likely to encounter a Monkey Dance scenario.
    I don't assume that there'll be a witness who can help you or provide context. As a cop, I can't tell you how often I've heard one variant or another of "I saw what happened..." to be followed by "I heard... and then I looked over." So they didn't really see...

    But, in today's Western world, at least, there's a damn good chance that you're actions will be captured on somebody's video. It may be a security camera, or it may be a bystander who can't be bothered to use that same phone they're videoing you with to call 911... And they won't stick around , either.
    In law enforcement, we learn to act until the threat is stopped. Only then do you stop, whether it's shooting or using a baton or going hands on. As civilized beings, you have to be able to flip the switch to "ON" to deal with the attack, and then back to "OFF" when the threat stops.
     
  14. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Agreed, and I said that very thing in my OP. :) However, you said yourself, in your reply to just2kicku, that you may find yourself under arrest. May/may not happen, but unless you do nothing, then you face that risk.


    Very good book. I have it and am in the process of reading it. And you're right, the monkey dance is what we have a good chance of facing. Would you consider a mugging or carjacking or home invasion a monkey dance though? These are things that happen all the time, without the prefight posturing.

    Anythings possible.


    I hope I didn't give you the impression that I was saying that after the threat was over, that I'd continue. Likewise I never said that I'd KO someone for calling me an *******. But, I also do not feel that we, as people, should be victims. As I've said, I keep to myself, dont frequent bad areas or problem locations. I'll refer back to my usual story, of when I was walking my dog thru my condo complex, made eye contact with someone in a passing car, I kept walking, the car stopped, and the passenger got out, yelling back at me, asking if, in his exact words, "Do you have a ****ing problem?" to which I stopped, turned around, looked around to confirm he was talking to me, and simply said, "Nope, no problem." Now, because I didn't bow down and kiss this guys ***, begging him for forgiveness, but instead stood there, not giving in, not giving him the reaction he was hoping for, somehow, my actions are frowned upon. Go figure. Personally, that guy could go **** himself, and here's why:

    1) I did nothing wrong.

    2) I made eye contact because I honestly thought I knew him or he knew me, but we didn't recognize each other.

    3) He was clearly trying to intimidate me, but again, I wasn't giving in.

    4) He backed off, and went about his business, because a) he didnt want to risk getting bit by the dog, b) he really was, deep down, a chicken **** *****, or c) realized I wasn't going to cower and his tough guy talk.

    Again, I said nothing offensive or aggressive towards him, made no aggressive move towards him. I just stood there, and had every right to do so. Only if he came at me, would I have done something. But again, I'm the bad guy, because I didn't bow down to him. I stood my ground, and made him know that I was confident in my actions.

    As tempting as it may be, to get in one last shot, while the guy is down, I'm not that stupid. :)
     
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  15. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    As Jks9199 pointed out you need to be able to turn it off and on. You need to be able to scale back once the threat has been neutralized. Your neutralization of the threat cannot go beyond what would be considered reasonable under the circumstances. So when you go to finalize a situation your level of force must be justifiable based on this unique individual situation. In other words you cannot let your emotions run and control you. Professionals like LEO's, Correction Officers, etc. have to do this not routinely because no violent encounter is routine but they experience having to justify their actions in a violent encounter. Your average citizen simply does not but someone who is training in the Martial Sciences should make it a part of their training and understanding. Having someone who knows the law ie. lawyer, LEO and can express an understanding of the law to practitioners is very important. In our Instinctive Response Training Hall in the North ie. Alma, Michigan we have a lawyer who keeps us up to date on the law. He is also a practitioner and understands our needs. Then I also have my background in law enforcement to help and explain to practitioners what they can and cannot do. I believe jks9199 mentioned that you owe it to yourself and people you train with to do quite a bit of research and have a firm understanding of the law and how to articulate what happened.
     
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  16. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    There may be nothing you can do to prevent the arrest. Be ready to give a relatively clear, but short explanation, to the cops when they arrive. Or lawyer up right away... and say nothing. You can get advice ranging from "tell it all" to "say nothing!" and all of it's good advice, but each choice will shape what happens. Discuss it with a lawyer, 'cause what I'd do calls on my background and professional connections.
    Mugging and carjackings are "real violence." The Monkey Dance is a status fight; each culture has it's own rules for how it develops and when it stops. And some predatory attacks do have a posturing element (brandishing a gun or knife in a robbery for example, rather than simply shooting/stabbing...) but you have to always assume that it's for real. A Monkey Dance will only occur between two people who at least believe they have relatively equal status, so have equal amounts to gain or lose. Otherwise, they look like idiots. If there's nothing to lose or gain, the Monkey Dance won't happen. You don't see a Rotty yipping and barking at everything that moves (as a general rule) they way you do a litlle ankle biter like a Pomeranian.

    I've never said simply be a victim -- and I didn't think you were advocating overkill or overreaction to threats. What I'm saying is that, while many of the techniques we do in various martial sciences are practiced to the overkill level -- you have to be enough of a human being to shape your reaction to the actual attack. The Bando Monk System is a nonviolent martial art; a monk practitioner chooses to accept a risk of injury in using evasion and non-lethal (or even non-injurious) responses to attacks. Their techniques aren't all that different from "normal" techniques -- it's the intent and execution that control the response. The same applies to any of us.
     
  17. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey Brian,

    I agree with what you're saying, and again, I apologize if I gave another impression. I'm always stressing that its important to assess each situation. :) I'll always try to talk first, but as we all know, thats not always going to work. Interestingly enough, I was talking with one of my Arnis insts. last week. He's a Capt. in the Dept. of Corrections, with a little over 20yrs in. We were discussing use of force, and some incidents regarding excessive force on the part of some of the COs.

    Anywys, again, sorry if I gave the wrong idea. I do maintain a few of the things that I have said, in addition to what Joe (Just2kicku) said as well, that being, that people should not have to walk around in fear of either their attacker or fear of using what we train in. If that was the case, then my next question is...why train? Like I said, I'll worry about the other stuff later. My #1 concern is my well being.
     
  18. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Agreed, and certainly good advice. Again, this is all on the assumption that everyone hangs around.

    Agreed, and this was in response to when you said that most people will never encounter real violence.

    To this I disagree, as the things that I mention happen all the time. Just within the past 2 weeks, in the city that I work in, there was a carjacking, with the victim getting serious injuries, and 2 people assaulted by a group of males that had baseball bats. I can list 2 cities in CT, in which shootings happen on a regular basis.



    You're right, and this is something I pointed out in my OP. I gave an example of some attacks, things such as lapel grabs, with the end result being a dislocated or broken arm. Problem is, is that I have to wonder how many instructors actually teach this. Then again, as Joe said, will people be thinking this, or will they be thinking, just deal with the threat at hand. I mean is someone really going to be thinking, "Ok, this guy is getting ready to punch me. How do I not hurt him too bad?" Or will they be thinking, "Incoming strike. I'm going to defend myself with whatever means possible!"
     
  19. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    The stats still say that most people are not direct victims of real violence. Doesn't mean it won't happen to you or any other particular person at any time. And, of course, choices you or our hypothetical person make can increase the odds that they'll be a victim. If you go into Anacostia in DC, for example... It's far more likely that we'll encounter some sort of Monkey Dance that may escalate to violence.

    And you can get just as hurt or dead in a Monkey Dance that escalates to violence as by a predatory attack.
    Very few instructors really teach how to scale responses. Of course, I'd argue that there ain't all that many who really know how to teach preparation for violence, either.
     
  20. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
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    Not sure how the stats can say this, due to the fact that 'real violence' happens all the time. Perhaps I'm not understanding what the stats are saying real violence is.


    Fortunately my current teachers are all capable of doing this. :)123
     

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