My favorite used book store is Robert's in Lincoln City, Oregon. Whenever we make a trip to the coast we make a point to stop by. I've occasionally found some amazingly rare books there, like a copy of "Caves of Washington" with all of the maps intact or "Judo In Action: Grappling" which was going for hundreds of dollars on E-Bay not so long ago.
This time, I ran across two incredibly cheesy 1970's era self-defense manuals. One is hilarious. I may write about it later. The other is Lt. Jim Bullard's "Looking Forward to Being Attacked." It has the seventies hair styles and clothes and some odd pictures (exactly how does someone get mugged while playing tennis at the country club?) but most of the advice is spot-on and the gimmick of looking at assaults as fun opportunities is entertaining.
Anyway, all cheese isn't cheese. Or cheese has some nutrition. Whatever. It's a metaphor.
But one of the things Lt. Bullard says again and again is both potentially terrible advice and absolutely dead right. Boldly go into dark places. Take offense whenever you are offended against.
Right. This hits my core. I don't let bad guys be bad around me. I do go to places I warn others about and hang with people that most shouldn't...and I have committed to a cold math. Behavior has consequences, including mine. I will be one of those consequences, if necessary. And, if necessary, I will pay my own consequences for that decision.
I tell my students the truth, however, and encourage them to use it. Bad stuff happens in predictable places, at predictable times. The targets are predictable and you can simply not be one of the targets. But to follow this advice is to cede a certain part of the world to the predators. To give them some control over our behavior. To 'give up freedom' as Lt. Bullard phrases it.
Many good strategies (and plans and especially policies and government programs) originally designed to evade a problem wind up enabling. We don't want people to starve and we don't want being unemployed to be especially demeaning so we set the social safety net at a dollar amount that satisfies those needs...and people who have no intention of ever producing are enabled to be comfortable.
We do the same thing in self defense: "Avoid, escape, de-escalate, only in the gravest extreme do you use your skills." This attitude (and it is not just self-defense instructors, society as a whole condones this, which is why we teach it) makes it extremely safe to be a criminal. It should not be safe to be a criminal.
But we live in a world of liability, where law-abiding people with legal assets have much to lose and criminals almost nothing that can be forfeited. You can't garnish profits on drug deals.
And so we teach avoid, evade, de-escalate... But I wish we lived in the world that Bullard imagines, where someone who chooses to rob or rape (these are the bad guys for cryin' out loud) is at immediate risk for their lives, sight or motor function. Where people felt confident to say, "We don't tolerate that bullshit here" and could go a little commando on the gangs and riffraff that ruin a community. But they fear that they would be punished quicker and more fiercely than the bad guys. You see, it is safer and easier to punish good guys. Good guys take the punishment. Bad guys laugh at you. Far easier to confiscate weapons or sue citizens than to get the same thing from criminals. And if you are deluded, it still feels like you are doing something.
The smart thing is to avoid. But I wouldn't have leaned a damn thing if I'd been smart. I went into a profession that let me fight the bad guys. Because they have to be fought. Not understood-- we understand them well enough. Not accommodated-- you give them what they want and you have identified yourself as a victim and there is no limit to what they want. Bad guys need to be stopped. Cold. As a citizen, that is legally problematic.
Josh's comments implied that people become cops seeking power and authority. That's not my experience. People become cops because they know the victims. They know that the only way to prevent victimization is to stand up and fight back... and they also know that under our current system that is a very, very risky strategy unless you have the sanction of the government.
I would love if that was just an expected thing, and I think that is what "Stand Your Ground" laws are trying to bring back.
It should be dangerous to be a criminal.
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