While shopping at my local supermarket, I witnessed something so vile that I just have to tell you about it.
And I want you to start thinking about how to prepare for a situation like the one I am going to describe just in case it ever rears its ugly head near you.
The incident at the market began while I was looking over shelves jam-packed with jars of jelly and peanut butter. Suddenly I heard a man yelling near the checkout counters. He sounded loud, belligerent and coarse. In short, dangerous.
I spotted the yeller — a guy in his mid- to late-20s, about 6 feet tall and 175 pounds. He had apparently just checked out. But instead of leaving, he was screaming obscenities at a visibly shaken 40-something gentleman.
With about 10 feet between them, the foul-mouthed punk unleashed curse after curse at the older man, who was trying to pay his bill at the register. Though the man was clearly unnerved, he stood protectively by a young boy who looked about 12. Probably the man’s son.
Even now, I don’t know what started the raging rant. But I felt sure I was going to have to finish it when the bully began acting as if he planned to close the gap and punch out the gentleman and maybe even his son.
Slowly, I slipped to within 6 feet of the bully, sidling up to a magazine stand so I could pretend to read while I prepared to take the thug down rapidly if he looked as if he was going to harm the man or any other innocent people.
I had already calculated how fast I could cover the distance to take down the volatile young man when the punk began to walk toward the gentleman. Fortunately, for the bully, that’s when his smarter-half grabbed his arm and pulled him back hard.
The couple turned to leave but the bad guy was still itching for trouble. He turned back and accused the older man of raising his middle-finger at him. At this point, I had shopping to do and really just wanted this crazy person out of everyone’s life.
Well, you would be wrong on both counts! Although many people saw and heard what was happening, not a single person intervened.
Because of my protective nature, I had positioned myself tactically to neutralize the threat should the bully try to hurt the older man and his son.
I realize my training and experience put me in a very unique position as I traverse public life. Knowledge is power, and with power comes responsibility. So in circumstances like this, I am more than willing to put myself out there to assist a fellow citizen in need.
And from what I saw, this father and son were nice, civilized people. So they were quite shaken up by the younger man’s anger, verbal abuse and threats. I could see them both begin to panic as the stranger intimidated them with loud, rude language and aggressive gestures, like flailing his arms.
My training and experiences with violent people give me a great tactical advantage in such situations. But what about the average person?
We have talked about employing concepts such as visualization to better prepare you for conflict. However, this type of confrontation requires a more hands-on approach.
Animals like the thug in the grocery store will do everything in their power to intimidate you, which can cause you to falter under pressure. They want you to be afraid and fear them.
Are you going to let that fear rule your life and invade that space in your mind so that it paralyzes you and prevents you from protecting your family?
Planning and preparation for violence is important. However, you must understand not just the “survival mindset,” but also the “combat mindset.” You must plan for situations like our grocery store bully because violence can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. And if you think otherwise, you are setting yourself up for complete and utter failure.
Violent people such as this count on you not rising to the threat when that time comes, but rather merely defaulting to your own level of training. There is no shame in this because you are normal. You live a normal life, have a normal job and have normal friends … but, you do need to be able to survive a confrontation.
So what is the solution?
Many people don’t want to hear this: But the solution is knowledge absorbed from training. It’s no longer enough to simply play mind games about what you will do when someone threatens you. Now you have to train.
Meditation. Visualization. Imagination. They can only take you so far. But the reality is that a little training can go a long way. Proper instruction can give you not only the confidence you need to combat these criminal types, but also the actual skills to deal with them!
What kind of training and skills you might ask?
In most of these cases, there is some disparity of force. For example, an older person against a young person. Or several young people versus one young person, Or a man versus a woman.
If your attackers have an edge in force, then you don’t just want to level the playing field. You want something that gives you the edge in force — the bigger, the better.
In this new era of violence, you must develop your self-defense skills. It’s vital to learn some form of unarmed combat, since you spend most of your life without having weapons handy. But to get a big edge, you will probably need to learn how to use at least one weapon.
Your choice of weapons can obviously include firearms and knives. They can also include Tasers, tactical pens, tactical flashlights, and an array of clubs and batons. With a few classes, you could learn how to use an umbrella as a staff.
After a few boxing lessons, you’d know the right way to deliver a punch. And you could carry a roll of nickels to give your fist extra heft. Many gang members use a simple trick to get around the bans on brass knuckles. They load up their fingers with heavy, bulky metal rings that have sharp-edged designs.
You may feel that violence is socially unacceptable and politically incorrect. But no matter how uncivilized it makes you feel, violence is the only tool with which you can deal with violence.
Let me leave you with this final thought … What if that was you with your son or daughter in that supermarket? Do you have the training to get out of there intact with your head still attached?
Until next time, stay alert, check your six, put your back against the wall and stay safe!