Excellent Advice on Escaping Being Harmed by Criminals


Via AoSHQ via Neatorama, excerpts from Sam Harris:

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The Truth about Violence
3 Principles of Self-Defense

You should also learn to trust your feelings of apprehension about other people—revising them only slowly and with good reason. This may seem like a very depressing piece of advice. It is. Most of us don’t want to see the world this way, and we take great pains to avoid being rude or appearing racist, suspicious, etc. But violent predators invariably play upon this commitment to civility. The truth is that most of us are very good at detecting ulterior motives and malevolence in others. We must learn to trust these intuitions. To read the reports of rapes, murders, kidnappings and other violent crimes is to continually discover how easily good people can be manipulated by bad ones.

If someone puts a gun to your head and demands your purse or wallet, hand it over immediately and run. Don’t worry about being shot in the back: If your attacker is going to shoot you for running, he was going to shoot you if you stayed in place, and at point-blank range. By running, you make yourself harder to kill.

If you find yourself in a situation where a predator is trying to control you, the time for listening to instructions and attempting to remain calm has passed. It will get no easier to resist and escape after these first moments. The presence of weapons, the size or number of your attackers—these details are irrelevant. However bad the situation looks, it will only get worse. To hesitate is to put yourself at the mercy of a sociopath. You have no alternative but to explode into action, whatever the risk. Recognizing when this line has been crossed, and committing to escape at any cost, is more important than mastering physical techniques.

You should also expect that any criminal who breaks into your home when you’re inside it has come prepared to murder you and your family. To naive readers, this may sound like an extraordinarily paranoid assumption. It isn’t. Mere burglars generally make sure a house is empty before breaking in.

If a window shatters in the middle of the night and someone comes through it, your life is on the line. There is nothing to talk about, no offer of cash or jewelry to muster, no demands worth listening to. You must do whatever it takes to escape.

If you get nothing else from this article, engrave this iron law on your mind: The moment it is clear that an assailant wants more than your property (which must be assumed in any home invasion), you must escape.

What if your attacker has a knife to your child’s throat and tells you that everything is going to be okay as long as you cooperate by lying face down on the floor? Don’t do it. It would be better to flee the house—because as soon as you leave, he will know that the clock is ticking: Within moments, you will be at a neighbor’s home summoning help. If this intruder is going to murder your child before fleeing himself, he was going to murder your child anyway—either before or after he killed you. And he was going to take his time doing it. Granted, it is almost impossible to imagine leaving one’s child in such a circumstance—but if you can’t leave, you must grab a weapon and press your own attack. Complying in the hope that a sociopath will keep his promise to you is always the wrong move.

Here is how the police look at it:

From a cop’s point of view, citizens seem to keep making the same mistakes over and over, until all cases begin to sound alike…. The objective of a violent criminal is to control you, emotionally and physically. Everything he does—his threats and promises—is intended to terrify and control you. The more control you give to the violent criminal, even if you see it as temporary, the less likely you are to escape. For most crime victims, their temporary cooperation backfired into full control over them. Time works against the victim and for the criminal. The longer you stall, the more you talk, the deeper you sink.

(S. Strong. Strong on Defense. pp. 49-50).

If you are present while a place of business is being robbed and you cannot immediately escape, it makes sense to obey orders—to freeze, to get down on the floor—because the focus is not on you. Most robbers just want to get the money from the register and run. However, if they begin taking hostages or shooting people, you should immediately do whatever it takes to escape. Better to dive through a plate-glass window than to allow yourself to be herded to the back of the store.

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And via the AoSHQ link:


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