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Pop the Bubble of Invulnerability

February 10, 2012

What will convince you?  Some of us refuse to be a victim, and some of us remain victims by choice.  You and the people you love are worth protecting.  We agree about that.  Both of us know the world has dangerous places, yet we pretend it is always safe and we become voluntary victims.  We act this way for many reasons.

We’ll explore that warm fuzzy fantasy bubble of safety that keeps us from taking our self-defense seriously.  Come with me.  Others have done it.  You’re worth it, so what’s stopping you?

There is no threat-  We know that some people are violent, but we hold that fact at a distance.  It doesn’t sink into our emotions and our actions.  Maybe we cling to the comforting idea that all criminals are in prison.  That is a comforting thought.  Every criminal in jail has at least one victim he left outside of prison, and the typical criminal commits dozens of crimes before he is sentenced.  1 in 30 people are in prison, jail, on parole or on probation.  The crime rates fluctuate from 1 victim in 1200 to as low as 1 in 200 for violent crime each year.  The combination of reported property and violent crime peaked at 1 victim in 170 per year.

We are near convicted felons every day, and crime rates are expected to rise again as states release more convicted criminals due to budget cuts.  The threat is real.

The threat isn’t us-  Maybe you think that criminals and their victims are someone else.  They don’t dress, act and talk like we do.  They don’t live around here with us.  You are claiming that criminals and victims are fundamentally different than we are.

I’m sorry, but people are people. They are not different.  Criminals do not walk around wearing a warning sign.  Can you accept that?  Criminals are both sexes.  In fact, women form one third of the criminal population.  Criminals come in all races, ages and religious denominations.

The threat is somewhere else-  Maybe you think crime is far away, but not where you live.  It isn’t where you work, shop and play.  Criminals are not in our city and on our block.  They are not in our parks and forests.

Sigh.  Look, criminals break the law, but that doesn’t mean they can’t read a map and drive a car.  Criminals look for innocent people because that is where the easy victims are.  Crime is only minutes away from us.

My shield of innocence will protect me-  Crime exists, but nice people aren’t victims.  After all, we didn’t upset anyone.  No one is mad at us, so we won’t be attacked.  We’re too cute, too pretty or too popular to be hurt.

I’m sorry, but choosing a victim it isn’t about us at all!  Selecting his victim is the criminal’s decision, not ours.  That decision is about what the criminal wants and it has little to do with us.  The criminal isn’t looking for a friend.  He doesn’t care if we’re pretty or ugly or how nice we smell.  He doesn’t care if we’re naughty or nice.  We’re simply a present for the plucking.

I have nothing to take, so they won’t take anything from me-  I’m sorry, but getting robbed or raped isn’t about us.  We have a wallet, a bag, a briefcase, a car or a child.  That is all the criminal needs to know.  He doesn’t know our wallet is empty, our credit cards are overdrawn and our car needs repair.  We may not be living large, but we still have a life to protect.  We always have that.

Being poor doesn’t change the likelihood of being robbed.  If anything, being poor means every loss hurts more.  Being poor means we can’t afford to lose what little we have.

I can manage the conflict-  You think you’ll bargain your way out of the situation since you’re pretty and persuasive.  Hmm.  This stage of denial is called negotiation.

Your words may sound good to you, but the bad guy isn’t listening.  He won’t be around to hear you once you pick yourself up off the ground.   You still think the decision is about you, and it isn’t.  Your words don’t matter to the person who wants your purse or your car.

Self-defense makes us violent aggressors-  We don’t feel the difference between the criminal and the victim.   There is an important difference.  The criminal is taking something and the victim is defending someone.    The difference is you.. and you are not someone’s property.. and you are worth defending.  Some people claim that violence only causes more violence and that only evil comes down the barrel of a gun.  I disagree.  Force can be a tool of violence or a tool of love.  My experience shows me that honorable people stand behind a gun because they love those they defend.  The criminal wants to use violence while the armed victim wants to go in peace.  Odd, but true.

Recognizing a threat makes me feel more vulnerable, not less-  Yes, we are reminded of our vulnerability when we recognize our risks.  Recognizing our vulnerability isn’t enough to change the odds of being robbed.  You need to do more, and awareness is the first step.  Changing our awareness changes the probability of being attacked.  Preparation is the second step.  Only preparation can change the severity of an attack.

Prevention is ineffective-  Yes, you can find a flaw in any defense.  Perfection is not required, and that is fortunate.  You don’t need a weapon in your purse that will stop King Kong.  You simply need to make yourself a non-tempting target.  Experience bears this out.  A victim who resists with a firearm is ten times less likely to be injured than one who submits passively.  We don’t have perfect choices, but ten-to-one are good odds.

Feeling threatened violates my view of the world-  We want to pretend that the world is safe and that others are polite, helpful and non-violent.  I want that too, but the world is not as we want it.  Most people are nice.  Unfortunately, some are violent predators.  It is a wonderful world even though it isn’t perfect.  You are worth defending even if the world isn’t perfect.

The threat is real, but I don’t know how to protect myself-  I can respect this excuse because it confesses its own solution.  You can learn awareness, preparation and avoidance.  Everyone else had to learn them one small step at a time.  Firearms are not toys.  You need training before you begin shooting at the range.  Get more training before you carry.  You can get this training even if you live in a “won’t issue” state where you’re denied the right to protect yourself.  There is always more to learn.

Prevention is tedious-  You are oh so right!  Self-defense is dull and boring.  We agree that self-defense is appropriate and important, but we lack the will to accomplish it every day.  Self-defense clashes with the bathing suit you were going to wear.  Maybe that concealed holster makes you look fat.  You protect yourself on occasion, but not all the time.

How does guilt make you feel?  I ask, because being a victim is tedious beyond belief.  The antidote to tedium is commitment and enthusiasm.  A commitment is a decision made once.  You and I will protect those we love each and every day for as long as we are able.  Do what you can do, and learn to do more.

I don’t want you to be a victim.  I don’t want your spouse or your children to be victims.  Not now.  Not ever.  You want them safe also.

What will convince you to break out of the bubble?

~_~_~_

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. James permalink
    February 12, 2012 6:44 pm

    Thanks for the great read. Much to think about here.

    Like

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  1. Learning from Past Crimes in Canada « SlowFacts

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