Prevention and safety.
The best self-defense is and always remains prevention.
This must be your first tool in order to be able to avoid dangeroussituations , so it is important to know the danger and its study.
Without knowing the danger it is difficult to be able to make effective prevention.
Prevention has always been a recurring theme in many areas:
Surely you have heard “prevention is better than cure”, a typical Italian way of saying, a rule of life that is used in many contexts of everyday life.
Now I don’t want you to become obsessed with your safety, but it is important that the information you have on what to do to improve your daily safety is correct, this is to avoid “falling” into paranoia as do some who begin to close themselves in the house or see malicious people everywhere, but you must begin to know simple and adequate behaviors without breaking the law and managing to live more peacefully.
This is beyond the fact that fortunately there are law enforcement agencies that do a great job to allow everyone to live safely, but what can you do to prevent the violence of others, and how?.
Your security is delegated
In Italy, as I told you, prevention against acts of violence should not be your problem (but that’s the theory) because our legal system entrusts this task to the state, but the direction of our legislation is directed repressively and very little in preventive sense consequently the results are questionable because the penalty occurs but after that the victim suffered violence if not worse was killed.
This means that unfortunately in reality there are hundreds of individuals accustomed to crime and dangerous (often known to law enforcement) who travel undisturbed around cities creating harm to citizens but against which it is not possible to apply restraining orders (prison) for those who commit “minor” crimes such as personal violence, where our laws are very weak.
Another example is the
who is told to stay away from the victim and stop, and unless there are serious acts of violence, unfortunately only after a serious event there is a real intervention of the police.
Who’s to blame?
The fault lies not with the police who have their hands tied, but of the legislature which does not allow us to intervene forcefully and decisively in advance.
As I told you a little while ago and as evidenced by many tragedies “announced”, of violence and stalking, etc. where the law does not intervene in a restrictive sense on these episodes until a fact of serious violence or even a murder takes place, but at that point for those who suffer violence what changes?.
Okay, he goes to jail, maybe with an exemplary sentence, but for you and your family, it won’t make much difference anymore, the one you cared about is gone.
In fact, today prevention is very little done and it does not change much:
For the State, prevention is not a problem of the citizen, who, for his part, is not obliged to play any active role in this regard and, what is worse, is in no way trained to behave more conducive to his safety than with some sporadic advice.
This approach is not good, but I must also say the principle of arming a company can be a solution, because the possession of a weapon is not a preventive measure but a final solution of aggression therefore not of prevention.
People have not understood or underestimated that one of the possible developments would be an escalation of the kind, If you’re armed I’ll arm myself too that I’ll attack you, or they catch you at any time when you are not armed, because the reality is that they do so with the victims of robberies who for their profession are armed (e.g. jewelers), the chronicle is full of examples of armed people being robbed.
What I mean is that it also changes the strategy and psychology of the thief, adaptation does not only happen in a one-way way.
The model to be researched to improve your safety must aim at an enhancement of your individual ability, favoring the acquisition of skills and behaviors that make exposure to crime more complex and therefore based on prevention.
But what should prevention be about? and from what?
Before we talk about prevention, it is essential to understand what we want to prevent otherwise it makes no sense.
This approach requires an educational program, life-long training, natural life during, which based on age provides the knowledge and tools to know how and what to do in certain situations.
That’s why you should start at school and continue to universities, work, etc. (I’m sorry to have to use the conditional).
When we talk about direct violent actions against the person that are physical and psychological independent of what the motivation is and what the outcome is, people need to be trained to have the right response as possible to stop these situations in the bud, and more and more associations and structures need to be strengthened in order to protect people properly.
Some possible examples of violence:
- as a result of attempted theft or robbery,
- violence as a manifestation of sociopathy or psychopathy,
- for sexual purposes of rape,
- determined by alteration by alcohol or drugs,
- as a result of interpersonal conflicts,
- on childhood,
- related to stalking,
Prevention means taking all measures, actions, behaviors and teachings, which can reduce the risk of being involved in such events.
The first prevention comes from knowledge and in the case of crime, there is no shortage of attempts to provide keys to interpretation in a psycho-pedagogical, sociological, criminological or other key.
Thus there is no shortage of experts on duty prodigal in providing eloquent explanations about those who delinquent, violent, beat and why they do so.
Some theories in past history such as those of Cesare Lombroso have gone so far as to identify and classify people “naturally” brought to delinquency, observing certain somatic traits (low forehead and close eyes, for example) as an index of a somatic trait that denotes an atavistic predisposition towards crime.
More recently, in the 1960s, some scientists suggested that predisposition to antisocial behaviour could be determined by chromosomal aberrations, the so-called triple Y chromosome, also called the “criminal cariotype”.
Criminologists, psychologists, sociologists, for their part, can not refrain from intervening by providing their reading of the situations with analyses that add more confusion than a real knowledge of the problem.
Scrolling through the literature on the subject is not difficult to come across explanations of violent behavior, some of them recurring as:
- Defense of the territory
- Stress and conflict
- Intolerance and prejudice
- Influence of TV and video games
- Alteration by alcohol and drugs
- Need to assert your ego
- Membership in the “herd”
- Feelings “sick”
- Conflicts between neighbors and condominiums
This is speculation on the subject and I do not think it is of the public’s interest if the fact that it is violent, robberies, etc. is linked to psychological implications, these comments serve more to the professor on duty to self-please than to provide a real solution to the problem.
Knowing that the guy he assaults is driven to violence because he didn’t get attention or was abused by his uncle as a kid, what do you care?
Or if the appearance of those who assault you with a knife has the characteristics of the killer with a low forehead and close-up eyes?.
Indeed, the chronicle has shown us that the most heinous cases of crimes are committed by absolutely “normal” people, not attributable to any “risk category”, where witnesses say phrases of the type referred to the murderer:
- The murderer was the neighbor, the other day I was sitting next to him at the condo meeting, the ones “that would never suggest that…
- The killer was a model student with an angelic face, perhaps from educated and affluent families.
- He was a model parent, in love with their children, in the eyes of all.
- They know him all in the neighborhood, he seemed a quiet person
So what is theorizing about issues such as “existential vacuum”, “youth hardship”, “value crisis” or other?
Nothing to solve the problem because the most heinous crimes often come from people who lived a normal life.
There are so many variables since we are talking about humanity and human personalities that theorizing can be a statistical exercise that does not solve the problem or make you safe.
The so-called “habituals”, the sociopaths, the psychopaths, are in some ways the least difficult to manage, because most people are instinctively able to recognize them when they meet them, avoiding as much as possible “contact”.
The problem is that you often get hit by those who don’t expect to do so.
Maybe he’s that distinguished gentleman with whom we’ve just started bickering over the usual disputed parking lot downtown, or he’s the usual neighbor we’ve repeatedly argued with about the usual water leak or the noise the kids make.
Suddenly, the distinguished gentleman with the beautiful machine from which you do not expect more than some trivial turbulence (mostly moderate, given the common belonging to the genre of “civilized people”), turns into a beast that is in him and manifests itself with all its ferocity to overwhelm you.
You didn’t know that behind this appearance and elegance there was a violent repressed and that it was in him and for how long, but there was.
Preventing violent acts is not possible.
Partly it’s true because it’s something complex that you have to make simple, even if there’s an important component that people forget too often:
the violent behaviors of others are in turn determined by our actions, voluntary or not, aware or not.
In all the news cases you will often find that there has always been a provocative component (from whichever side it came) combined with a component of underestimation of risk by one of the two and a strong ego.
But how can you do that?.
Prevention can but must make automatic thoughts, behaviors and attitudes conducive to prevention.
The first thought that must be imprinted in huge letters in your head and in everyone’s head is as follows:
You don’t ever know the kind of person ti you’re facing!!
It’s not just the case of the aforementioned aperitif friend who turns into a stalker.
Unfortunately, the problem can arise much more closely, even within the same walls of the home by people you trust, especially when it comes to violence against women and children.
The vast majority of cases are the work of husbands, cohabitants, fathers, mothers, relatives, or people who are still close to the family.
- One realizes that the companion of a lifetime is no longer the person he once knew.
- We hadn’t seen it.
- Or some people change for the worse and pull out problems, frustrations often more likely than they are with those close to them.
It is therefore the case that, almost without noticing, or because we have pretended not to see some signs and attitudes one day we are forced to open our eyes and generally it is already too late.
Now I follow this reasoning, if it is difficult for man to even understand himself and the people who live in the same house, let alone in the case of occasional encounters.
One of the first things you have to do is to immediately stop believing in the false security of living in a “civil society”, combined with the underestimation of the other, this can play tricks.
Read the chronicles, what do they tell you?.
The same type of reasoning also applies in cases where violence seems to result without apparent relations between victim and aggressor:
this is the case of robberies or rapes by strangers.
Even in these cases, as I have told you several times there is no real randomness, but there was a choice, non-randomness is something very rare.
The attacker actually “chose” his victim and the victim was chosen because of his personal behavior and characteristics.
On several occasions I have told you about aspects often ignored and underestimated, I am telling you about the ritual and communicative aspects that almost always precede a physical aggression.
Knowing and analyzing them it is possible that you can establish tactics in certain situations that are more correct to ward off or reduce the risk of stumbling into an attack.
In the life of each of us, typical situations can arise where trivially situations can be created that can lead to tensions or inherently dangerous:
- Driving in congested traffic
- Attending dark and isolated places
- Performing dangerous work (e.g. train and bus controllers)
- Crossing neighborhoods at risk
- Encounters with people impaired by alcohol and drugs
- Accidental quarrels with strangers and not
- Meetings with the “herd”
In all the real situations that have then degenerated into aggression or brawls, the actions of one or both sides have led in the opposite direction of removing the risk of that situation.
Too often, there have been omissions of “reading” the situation, the context, the relationship, which, adding to the intrinsic tension of the moment that have not been defused bringing the escalation process to the maximum or implementing incorrect behavior by providing “opportunities” favorable to the aggressor.
Sand you read the experiences and testimonies that I collected, in all cases that have degenerated, the attacked person had committed one or more of these mistakes:
- He had not properly assessed the context or physical environment in which he was located
- He had not given weight to some suspicious elements of the behaviour of the future attacker
- She had allowed herself to be involved in a no-exit game made up of accusations, recriminations and claims
- Or he had adopted attitudes that “facilitated” a subject determined to attack
- He was alone but went out anyway to argue with the fellow not knowing that he wasn’t alone
- He did not realize that the person was impaired by drugs and that the situation would degenerate
All these subsequent assessments lead to the conclusion that “you were in the wrong place, at the wrong time and with the wrong person”, but in reality two basic things were missing:
- Have appropriate behavior
- and have the appropriate reading keys for that specific situation
Have dei appropriate behavior
It is well known to everyone that there are apparently people with a strong propensity to get into trouble.
It is equally known that, if one wonders why a person habitually slings into these “incidents”, the answer invariably will be “his way of doing”, “his way of responding”, highlighting what is a simple and incontrovertible truth: it is our behaviors, our way of speaking, of looking at people, that prepare us for the reactions of others.
Knowing how to do the right thing at the right time is clearly the key element of any form of success, as well as survival.
The point is that, except for a few innate behaviors, almost everything we know how to do or say must be somehow learned.
As a result, all behaviors that are useful to keep us out of trouble should be taught by someone.
But by whom?
From the family first of all, but the parents, often and in spite of themselves, can only pass on their illiteracy in this matter.
The school? it’s rare that he just deals with these topics.
Do we live or do we not live in a civilised country, with a established order, with a system of laws to protect the honest citizen?
If so, education to provide for oneself simply becomes secondary, generating helpless and unwary citizens in the face of the first, albeit occasional, threat.
Yet it should not be so secondary to teach appropriate behavioural standards, since there is no shortage of pages of practical advice (some appropriate, some very superficial) on the site of the Carabinieri or the State Police to improve their personal safety.
In short, as usual, for the essential things in this country even if solemnly enshrined in laws and the Constitution as the rights of the person, and sold by politicians, it is necessary to arm ourselves with will, common sense and provide for themselves.
Since not everyone is provided with common sense in the same way,there are simple, seemingly obvious rules that alone can prevent you from being in very unpleasant situations, so don’t attend:
- from dark places alone,
- or just isolated places,
- notoriously infamous areas or locals,
- follow strangers, just known,
But what about the fact that, especially in the case of violence against women or children, the aggressor is most often a person of the family or in any case in the circle of acquaintances?
In these cases, common advice and common sense are no longer enough.
We need a culture of safety that requires appropriate behavior and the incentive for everyone to develop certain skills that alone can really help the person to safeguard himself.
Among them, I would suggest the ability to communicate properly and the ability to observe the environment and the people around us.
But what does the ability to communicate with security and self-defense have to do with it?
In fact it is important, because any form of violence, is never an isolated fact, but it is like the sum of a sequence of communicative exchanges with relative attribution of roles by the victim and the aggressor.
Most of the attacks are always preceded by a sequence of actions by the victim and the aggressor, according to a precise ritual logic that frames one and the other in a game of the parties whose inevitable outcome is the defeat of one of the two.
In this context, it takes on a central role precisely the way in which the future victim interacts with his executioner: he can pose in an aggressive way,resistance and reaction, or in a passive way,hoping that a remissive attitude limits the fury of the other and therefore the damage.
Yet both of these passive and aggressive ways of asking themselves have obvious limitations:
those who communicate aggressively apply to participate in a process of escalation that will easily end in a confrontation.
The classic example is a dispute over traffic or parking issues.
Both motorists believe that their sacred and indispensable reasons, the “question of principle” becomes the main element of the whole issue.
In fact it is not the content of the issue but it is only the EGO of the two that is being confronted:
- for fear of looking less,
- or the fear of dealing with an image of yourself devalued by defeat
- fear of surrendering and submitting.
And so for a “matter of principle” the two end up sledgehammer, with an unpredictable outcome.
It is no better for those who, out of fear or physical inferiority, give up fighting, hoping in this way to appease the aggression of others in the bud.
It can be a serious mistake.
A condescending and surrendering attitude not only does not guarantee that the other does not flore but, rather, opens the way for those who seek a victim on which to vent their resentment, their anger or more simply their criminal intentions.
There is not only passive mode and aggressive mode in the face of conflicts, whatever they are physical and psychological.
mode, an intermediate condition made of the ability to have respect for himself and for others.
People who act and communicate in this way are unlikely to get involved in futily quarrels and if they find themselves in trouble, they find it easier than other people to get out of it.
It’s a Win To Win technique, you have the perception of winning in two.
Remember that all de-escalation techniques are based on the concept of assertiveness.
The concept is simple: respect others but without losing respect for yourself.
As a concept you must:
- Engage in compromise and problem solving,
- Learn to negotiate on a reciprocal and non-unilateral basis,
- You have to be constructive,
- You must be firm but not arrogant,
- You don’t have to judge who’s in front of you.
People accustomed to behaving assertively have a number of valuable characteristics, one of which is the ability to observe and understand others.
They are usually people who have a lot of social life and many friendships and relationships.
Observational ability is a fundamental element in protecting yourself.
Although much can be learned with the simple curiosity and attention to detail, not everyone has this ability, good cops, over time develop an instinctive ability to understand with a glance who they are facing.
In fact, the average attentive person is perfectly able to understand when an occasional meeting is at risk or not by small details but beyond the words spoken or the circumstances related to the place “of the meeting”, the most important information is provided to us by the body language because it betrays real intentions eloquently and hardly dissimable.
The problem is that often this “sixth sense” is triggered too late, when the person at risk is too close to attempt a strategic retreat and you are trapped.
The reason is that too often, the average individual does not use a level of attention adequate to circumstances, or for lack of habit, or because he considers circumstances (such as being in a dark, desolate street, where disturbing shadows slip) not deserving of particular attention.
- If you learn to relate to others so you avoid falling victim to unnecessary provocation or being the provocateur of your attacker, you understand correctly you went to tease him (e.g. the quarrel between motorists).
- Avoiding putting yourself at a disadvantage that is exploited especially by so-called “habitual thugs” to choose their victims.
In this regard, your ability to observe and assess your environment and the context in which you find yourself must always remain in operation because it is an essential element to your personal safety.
There are a multitude of negative examples of this:
- People who lightheartedly traverse dark streets or parks at night with their smartphones pumping music blaring into their ears.
- Ladies who venture alone into deserted parking lots, then stop in front of the closed car rummaging in the bag, inconclusively, looking for the keys, or stopping to call or watch WhatsApp / Telegram.
- Couples who appear in certain alleys of horror movies trusting in the ephemeral protection of their car.
The reality is that the habitual thug, the one who systematically acts for the purpose of robbery, theft, or kidnapping, in fact observes and selects his victims based on two basic criteria:
- about the possibility of getting what he wants,
- about the possibility of acting by surprise
- and with minimal risk.
The surprise factor is fundamental, it is something necessary to always have a level of guard appropriate to the circumstances, perhaps using a color scheme associated with behaviors that help you implement precise actions in the face of a possible danger.
A relaxed but attentive attitude shines through your behavior and gestures, this approach represents the first stage for personal safety.
Always remember that surprise is the first ally of a potential attacker who almost always seeks a victim and not a fight.
That’s why it always analyzes and evaluates your surroundings.
Make it clear to those around you that you’ve noticed him or them.
The ability to communicate, observe and evaluate is always useful and not just on the street.
Many crimes occur in the “reassuring” family circle or at least at the hands of known persons, from whom violent behavior was not expected.
But is it always true?
Most violence against women is carried out by their own husbands, boyfriends or ex-husbands, ex-boyfriends.
If you listen to the stories of these women, a common thing that emerges is that before the single episode of violence, there is behind a long history of psychological violence, threats and harassment and then get to the first episodes of violence.
So what did you expect?
You really didn’t imagine that family relationships were going to get better?
No, at the first signals you have to cut off right away, don’t stay in that game!!
Too often everything stems from a persistent climate of oppression, domination, fear, so much so that the most delicate and disturbing aspect lies precisely in understanding what drives people, victims and executioners, to remain tied even when the most elementary criteria of respect and mutual esteem have been lost.
- There are often cases of women suffering the inevitable course of an episode of domestic violence at the hands of their alcoholic husband, without apparently succeeding, nothing can be done to stop the explosion of violence. Even in these cases, an assertive style of communication would help both in order to bring back the inevitable conflicts in the logic of constructive confrontation or, where this is not possible, to ease the tension just enough to avoid extreme consequences.
- Often the future victim does not observe the context and communicates with the other inappropriately, with unnecessary insistence or with recriminations capable only of raising tension, not realizing that the interlocutor is becoming dangerous. This is the scenario of many family or condominium quarrels, where previous knowledge, acquired familiarity, seem to overshadow the fact that anger, frustration or interest, jealousy, etc. still represent a motive capable of obfuscating the conscience and, especially if there are alterations from alcohol or substances can compromise the already fragile self-control.
You have to learn to always have a key to reading the situation.
But in order to do this and prevent you have to know how to “read” the context, the situation, the physical environment, sensing the danger that can be inherent in them.
Many times, those who have been attacked tell of how events have precipitated quickly and unpredictably but in reality, it is not so: too often the keys to reading have been lacking in terms of attention to the context and the “messages” sent by the future attacker.
Knowing these keys of reading, can make the difference between being able to solve a critical moment in a bloodless way, according to a preventive logic, or being involved in an episode of violence.
Obviously as I told you before you can not use as a street strategy criminology, it makes no sense and does not help you.
The ability to “recognize” a potential criminal simply by the face he has or the clothing he wears (although from these elements anyone is able to collect some useful element) because any generalization is arbitrary and dangerous:
- you can be stabbed by the classic thug stereotype
- as by the distinguished middle-aged gentleman with full signed,
- not to mention your fiancé/husband.
You can’t do street criminology, it doesn’t make sense.
The keys to interpretation must be simpler and more immediate.
When you find someone in front (or behind you), whether you know who they are or not, don’t ask yourself too much.
You don’t have to.
Use behavior that puts you safest, don’t worry about making a bad impression or thinking who knows what the other thinks, protected.
Evaluate his propensity or not to hurt you based on three simple criteria:
The ability of the attacker to harm certain can depend on several factors, namely:
- its physical staness,
- whether or not he has weapons,
- whether he’s in a group or alone,
- by the determination it shows,
- whether or not he knows about combat techniques, etc.
This is clearly a criterion that is difficult to assess, because the small physical statto may not be the guarantee of being confronted with a resolute and aggressive subject.
Gun ownership may not be obvious and his combat prowess is usually something that is only discovered by fighting against us.
The motivation to attack you can be due to many factors:
but it’s the difference in the subject’s ability to do that, that’s something you can and need to take action on to try to prevent that motivation from increasing.
Apart from the case of intentional aggressors (the so-called “habituals”) there is a very wide range of troubles that are caused by fortuitous circumstances.
It is the classic case of the two fighting for a parking lot or for a gesture in traffic: maybe one of the two had had a bad day, had just lost his job or who knows what else, and here a banal quarrel becomes the fuse that fires to the powders.
Sometimes people harbor a repressed rage that waits for nothing but to come out into the open.
If each of us remembered the famous saying of “
you never know the guy
in front of you ” we would not embark on useless discussions, capable only of exacerbating tempers and leading to unpredictable conclusions.
The opportunity you give an attacker to hit you is the last but perhaps the most important ingredient of this explosive mixture.
As capable and determined as one is to face you, he won’t hit you unless he has some favorable tactical conditions from his, in terms of attack position and escape routes.
Those who strike must be able to do so, and for this they need at least two things:
- an inattentive or unprepared opponent
- an opponent at physical, tactical or environmental disadvantage
You need to use these situation keys in a useful way every time you meet people you don’t know the intentions of.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, ask three simple questions right away:
- Is he capable? That is, it’s more robust, it’s determined, it’s not alone, it’s armed?
- Is he motivated? Is your mood altered, or could you have an interest in robbery/rape, bullying, racism?
- Do you have an opportunity to hit me? I am unable to escape, my physical condition, or psychological condition are of inferiority, I am too close to organize a reaction or escape, am I in an isolated place?
If you answer yes to more than two questions it means that you are in trouble and you must do something IMMEDIATELY .
The first thing to do is to focus on the second and third criteria (motivation and opportunity) knowing that it is possible to do something to reduce our opponent’s propensity and chances to harm us, perhaps by adopting some technique of
de-escalation and deterrence
Studying prevention helps you avoid difficult situations or make them easier to deal with.
Street Fight Mentality