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Old August 14, 2010, 01:52 PM   #1
animal
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Guy acting drunk in the yard: "tactic ?" used

Hey,
I apologize for drifting into philosophy in the first thread. I look at it as the basis of both law and tactics, so I wasn’t thinking of it being off-base for the forum. What got to me in the thread was the name-calling arguments, and I hoped the philosophy could be used to redirect that and bring it back to tactics. For me, philosophy dictates the tactics which should be used.

First, I wouldn’t have bothered with the "drunk" guy if it had been somewhere that I didn’t think I had the right and responsibility to protect. (To me, protection includes trying to prevent bad things from happening whether they are violent or not.) I might have used the cell if it were available … at most. There’s no legal duty to help him and no threat to legally justify force, imo.
I’m pretty sure he would have just walked off or tried to run if anything but option 2 was chosen.

As it was, I approached him (and yes, I was prepared to deck him or worse if he turned violent), used a "soft" form of verbal manipulation to get fluids in him, get him in the truck, and to more help. In all, it all took about 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure that was faster than 911 would’ve been in this case and it seemed like I needed to stay with him at the time. Not saying anything bad about our 911 service here, They’re mostly just busy and you have to admit this situation doesn’t look important enough to pull a busy cop off another job or take a higher priority than the average call.

It turns out, he was down here visiting his family. He struck out walking towards the closest park and 3 hours later he was lost and about 5 blocks in opposite direction. Judging by direction he came from, he’d been a lot farther away. Who knows where the dirt, grass, and stick came from ?
His clothes were soaked from sweat. He appeared to have stopped sweating and was beginning to dry out ?… and thus the odd pattern of dryness on his clothes, dry face and dry arms. I wasn’t sure if this was the case (I wasn’t really sweaty either), but I had seen it before (even felt it before) … but I’ve never seen anyone act the way he did from getting too hot .. a little confused, yes… but not like him. All the guys I’ve seen this happen to, get really red-faced, then turn pale and lethargic instead of animated. All I can figure, is that his emotional state from being lost had aggravated the condition, but that’s just a guess. He did seem to become more grounded in reality the more I talked to him. He also started sweating within minutes after drinking the first sports drink. I don’t think that usually happens either. The whole thing has me wondering about a lot of things.
I didn’t know for sure this guy’s problem was heat exhaustion until I got a call from his niece hours later, letting me know he was OK. Yeah, I had a pretty good idea, but because of too many unknowns, and things that didn’t fit what I thought I knew, there was no way to be sure.

As far as tactics go, no planning had prepared me for this. It was completely unexpected. Mostly, only general principles, and acting on educated guesses was left. Verbal manipulation was the main tactic with specific rules used, but I’m no pro. Most of my limited skill in using that against impaired people comes from dealing with drunks, but the same methods were applied here, and they also use weighing of probability (in relation to his wants).

All I was doing was playing the odds based on as much information I could get to weight the "bets". I consider this a tactic, and use it in violent situations as well, but there are no set rules. As a tactic, I think it is valuable way to take the situations we’ve planned for, and use fragments of the scenarios we’ve imagined … to fit them into an unplanned event. When I gave him the drink, for instance, I still had drugs, diabetes (my sister in law has had several crashes), insanity, and even drunkenness (as slightly possible) in mind. The only condition of the bunch where the drink could do harm was diabetes, the likelihood was extremely small then … and it also carried the possibility of helping.

You might say this "tactic" is simply "thinking on your feet". I’m convinced that it can be studied, taught and applied in situations… to decide both when and how to fight.

So, setting aside the stuff that caused me to stick my nose where it might not have legally belonged ….



Is "thinking on your feet" this way a valid and teachable tactic, is it just gambling, or something else ?
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Old August 14, 2010, 04:18 PM   #2
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I really see nothing new here as compared to the closed thread. Talking about rights again - is the same old thing.

But let's talk tactics, the OP in the original thread discussed how he is a big strong guy. In this thread, he says:

Quote:
As it was, I approached him (and yes, I was prepared to deck him or worse if he turned violent)
That's an interesting mindset. There seemingly is not a crisis such to prevent grievous bodily harm - so one approaches ready to fight? Why, from a tactical point of view - not property rights or philosophy. Why close with an adversary?

We also get posters who mentioned that they are a big guy and strong. Thus, they are sure they can win the physical altercation. Would you stand up for your rights so strongly if you thought the opponent would clean your clock? So your mindset is to win an easy fight? Or is it to have a best outcome for all concerned - miminizing harm?

Let's talk about that.

1. Surprise - here's a knife. Two things. When I was taking a defensive knife class from Insights, a large student told the instructor - a little guy - smaller than 5'8 me (but a reasonably tough individual) - that he (student) was a big guy and no one messed with him. Teacher, then approacher him, and in a wink and with a training knife, stabbed him numerous times. Oops.

Ah - but that is training. So - I was an expert on this one. An old geezer, who is drug impaired, clashes fenders with the car full of studily young one. Old coots, weaving in a stupor, is confronted by Alpha stud who decides that he can probably handle this old coot. He approaches him - Coot whips out of his pocket a paring knife. That little think you use to cut up an apple. He sticks into Stud-meister who then drops stone cold dead. The magic hit - major vessel cut - no blood, lights out.


2. Drunk man - reaches into his back pocket and pulls out his Raven ACP and shoots you. Of course, that round has no stopping power and bounces off you. Maybe.

3. The approaching old guy who you are ready to deck is infirm. He waves his stick or grabs your collar. You punch him or even push him. He falls down and drops dead, breaks neck or whatever. Any blow sufficient to knock someone down or render them unconscious has potential serious consequences.

Oops, were you justified as he will be portrayed as a harmless old drunk and you are self-described as a big tough guy? Even a lesser manslaughter charge and lawsuit are going to screw you over.

Thus, on a tactical basis - unless you need to prevent grievous bodily harm - why does one approach someone if you really think there is a need to fight or a prediction of such?
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Old August 14, 2010, 04:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Thus, on a tactical basis - unless you need to prevent grievous bodily harm - why does one approach someone if you really think there is a need to fight or a prediction of such?
THIS.

If you know anything at all, you know that distance = safety. The further you are from your adversary, the less likely/able he is to do you harm. Distance gives you time to think, time to evade/maneuver/outwit your adversary, time to get help, time to do any number of things that can save your life.

There's no reason whatsoever to get within arm's reach of your adversary if you can possibly avoid it.
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Old August 14, 2010, 05:49 PM   #4
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Animal, I'm glad you were able to help the man. You did well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
Quote:
Originally Posted by animal
As it was, I approached him (and yes, I was prepared to deck him or worse if he turned violent)
That's an interesting mindset. There seemingly is not a crisis such to prevent grievous bodily harm - so one approaches ready to fight? Why, from a tactical point of view - not property rights or philosophy. Why close with an adversary?

We also get posters who mentioned that they are a big guy and strong. Thus, they are sure they can win the physical altercation. Would you stand up for your rights so strongly if you thought the opponent would clean your clock? So your mindset is to win an easy fight? Or is it to have a best outcome for all concerned - miminizing harm?
I think you're being a bit hard on animal here. It's not altogether clear from his post, but I think he meant to say that he approached the man because he wanted to help; he was aware that approaching someone like this had risks, and he was -- he thought -- prepared to deal with the risk.

That said, I'm not sure it was a good choice, even although it turned out well.

As a purely tactical matter -- as someone who isn't a big guy (not a guy at all) -- this is exactly why I said that I'd go inside the house and call the police. As I think I made clear in the other thread, my reaction was also to think that this was someone who needed help, not necessarily someone who was dangerous. But, and it's a big but, as a woman, I'm aware that any man is a potential threat to me, and I would never voluntarily get within "striking distance" of one who was acting as described. (I'm fairly strong, for a woman, and I have some "street skills," but most men are stronger than I. Just how it is. Not as young and agile as I used to be, either.) As much as I like the idea of "... approaching the guy and seeing if he needs any help?"(Buzzcook), given all that, no, approaching him is out of the question for me.

If I knew that, as stated in the OP, police response time was likely to be long (not the case where I live -- they turn up, usually, in about five to ten minutes even on a non-emergency call), my impulse to help this guy might mean that I'd follow him in my car, at a safe distance, and keep police informed of where he is.

Whether approaching someone like this is a wise tactical choice for the big strong guys of the world is actually an interesting question, for the reasons Dr. Meyer mentions. I guess I'd have to say no, I don't think it is, as much as I approve of the impulse to help.

As to your question about "thinking on your feet" as a teachable tactic... we make choices all the time about what to do, based on experience, "gut feeling," etc. Some people are risk-takers and some are not, and that affects what they choose to do. The fact that this turned out well isn't necessarily proof that "thinking on your feet" will always negate a given level of risk. You could have been wrong. You did something risky, based on gut feelings, intuition, whatever you want to call it -- and you were lucky that it turned out well.
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Last edited by Vanya; August 14, 2010 at 06:13 PM. Reason: too many adverbs.
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Old August 14, 2010, 05:59 PM   #5
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Interesting take - as there is a force continuum, this argues for a risk advoidance continuum. Where do you cut off on the fight probability?

I'm pretty strict, if the situation is one where a fight is reasonably conceivable as in this one, seemingly - then distance is my friend. Approach is out.

One wants to help people but one can talk at a distance.

Caution in the defense of me is no vice.
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Old August 14, 2010, 06:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Interesting take - as there is a force continuum, this argues for a risk advoidance continuum. Where do you cut off on the fight probability?
Right, especially when it was thought that the guy might be violent and who was indeed armed with a stick.

Quote:
There's no reason whatsoever to get within arm's reach of your adversary if you can possibly avoid it.
I am always amazed at people who can deck somebody who is armed with a weapon that affords a much greater impact reach that the person ready to do the decking.
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Old August 14, 2010, 06:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
One wants to help people but one can talk at a distance.

Caution in the defense of me is no vice.
Exactly. I see no virtue in taking unnecessary risks, except now and then if it involves something really fun. (...whitewater canoeing -- but even then I'll do everything I can to minimize the objective risks.)

But I have nothing to prove, and I'll walk around the rapid if I don't like the looks of it.
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Old August 14, 2010, 06:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
I'm pretty strict, if the situation is one where a fight is reasonably conceivable as in this one, seemingly - then distance is my friend. Approach is out.
My thoughts exactly.

Quote:
One wants to help people but one can talk at a distance.
Had the man needed medical help, that would have been far beyond my capability to deliver. One can also offer a bottle of water without getting very close.

It's a good thing things turned out OK.
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Old August 14, 2010, 06:19 PM   #9
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I've white water rafted and ski (both known for brain damage) but they give you an endorphin blast when you survive. In fact, I know a famous gun writer who told me that he was rafting or canoeing in a foreign land. Got his noggin knocked, seemed fine. Then a few days later in this foreign land, he asked his wife - hey, where are we? She said in a foreign land. What the heck are we doing here? The guy fugue stated for days after the knock.

One thing that was cool. When we rafted through a Class 4, we pulled to the side to watch others do it. One guy got through and said:

We did it - Ha.
WE did IT- haha
WE DID IT - hahaha
Hahahaha
HahahahaHahahaha
HahahahaHahahahaHahahahaHahahaha

They ended up taking Mister Haha up the bank to a truck and off the the ER.

Just my opinion, as a FOG - I put forward the voice of caution. I also worry about the obligatory I can handle myself in a fight statement (one should be able) as a reason for unnecessary risk and the underestimation of an opponent. We've had people post that they can take the gun away from anyone (in the universe) at close distance for example.

Maybe I'm too cautious or critical but that's my role.
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Old August 14, 2010, 06:30 PM   #10
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I've white water rafted and ski (both known for brain damage) but they give you an endorphin blast when you survive.
I'm sure fights do, too. But I can't attest to it first hand, I'm happy to say.

We, too, occasionally linger at the bottom of a rapid and watch people come through... we have decent rescue skills, so there's always a question of who you'll choose to help, and how, if they look like they might get in trouble. If they really look like bozos ... "No body heat!" (And there too there's an absolute rule: you do not risk becoming another victim.)
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Old August 14, 2010, 06:50 PM   #11
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Ah, the no-bozo rule! That goes back to my expositions of the theory of altruism when in T and T, someone says that they couldn't stand by and let someone be killed, etc. I opined that they were ignoring the well known findings that the person's characteristics interact with your situation to act altruistically.

I like it better as the no-bozo rule.
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Old August 14, 2010, 07:29 PM   #12
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Problem is...pretty much EVERYONE looks like a bozo these days...
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Old August 14, 2010, 08:30 PM   #13
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My question is why get involved in the first place? We do live in a modern society in the United States with modern police forces...radios, cars and advanced tactics. Its not a civilian's job to take care of this situation. This is a job for the police and thats what our tax dollars are paying for. That is the bottomline...
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Old August 14, 2010, 08:45 PM   #14
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From a purely tactical standpoint it's very hard to argue against that position.
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Old August 14, 2010, 09:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
That's an interesting mindset. There seemingly is not a crisis such to prevent grievous bodily harm - so one approaches ready to fight? Why, from a tactical point of view - not property rights or philosophy. Why close with an adversary?
Prepared to fight (as much as you can be anyway) but not looking for a fight. Same as why someone might want to carry a concealed weapon. Are they approaching each day as a threat before it begins and are ready for a fight ? In a sense yes, but that’s not the object.
Why close ? Reconnaissance, to use a fancy tactical word. To determine if he is an adversary to begin with.

Size is misleading sometimes. I often view my size as a liability for a variety of reasons. One of which is that it sometimes causes people to feel threatened. Another one is that I am not nearly as mobile or as fast as some. Others too, but those come up the most. Usually though, I do see it is an advantage.
Quote:
Thus, on a tactical basis - unless you need to prevent grievous bodily harm - why does one approach someone if you really think there is a need to fight or a prediction of such?
I approached the guy because I didn’t see the need for a fight. IMO, any tactical advantage of having a pistol was negated when I realized he didn’t pose a direct threat. At that point, tactically speaking, having a pistol would have become a liability and probably prevented me from approaching. I saw no need for a fight at that point, a low probability of him attacking, and a high probability of defeating him if he chose to attack. Yeah, there’s always a chance to miss something and the consequences can destroy your life.

I also subscribe to minimizing harm but also apply it indirect conscious action. Noticing the sweat detail and recognizing what it could mean, I think at least requires a 911 call. I don’t see much use for a gun in this situation … with the silly exception of ordering him to surrender at gunpoint and drink a Powerade .. but I think most everyone could agree that wouldn’t be cool.


What I thought might also make "the rest of the story" relevant to tactics and training …
The mechanics of the encounter worked like a fight, in a slow motion non-lethal sort of way.
It seems to me, that no matter how much you train or in what way you train, once a fight begins … all but the most basic elements of the training are rendered useless by things that come up in the situation. Plans and scenarios never seem to fit into reality but different parts of the things you learned by planning and practicing out scenarios do. Parts of the training become almost invaluable and one thing you learned 10 years before and nearly forgotten, may be the thing that saves your bacon.
Increasing the speed of choosing between the little things you’ve learned and apply them to the situation at hand … is what I’m wondering if it can be taught.. Often it seems to come naturally as a consequence of training, but it also sometimes seems that people can become "over-trained" in a particular method, and they’re lost when they can’t adjust. Cross training helps, I’m sure, but is still indirectly targeting the problem.

I’ve tried to do this (and gotten a little success) using a risk assessment type approach … so yeah, I pick the battles that look easy.
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Old August 14, 2010, 09:36 PM   #16
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Magnum-PI I agree with you that the police are paid to take care of this and they are the first responders. But you also said "why get involved in the first place?". Well if you don't call the police who will? Someone has to start the ball rolling. So by calling you do get involved and that is a good thing.
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Old August 15, 2010, 03:24 AM   #17
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"...guy’s problem was heat exhaustion..." Screams heat prostration to me too. No tactics, philosophy or anything else involved. You helped a guy who needed it and likely saved his life by doing what you thought was the right thing to do.
A very decided well done.
Then I read part of your 10:22 reponse. You are a philosopher who calls himself 'animal'. Imagine that. Not that I disagree with you. Be prepared to fight when you have to, but not if you don't.
"...view my size as a liability..." And that would be? Doesn't really matter when you have a brain that works. More about how you carry yourself anyway. Wouldn't think twice about standing with you, anywhere, any time.
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Old August 15, 2010, 05:59 AM   #18
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saved his life ? highly to extremely doubtful, imo… likely just cut down on his discomfort later.
Other people called me animal first. I liked it for different reasons than they had in mind. Philosopher is too much of a compliment. Math-nut fits better … but thanks.

Really though, I'm serious about the tactics question and finding a way to teach (or learn) how to adapt faster.
I'm not stuck on the probability thing, but I do like it so far. What works best in your experience ?
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Old August 15, 2010, 06:19 AM   #19
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It's sad that simply being a Good Samaritan has become so contentious. Yes, one must assess risk, be prepared and consider one's own safety, but if there's not at least a willingness to help someone in need, then as we are in far worse trouble than we think.
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Old August 15, 2010, 09:40 AM   #20
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Quote:
Posted by shep854: It's sad that simply being a Good Samaritan has become so contentious. Yes, one must assess risk, be prepared and consider one's own safety, but if there's not at least a willingness to help someone in need, then as we are in far worse trouble than we think.
It is also very sad indeed that one of the ways that violent criminals take advantage of people is to feign illness or a need for some kind of immediate help for themselves, a so-called spouse, or an alleged child.

We've seen accounts of home invasions, muggings, car jackings, and robberies, some ending in death, that started out with some low life taking advantage of the natural inclination to help his fellow man.
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Old August 15, 2010, 11:43 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animal
It seems to me, that no matter how much you train or in what way you train, once a fight begins … all but the most basic elements of the training are rendered useless by things that come up in the situation. Plans and scenarios never seem to fit into reality but different parts of the things you learned by planning and practicing out scenarios do. Parts of the training become almost invaluable and one thing you learned 10 years before and nearly forgotten, may be the thing that saves your bacon.
Increasing the speed of choosing between the little things you’ve learned and apply them to the situation at hand … is what I’m wondering if it can be taught.. Often it seems to come naturally as a consequence of training, but it also sometimes seems that people can become "over-trained" in a particular method, and they’re lost when they can’t adjust. Cross training helps, I’m sure, but is still indirectly targeting the problem.
Much of this is just a roundabout way of saying a few pretty obvious things about reacting to a threat -- or any other "emergency" situation:
  1. The more experience (or good training) you've had with something, the more knowledge and skill you have available.
  2. "Life experience" counts, too. If you have decent problem-solving skills, they'll generalize from one situation to another.
  3. Reacting emotionally in an emergency gets in the way of applying what you know.
  4. One of the main functions of experience (or realistic training) is to help you stay calm, so you're able to make efficient use of what you know, and efficient equals faster, pretty much.
So the answer to your "how-to-train-this" question comes down to "If you keep training, and keep living, efficiency will follow ..."

And this also brings out the value of knowing what you don't know, which also comes with experience: being able to say "I'm not equipped to handle this, and I don't want to make things worse, so it's time to yell for help."

And, Glenn, regarding the "no-bozo rule"... it's not that we wouldn't throw the bozo a rope, get him to shore, and get some hot liquid and sugar into him -- of course we would. But we're not gonna go chasing his canoe for him, give him our own spare clothing, or do anything else that will jeopardize our own chances of having a safe trip. His friends are going to have to do that stuff. (Unless he's running the rapid alone, in which case he's... way beyond "bozo.") But your point about the limits of altruism is a good one -- we would do all those things, and share body heat as well, for someone who's part of our group.
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Old August 15, 2010, 12:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
I was prepared to deck him or worse if he turned violent
Really? You know for certain that you are more capable in a physical altercation than a total stranger? Just because you're physically bigger than him?

I've seen plenty of little guys whipping much bigger, stronger guys. The worst mistake you can make in such a situation is to overestimate your own capabilities vis a vis your opponent.
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Old August 15, 2010, 01:19 PM   #23
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Every person has weak points on their body. If you smashed anyone's head with a crowbar then its going to be a similar injury. A 100 lb woman smashing a crowbar against a 250 lb professional football linebacker's head might kill the linebacker. There is no way to work out the bones on your head to make them stronger.

The minimum safe distance between you and a stranger is about 5 yards...preferably at least 10 and you do not turn away from them. If they decide to run at you, then it gives you at least a few seconds to get in a defensive position. The further away, the less risk they are to you. When I am traveling in a foreign country or in an urban area then I will switch sides of the street if I see a man or group of men walking towards me that I feel a little uncomfortable with. I will also increase my pace to a fast walk as I get past them.

Facing off with a stranger is a crap-shoot and best avoided. Its best to be a good witness in these circumstances letting the police do their job. I would not become involved unless the man was actually attacking a person or myself.
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Old August 15, 2010, 01:21 PM   #24
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"It is also very sad indeed that one of the ways that violent criminals take advantage of people is to feign illness or a need for some kind of immediate help for themselves, a so-called spouse, or an alleged child.

"We've seen accounts of home invasions, muggings, car jackings, and robberies, some ending in death, that started out with some low life taking advantage of the natural inclination to help his fellow man."--OldMarksman

Too right. That's why, a while back, I was driving at night in a rural area when I saw some people on the side of the road trying to wave me down. I didn't stop, but called 911. Given the overall situation, the call was my Good Samaritan gesture. A phone call was probably all I could have done, even if I HAD stopped.
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Old August 15, 2010, 07:55 PM   #25
Glenn E. Meyer
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Join Date: November 17, 2000
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Like I said in my big post - knives are the equalizer. An old man killed a stud. A young person could cut your mighty bicep to the bone.

I know an LEO who said that the scary thing he every saw was a crazed 8 year old girl coming at him whirling a butcher knife. Nice choice to shoot her. Another LEO friend said he would give her two rounds.

In class, we were always taught to create distance.
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