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Old June 13, 2019, 09:22 PM   #1
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Knowing the Opposition - look before you leap

If I understand the Mod correctly, I needed to change my title. Hopefully this works.

Nanuk said it best.

"Psychological deterrence only works on coherent rational people. It does not work on many violent offenders because they do not see things as we do, they do not consider the consequences beyond the moment. They have already sized you up before they decide to act. Sometimes the concealed pistol offers a tactical advantage when it is unexpectedly brought to the party."

Crazy/drug-alcohol impairment adds another dimension as well.

Towards the end of my career something new occurred. The rise of the 'everyone gets a trophy' generation.

Now, there has always been a small segment of society that felt 'entitled.' Mostly this went along with very wealthy parents wielding heavy political power. I doubt that there is an officer alive that hasn't heard the "don't you know who I am/ don't you know who my (insert family relation) is?

EGAT folks are a relatively new phenomenon. It crosses all cultural, racial, economic and social groups.

These folks have somehow gotten the impression that laws and rules are optional and they will not have to suffer the consequences of their actions. Their parents, the schools and even the courts have taught them that there is no recompense for bad actions.

I find the most important tools for all of the above confrontations are:

Eye Contact: Resolve, confidence, fear, looking for an avenue of escape, hate . . . it's a long list.
Body language: change in balance, furtive movement, body tension, feigning weakness . . . again, many signs, whole books are written on this.

Nothing works on everyone (with perhaps the exception of immediate deadly force on a large scale.)

Remember, experienced opponents are assessing you at the same time you are sizing them up.

Things that helped me stay alive during my 34 years on the job.
Have a plan, consider your own escape routes. Look for cover.
Never display/deploy any use of force that you are not willing to carry out if required.

Last two thoughts.

Dad always said, "Never write a check that you can't cash."

"Starting out nice gives you a whole lot longer to get to ugly." My first training officer told me that once.
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Old June 14, 2019, 06:41 AM   #2
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I was having a conversation with a local chief who, in discussing the plight of finding employees, looked at me and asked if I wanted a job.

I told him I would not make a good officer. As a normal civilian I have the ability to "fire" customers. Become a problem customer not worth dealing with? I can, and have on rare occasion, simply expressed the idea that you should go elsewhere. In my personal life I can walk away from a situation before it gets out of hand. Let's share a line from Dr. Seuss

Originally Posted by Oh the Places You'll Go
"You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care. About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there." With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, You're too smart to go down any not-so-good street."
Police officers do not have this option. That problem "customer" you have been dealing with you cannot simply tell to go away and not seek you any more. That situation you know you don't want to be around if things start to go sideways - no choice. The professional code of conduct and second guessing from the safety of armchairs through body camera footage that tells a small portion of the story makes the entire concept of policing a nightmare.

So while there are differences there are also similarities. To me most civilians will avoid issues by not appearing to be an easy target. Walk with good posture, your head up, eyes moving, and make eye contact when appropriate. There is also an order of deference. There are times when dropping your eyes from contact and taking a step back denies any challenge.

Yes there are going to be drug crazed, schizophrenic, or otherwise irrational people. While my experience is obviously more limited than many on these boards MOST criminals have a logical, if illegal and immoral, plan and that plan does not involve some middle aged victim being accidentally caught in the crossfire. Might it happen? Sure we have all heard the stories. But for most of us if we are willing to not interfere and not get involved the "other side" is more than happy to move on without the hassle as well.

Edit (I got off track from what I intended in response): You talk about the psychological aspect of it and you are right. On very rare occasions will a criminal seek strong opposition though targeting officers is sometimes a thing that does not apply to most of us. The hard thing about the confrontation? You have probably been in many more than you know of. It is likely you have been sized up and passed on for any variety of reasons. Walk with your head up, good posture, and when possible be in reasonable physical shape. Keep your eyes moving. Make eye contract but don't be too proud to defer that eye contact by nodding when appropriate. My goal - make sure those who would consider doing me harm know that "I see you" but not escalate the situation by non-verbally challenging them. The "Golden Median" - I want it to be clear that I am not going to be an easy victim. I also want it to be clear that "taking me on" is not going to be a point of pride.

Last edited by Lohman446; June 14, 2019 at 07:14 AM.
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Old June 14, 2019, 09:48 AM   #3
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^^Well said^^
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Old June 14, 2019, 06:28 PM   #4
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What many well intentioned people often forget is that badguys are nothing like them. Badguys often do not share the same morals, values, motivations, or sense of self. They commonly do not assign the same level of importance to the basic principals of civility as most law abiding people do and are not deterred by the same thing. Many of them do not have reasonable emotional control or emotional filters, they often act in the heat of the moment based on very primitive impulses without any real forethought regarding consequence. When you couple that with possible drug addiction, drug and alcohol abuses, mental disorder, evilness and plane ole abject indifference.. you can have quite a volatile cocktail.

I say all that to suggest that people not use themselves as a template when trying to construct a plan or method for dealing with badguys. They are not like you.

What I have learned from dealing with all manner of criminals for 30 years is that I never want to come across as someone looking for trouble.

I don't want to interject myself into things that are not my business of things where I have no vested interest.

I do not want to project weakness, sympathy or kindness but rather a manner that with is indicative of seriousness, confidence and neutral indifference.

The OP stated something along the line of knowing the opposition. I tend to agree but you also need to know yourself. What I mean is that you need to know exactly what you are capable of and what you are willing to do regarding force of action. You need to come to terms with those things now and not in the moment. You can bet that the badguy has long since come to terms with what he is going to do. A person cannot truly be resolute if there is conflict between the mind, body and spirit. I don't mean that in a religious sense but rather a practical one.
Life is a web woven by necessity and chance...
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Old June 15, 2019, 06:05 AM   #5
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There are simple tells, tells that fit a specific scenario, even tho you are dealing with different individuals, the scenario is at the same location.
Case in point.
At a younger age, due to my then Wifes lack of ability to work at an outside job (She did lots of work in the home) I took on a nighttime part-time job, for the extra cash (No tax!) job. A Bouncer at clubs, in Liverpool UK, a big City Seaport. Our Friday night (Normally) Club crowd, young males, drinking age (18 in the UK) up to early 20s. Who roamed, on foot the Clubs that had young, sometimes very young Girls, 15 YOA and up. We as young Fathers, with Kids of our own, took on a defensive view of these ladies. Which meant on occasion, stopping trouble inside, by not allowing entry to the beer-fuelled young Guys entry.
Set the scene, two or three Doormen (Bouncers) on the door, at street level.
A group of normally, 4 or five Males, wanting in! For instance, into the Cavern of Beatles fame, I was there from 1960 to 64.
Back to tells, on getting the hard word, me giving it "You are not coming in!" At street level, two responses, most common, nasty reply, move on! Or not!
I worked with one or sometimes both Bouncers, good scrappers. George, 6'4" lean, hands like shovels, a construction worker. And Larry Newport, deceased in 2007. I did not know it at the time tho, Ex SAS Trooper, a maniac!
First clue, the one in the lead, would just slide a foot back a touch, make a comment of some sort (Tell one) Then a flicker of a look to his closest mate behind him. (Tell two) At which time (The opening bell!) We would strike at the first two, palm strike or punch, to nose normally, or side foot shin kicks.
Moving on the remainders straight away.
This was as though these young men had gone to the same School of trouble makers! The rest of the crowd would scatter. This would be every couple of weeks or so. Needless to say, I got good at attack mode, in these specific instances. One great skill I learned, do not hesitate, way up the situation, don't hesitate, strike first. And never work with cowards.
Nowadays, with my Wife of 26 years, smile a lot, be wide awake, one glass of wine limit, always carry. (Newest downgrade from Glock 19 to Glock 43X.) A lot lighter, slimmer 9mm. And taking the advice I used to give to my Teenage Son (Now 53 YOA!) Don't stay out late!
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Old June 16, 2019, 09:29 AM   #6
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Fire forged:
Well stated.

Rowdy drunks are very easy to deal with as you indicated, especially with the team you had. Hardened criminals are a different matter indeed, especially alone.
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Old June 16, 2019, 12:33 PM   #7
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Correct Nanuk.

That was 50 plus years ago. Now as a Yank, I carry every day. Where I live nice people all around. I talk to anyone. Dr Phillips is a nice area, I know nowhere is really safe. But I also know some places are really unsafe! I don't live in one of those.
As I basically never go anywhere on my own, my Wife of 26 years and I are joined at the hip, so to speak. Anyone offers harm to my wee Lady? I will go nuts. Old habits hang on. But like I have said, being a happy old chap of 83 YOA, I keep alert, and enjoy my self. OH, and I am always armed.
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Old June 16, 2019, 01:44 PM   #8
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Fireforged mentioned some things a lot of folks seem to easily overlook.

Don't needlessly act challenging to strangers.

Don't sell wolf tickets. People willing to use violence, including in an unprovoked manner, usually learn to recognize when someone is selling wolf tickets, whether it's being done by a potential "regular" citizen/victim, or another criminal they're deciding about victimizing, even if on a "whim".

Learn to know yourself, and don't fool yourself that you can instantly know the capabilities of others, or their willingness to use violence (even without easily understood provocation, aka-without apparent reason).

Don't look like lunch, though, either.
Retired LE - firearms instructor & armorer
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Old Yesterday, 04:03 AM   #9
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you know, some of the things said here are getting close to what would be called profiling by unsophisticated.folks.

Remember that you are simply assessing a threat, and make certain that you don't let your own prejudices influence your assessment.

It's not profiling if you look at someone and wonder if he's a thug. It's assessing a person for possible threat. It doesn't matter if he's white, green, or even inhuman, we are not cops and we are not acting under any power of authority.

At no point have I seen a law that limits my use of force to any demographic or group. What I have seen has consistently been language that said nothing, not a tiny thing about assessing minority status along with threat status.

Okay, should we listen to the chuckleheads that scream like chimps that we are illegally profiling if we comment about the violent mexican gang members who hang out next door to the burrito stand? Maybe. It might give us a lesson. While we may be totally justified in use of deadly force, are we going to survive the wrongful death suit that may erupt?

A lot of years ago the guy who starred in eraserhead, who drank a lot, called a bunch of mexican hoods 'beaners' and said other nasty things. Well, they beat him to death.

Leave this baggage at home. never share in public that you think catholics are weirdos.

There was a plain bugeyed loco lesbian who I knew who couldn't keep her mouth shut about how she would love to kill a rapist. Ahh, crap, lady, don't tell everyone how much you hate men and fantasize about killing one or even more of them.

I try to be the empty vessel when I see some dirtbag. I let his dirtbag behavior influence my thoughts or actions. I couldn't give a hoot about anything else. I don't need to kill someone just because I don't like what he is, I want to act on bad behavior.

Some of those things are not necessarily meant to be taken seriously, they are somewhat hyperbole, since that seems to be the best way to communicate in these days.
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Old Yesterday, 04:44 PM   #10
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