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When a troublemaker walks into a room,
he's looking to see who's looking at him.
                 Peyton Quinn

Bullies, Not Backing Down and Other Macho BS

On this page:
A Story | How People React to Bullies (and How Bullies Select Victims) | You've Been Selected | Excerpts from an Actual Case | Walking away

I am constantly besieged with e-mail and letters from people who feel that they cannot "back down" from a situation. Many feel that if they do not stand and fight, they will be considered wimps, punks, 'bitches' and *oh no!* pussies.

Their fear is that they will  be not be respected by their peers. An additional fear is that if they walk away from a fight, they will be bullied and picked on in the future. Their thoughts seem to fall along the lines that failing to fight forever marks you as a victim. They feel lost and bewildered because it seems like trouble is always looking for them.

The resounding question is: "What do I do?"

First off, most people who are selected in this manner don't understand what they are doing to attract the attention of bullies. The build up to violence is always a two way street. What you do affects whether or not you are selected to be the bullies' entertainment. Until you understand this, you won't realize how much power and control you are giving up by reacting to bullies a certain way.

A Story
Many years ago, I was in a convenience store with my former brother-in-law (let's call him "Bob"). He was 18 at the time. I was in my early 30's and a lot nastier. In fact, I was still pretty deeply involved in a hard-core lifestyle -- although I was trying to come out of it. That translates into the fact that I was still a vicious piece of work. One that really did deserve the street name "Animal." I was someone whom bad boys regularly stepped wide and even the toughest thought twice about tangling with me. But after a lifetime of violence, I was tired of it. I just wanted to get through the day without having to fight.

We walked into a store where there were three little gangbangers. They took one look at me, said "Uh-oh" and very quietly proceeded to go about their business. This is a common reaction of "tough guys" when in the presence of someone they know who would hurt them badly if they step out of line. That's fine. I wasn't looking for trouble. And, all of sudden, neither were they. That was all kinds of 'happy, happy, joy, joy' to me. It means everyone can go about their business and nobody has to die today.

I was trying to find the stuff we needed when I looked over at Bob ... there he was mad dawgin' (staring intently) at these guys.

"Hey!" I said. "Quit lookin' at them!"

"Okay," he said.

A few second later, I looked up and saw he was staring at them again. Only this time, they were staring back. Damn it! This is how shit starts. I snarled at him, "Quit fuckin' starin' at them!" 

I then looked at the gangbangers with a grumpy expression, (imagine what a wolverine with a toothache looks like). Despite having been disrespected by my brother-in-law, the gangbangers dropped their eyes. I looked back, and Bob was still staring at them. I barked his name, and he finally turned to look at me.

"Knock it off!" I growled. The blaze in my eyes told him that -- while I wasn't about to go home and explain to my old lady that I'd let her little brother get his ass kicked -- I was more than willing to commit said ass kicking myself. That at least I could explain to her.

"Sorry, I just can't help it. Guys like that come in, and I just HAVE to stare."

In slightly less than polite terms, I explained to him that I wasn't in the mood to kill anybody today because he felt it necessary to challenge a pack of punks. He was violating the rules of street etiquette by staring at them. His behavior not only put him in the wrong, but (had I not been there) would force them to react to the insult he giving them and the challenge he was throwing down. Even though they were young, the fact that they were three of them meant if violence occurred it would be have to be brutal for us to be safe. That was a level beyond his scope, so it would have to be me raining hell from above on these kids. And that was legal trouble I didn't need.

While this 'discussion' was going on, the gangbangers decided to leave.

Bob's actions, while he thought he was communicating that he was 'too tough to mess with,' was exactly what was going to get his ass kicked. And he'd attracted the attention of those who were looking to hand out that ass kicking.

Look at the two perspectives represented here. I, who had been in more shit than a septic pump truck driver, just wanted to be left alone. I was happy to let them go their own way. My attitude was "don't make me notice you, and we'll all get out of this alive." That's because I wasn't there trying to prove anything, nor was I insecure about what I could do.

Bob, on the other hand, was terribly afraid to be labeled a wimp, or even worse *gasp* a pussy! So every time he was in the presence of people he felt threatened him, he had to show that he wasn't afraid.

But who was he trying to convince?

Those guys hadn't said a word to him. Nor had they made any threatening gestures. They were not setting up a crime. They weren't being loud and obnoxious. All they were doing was coming into to buy something.

Bob, on the other hand, was trying to prove something. Not to those guys, but to himself. And that is a hamster wheel that's hard to get off of.

How People React to Bullies (and How Bullies Know to Pick On)
Take a look at the quote at the top of the page. I have extrapolated a little on Peyton's original comment. That story I just told you contains two out of the four possible 'looks' that Peyton is talking about.

Actually, about 80 percent of the people don't even notice when a tough guy walks in. They're too busy doing something else. Believe it or not, this saves them all kind of trouble because the "door" that trouble would enter is closed. By simply not looking at them, the message these people are broadcasting tells the bully that those people don't want to play the bully's stupid little game.

Of the remaining 20 percent of the people, most are going to glance at them and then return to whatever else they were doing (e.g. the conversation they are having, reading a book, shopping, etc). The tough guy just isn't important to them. This is pretty much the same as just not seeing him. To them the tough guy is about as important as a lamppost ... he's just part of the scenery.

Now you might think that the bully would pick these people, but that isn't the case.

These types are far more of a danger to a bully than you are. To start with, a majority of these people are with other people. That's trouble for the bully right there. But they also have another important trait, that is they are not afraid to call in help. This willingness is something that both unaware and semi-aware people share. They don't have to be tough enough to handle a bully. All they have to do is be smart enough to call for help before the troublemaker gets too far along. They're a danger to the trouble maker because they won't hesitate to call someone is who can -- and will -- put the troublemaker in his place.

We've now dramatically cut the number of of people who will interact with the tough guy. So let's say that we started with a 100 people. 80 won't even notice him. Of the 20 who do about 80% will just go back to what they are doing. So out of the original 100, only about four will be willing to interact with the tough guy. Those four can be broken down into four basic types.    1) Those who job requires them to deal with the tough guy (store clerks,
       restaurant workers, etc.).    2) Those who will be the victims.    3) Those who will fight.
   4) Those whose can hand the "tough guy" his liver (after tearing it out first).

This last category is of particular interest. This is someone who is so 'beyond' the punk on the "bad ass scale" that the punk knows not to do anything to get noticed. This is literally the equivalent of a small shark not attracting the attention of a bigger one. If it does, it will become lunch. The usual response of bullies around this kind is to leave the area both quickly and quietly. (That's what those three gangbangers saw in me). Knowing 'when not to misbehave' is an important street survival trait. Punks know that crossing a heavy-hitter is the fastest way to suffer intense physical pain.

If you've ever wondered why punks choose to behave and choose not to behave in certain circumstances, you've just found it. There is a direct correlation between the swagger, loud, obnoxious and aggressive behavior and the distance to the nearest heavy hitter.

(This also applies, with someone who is willing to call reinforcements. For example the radio next to the bus driver has a serious dampening effect on misbehaving. The problem with these kinds though is that to some bullies it's a game. In fact, it's like gambling. He needs to leave before the authorities arrive. The challenge is: How much trouble can he make before he has to escape? That's the thrill. However, this game still relies on someone who can stop him not being immediately present.)

With this  knowledge about heavy hitters, start to look for this dynamic in action. While it is tempting to watch the punks (in concern that they will start acting up), when they are behaving look around! Usually when you are seeing a group of punks who came on strong but then started to behave, it's because they know there's something in the water that is bigger than them. Funny thing is, usually the bigger threat is far more low key than the punks, so you really have to look around to figure out who or what changed their behavior.

Interestingly enough the behavior of these heavy-hitters is -- superficially at least -- exactly the same as the person who glances at the tough guy and then returns to his business. He glances at the potential trouble, takes its measure and then returns a majority of his attention to what he is doing. The difference is that the heavy hitter has "shifted mental gears." Although he is back to what he is doing, there is still a degree of attention that is now tracking the would-be troublemaker's movement and behavior. He isn't afraid, but he is a large predator aware of the presence of a lesser one. Until that lesser predator starts trouble, the larger one will keep on doing what he is doing. But, he's ready to put a stop to the lesser predator's behavior if necessary.

You've Been Selected
This brings us to another type in those four people who look when the tough guy enters. These are the "victims." If there is no one near by to stop the bully, they will be the ones selected to be picked on. This is the person who is freaked out just by the punk's presence. These people either stare in wide-eyed terror or freak out and quickly look down. But -- and this is a huge "I'm safe to mess with" signal -- they are always shooting nervous glances at the tough guy. Basically , they act like a deer in the headlights. These people are sending a signal that they are safe to pick on.

Unfortunately, this behavior is exactly what the tough guy is looking for. Bullies and abusers pick up on this "vibe" like a shark detects blood in the water. Unlike a shark, though (who will just swim up and eat), when they encounter someone giving off these signals, bullies will play cat and mouse with their victim. This is a rush to them and they get off on the fear and anxiety that they are causing. In fact, they usually savor it and draw it out. This means that they often prolong the victims fear by hanging back and intimidating their victims. Officially they "aren't doing anything," but in fact, they are very actively instilling terror in their soon to be victim. An example of this is a bully in the class room who waits until the teacher's back is turned before making a threatening gesture to their victim. By the time class ends the victim is nearly hysterical with fear, but the bully has done nothing overt.

Recognize that this behavioral pattern is as much to instill fear into the victim as it is for the bully to work himself up to acting. It is the equivalent to an escalating interview as described in the Five Stages of Violent Crime. If you've ever seen a pack of punks get louder and more obnoxious in a train or bus, what you were seeing was them working their way up to acting. This escalating bad behavior is as much them convincing themselves that they can get away with it as it is intimidation.

The last type are like "Bob." They are the ones who are unsure of themselves and their abilities. When a tough guy enters the area, they 'have' to stare. They do this for many reasons, but mainly they do it because they have something to prove -- not to the world, but to themselves. Unlike the victim, these people are active participants in creating the trouble. Sooner or later, the "Bobs" and the tough guy will find themselves in close proximity, words will pass and the shit will start.

Now the funny thing is the Bobs are the ones who most fear being branded as victims. So they think they 'have' to "stand up" to the tough guy. They're the ones who often find themselves rattlesnake-cornered (a rattlesnake is so stupid that it can get 'cornered' in an open field, and the usual result is that the snake ends up dying). Despite being completely concerned what "everyone else will think," these kind of people really aren't aware of what other people believe or think!

In fact, they're too busy supplying their own version of what they assume everyone will imagine.  They never go out and ask, "Hey, what do you think about this situation?" If they did, they'd discover that most people feel fighting is stupid and think more of people who don't fight than they do of those who do. Yet Bobs believe that they have to stand up to the dude right now and show everyone that they aren't anybody's bitch.

For these guys I ask, "What's the rush?" Why do you have to prove right now that you're tougher than he is?

My attitude is that his jaw will be just as breakable next week as it is now. And if it does go down, then it is better that it goes down on your terms, not his. If he's coming on strong, then he obviously believes any confrontation will be on his terms ... otherwise he wouldn't be doing it. Why do you have to fight him on his terms (usually when he has his buddies there with him to keep him from losing?)

My point is: There's a big, big difference between "I'm afraid to fight you" and "I choose not to fight you right now."

But people who think that they have something to prove can't see that. Bobs think they have to show everyone right now that they aren't afraid. When this happens, we say their monkey brain is driving. And by letting the chimpanzee drive their behaviors, they usually do really stupid things, like the original Bob, (staring at three gangmembers). Had he been alone, he would have been stomped. The problems that Bobs face is that they are stepping on the gas pedal and brakes at the same time. They want to show the world they aren't afraid, but at the same time they are afraid. It is this fear that is driving them, not the actual dynamics of the situation.

I'd also like to point out that Bobs tend to be selectively deaf. That is if 99 people tell him it is okay not to fight, the only person they are going to hear is another "Bob." It's the so-called "friend" who calls the first Bob a pussy for not fighting that the first Bob is going to hear the loudest and clearest. Thing about Bobs is that they tend to be self-reinforcing. Or as the old saying goes "Birds of a feather flock together."  The original Bob is going to be berated by the other Bobs for not fighting.

I've seen a few variations of this. Usually the can be divided into two categories: There and Not There. In both cases, a cornerstone of the behavior is "I would have..."  No matter if it was a "there" or "not there," this kind of "after action critique" is bullshit. However, this is especially true in "there" cases. These are situations where both Bobs are there and the other Bob doesn't do anything. Instead of stepping up and bailing his friend out of trouble, he sits back in wide-eyed terror as his friend is harassed. Then he proceeds to berate the first Bob for being a pussy because he didn't take on the tough guy and his three friends.

Well, guess what Bobby-boy, neither did you!!! So where do you get off calling someone a wimp when you didn't act either?

The second category "Not There" are just as bad. They weren't there facing the threat, so they're talking out of their asses about "what they would have done." And then they proceed to berate the original Bob for not having tried to fight four guys. All this woofing that Bobby number 2 is doing is covering the fact that, he would have backpeddled too. And the way he's doing it is by calling Bob number 1 a pussy.

If this kind of behavior wasn't bad enough in its original form, there are now super-stud streetfighting, reality based kung fu killer commando gurus who are the ultimate Bobs. These guys promise to teach you to be a fearless streetfighting terror if you pay them enough money. Often they have entire internet forums where you can get an entire tabernacle choir of Lil' Bobs chanting what a wimp you are for not doing their killer combative system on someone.

Basically, the original Bob, isn't hearing any one except people who are saying what he believes already. As such he can spend weeks stressing over and felling miserable about an incident that only took seconds.

Well, I guess everyone needs a hobby... that must be Bob's

Now with everything I have said here, what about your behavior can you change so you don't fall into the victim or "have to stare" reaction that these bullies are looking for?

How do you conduct yourself in a manner that is within the 97 percent? That same 97 percent of people who are left alone by the tough guys. Watch them and see what they do to be so successful at not being bothered. Return to Top of Page

Excerpts from an Actual Case
This is an actual e-mail I received and my response. The writer's original query is indicated by >

> 2)These same individuals who refuse to fight (because of fear) will be
> traumatized because they were always beaten up, what would you advise
>for them?

Practical. Don't put yourself into situations where you're around these assholes. If your reaction is to do the deer in the headlights, then make sure that you aren't in places that they frequent.

Long term, trauma is part of life. It's going to hit you again and again. But having said that, let me also say this: It isn't what happens to us, it's what we think of it that screws us up. If you take nothing else from this e-mail, remember that last sentence: It has life-changing powers.

Often internal conflict -- and trauma -- come from trying to hold on to conflicting ideas. Or another way to put it, an ideal that is in conflict with the truth. Simple fact is, if you are afraid to fight someone, then odds are there is a damned good reason for it. Usually because you are facing an ignorant and sadistic brute who will kick your ass if you challenge him.

The fact is, such people don't tend to go far in life. Except for the immediate moment when you are facing them, they play a microscopic part in your life. Once you leave the site where they can get away with that kind of behavior, they are powerless. Turn the corner and you're out of their playground. I know right then and there they look like big bad monsters, but in the wider picture of life they are nothing.

That is unless you give them "rent-free space in your head."

That's an important concept. It means you, not they are the problem. It means that you are allowing the "idea" of someone to have control over your mental process. It isn't the actual person, it is your mental image that you're holding on to or that you have come to accept as "real" This is a form of mental masturbation where you spend more time thinking about them than you do about reality. You mentally obsess on an idea or a person to your own detriment.

Now here's the bitch, that's a distraction, it ain't the real problem.

Giving someone "rent free space in your head" usually happens when your ideas are in conflict with reality. You WANT it to be this way, but you don't have the means to do it. Instead of accepting that, you hang onto an idea. Gee, reality is that he will kick your ass if you brace him, but you're fear of being seen as a punk puts you into a "high centered" position. (High centered is what happens with a four-wheel drive vehicle that gets stuck on something. It's held up in the center, with all four wheels in the air). You're traumatized because you didn't do what you THINK you should have done vs. what you could actually have done.

Thing is the part of you that is telling you what you 'should have' done isn't the part that was doing the math. It's telling you what a coward you are for not throwing yourself onto the train tracks to stop that runaway train. It isn't until you step back from that perspective that you realize how stupid the idea is. It's a train, it's bigger than you are.

From the sound of it, you aren't listening to the part that did the math and said, "Train big, train move fast, step in front, bad." Instead the part that you are listening to  to that little shitheel inner-voice of yours that is saying, "You should have jumped in front of that train and stopped it."

Let me give you a hint. That part is called "The Critical Voice" and it is NOT your friend. In fact, you need to tell it to have a nice big cup of "shut the fuck up." You don't want that part running your life.

I would suggest you get a hold of a book called Taming Your Gremlin  by Carson/Rogers and  see if that helps you realize what you've been doing to yourself over being smart enough not to get your teeth knocked down your throat.

> 3)When the criminal comes up to "interview" you, how do you not let fear
> take control of you and cause you to freeze up?

Short answer, it's called having "faith" in what you know. Your question has an entire chapter in my latest book "Secrets" of Effective Offense. Answering it is waaaaaay beyond the scope of this email. But what I can tell you is that if -- on a very primitive part of your brain -- you don't trust your training/skills, you're more than likely going to freeze. I'm not talking about intellectually trusting your training or convincing yourself that you know some kind of killer kung fu commando deadly street fighting system, I'm talking about you have something you'd be willing to bet your life on it working.

> I am used to getting picked on my entire life and my experience has
> shown me that when you stick up for yourself not always will the other
> party back down and not always will you win, you may even get the crap
> kicked out of you but if you turn tail and run those individuals who pick
> on you will continue to do so forever. period.

A) What are your behaviors that attract these types?

B) It is true that many bullies will back down.
The problem is that there are some people out there who aren't just bullies, but are mean. They are fighters. And if you stand up to them, they'll stomp you flat. That's usually because while you thought you were being assertive, you were in fact, being aggressive ... and provoked them.

C) There is an entire section on personal and shared space on my Web page.  And there is a page on aggression vs. assertiveness. Defending your boundaries is not aggressive, it is assertive. The trick is knowing where the line is. There is also a section on negotiating in dangerous situations.

D) There are times -- when you are defending your legitimate boundaries -- that it is ON. You gave him every chance to "get off your land," and he kept on coming. Problem is, if you don't know where your legitimate boundaries are, how are you going to know when that is? Much less when you've crossed into his? I'm not against defending yourself. I am opposed to the fact that most people don't know the difference between being assertive and aggressive. In thinking that they are "defending" themselves, they are actually participating in the creation and escalation of a problem.

E) If you walk away and the guy follows you, SO WHAT? He just proved that HE, not you, was the aggressor. Think witnesses aren't going to report that you tried to leave and he followed you?

F) Why do you have to do it now?
Do you think I'm joking when I say "his jaw is just as breakable next week as it is now"? If you walk away and nothing ever comes from that incident, it is solved -- without fighting! If he comes at you again later and in another place, then you pretty well know that you didn't go looking for it. He started it, and any response to the confrontation is more likely to be self-defense.

Oh yeah, and it is one hell of a lesson to the guy about the wisdom of coming after you again. You didn't want to fight, you left, he pushed it, and he got hurt for it. He's going to have to do some serious mental gymnastics to blame you for losing a fight he started.

If you insist on solving a problem it right there, it is really hard to keep it from escalating into fighting. Namely because you're so emotionally wrapped up in the situation you don't know which way is up. And that fear of what "might happen" is going to cause you to do something that guarantees that something happens -- not later, but right NOW! Let me put that in simple terms, if you're so scared of something that could happen in the future, odds are you're going to screw up and make it happen. You're going to cause what you're afraid of happening to happen.

> If you stand up once twice or more, and every time they have to beat you
> bloody, they will eventually respect you and leave you alone. Sometimes in
> a weird twist of fate they will want to become friends ( I have never
> understood why????)

Because you proved you are willing to stand up to them.

Often such people respect that in another person and consider them worthy of friendship. I'll give you an interesting insight into how serious bad-asses manage to function in the same area. They either ignore each other and stay on their own side of the room or they become friends. In either case they sign a mutual non-aggression pact so they don't have to fight. The wankers who insist on fighting are the wanna-be tough guys who don't know how real heavy hitters act.

> Beyond that as someone who until just recently would not fight
> back (because of fear), I have to say that the specter of not fighting is
> something that still haunts me.

And as someone who insisted on fighting, I can tell you that it haunts me more. You feel guilty over what you didn't do. I feel guilty over what I did ... and the pain and damage that I inflicted on other human beings. A lot of the fights I was in escalated to something far worse. Trust me when I tell you that you NEVER want to know how that feels.

> Every place I go with more that 5 youths that is dark I get jumpy if I
> see a guy without a girl I get jumpy as he has a more likely chance of
> turning violent. >
> I became paranoid of anyone and everyone who could hurt me. not
> cautious-paranoid!!!'re giving them waaaaaaayyy too much rent-free space in your noodle.

> You talk of the traumatic damage that can be caused by fighting, I can
> testify to the trauma done by not fighting.

Again conflicting ideology. The dream of what you think you should do vs. the reality of what is.

> Street smarts are a good and important tool, but if behind it you do not
> feel the ability to defend yourself should it come to blows than the
> "interview" stage can be so frightening that you just freeze and present the
> perfect victim. As you think that if it should come to physical violence
> you will just curl up inside and be terrified.

Again, read the "faith" section of Effective Offense. You aren't the first person to encounter this problem.

> I hope you don't find my questions insulting, but life has taught me to
> be distrustful of theories that I find contradicted in life, and by my
> experiences.

Nope, I don't find them insulting. In fact, I empathize with you. You're talking to someone who was taught conflicting messages about violence and who tried not to fight. My mother really tried to instill a "fighting and violence is wrong" ideology in both my brother and I. I'm someone who grew up in violent neighborhoods and was the target of bullies because of my fear/refusal to fight. This, however, was in contrast with my family history and instinct for fighting. A history my mother was trying to break free of when she told us not to fight. So I understand exactly where you are coming from.

But let me warn you about something else. And that is beware the pendulum. Beware the swing to the other extreme. This is what I did. I became a serious bad ass to compensate for the conflict within myself over how I was raised and the circumstances I faced daily. It took me years to find ways to find balance. Return to Top of Page

Walking Away
We have a friend, Bob Orlando, who has a valuable lesson on the first page of his Website. In light of  the fact that Bob is an ex Marine and a phenomenal martial artist his opening quote is interesting. It says:
While a warrior may choose pacifism, others are condemned to it.

I say it's interesting because it contains several component parts that a whole lot of people who don't understand the realities of violence don't ever think about. One of which is if you don't have a choice, you're a slave. And here comes the real kick in the teeth:

You're just as much of a slave if you are the one removing your choice

If your internal, critical voice is telling you that you're a pussy for walking away, you're condemning yourself to a life without choice. Because it is not longer a free choice. If you choose that path, that part of you will beat you up for it.

Contrast this with the fact that I often made a conscious choice not to fight. I make this choice because quite simply there are things more important to me than pushing in the face of some obnoxious asshole. Could I have handed him a serious beating? Yes. In fact, I could have kicked most of their asses without even breaking into a sweat. A couple of moves and they'd be on their way to the hospital.

Having made this choice, was I subjected to their scorn? You betcha. I've been called all sorts of things. But it didn't mean anything to me because I wasn't giving them rent free space in my head. It was just words and words have no power if you don't believe them. The reason I didn't believe those words was because of a few points
1) My decision to walk away was based on a conscious decision that
    something was more important to me than fighting
2) That put me in control of me and my emotions
3) He wasn't fighting either, so why should I listen to him about who is and
    isn't a pussy?

Take a good hard look at that last point, because all his name calling and tough guy swagger is kicking up dirt so you don't notice it. I've had people threaten to kill me and I've had people actually try. From this experience I can tell you that there is a world of difference. And one of the biggest one is when someone is actually trying to kill you they ain't talking about it, they're doing it.

In the same vein, if this guy is so convinced that you're a pussy how come he's standing all the way over there telling you about it? Why isn't he right there kicking your ass?

The answer is he ain't sure he can kick your ass. That's how come he's over there "woofing." Yeah, he may be trying to whip himself into a frenzy that overrides his fear of you, but having seen more than my share of these fools, I can guarantee you that most of them are trying to cover the fact that they thinking to themselves, "Thank God I didn't have to fight!"

I can tell you from personal experience -- when I was younger and far more of a hot head -- that I saw a WHOLE lot of wide-eyed "ohshitohshitohshit!" expressions on these mouthy bastard's faces. I'd be walking away and they'd say something that would either bring me charging back or decide to follow me. When I whipped around and charged them on my way to handing them a beating all I ever saw on their faces was fear. Fear that had often driven them to mouthing off or coming after me. While they might have been working their way up to beating someone up, they weren't ready to fight. But then again, when I came roaring back, I wasn't there to fight either, I was there to hand them a beating.

Straight up, I don't give a shit what someone is saying over there. The fact that they are over there, seriously undermines the validity of them talking about what a chicken you are. If they're so fuckin' big and bad how come they ain't over here doing the "who's your daddy" dance on your ass?

Having said this, let me point something out. Walking away is, generally speaking, a wiser course of action. When you put your emotions and fears on the shelf and look at the problems it causes, you begin to see why listening to the inner gremlin is really stupid.

MOST situations can be resolved without the use of violence. Often, by simply walking away, you solve it a whole lot better than involving yourself in a punch out. Fighting has consequences and most people don't understand the long-term effects, not the least of which is legal trouble. While it is easy to listen to the idiots who preach "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by six" the simple fact is most of those dumbshits have never dealt with the legal repercussions of getting arrested. First off, most violence isn't lethal. But, if you get arrested, even a fist fight is going to cost you a few thousand dollars in legal fees, fines, lost work, court fees and restitution. Figure a lethal force incident (12 vs. 6) is going to run you at least, $20,000.

Furthermore, most people engage in "magical thinking" when it comes to fighting. Magical thinking is when a person thinks if I do "this" then "he" will do that. Such people go in assured that their actions will have one result without realizing that there about five different possible outcomes. Magical thinking however, blinds us to these other -- often more realistic and likely -- outcomes.

This is what is referred to as unintended consequences. You meant for something to turn out one way, but it turned out radically different. The simple fact is the odds usually favor these other outcomes when it comes to violence.

Here's an example of what I mean. Take five cards from a regular deck of playing cards. Select one as the card representing the "result" you want. Now shuffle them and lay them face down. Take the top card from the pile. Is < that the result you wanted? Figure that was a fight. Repeat this ten times, but every time you draw a card, shuffle the deck. Out of 10 "fights" how many times do you get the result that you wanted?

Now here's the real bitch. Throw in the joker. Now you have six cards, except the joker means you are hurt, killed or thrown in jail. Shuffle and draw 10 times again. Realize that every time you 'fight', that's what you're risking ... The truth is, however, that there should be both jokers in that stack and the ace of spades. Figure one joker is jail, the other is losing the fight and getting your ass kicked. The ace is getting killed.

Bump up the odds and make it 10 cards instead of five. You still won't like the results.

See why walking away is usually a better idea?

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