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It is when I struggle to be brief that I become obscure.  

Why do we get so wordy?

On this page:
Violence Doesn't Happen The Way You Think It Does | Simple Answers We Don't Give | Why Simplistic Answers Don't Work

Our goal is to inform you about the realities, complexities and issues that you will encounter in violent situations.

And that's a whale of a task as it is.

But, we also have another intent. We're not about giving false answers that while they might make you feel better now -- will get you killed or imprisoned if you try to use them in a situation.

Self-defense is not about  being able to hit someone, nor what weapons you carry, nor is it about having an attitude the size of Los Angeles. And it is especially not about getting your preconceived notions or agenda confirmed.

Quite frankly, it's a whole lot bigger and complex than that. It is a matter of life skills -- of knowledge, awareness, understanding appropriate behaviors and the ability to apply them on the spot.

How's that for an unexpected answer?

Recognize that 'taking care of yourself' is not a stand alone issue. What we are presenting here is not just something that you learn and put in the closet to bring it out if you are ever attacked. The ideas and skills we present on this Website will not only help you handle violent situations, but they can be used daily to make your life easier, less stressful, and definitely filled with less conflict.

And that's why we have to get wordy on this subject.

Violence Doesn't Happen The Way You Think It Does
We have a saying "Violence just doesn't come out of nowhere." Even if it seems to have 'just jumped out of the bushes at you,' that is a perception. It took time, action and effort for the situation to develop to where it turned violent. However, just because you didn't see that development (or understand that was what you were seeing), doesn't mean violence 'came out of nowhere.'

In order for you to be able to effectively use the information on these pages, you must understand what is involved in violence. By "understanding"  we don't mean you say "Yes, yes, I know that" and then proceed to do it anyway. There is a huge difference between knowing and understanding (e.g. you may 'know' e=mc2, but do you understand it?). Many factors contribute to how violence occurs. For example, do you know the relationship between the economy & stress violence? (If not, you'd better consider the connection because you're going to be seeing a lot more of it).

An even bigger chasm exists between understanding and what you think you know.

As with any safety issue: What you think you know can kill you. This is especially true in seemingly "normal" circumstances that are, in fact, something else. You think you know what is going on, but you don't. This is where danger signals are misinterpreted or ignored until the situation blows up. Behaviors that have no consequences under normal circumstances will result in you being attacked under other conditions.

And that is why violence can be such an unexpected shock, you've done something hundreds of times and were never assaulted for it. Behavior that has always worked before, suddenly goes horribly wrong. The difference is the addition of other factors -- namely a violent person and the likelihood of him getting away with it. When these elements combine, the results will be explosive. Recognizing these other factors -- and by extension knowing when NOT to do certain things -- is a key element to not being attacked.

We will give you easy to understand pointers on the subject, but understand, underlying those points are extremely complex issues. While the pointer may be relatively easy, many people will misunderstand or object to what we are saying. Still others who wish to be better informed or are teaching this subject will want to know why it works. To address both, we offer links to full explanations of the points we make.

Simple Answers We Don't Give
While avoiding becoming a victim can be relatively "easy," crime and violence are not simple problems. If they were, they would have been solved a long time ago.  Unfortunately, in this culture, there is a love for  simplistic you-just-do-this answers.

Well here's a bit of bad news. When it comes to stopping crime and violence,
nearly all of what is presented as you-just-do-this answers DOESN'T work!   

See if you have heard (or even said) any of the following dangerously simplistic ideas about personal safety
      Carry your keys sticking out between your fingers
      A personal alarm will scare away an attacker
      Carrying a gun is enough
      I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by six
      All you have to do is kick him in the balls
      Don't look at the scary person and he'll leave you alone
      There are no rules in a streetfight
      Martial arts teach you self-defense

As long as you don't ever have to try to use any of them, these ideas work great.

What they work great for is making you feel safe.

We maintain there is a big difference between feeling safe and actually being safe. To us, feeling safe should be a byproduct of being safe.

The problem with that nonsense is it will not only fail when you are attacked, but it often encourages people to engage in behaviors that actively put them into danger! Believing in these simplistic answers and dangerous misconceptions, people commonly -- and intentionally -- walk into the lion's jaws.

For example, we know of a young woman who routinely walked alone, at night, through a deserted college campus. Her attitude was because she knew "kickboxing" she could take care of herself. While it is true that she might be able to fight off the amorous advances of a drunken frat boy, she was in no way prepared to handle being attacked by a monster who didn't care if she was alive or dead when he raped her. Being bolstered with false confidence, her actions greatly increased the chances of meeting such a monster.

The problem with you-just-do-this solutions is that they are simplistic, fantasy solutions. These solutions are usually based on agendas, marketing or a particular perspective. (A perspective that has little to no actual experience dealing with criminals and violent people.) These solutions, while they may sound good to the uninformed, will not keep you safe against  the complex realities of  crime, violence and their aftermath. In fact, much of what is taught is so one-dimensional that it will actually increase your danger, both from the violent offender and the legal system.

Why Simplistic answers don't work
Let us establish an important fact: Violence is a complex problem that has many different degrees and manifestations.

The reason for this is that violence is a human dynamic. Humans are never only about one thing. Nor are they cookie cutter in their reactions, attitudes and behaviors. A level of force that would be abhorrent to one social strata is not only perfectly reasonable, but common among another.  

This is why you-just-do-this answers are ridiculous. What would work against one type, will fail miserably against another.

Whereas what is necessary to stop the other type is overkill on the first.

This is why we are fond of statements like "It depends" and "The situation dictates." There are countless variables that must be identified, the significance correctly recognized and the appropriate reaction selected. A process that must be done for every encounter. Because every encounter is different, there is no cure-all answer.

Let's look at how one such simplistic you-just-do-this answer falters in the face of real-life variables. Many so-called 'experts' will tell you to carry your keys clinched in your hand so you can poke an attacker's eyes out. Our attitude is that the 'ready-for-trouble' mindset one acquires doing this is what is really doing the job. Your body language is a bigger deterrent to small time punks than the keys. No matter what the reason, what's important is that trouble avoids you.

But what if trouble still comes your way? Unexpectedly clawing his face with your keys will probably work against an aggressive panhandler or mentally ill street person. You use the pain as a diversion and run -- except for one thing: That's not self-defense. You've just assaulted someone with an item In most states this is a more severe charge (ADW or Aggravated Assault). In the eyes of the law, that "bum" has just as many rights as you do and you just attacked him. Unless you can articulate why it was self-defense -- and not just you panicking and attacking him -- it's going to be your word against his. And he's the one who's bleeding.

But the simple truth is that there are people out there who, if you gouge their face with your keys, they'll snap your neck, shoot you or stab you. That's what violent people do to those who inflict pain, not injury, onto them.

That's a simplistic answer looked at in the practical light of reality.

On the other extreme, if you are going to carry a gun or a knife for self-defense, then you had better know when you are legally, morally and ethically justified in using it. There are established standards that must be met before you use a lethal force weapon. If you react out of fear or anger, then you are going to go to prison. It's not a matter of going to jail for 'attempted self-defense,' it is because in such a state, people often cross over from defending into attacking.

These are just some of the complexities that you must deal with when it comes to "self-defense."

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are selling simplistic, misinformed, and down right dangerous answers. Answers that will get you into trouble one way or the other. But the problem is that these answers not only sound good, but are downright appealing to certain mindsets. The reason this nonsense exists is because people want to believe it. They want simple answers to complex problems so they can go on with theirs lives.

We understand that goal, and to that end we have the closest thing to a simplistic answer that we use:
The best way to be safe is learn how to recognize crime and violence developing and leave before it happens. It's hard to get raped, robbed, murdered, shot or stabbed if you're not there.

The best way to win is not to play the game. But that takes some work on your part... and that's what this Website will help you do.

Street Safe: How to Recognize and Avoid Violent Crime
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Affordable Security
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The Missing Link: Self-Protection Through Awareness, Avoidance and De-Escalation
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Psycho-Physiological Effects of Violent Encounters
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Survivor Personality
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In the Gravest Extreme
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Safe in the City
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Real World Self-Defense
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Post Shooting Trauma
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The Combat Perspective: A Thinking Man's Guide to Self-Defense
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In the Gravest Extreme
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Defeating the Victim's Consciousness


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