Wishful Thinking

One of the more useful and informative projects that the USSCA could provide for us would be an up-to-date study of the criminal mindset versus the combat/self-defense mindset as they stand in the country today. Our society has become steadily more coarse and corrupt over time, and a little knowledge is better than nothing. I’ve noticed that gang and “wolf-pack” activity has increased in recent years, as life and property has become cheap and cheaper over time.


Criminals, bad
CCW, good

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The world is just not that black and white. I am sure there are some criminals just trying to keep themselves and their families from starving and the rare CCW who is a narcissistic sociopath.

Understanding psychology and motivations is critical to keeping ourselves and loved ones safe. Especially in a world where infrastructure and civility are rapidly crumbling.


Don’t really care about that. Don’t really want to understand them. If they mean to do me & mine harm they’re not going to like what happens next. Hope they understand me…


Have to respectfully disagree with that line of thinking. If you don’t understand what makes people tick it is hard to figure out if they really do mean you harm and very easy to turn misunderstandings and minor altercations into violent encounters with severe life and legal consequences.

There is a book by Miller and Kane that addresses some of what I am trying to get at: Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision Making Under Threat of Violence


There are those who seek to do you harm to get what they want and only they know what they want. There are those out there that do things for the thrill and to achieve a thrill they dive deeper and deeper into bad decisions. There are those out there that do not care about human life and do not care whether they end up in jail or not because they have been there and already done that. These people have no fear and no regrets and will not hesitate to stab, beat, or shoot you.
So, you want to take the time to see if they will let you be or if they will stab you in the heart and watch you die? I guess the time I spent at the Federal Prison and having talked to inmates has put a big impression on me. Several have said that all they know is life in prison and they do not want to get out because, they know they are a threat to society. Others would like to get out just because they are a threat to society. The heart can find Christ and they can repent of their sins but, they still know what they are capable of and have peace with their situation.
A person will step over a line to see if they can get away with it then when they do the line moves further and further until they have no choice but, pay for the consequences for their decisions.
Now, you have your choices too. Do you make good choices and do you have honor, dignity, kindness, gratitude, empathy, loyalty, tact or courage? Have kindness but, show strength. Have passion but have wisdom.


The book I referenced above discusses the bad characters and situations you are referencing. There are absolutely times where defensive violence must be applied immediately. There are also times when it unnecessarily escalates a bad situation. I have fortunately never been inside a prison. But I have worked in very sketchy places and have had my life threatened on multiple occasions. Not caring about defending my ego, showing respect (deserved or not) for the individual’s position, and not seeking dominance while also not showing weakness has gotten me out of a lot of bad situations and even made me an unexpected friend or two.

@Shamrock sounds like you may start a thread or two along the lines of What Would You Do.

@Alexander8 - Too many variables to say what I would do in any given situation. I mostly trust my gut. My gut/intuition uses past experiences, education (through books and videos describing behaviors, encounters and counter strategies) and divine inspiration to let me know when trouble is coming and how best to avoid it. But trying to understand how people work and what is triggering them in the moment is an important tool.

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… not important when your life or loved one’s live(s) is threatened. Neither can you possibly know the actual motivation of any particular person, nor does it really matter when that person is trying to harm you. There are only a few options available, and your choices are likely limited by time and circumstance, avoid (aka, flee), de-escalate, or fight. We attempt to do those things in that order, but sometimes 2 then 3 or only 3 are the only options available. Neither of these options have any concern with what the perp may or may not be thinking - might not have any apparent cognition due to drugs or otherwise. We are only concerned with what they are attempting to do, and prevent/stop harm to us.

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I am definitely not talking about how to act or react when a person is charging , has already drawn a weapon, or is throwing punches. I am talking about figuring out how to recognize and avoid those situations before they escalate to that point. I find That observing and studying how criminals and other potentially violent people think, and choose their targets has helped me avoid those situations. Understanding what is triggering a person helps me to deescalate situations before they result in violence. Sometimes just recognizing a person with a quick look and hello can stop them from considering you as an easy distracted target. Knock on wood, those strategies and tactics have kept me safe in a lot of situations without having to resort to violence. But if someone ever gives me no option then I am ready, willing, and able to respond properly.

You sound like you get into a lot of these situations. Maybe you should reconsider where you go. :wink:

Using situational awareness also does not take into account what a person of interest is thinking or their motivation is. You take note of their actions, facial expressions, gestures, etc., do they seem to be acting like the others or differently, etc. One can never assume or presume to know another’s actual intent, which is why we rely on situtational awareness that includes “gut instinct”. If you can get away, you do. What was that person’s intent that you avoided? Who knows? Who cares? You are no longer there to worry about it.

That is part of situational awareness. You are aware that that person may have ill-intent, and you acted upon that. You still do not know if that person had ill-intent, but your “instinct”, experience, and knowledge made you feel that he/she did.

But you do not know what “triggered” the person. You only “know” your “gut” told you something does not seem right.

I’m sorry if this violates any rules but I think it’s a good example of why we should be more careful of suspecting people of ill intentions. Watch the video too.

I mostly work in the middle of nowhere and don’t have to deal with people too often. But to get to that middle of nowhere I often have to travel through and resupply in a lot of sketchy places. Also there are occasionally pockets of illegal activity in that middle of nowhere. I am well compensated for my work and love working outdoors over being stuck behind a desk. So the risk is worth the reward but I also know that I have to rely on myself, there is no one to help me if I get into trouble.


I sometimes know exactly what triggered them. They may believe I am illegally trespassing on their land, that I am getting too close to their meth cooking trailer, or I don’t give them money when they ask. Sometimes they are obviously mentally ill. Sometimes they are obviously positioning themselves to try and take something from me. Situational awareness is key but recognition, understanding and sometimes even empathy can also come in handy.

Sometimes I think I have too much apathy, then I read some foolishness & I think naw, glad I’m not that guy.

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You have heard of the guy comes up to a person and asks for a light? I was walking from work to the rail system to go home in Seattle when a guy starts walking towards me and asks, " You gottah light?" I replied," Got a smoke?" It worked out that, he did and I had a lighter. I gave him the lighter too. A question of, will he or wont he.


You’re a good man. I’m not very approachable serious lack of trust in all folks I don’t know but you’re correct as to " will he or won’t he"