Monday, April 11, 2005

Stand Your Ground In Florida

CrimProf, as usual, has something interesting up on their site:

The legislature has enacted a statute permitting a person assailed outside their home to stand their ground rather than retreat before using deady or non-deadly force.

This is great step in the right direction for what I would call an attitude of nonvictimization. I don't think the State should force people to cower, to hide, to run, to back down, to surrender, to retreat, to not fight back when they are attacked. I think too often we cultivate an attitude of "Oh, I'll just let big people terrorize me and as long as I don't stand up for myself, I'll be okay". Sometimes, this works. But as we all know, many crooks are violent little jerks who will wound or kill even submissive victims. You have to remember that people who have decided to spend their time victimizing people aren't right in the head. They aren't predictable. They don't do what normal people do.

I wouldn't want to counsel people with a blanket statement of "always fight back", but by the same token, I will never tell you to lay down and be a good victim. I don't believe in it. It's one thing if it's you versus 5 ex-cons with shotguns. In that case, it would be suicide to try and fight the guys directly. But always have a plan. Always be thinking of how you can escape quickly or, if all else fails, how you can kill as many of them as possible before they get you. And when it's one on one, seriously put some thought behind standing up for yourself. You don't know what this animal is capable of and I think you need to prepare yourself to do violence if at all possible.

For me personally, when I'm driving around or when I have time to think as I'm walking around alone, I always go through mental exercises about what I would do if I was attacked. For example, this last Thanksgiving I was in downtown Vancouver on a vacation by myself. I walked everywhere, so I had a lot of time to think. I spent most of that time thinking of how I would respond to various attacks. I thought about where I would strike, how many times, and with what (it was raining nonstop, so luckily I had a heavy umbrella the whole time). I thought about how I would deal with two or three attackers. I kept an eye on where public places were and where police stations and other safe havens were. I always had a plan, and that plan rarely included submission. But again, that's just me.

It reminds me of a story one of my instructors told us. He was working in the a major US city that, at the time, was the bank robbery capital of the world. A reporter asked him for an exclusive interview and he agreed. The report asked him, in his professional opinion, what would stop all these bank robberies. My instructor said, in that gruff and salty way of his, "You wanna know what'll stop these bank robberies? I'll tell you, then... All we need to do is kill a few more of them and word'll spread that if you rob a bank here, you're gonna die". He went on to tell us how after that, they bought some information about a bank robbery team planning one in the area. They set up an ambush and that entire clan was wiped out. And sure enough, robberies in the area dropped for awhile.

For me this says something: If it becomes dangerous to be a crook, they'll go somewhere else. What if half of all muggings in downtown Vancouver ended with a dead or paralyzed mugger? Do you suppose muggers would move on to less dangerous areas?

Just a thought...


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