But Won’t it Hurt Him? The 911 Mindset: Making Victims of Us All

Steve Cliff  08/20/2010

We had just about finished another of our women’s self-protection seminars and I began
thinking as we approached the end of the seminar, “Wow, nobody even asked today…”
and then IT happened. Again. The “Old Faithful” of questions asked by socially
programmed people who have been taught to be a good victim raised its ugly head. From
a diminutive voice with arm raised to ask permission to question it squeaked out of one of
my clients mouths and screamed across the room in protest. “If we do that to the
attacker, won’t it really hurt him?” And then just as predictably, every face in the place
turned to look for the answer.
It isn’t that myself or those who instruct with me have some mystical divination. Our
answers aren’t “shaped” to suit a particular audience. We simply define the issue and
deal with it outside the societal constraints that have allowed criminals to flourish and
sacrifice good people to the whim of the violent animals that make up our criminal
element. Every single person in that room knows what the right answer is instinctively.
They know that to protect themselves they HAVE to physically stop the assailant. The
problem is that our social message from pre-k through the rest of our lives stops them
with the threat of punishment and the award of an almost pariah-like status for breaking
the rules that stop self-protection form occurring.
Here’s how the answer generally goes: “You have a right to self-protection. The rulings
of the Supreme Court tell you that you are responsible for your own defense because they
specifically relieve the police from being responsible for your personal protection. You
are told you have to call 911 and hide or get a restraining order or somehow otherwise
rely on someone else to protect yourself, but unless you can afford full-time personal
protection specialists, you are the only one you can guarantee will be there when you are
attacked. To not act in a proactive manner is to guarantee you will be a victim, and you
have to hope that he chooses not to harm you. Compliance does not guarantee you
safety, thousands of compliant victims get killed or maimed each year. Only your
commitment to act in your own protection will offer hope of surviving. If you do not act
decisively, i.e. if you don’t render them incapable of attacking, you will be a victim. It is
more than okay to hurt him. Causing him trauma is your goal in self-protection. He
chose to go outside societies rules by attacking and you have the responsibility to
yourself and your loved ones to step outside the societal rules and attack him to ensure
your safety. The only moral choice when under attack is to act amorally to prevent the
criminal from victimizing you. Any other choice means you choose his life over yours
and those who are depending on you to protect them.”
After this answer we generally get three to five minutes of follow up on this and then you
start to see the whole class demeanor change. It is now longer people timid about being
here and unsure of what it is we teach. The clients focus increases, their intensity
increases. This is good because it means they are taking it seriously and the
concentration coupled with the methods of instruction help them plant the information in
the brain where they can use it under stress. Of equal importance, they begin questioning
when they would be willing to use the material we teach. They ask themselves, “at what
point am I okay, inside my own mind, with me having to use this?” Once they begin that
process they are on their way to embracing the responsibility that comes with selfprotection
and the consequences of having to protect oneself and loved ones.
We never tell our clients when they should use our material other than to clearly delineate
that they must clearly see or perceive an imminent threat to their person or someone
else’s before they use this. We specifically instruct them to the dangers of using
combatives for non-survival settings including telling them that misuse will almost
certainly result in their criminal and civil prosecution. As it should, if it is used in a nonthreat
environment. Our area of operation for terminal combatives is a finite one.
My fear is that people find it okay to walk away from others being attacked rather than
getting involved. We see it increasing now in the news, people don’t do anything when a
man pulls a hammer out and starts beating another person they just calmly walk by and
move seats until the train stops and they can exit. I have written about several cases like
that. If we are truly in survival mode and won’t help fellow citizens because we are
trained to call 911 or leave the scene and get help, the message of relying on the police
and others for protection will make victims of us all and it will do it sooner than later.

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