“As a teenager, I once had an opportunity to fly in a police helicopter over a major American city. Naively, I thought the experience might be uneventful. Perhaps there would be no crime between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. However, from the moment we were airborne, there was a fresh emergency every fifteen seconds: Shots fired… rape in progress… victim stabbed…It was a deluge. Of course, the impression this left on me was, in part, the result of a sampling bias: I was hearing nothing but incident reports from a city of 4 million people, most of whom would never encounter violence directly. (No one calls the police to say “Everything is still okay!”) Yet it was uncanny to discover the chaos that lurked at the margins of my daily routine. A few minutes from where I might otherwise have been eating dinner, rapes, robberies, and murders were in progress…
However, instruction in self-defense need not consume your life. The most important preparations are mental. While I certainly recommend that you receive some physical training, merely understanding the dynamics of violence can make you much safer than you might otherwise be.”
Same Harris, The Truth About Violence
An excellent essay by Sam Harris on the smart response to violence. Those of us who train regularly to “fight” can often get led to think we should step up when confronted by violence in the real world. Harris lays down some useful and life-saving parameters for when to act and when to lay low.
“Take this maxim to heart: Self-defense is not about winning fights with aggressive men who probably have less to lose than you do.”
“This is the core principle of self-defense: Do whatever you can to avoid a physical confrontation, but the moment avoidance fails, attack explosively for the purposes of escape—not to mete out justice, or to teach a bully a lesson, or to apprehend a criminal.”
Read the rest of the article: The Truth About Violence