A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Analysis of a Mugging

A few months back, I wrote about the importance of recognizing threats so that they could be avoided. The absolute best way to survive an encounter with a criminal is to never be accepted into his victim selection process. If the victim selection process can not be avoided, then disrupting the criminal's expectations is essential to forcing him to abort the attack.

A victim is selected.
At this point, the victim has been selected by a criminal who is at "work". The criminal has probably made contact, speaking to the potential victim, asking her for something, invading her privacy. This is an attempt to probe and assess her willingness to be victimized. The victim walks past, leaving her back to the criminal. She is doing exactly what the criminal is hoping, indeed, expecting she will do. She is open to attack.

The first criminal makes the initial contact, but he is not working alone. A second criminal has positioned himself to cut off escape routes. As the first criminal takes down the victim, using the curb to destroy her balance, a taxi driver/witness observes the attack.

Help arrives, but who is the red haired youth assisting? The victim kicks frantically as another bystander is alarmed and is trying to decide whether to help, run, or stay put.

Tactics Revealed
The red haired youth's motives are revealed as the two criminals, acting in concert, hold down the victim and take her belongings. She is helpless. By this time, if she had a gun on her hip, it would be in the possession of the criminals.

The criminals run away in different directions, enhancing their chances of escape. The victim struggles to her knees, no doubt poorer and feeling violated. The bystander still has not chosen his course of action, and by doing nothing, has acted.

What is immediately apparent in this series of photos is the lack of awareness. The victim was blissfully unaware of her impending plight. Her attack was not the result of not having a means of self defense. Her attack was the result of understanding the first line of self defense is removing oneself from the victim selection process by any means available.

A criminal is, by his nature, a predator. A predator must know his prey to be successful. Once prey is identified, an attack from a hungry predator is almost assured. A potential victim can avoid attack in two ways.

A person can avoid being seen by the predator. Be somewhere else. Life is full of choices. One may chose to walk where predators lurk, whether in the streets of a metropolis or in the grasses of Africa, but if a person walks though the grasses of Tsavo, they should be prepared for lions. When such a jaunt is unavoidable, awareness must be increased.

One may also be seen as a superior predator. The criminal fears the armed citizen more than the police. The criminal knows exactly what to expect from law enforcement. They discuss it, study it. The prepare for it, and have likely learned from experience.

The armed citizen is the wild card that the criminal never knows how to predict, or when it might appear. The armed citizen may run. The armed citizen may resist. The armed citizen may shoot, and may kill. While not a predator, the armed citizen is viewed by the criminal jackal as being the lioness he does not want to tangle with.

Most criminals will quickly avoid an attack on a random person they believe to be armed. The benefits are simply not worth the risks. In free states, the armed citizen is the one variable the criminal can not predict, but must be prepared for. The actions of the armed citizen are even more unpredictable. The response of the criminal to the armed citizen is often abortion of the attack and escape.

Because the armed citizen is frequently as unrecognizable as the criminal, the criminal must rely on the recognition of behavior to avoid the threat of being shot. The most common behavior difference between the armed and unarmed citizen is awareness. Thus, the increased awareness of a person also deters the thinking criminal. The gun is loaded for the criminals who do not think. There are enough of those to justify carrying a gun.



Blogger red said...

Excellent post!

It can't be said enough, "Always be aware of your surroundings!".

7:15 AM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

I know crime can happen anywhere, really, but you make a great point about avoiding places where crime happens more frequently.

8:56 AM  
Blogger BobG said...

Amazing how many people walk around in a daze. I like to be aware of my surroundings (received too many sucker punches while in my early teens). It is one of the reasons I don't listen to an mp3 player on the street; I feel unsafe if I can't hear my environment. I may sound paranoid, but it works for me.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Hyunchback said...

This is possibly the most convincing argument posted to encourage concealed carry.

It also explains the effects that John Lott documents in "More Guns, Less Crime".

Criminals who face legally armed citizens choose to move elsewhere.

By having "hunting preserves" for criminals in major cities like D.C., NYC and LA then criminals are granted a safe work environment.

We can not eliminate crime by allowing citizens to exercise the their true human rights. We can only week out the more stupid criminals and herd the smarter ones into smaller and smaller enclaves.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Jerry The Geek said...

Interesting article, possibly valuable.

What it lacks is a clear, incontrovertible list of actions and/or postures which removes one from the 'victims list'.

This may be an impossible task, but certainly 'something' is better than 'nothing'.

A possible list of action tasks might include:
. no IPOD phones
. no cell phone use while walking
. avoid unlighted streets/sidewalks
. constant sweep of the street; the eyes are everywhere, noting everything and everybody in the immediate vicinity
. what do you do when accosted by a stranger? What is a 'non-victim' response?
.Special note for women: sexism is a useful guide to being a non-victim. Wearing high heeled shoes on the street, for example, is the mark of a victim. The same with tight levi's, low-cut blouse, etc.

I may be out of line here, but these seem to be details which are part of 'victim-ology'.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thug:"Do you have the time?"

Non-victim, looks at thug directly, glances at own watch and says:"No, I do not."

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notice the footgear she is wearing. Open heel, slip-on type clogs? Unstable footing, can't run in them, probably can't kick with them. Those, by themselves, ID her as a good victim to attack. Women are really stupid about what they wear on their feet. Notice the full coverage tennies both robbers are wearing. Wonder how common that is in that location?

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason I do two things, first carry as often as permitted and two, avoid place I not permitted.

As for situational awareness, most people don’t know the meaning of the phrase. This is proven to me every day while doing security, when some moron runs into me while chatting on a cell phone. Perhaps if the folks did a little less chatting and a little watch where one is walking, it would not have happened.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, I've been in this position, except without Guy #2. Approached by someone that I could tell - from yards away - was going to approach me. I shifted my direction to the side, and sure enough, there was a "hello," followed by "you from around here?" I kept walking, and looked (very firmly) full in his face for a moment as we drew even. Which elicited a, "Hey, I was just trying to be friendly!" string of comments, but I kept walking. (Listening, of course, for him to come up behind me.)

But here's what concerns me - we're always told to keep walking, but a BG can come up behind, as in this instance. What's preferable - walking, or walking a little forwards and standing still (to look at whatever, fix your outfit, blatantly look behind you, etc.). Or walking and looking behind? Even if you hear someone coming, that isn't much warning.

And I never did understand people who have Ipods/Walkmans on in public. Library, yes. Street, no.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd really like to know where you got those pictures from. They are very good quality and from a good angle, almost like the photographer knew that the mugging will happen.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I found them on the 'net. I was thinkingthe same thing.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You spot predators, human or others, by the difference in their timing of movement compared to what others are doing around them. For instance, when others are busy checking out window displays in stores along a street, the predator is only watching people.

Avoidance involves not only being alert, lifting your head up, looking around, carefully, but also noting what every one is doing with their heads and hands. If they are going to have a weapon, it will be either in their hand, or close to it under clothing.

Predators don't want to be identified by victims, which is why this guy let the woman go past him before he attacked her from behind. She probably never even got a good look at hims as she approached. you not only need to look at people you approach, or who approach you, but you need to train yourself to take in details so you can identify him/her in the future. Practice making lists of people from head to toe, after they pass you, describing them in more and more detail.

Let the bad guys who are lowering their heads, or otherwise concealing their faces, and hands that you have gotten a good look at them. ( That you are alert AND aware). Call out a " hello " to them when you are more than 3o feet from them. Lie. Call them by name, even when you are most likely mistaken, and then apologize to him as you get closer, for being mistaken. He is now distracted from his timing, he hasn't been able to take a quick last look around for other witnesses, or the cops, or to locate and signal his partner that he is going to attack you, and you have distracted his mind from his normal rhythm of attack. Ever call out to a cat when its stalking a bird or rabbit? Its the same principal. Or, be indirect in your lie, by saying something like: " HI, how is your mother doing?" Now, he can't possibly expect to remember everyone his mother knows, or has met, but he knows one thing and that is that his mother will kill him if he harms a friend.

Many muggers test a victim's willingness to submit to commands by asking a victim if they know what time it is? Always respond, " I am sorry but my watch is not working. But, I did see a police car just around that last corner I passed. Perhaps he can help you!" That tells the thief your watch is not worth stealing, even if its really expensive, and throws a new factor into the equation, the possibility that law enforcement are so near, that they may be able to interfere with his crime, or escape.

Avoidance is possible, but only with serious awareness training, and practice, and then using a series of exercises to teach you to quickly think on your feet. It is the indecision that will make you a victim, despite all the other training you may have.

11:46 AM  

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