Where Do You Draw the Line?

Over at Active Response Training, Greg Ellifritz has a terrific post today about where we draw the line in terms of decisions we might make in the face of a violent crime. Do we hand over our wallet? Our car? Our clothes? Our children?

These are decisions we should think about ahead of time, because prior thought and planning displaces the “fight/flight/freeze” response that arises from circumstances catching us off-guard.

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Process Predators vs. Resource Predators

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was reading an excellent book, Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected by Rory Miller. I’ll do a fuller review of this book soon, but for now I wanted to talk about one of the key distinctions Miller makes, and how understanding that distinction informs our responses to violence.

According to Miller, predators can be divided into two categories: resource predators and process predators. A resource predator uses violence to get a resource – something you have that he wants, such as your purse, your car, or the TV in your living room. Burglary and armed robbery are examples of the sorts of crimes committed by resource predators, and a pure resource predator will use violence only to the extent necessary to convince his victim to hand over the resource he wants. Once he gets the resource and gets away, the attack is usually over.

For a process predator, on the other hand, violence is the point of the exercise. A process predator wants to hurt his victim. That’s what he’s all about. Assaults, rapes and murders are crimes committed by process predators. A sexually-motivated serial killer is perhaps the purest form of process predatory behavior humans can manifest. And, with a process predator, there’s nothing you can give him that will end the violence except for your life.

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What Do You Fear?

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day. She shares my desire to be able to be responsible for her own safety and the safety of her family, so the conversation turned eventually to topics of self-defense. In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that a question she often got asked when she was training in martial arts on a regular basis was “what are you so afraid of, that you’re learning combat?”

Her question got me thinking, partly because I’ve been asked it too (usually combined with insinuation that I’m paranoid and unstable), and partly because a piece of this personal safety and self-defense pie is, for me, making my fears and doubts conscious so that I can protect myself and my loved ones despite them. So, what am I afraid of?

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