Monday, August 17, 2009

Five Responses To A Violent Attack

There are five different ways to respond to an unprovoked act of violence: fight, flight, posture, freeze, and submit. The specific response that a given person will choose as a response will be determined by prior training, available resources, and mindset.

One response to a violent encounter is to fight. A person under attack from a predator may elect to defend themselves. If a victim has training in some form of self-defense, it might prove to be a viable option. Defending one's person against an assault could be performed with or without a self-defense product, such as firearm.

An armed citizen who is very familiar with his firearm can present a hazardous working environment for a violent predator. However, there are no guarantees as to how this scenario will play out. Sometimes, the good guys win - sometimes the bad guys win. Having a handgun available does not necessitate a defense; it provides an option. For example, an armed person could elect to allow himself to robbed even though he has a means of protection.

Another response to a violent encounter is flight. A citizen under attack could elect to run from his assailant. There are no official rules of engagement for an attack. A victim is under no legal or moral obligation to remain at the crime scene to be a victim. Moreover, running from an assailant creates distance between himself and his would-be attacker. If the attacker is armed, the increased distance between the two increases the odds that the victim will not be harmed, as it is more difficult to assault a rapidly moving target.

In some scenarios, taking flight may not be practical. A victim might not be physically able to run or has persons in his care, such as children, who can't be left alone with the predator. In this case, flight is not a viable option.

Another response to an attack is to posture. In a nutshell, posturing means engaging in a manner that suggests that a targeted person is not going to be an easy person to attack. Posturing can be performed by a variety of methods; it can be a verbal challenge that is issued to an assailant or it can be subtle body movements that suggests that a means of defense is available to successfully thwart the impending attack. Posturing involves some element of risk, as the "display" may not be convincing and the predator "calls the bluff" of the would-be victim.

Further, a victim of an attack may freeze. This state of freezing could either be voluntary or involuntary. For example, making the conscious decision to not run and cooperate with the assailant would be an example of voluntary freezing. In contrast, involuntary freezing would be more akin to deer on the highway with its body frozen as an approaching car advances towards it.

In either scenario, the victim does not mount a defense and the attack commences. Obviously, this response has an element of risk as the victim's safety is not guaranteed. There is no social contract that exists between predators and their victims. In fact, one could comply with the demands of his attacker and still be shot, raped, and killed as an after-thought.

Lastly, the final response to an encounter is to submit. This response is best illustrated by the victim's willingness to do anything to appease his attacker. If the victim is told to get into the trunk of a car, he would willingly do so. A victim should never under any circumstances leave the primary crime scene to go to another location. Most victims who submit are never seen alive after the attack.

Bottom Line:
In the city of Detroit and in the surrounding suburbs, a violent crime can be committed against a victim at any time of the day. A crime of violence may not happen to a specific person, but it will happen to somebody. If you find yourself targeted for attack by a predator, you will best served, from a safety standpoint, if you know in advance how you will respond. Your options are to fight, take flight, posture, freeze, or submit. There are risks associated with each response. You should consider what you will do before it happens and make congruent plans to respond to the attack.
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