On The Right to Self-Protection Blog
Think – Because Survival Isn't a Sport

Understanding Self-Protection Part 3: On Guilt and Framing Your Mindset for Surviving an Asocial Attack

Since Adam and Eve stepped out of the Garden, the world has known death and disease, war and pestilence.  The shortages of food and fuel are chief reasons for us to war among nations and often among individuals in survival or disaster settings.  The sad fact of the matter is that all the platitudes we use to talk about peace and the pursuit of peace fall to recognize what history would seemingly prove to be the essential nature of man in his fallen state in this world of finite resources – we either fight for what we need as aggressor or as defender and the only ones who do not fight as those resigned to being either slaves or victims.

The corollary personal micros to the world macros is that as resources grow scarce in the areas in which we live, those with the ability to successfully take or successfully defend will be the ones who survive.  Viewed from another lens, this is exactly the nature of criminal asocial violence.  The criminals who are successful prey on those unwilling or unable to defend themselves or those they love.

I discuss this with many people and while many agree, many more think I am somewhat Boorish in my interpretation and obviously an uneducated lout.  When I am asked why I feel that defending oneself against violence must involve the use of violence, I point out the functional nature of asocial violence and the fact that discourse and acquiescence only embolden those who would prey upon you.  When we get to the point of training involving eye gouging, biting, and breaking the joints and structure of the body they are usually horrified and often take a while to get passed the mental blocks they have grown up being programmed with from a societal view point.  They often pshaw me and throw up the old Gandhi quote, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”  I smile and say that is a very hope-filled state for us to aspire to and then point out in all the years of working in seedy places and environments where people were trying to do bad things to me I had never been randomly attacked or specifically targeted by a blind man.

This usually confirms me as Neanderthal to them or it awakens a horrible truth that polite society does tend to get round to – to stop violence directed at you, you need to shut off the source of that violence.  The gun or knife or club the person wields is not the source of the violence.  The source of the violence in asocial moments is that thing that forms, enervates and then translates the intent to do harm onto another into the action of doing harm onto another.  The instigator of all this?  The conscious brain and its’ ability to control the body’s action.  Without the brain’s ability to control and direct the actions of our would be attacker there would be no attack.  So the question is how do we shut it off.

The answer is simple; we shut the brain off or make the body act of its own volition outside conscious control – like putting it into reflex and breaking the pieces of the body it wants to move.  How do we do this?  First, we ACT.  More specifically, we act with enough force to cause trauma severe enough to trigger their body’s instinctive reflexes.  We have to act upon the assailant without reservation and without moral judgment.  Morals are the foundation of our civilization and the very last thing we need to consider in the event we are defending against an asocial attack.

Asocial attack means that the terms of the engagement are outside the social ties that bind us to our respective civilizations and therefore if we respond in an attempt to survive an asocial attack we will necessarily be responding outside the parameters of social mores.  This means that the moral judgment that we pronounce on behaviors not within socially acceptable limits are not applicable, they are ultra vires, and cannot be morally applied to the person responding to the force in the same manner as they are applied in the aftermath to the person who initiated the force.

This is a major stumbling block for those trying to develop the mindset to survive asocial violence.  They mistakenly assume the mantle of guilt that is societally demanded of them for acting in an asocial manner.  This occurs even though they acted that way out of necessity since any other course of action may have resulted in their death or serious injury since the clear goal of those using asocial violence as a tool to gain illicitly what is not theirs by right.

To add to the dilemma that most have when confronted with a survival setting, they are terribly prepared mentally to be able to switch gears into an asocial posture to protect themselves, let alone protect others.  This occurs primarily because they have not developed any practiced form of situational awareness.  They have no understanding of walking around in Cooper’s White or how to orient if they have observed anything, let alone how to decide on it and act.  Additionally, they fail to understand how their brain will function in the high-stress environment and what they must do to better their chances of survival.

Most people are unaware of the OODA loop, Cooper’s Color Codes or the role of the amygdale in stimulating the mid-brain response and how that affects cognitive processing during high-stress situations.  Until they posses at least a basic understanding of how they think under stress and how to give their brain both the input it needs prior to a high-stress event and the physical stress management tools that are required during an event to manage the incoming data flow and requirements for action immediately, they will always be in the reactive mode rather than the proactive mode.  This means that they are on the negative side of action beats reaction.

Cognitive understanding of your situation, or situational awareness, demands an alteration in how we think and see the world.  By planning for the worst we can often avoid it by recognizing the lay of the land and steering ourselves around potential threats.  As the Latin adage “si vi pacem, para bellum” attests, “if you want peace, prepare for war”.  By constantly red teaming ourselves and our environment we are able to see threats before they become imminent and we allow ourselves to plan and understand what we have to do to mitigate or proactively interfere with those who would act upon us.

Even if it nothing more than a quick visualization of “what if/then what” for each person we come across, we are building the files our brain needs to access once it hits high-stress function.  In this state it cannot process new information and relies on past experiences, be they real or simply mental rehearsal, to select patterns of response from.  The mind cannot tell the difference between mental rehearsal and actual experience; nor can it process new information and explore it cognitively during a high stress event when the mid-brain is controlling the survival thinking and forcing you to your training loop.  And so every time you run a situational awareness drill, you fill the filing cabinet that the mid-brain can access and giving it options to access quickly that can provide instruction on which actions to take rather than freezing into an empty training loop where it has no relevant action pattern.

Once people can start to program their minds to allow them to exercise their brains in this manner, it becomes an easy habit to facilitate and the skillsets required to program action become understood as simple tools that can provide the person with the knowledge to survive in mid-brain environments, rather than standing there agog because they have no frame of reference in which to operate.  Training people to survive is no more difficult than giving them a basic understanding of the truth of asocial violence, the physical and mental processes they will undergo if faced with it and the rehearsal, both mental and physical, that they need to survive it.  Like any parent who has faced the raising of children as a disciplinarian knows, people who seek to learn to defend themselves don’t need you to be their friend; they need you to tell them the truth be it good, bad or ugly.


One Response to “Understanding Self-Protection Part 3: On Guilt and Framing Your Mindset for Surviving an Asocial Attack”

  1. Outstanding artcile Steve. Spot On!

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