The world is uncertain and violent, and almost every day, there is a headline about a mass shooting or terrorist attack. More common than terrorism are regular altercations that lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. Often, this happens when some guy gets angry and provokes someone else who has a gun. Sometimes, however, tragedies happen without firearms, such as a case will in which a man punched out a 19-year-old guy who fell on his head and died on the spot. Many of these incidents can occur because of a minor disagreements over a parking place or real and imagined insults. There are several things to keep in mind when trying to avoid violent conflicts, particularly from random strangers.
Women are often taught self-defense in a way that is different from the way men learn these techniques. Women are less likely to be aggressors in such conflicts and often are the ones avoiding predators. A woman is often on guard against spontaneous attack, usually a potential sexual assault or theft. Aside from muggings and carjackings, most men are relatively safe from spontaneous attack, except if there is a fight that escalates. These fights are usually about something minor, but even though they are about small things, they can get out of control quickly.
How to Deal with Hostility
When a guy cuts you off in traffic, you may be tempted to flip him the bird or yell curses out the window. This may be gratifying feeling, it may release tension, but it can lead to serious consequences if the other person is particularly hostile, can’t forgive an injury or is armed. Basically, it is not worth getting into a confrontation with strangers unless it’s something that is actual self-defense or if you are protecting your family. People who live in societies where there are fewer guns can afford to argue more, but the reality in the United States is that guns are easy to get and popular to own. This is good news to gun enthusiasts but bad news for people short tempers. No one wants to be injured permanently or go to jail for a long time because of an impulsive mistake, so it is best to let things slide.
If someone is already angry with you, it can be a challenge in self-control to deal with them. For instance, if someone feels that you cut them off in the sandwich line and follows you after you purchase your sandwich, it is clear this person is itching for a fight. You may want to ignore him, but this may only make him more angry and aggressive. Address him calmly and matter-of-fact way and avoid shouting insults. While you don’t want to ignore him, don’t allow him to interrogate you or get you to explain anything. Keep your communication to a few words. Think of a person in that condition as someone who is temporarily insane and relate to him as such. Even if the insults you, avoid insulting him back, because that is exactly what he wants. As soon as you can, find a way to exit but do so cautiously, especially if you’re not sure whether or not he is armed.
How to Avoid Confrontation
You can prevent someone from targeting you in the first place by remaining low-key in public. One thing that will keep you from retaliating is to remember that almost everyone has a device that can record sound and video, and the last thing you want is a film of you going berserk to go viral on Facebook. If you are faced with someone who is hostile, you might be tempted to record him, but it could provoke him even more. Reserve any video or audio recording for situations that will not make things worse.
Remember that violence isn’t like it is on television. It’s usually a lot messier and awkward and there are many missed punches. Some of the best lines in an action film are said by someone challenging a potential attacker but avoid these witty challenges in real life, because they further provoke an angry person. If you have been learning martial arts, you may be tempted to try them out on some guy who is approaching you because you flipped him off. Part of the knowledge of martial arts involves judging the situation and deciding not to get involved. If you accidentally injure someone seriously because of your knowledge of martial arts, it can be used against you in court. In most cases, save your karate or judo moves for training sessions or competitions.
Quickly see the situation for what it is as a means of de-escalating the conflict. When you get wrapped up in your ego and your sense of injury, it is easy to get in fighting mode and cause more damage than necessary. Try to keep your sense of humor and humility active at all times and know when to get over it. Testosterone can be a powerful hormone in encouraging aggressive behavior, but self-control is a virtue that trumps your initial physical reaction. Try to slow down the reaction time, take breaths and be mindful of the situation, observing it without judgment.
As soon as you can, try to exit the situation, particularly if there is a crowd gathering. It is not infrequent that street fights between two people become brawls involving groups of people with complete strangers throwing sucker punches. People take a vicarious interest in yelling and violence, and it is best not to encourage it but to walk away.
It’s a scary world out there for everyone. The random violence occurring in the world just keeps getting worse and seems to be spinning out of control. You can be part of the solution by avoiding a random, hostile confrontation by diffusing anger and knowing how to deal with an angry person. Speak calmly, don’t be overcome with anger or fear, but simply survey the situation and leave when it is feasible.