Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bad guys and soft targets

This was brought up in THR forums and it turned into an interesting thread.
There was one point thought that I very much disagree with. Sometimes I see similar ideas or notions by other people, that the person that doesn’t fear to be killed is better off some way or another.

(10) Lose your fear of dying! There are no guarantees in this life, and, end the end, we're all dead anyway. [Those] Who look for "fairness" in the way the world is ordered, do so in [vain]!

Definitely no, Do NOT lose your fear to die, or kid yourself into believing that or behaving as if you do.
Not only is it BS ( no one sane wants to die) but it’s also a bad decision that will get you to make stupid mistakes.

There’s a BIG difference between not letting fear control you ( agree 100% there, fear freezes you up when you need to act quickly) and not fearing death.

Good for you if you don’t fear death. I do. I’m afraid I’ll die and leave my wife and kids without a husband and a father to look after them, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. It is for this reason that I do what I do to make sure I come back home everyday.

I don’t let fear control me but heck I wanna live.

It’s ok to be scared as long as you don’t let the fear control you, specially freeze you when you need your brain to act 1000mph and come up with the best course of action in 1/10 of a second.
Want to know a little secret?
After living in fear for some time you get used to it, it becomes something you finally accept without even realizing it and that makes you more prepared for when bad things happen. It doesn’t catch you off guard, because you’ve already expected that or something very similar to happen a thousand times.

As time goes by fear gets replaced by acceptance. You accept that that bad thing you used to fear will eventually happen, and when that happens you do what you have to do.
Once you get used to living with fear, you could say that the fear pretty much disappears.

About being a soft target

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. All my 85 year old grandma can do is grab her purse tight with both hands, turn away when she sees suspicious looking people, be VERY cautious of the places she goes to and at what times of the day she does what she needs to do.
She will usually go to the grocery store in the morning when the streets are full of people, and there’s some police presence, and she will only go to known places just a couple of blocks away.
Not perfect but it has worked for her so far, my dear grandma is one cautious old lady. :)

Of course that if you are not 80 there are things you can do so as not to get targeted.

Looking like one of those dumb Emo freaks sure is an invitation to get pushed around.
Hell, I’m a nice guy and even I feel like kicking their asses myself when I see them! A person that is outspokenly proud of its weakens, and makes it clear for everyone to see will certainly invite aggression in a violent society.

There are other more subtle things bad guys see, maybe even without realizing it themselves clearly. The way a person walks, the way he carries himself. The clothes he wears, if he looks shy or weak in any way.
Clothes that looks a bit more “feminine”, things like hippie-like sandal or bags, or pastel colored clothes, and thing that can be read by these predators as a sign of possible weakness is working against you.

I can tell you without a doubt, any person that cares to observe will see a difference between the way people dress in, high end neighborhoods and the rest where middle and poor class live.
Around the Bs. As. suburbs where I live, they’d eat those so called metrosexual guys up.

Even things like glasses are seen as signs of weakness. I only used glasses for a while when I was younger and quickly changed to contact lenses because of this, and finally got LASIK surgery done.

Awareness is by far the most important thing. Wont give you much to brag about with the guys but the confrontation you avoid is always better than the one you win.
Humans must the only creature that managed to suppress it’s instinct.
Don’t be ashamed of turning if you feel someone behind you, or turning 180 ยบ the other way and leaving if something looks like an ambush. Hear, smell and see your environment. You should always know what’s going on at least half a block in front and behind you.

Not much to do if you are too old, but for a young person looking strong and fit does make you look like a harder target. And it’s not just looks, you probably ARE a harder target if you are strong and fit.

It’s also about the way you carry yourself, the way you walk, the way you keep your head high, looking confident.
I don’t go around staring people, but I don’t avoid eye contact either, it’s a sign of weakness.
Just look into the person’s eye long enough to let them know you acknowledge him and go on.

Being armed, at all times, makes a huge difference if things turn to worst. Don’t hesitate to use them. Someone asked me if I brought out my gun to threaten people.
I said, no, just a logical step before shooting him!
It’s not about playing dare or bluffing. Never bluff with a weapon. If you bring it out, be ready to use it. If the person turns and leaves when he sees you are armed, of course, it’s no longer self defense, and shooting someone in the back never looks good, specially in court.

Also, and this may be a bit more difficult, train yourself mentally to react violently when surprised. This is so important.
It’s similar in some ways to gun safety rules, when one fails, if the other one is kept in mind you generally are still safe, or at least you have a plan to fall back to.
Same here. You should be aware and avoid being surprised by criminals, but if this fails your reaction must be instant and violent.

Think of the last time someone surprised you, or grabbed you, pushed or touched you in the subway or some other crowded area.
Most people react by sheepishly moving away quickly from what surprised them. You should mentally prepare yourself to react pushing the threat away from you, ready to punch, kick and shoot as necessary.

This isn’t easy but you can change that with proper mindset. Just like your awareness level, it’s always there in pilot more, ready for reaction.

As long as no one is trying to stop me, surround me or stand in my way, big mouth and smartass remarks mean nothing to me. If a person feels more manly by insulting others or shouting challenges to me on the street, that’s fine. Got better things to do than getting into fights with losers, and I’m sure you do to.



Counter-Jihadist said...

Thanks for this highly informative and useful blog, FerFAL. Until I watched those videos you posted about the collapse of the Argentinian economy, I had no idea the situation had deteriorated to such a frightening state.

Your posts are revealing glimpses into a dangerous day-to-day existence that many of us fear will soon be commonplace around the world when (not if) the debt-bubble bursts. I look upon your blog as a 'cautionary tale' of sorts, and appreciate, very much, the experiences you share with us.

Good Luck, and may God bless you and your family.

Ryan said...

My co author Chad might hate emo kids more then socialists hate guns. As for the whole accepting dying thing I say exactly the opposite. If I didn't feel like living I would do all sorts of downright dangerous stuff like hitting on women who have a 6'6" gorilla biker's enormous arm around their shoulders, sell crack while wearing blue in the neighborhood of a gang who wears red, throw dough nuts at the police and then tell them "fuck you shoot me".

The thing to do is to want to live but be willing to do downright dangerous things because either A) they need to be done or B) because while they are dangerous they will give a somewhat better chance of survival.

Thai said...

I must say I sure am sure glad I don't live in your part of the world!

While you may absolutely correct that this is the way people must think, behave and act in order to survive in your world, your world is not the only world on this planet (for instance, those metro men you allude to do seem to survive in some places).

Has it ever dawned on you that there is a very strong relationship between a country's wealth and its citizen's overall trust in people they don't know? Perhaps it is no cooincidence that you live in a poorer country that endlessly seems unable to get its act together and your own personal lack of trust for your fellow man.

Sure, your fellow citizen's may 'mark' trusting soles as 'suckers', yet do they do so at their own loss?

And, just as an FYI, I think the people who are suggesting 'don't fear fear' are really saying the same thing as you: 'don't let fear of death control you'... I would be suprised there is anyone who suggests 'prudence' is not worthwhile. But if you have link of

FerFAL said...

Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments.

"While you may absolutely correct that this is the way people must think, behave and act in order to survive in your world, your world is not the only world on this planet (for instance, those metro men you allude to do seem to survive in some places)."

There’s good people out there but I’d rather be cautious and on the safe side, just like when you calculate safety measures in structures.

I know people like emos, metrosexuals, and “softer” people live and live well all around the planet, but what I am saying is that they are MUCH more likely to become victims in a more than average violent society.

If you are generally distrustful, no one gets hurt, if you trust the wrong person or if you blindly believe in the goodness of man kin, you can get fucked pretty bad.
But that’s just me.
My world isn’t something special, lots of places like this and lots of shades of gray in between. When I say about security works here, in Africa, or in the wrong side of town in Los Angeles.
The situation here is pretty bad so the cautions I take are a bit extreme, extreme enough I don’t care living like this much longer, better to move to a safer place.

"Sure, your fellow citizen's may 'mark' trusting soles as 'suckers', yet do they do so at their own loss?"

No, I don’t think so. Maybe I’m not the sensitive type, but I don’t feel the need to go “cumba ya milord” with fellow citizens. I’ve got my wife and kids, my family, and a couple guys I trust. That’s enough for me.


Thai said...

My comment appears to have been broken... I wonder if I 'edited it' and somehow did not recognize the change.

I 'think' you are still misunderstanding me. In fact, I think you misunderstand the main ideas around evolution itself. For to remind you evolutionary fitness is always specific to the particular environment. And environments are different everywhere.

I do fundamentally see the truth in what you are saying-- the classic popular darwinian 'dog eat dog' interpretation of the world. And the 'problem' with this view is that it is that it is exactly 50% correct. The other side of the coin (cooperation) is just as real, just as accurate, just as much 'truth'.

Take your analogy of 'trusting your family'. It is a wonderful example of the inherent problem you seem to be missing in your blog's essay. (And please understand I only intend this as a 'theoretical example' and in no way mean anything as 'personal').

For at some level in a marriage, you must simply trust your partner. And while you can 'fool' yourself into believing that the security of a particular trust is based on something fundamental (say you trust your wife is not cheating since you never see evidence of flirting, etc... still this kind of logic is fundamentally flawed and someone determined to 'cheat you' still can (in this instance she would just sleep around with other men but never flirt with them in a way you might recognize it).

At some level you simply have to have trust and faith in each others no matter what.

Or take the example of dog ownership. Dogs hear, see, smell things in the world people do not. In fact, it is precisely becasue their brains 'see and process' different information that people get them as security 'pets'. That they act differently than you (pee on the rug, etc...), you just accept "because they dogs". You live with the differences for the perceived benefit. You simply have 'faith' in them (knowing occasionaly they do bite their 'masters', etc...)

Just because other people do not share your point of view, or because their brains do not process information on the world the same way your does, does not make them 'useless' and vice versa. That you can see where they are weak, and not solve a cooperative issue with them, is really your loss as much as it is theirs.

Sure, if left alone in another environment (yours), these 'wimps' might not survive, but again the reverse is true.

I am not saying go 'cumbya', I am saying if you can't solve these issues of cooperation, you remain that much poorer. Of course, the risk of coopertation is always the risk of betrayl. It is what it is.

Swedes seem to understand this more than Argentinians do.

Anonymous said...

Another great blog Ferfar, thanks so much. Best wishes, Geena (New Zealand)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I see us (the US) on a slow slide to the same sorry state that exists in Argentina. No one in the leadership of the US has the cajones to say enough. Too many seem to think the Federal Government is nothing but a big sugar daddy with unlimited funds waiting to bail them out of every sorry mess they find them selves in.

Anonymous said...

Ferfal - thanks again for this great blog. As inflation is a major problem in Argentina, I was wondering how do people buy big-ticket things these days? Like a car or a house? Or even a new refrigerator? Is there still credit now (as you knew it) before you currency blew-up?

Anonymous said...

Thai, I think you are talking about a different kind of trust than Ferfal is. Trust has multiple levels. Being part of a society means you have to trust lots of people with your posessions. Some people will screw up, some will do great. It is necessary to take this risk and in the end we all are better off because of it. But when you think about it, you wouldn't really want to trust most of these people with your life.

I'll give an example. You're starting a business. The only things you can lose are the money you invest in it and the right to start another business in the next five years (at least here it is like that). I bet you can name quite a few people you know personally you would consider starting that business with. There is a lot at stake, but nothing life-threatening.
Now imagine this situation: you were kidnapped, and the kidnappers demand an object which is in your safe deposit box in a bank. You get to make one call to one person to tell that person where he can find the key of your safe deposit box, at what hours he can open it in which bank, what he has to take out of it, and the specific time and place where he has to hand it over to your kidnappers. For example, they demand that he/she delivers it to them at exactly 3.48 in the morning at some landmark in your city and if they haven't got it in their hands by 3.49 they will kill you. But you can't tell the person you're calling that you're kidnapped and your life depends on it, otherwise the chances of the police getting involved are too great. I know, I sound like a bad hollywood scenario. But just imagine it. How many people can you name you would trust to do this? Get the key, not loose it or break it, get the object, not loose it or break it, and deliver it at the ungodly hour of exactly 3.48 in the morning while they don't know your life depends on it? I personally can name only one person of who I know he will do it no matter what.

Ferfal, I also have a question for you: Do you think a safe deposit box is a safe place to store valuables like most of your "gold fund" jewellry or golden coins? What happened to the contents of safe deposit boxes during the conomic collapse and the time the banks were closed? Were the contents still safe? I figure in normal times a safe deposit box is one of the safest places to put valuables because bank robbers seldom try to open them and almost never succeed in opening them, but I'm pretty sure the bank manager could open them if he wanted to.

Thanks for all the valuable information.