Saturday, December 10, 2011

Giving in to Muggers

Hi Ferfal,

Lately here in the states muggings and violent home invasions have increased. In the past week 3 pizza delivery drivers have been lured to an area with an order and then mugged at knife point by a group of two criminals. This seems to mimic tactics you've discussed. In response the police are telling people that should the get mugged to comply with the criminal. To me this seems like it might become a dangerous response as it empowers someone that is already threatening people's lives. From what you've seen in Argentina; do you think this will lead to people getting harmed or murdered when someone puts their live in the hands of their mugger?

Hi Sean. As you noted crime is on the rise. Well, officially its not but then again what matters is what you see for yourself, not what a media network with an agenda to push has to say in terms of statistics. We keep hearing of home invasions and violent crime of the type that was very uncommon not that long ago. It used to be that it was likely that you´d life your entire life without ever seeing the wrong side of a gun or knife. Now, things have changed.
I was in Barcelona last week and a cab driver told me how a passenger mugged him. He suddenly felt the tip of a knife in his neck, he froze out of pure fear but three quick pokes to his neck made him give up his wallet fast. The cab driver, clearly overweight and in poor physical condition, suffered a heart attack. Heart attacks during robberies? It happens a LOT, people! Ive heard it so many times. Please work out within your means and limitations but do it. We´ve covered extensively how important this is, SHTF or not.
As he was driving me to the airport he was telling me all this, apparently forgetting that ten minutes ago when he picked me up he had told me that crime wasnt a problem in Barcelona.
When I asked about the economy he went into a rant ¨ How is it possible that a person like me got loans to buy three different houses? Now I have to work all day to pay for them! Even the rent is not enough to cover the mortage¨. Pathetic, he was upset that he had been allowed to borrow beyond his means, like a child complaining that he was allowed to each too much candy and now his stomach hurts. This cab driver was the living example of what´s wrong in many places around the world.
About your question, that´s the standard police reply around the globe. Truth is, its not that bad an advice for 95% of the population who are untrained, unarmed and wouldn´t even know what to do if the criminal gives you several windows of opportunity. Its the kind of advice that incentives criminals even more though. As seen in CCW states, when criminals fear getting shot, crime goes down.

Even if armed and trained and having the will to fight, sometimes the ego gets in the way and makes us do stupid things. If a mugger acts cool, all he wants is my wallet or car keys (the vehicle is even insured) do I really want to leave him dead in the sidewalk for a couple hundred bucks tops? Only to spend thousands in legal defense, wasting time and money? Maybe the right attitude sends the would-be mugger away, maybe its just a brat and you can disarm him, slap him a bit and send him away. Maybe you just hand in the cash you have and get over with it or maybe you see that the situation is potentially dangerous for you and your family and you fight back, believing this is the best thing to do because giving in will do you no good. I can´t give you a straight answer becuase unlike some people that will, I know how complex it can be. All situations are different, criminals come in different ways and you´ll have to make one of those split second decisions right then and there. As always, its better if you have the tools so as to deal with different possible situations.

Based on what I´ve seen in Argentina all these years, I think that in general, most people are better of just giving up their wallet/purse. In general that´s the best thing you can do even if you can kill your attacker because of the reaons mentioned earlier. I honestly have no moral struggle regarding defending myslef from a SOB that is willing to hurt innocent people for money or pleasure. They can all rot in hell for all I care and their life isnt worth the ammo needed to put them down. But looking at it with a cool head the time and financial cost is just not worth it.

Having said this sometimes even if you give up they will still hurt you and your family. The quesiton you have to ask yourself now is, can you live wth yourself if you allow that to happen? I know I could never forgive myself, that´s why at least for me I draw the line regarding my house, home invasions and such, or when my family is involved. Mugged alone on the street? I´ll probably hand over my wallet and car keys, if the mugger is cool enough maybe ask him to just take the cash and spare me the trouble of getting my cards back. Sometimes they do that and save you a lot of trouble.
I´ll let all the super manly macho type say how they would beat to pulp anyone that looks at them wrong, shoot everyone that approches their homestead within a thousand yards and such.
This would be my advice for avoiding criminals and muggers to begin with:

1)Body Language/ DFWM Attitude:
Looking sure of yourslef will go a long way. Yes you can fake it, but its much better if this confidence comes naturaly out of actually knowing you can handle threats. This isnt about being billy bad ass, but its more about confidence, and getting that DFWM (dont f with me) air about you. You´re a good natured person, but still emit that signal that tells people looking for trouble that they are better off looking elsewhere

Detecting people around you, recognizing possible threats and acknowleging them with clear eye contact. You see me but I see you, I”m aware of you and anything yo may try will not be catching me completely off guard. DFMW attitude. Go look elsewhere for an easier victim.

Grey Man/Appearence:
Dressing down sometimes helps, so does blending in, yet again if you weight 300 pounds, have a bikers jacket and arms and face coverd with tattoos, most of them being daggers with snakes around them or the Repaer, then you´re not exaclty gray man but I doubt many will come try to mugg you. A clean cut dressing with mild gray, black or earth tone colors helps you blend in and go unnoticed, for those that do notice you, they should notice someone that is both aware and confidnet. Of course if you dress with clear name brand tags all over you, or for the ladies if you have gold all over, bags that cost as much as a nice used car, then you will attract the wrong kind of attention.
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Anonymous said...

One of my friends from high school was working at a gas station/convenience store. A robber came in and demanded the money and then instructed my friend to lay down on the ground and clasp his hands behind his back. The robber then shot my friend in the back of the head (killing him).

I think that if the objective of the robber is just to make a few dollars, then by all means it is much less of a hassle to give them your wallet/purse/money. If the robber is one of those people that are pissed off at the world and just want to hurt somebody, it is a bad idea to be put into an (even more) vulnerable position.

Christopher said...

Excellent food for thought. This reminds me to put together a "hand-out" wallet as suggested in your book.

Another angle to look at this is from the perspective of how much you have to lose. At times when i'm out i carry my edc bag (nylon laptop case) complete with various tools, gear, and most importantly, sometimes my g23 will go in a secret compartment (prefer to carry on my person but not always an option).

This kind of adds to the continuum as i balance the aggressor, the setting, and tactical situation against what i possibly have to lose. Like you, i'm more apt to fight than to put myself or worse, my family at the mercy of a dirt-bag.

As an aside, our local "occupy" movement has now morphed into a full-on transient camp on public property and i'm starting to see the semi-permanent structures going up (this is in a public park in the middle of down-town!). In the early days, the movement was very peaceful and remarkably well policed from within. Not so lately, in the last two weeks the police have responded to overdoses, stabbings, and located several wanted criminals hiding out there. The political situation prohibits the police from shutting the whole place down and driving them out, they have liasons with city hall who of course have made them promises.

Lately a fence has gone up around the entire encampment and whenever law enforcement or any other official arrives announcements are made over a loud-speaker.

This is not Mexico City. This is an affluent University town with a struggling, but historically robust economy.

Interesting times. As always, thanks for your efforts.

TOR said...

If you can avoid a violent situation by giving up material things then by all means do so.

Clint Smith said it best. To paraphrase "If they want to take my wallet and car keys they can have them, if they want to take my grandchild we will fight." This coming from a man who, in addition to having a legit Western movie hero name, is a real bad dude and a professional firearms instructor.

Personally I carry somewhere between $40 and $100 in cash most of the time and wear a 30 dollar watch. My car is insured. If somebody really wants that stuff I am not going to fight them over it. Now if they want to search/ tie up/ take me or us somewhere that is the precurser for very bad things and I would fight. Wallet however just isn't worth it, even if I am pretty sure I will win.

Anonymous said...

Latest favorite trick in the national's capitol is the little thugs ride up behind you on their bicycle and smack you in the head with a brick. Then they (and their friends)proceed to go through your stuff at their leasure.

Sean said...

"maybe its just a brat and you can disarm him, slap him a bit and send him away" Sorry but that's about the stupidest statement I've ever read. If you're going to disarm even a "brat" with a knife or gun, you better be prepared to go full bore and inflict some serious injury. Anything less is just asking to get killed yourself.

Anonymous said...

Very deadly that bike brick attack. Bikes are practically silent until it's too late. Though if one is aware enough, the sudden noise of a bike approaching is distinctive and one might very well be able to step to the side, duck or tilt ones upper body to the side. Thus avoiding getting hit in the head with a brick/wrench/rock.