(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Meet the Criminal)
No Nonsense Self-Defense, by Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung and Dianna Gordon MacYoung
Posted from <http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/criminalmindset.html>.
[The ‘Nononsenseselfdefense’ website is full of information about dealing with criminals and predatory behavior.]
I. Armed and dangerous
“New findings on how offenders train with, carry and deploy the weapons they use to attack police officers have emerged in a just-published, 5-year study by the FBI.
Among other things, the data reveal that most would-be cop killers:
• show signs of being armed that officers miss;
• have more experience using deadly force in “street combat” than their intended victims;
• practice with firearms more often and shoot more accurately;
• have no hesitation whatsoever about pulling the trigger. “If you hesitate,” one told the study’s researchers, “you’re dead. You have the instinct or you don’t. If you don’t, you’re in trouble on the street…”
Nearly 40% of the offenders had some type of formal firearms training, primarily from the military. More than 80% “regularly practiced with handguns, averaging 23 practice sessions a year,” the study reports, usually in informal settings like trash dumps, rural woods, back yards and “street corners in known drug-trafficking areas.”
One spoke of being motivated to improve his gun skills by his belief that officers “go to the range two, three times a week and practice arms so they can hit anything.”
The offender quoted above about his practice motivation, for example, fired 12 rounds at an officer, striking him 3 times. The officer fired 7 rounds, all misses.
More than 40% of the offenders had been involved in actual shooting confrontations before they feloniously assaulted an officer. Ten of these “street combat veterans,” all from “inner-city, drug-trafficking environments,” had taken part in 5 or more “criminal firefight experiences” in their lifetime.
One reported that he was 14 when he was first shot on the street, “about 18 before a cop shot me.” Another said getting shot was a pivotal experience “because I made up my mind no one was gonna shoot me again.”
The offenders said they most often hid guns on their person in the front waistband, with the groin area and the small of the back nearly tied for second place. Some occasionally gave their weapons to another person to carry, “most often a female companion.” None regularly used a holster, and about 40% at least sometimes carried a backup weapon.
In motor vehicles, they most often kept their firearm readily available on their person, or, less often, under the seat.
In residences, most stashed their weapon under a pillow, on a nightstand, under the mattress–somewhere within immediate reach while in bed.
Almost all carried when on the move and strong majorities did so when socializing, committing crimes or being at home.
About one-third brought weapons with them to work.
On the street, both male and female officers too often regard female subjects “as less of a threat, assuming that they not going to have a gun,” Davis said. In truth, the researchers concluded that more female offenders are armed today than 20 years ago–“not just female gang associates, but female offenders generally.”
Twenty-six of the offenders [about 60%], including all of the street combat veterans, “claimed to be instinctive shooters, pointing and firing the weapon without consciously aligning the sights,” the study says.
“They practice getting the gun out and using it,” Davis explained. “They shoot for effect.” Or as one of the offenders put it: “We’re not working with no marksmanship… We just putting it in your direction, you know… It don’t matter… as long as it’s gonna hit you…if it’s up at your head or your chest, down at your legs, whatever… Once I squeeze and you fall, then… if I want to execute you, then I could go from there.”
The offenders were of a different mind-set entirely. In fact, Davis said the study team “did not realize how cold blooded the younger generation of offender is. They have been exposed to killing after killing, they fully expect to get killed and they don’t hesitate to shoot anybody, including a police officer. They can go from riding down the street saying what a beautiful day it is to killing in the next instant.”
“Offenders typically displayed no moral or ethical restraints in using firearms,” the report states. “In fact, the street combat veterans survived by developing a shoot-first mentality.”
II. The criminal mind
A. No Nonsense Self-Defense
We have in our personal library two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with books on crime, violence, criminology and psychology. (And yes, we have read them all.) We tell you this because these books contain a lot of theories about the motivations of criminals.
What we would like to point out is that these theories were postulated by people who were dealing with the criminals in the relative safety of being in a position that the criminal needed something from them (e.g. the psychologists were in a position to influence whether or not the criminal would be released or imprisoned). As such, the criminal needed to stay in the good graces of the interviewer and was often trying to ‘get over’ on the person. This is normal dynamic in institutionalized settings were criminals are studied.
It is also why we liken the subject of criminology to studying lions in the zoo. While all kinds of important zoological information can be gathered, you still are not dealing with the beasts in their natural habitat or on the receiving end of a lion’s charge.
In short, very few academic theories about the nature of criminal mind have been developed while looking over the barrel of a gun. That meaning your either on the wrong end of the gun or the person aiming the gun at a violent criminal (in some cases, both are happening at once). And yes, when it comes to dealing with criminals, as well as having researched the subject. We also have experience with all versions of the gun barrel issue — including when those guns were being fired.
We tell you this because:
• having looked into the eyes of ‘charging lions’ we have a slightly different opinion about a criminal’s motivations — and what it takes to stop him.
• if you have the bad luck to encounter a violent criminal, odds are, it won’t be in the safety of an institution … it will be looking into the eyes of a charging lion in his natural habitat.
That means you’re going to need a more practical understanding. One that is less oriented on ‘curing’ or understanding the criminal, and more on stopping him. Having said all this, we tend to agree with the assessment of Stanton Samenow PhD about the nature of the criminal mind. Summed up in one sentence: It’s about selfishness … the different manifestations of criminal behavior is just a matter of style.
That is a simple, but profound statement. Because it is both the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of the criminal and the violent. Strength because it usually gives him an overwhelming degree of focus and dedication. Weakness, because it makes him both predictable and easy to out think — once you understand how he thinks and acts.
All too often the subject of criminal and dangerous behavior — especially the aftermath — is muddled up with ideology, rhetoric and even politics. Often the actions of the criminal and violent person is explained away as a result of injustice, oppression or societal failure. However, by looking at crime and violence from the perspective of extreme selfishness and lack of concern for others, you begin to see more of the ‘charging lion’ nature of the subject.
And make no mistake, that criminal coming at you is like a charging lion … intent on eating you alive.
1. It’s All About The Criminal: If criminals had a theme song it would be the chorus from “It’s all about me!” While everyone is to some degree or the other selfish, criminals, violent and angry people take it to extremes.
2. Criminals: Predators or Scavengers?: While it may seem that we’re against zoological understanding of criminals, we’re not. In fact, when put into these terms a very good layman’s understanding of the nature of criminals can had.
3. Who Is Pointing The Gun At You?: What is the personality of people who do robbery?
4. Who’s Likely to Rape: What are the character traits of someone most likely to rape?
B. Extreme Selfishness in Criminals
Believe it or not, you already know what the criminal is and what motivates him, you see it all the time in minor forms. What to most people is a minor character flaw is to criminals a major defining element of their personalities.
We often talk about extremes, but few people recognize them for what they really are. Extremes are everyday behavior, thoughts and ideas taken and magnified out of proportion. Furthermore, the normal checks and balances that keep these elements under control are either missing, turned off or intentionally abandoned.
Each day of your life, you encounter attitudes, behavior and ways of thinking that are annoying and selfish. Usually, however, these obnoxious people have a form of checks and balances that keep them somewhat in line with normal society. We tend to automatically assume these checks and balances are in place. This is the “social contract” that allows people to function and get along together in their day-to-day activities. We don’t realize how ingrained and unconscious these rules of behavior and ways of thinking are. They temper our selfishness and prevent it from running amok. And in our daily lives, we rely on other people to have the same moderating influences.
What few people realize is that these checks and balances are missing with the criminal or violent person. Nature abhors a vacuum. With this absence of counterbalancing influences, certain behavior flourishes and grows, taking up that empty space. What is apparent to a small degree in a normal person ends up being enormous in the criminal.
The magnitude and extremes to which a criminal is willing to go are unbelievable to most people. It is both shocking and unnerving when we encounter someone who doesn’t follow these unstated rules about controlling one’s selfishness. They simply cannot grasp it. It is like the child who was taken down to the shore to see a beached whale. Standing next to the whale, the child turns to his mother and asks, “Where’s the whale mommy?” What we want to do here is help you see the whale.
Some people cannot see the connections of day-to-day behavior to the extremes. They simply don’t believe that the small, annoying conduct they encounter every day could grow become such extreme evil. While others, until they see the extremes, cannot recognize those same behavioral patterns in daily activities. When these people see the extreme, then they can recognize the smaller, more controlled version
III. Who is going to rob you?
To understand why robbery is so dangerous you need to understand who is doing it. And who is doing it has a lot to do with why robbery is so strongly prosecuted. These are not the kind of people you want out on the streets able to ply their trade.
Let’s start out with a gross generalization. One that, while technically speaking is wrong, gets an important idea across. That is: There is a difference between muggers and robbers.
Both use either the threat of violence or violence to get what they want. Therefore, both are committing robbery in the legal sense of the word. This is why we say technically speaking there is no difference. To further muddy the water, in daily fact and execution, these differences are often blurred. There is enough overlap to often make it difficult to exactly determine which is which because the same person can commit both crimes.
However, there still exists enough of a difference that words exist to distinguish between the two: muggers and robbers. This distinction is made even in the criminal underworld. So knowing it isn’t exactly accurate, for the moment and for explanation purposes, we’ll deal with them as distinct groupings.
So what is the difference?
Differences in style, degree and targeting is what distinguishes muggers and robbers.
• Muggers tend to focus their robberies on individuals — especially innocent civilians.
• Robbers tend to focus their activities on more high risk — and by extension higher yielding — targets, such as institutions and other criminals.
Risk to Reward Ratio and Workload
To begin to understand the difference between a mugger and a robber, you first must understand this risk/rewards/workload concept. This is a group of overlapping factors that strongly influence each other — and the nature of crime an individual is willing to commit.
There are many crimes that are far more lucrative than mugging someone. A reasonably well connected drug dealer can make a hundred times more money in a day, than the mugger who steals from someone on the subway. However, dealing is not only requires something a mugger doesn’t want to do, but isn’t in accord with the mugger’s goals.
Let’s say the mugger gets an average of forty dollars per robbery. That’s not that much. This especially in light of the fact that sometimes he gets more, other times much less. Although he gets this money in a very short time, this is a very low yield strategy. But on the plus side, it’s enough to get him a small amount of money in a short time. This is especially useful for getting cash for one’s drug fix or spending money for an evening. (A mugger isn’t paying his bills with this kind of crime.) Another advantage is by targeting non-violent civilians, his risk of injury (and capture) is very low. This puts mugging in low risk, low yield and low work.
As any officer who has stopped a street-corner-dealer will tell you, it is not uncommon for dealers to have hundreds of dollars on them. Searches of their residences often turn up thousands of dollars. And those are the petty drug dealers, the really successful ones can make millions. This criminal venture is more of a long term strategy. And yes, the drug dealer is paying not only his business overhead, but his bills. But being a successful drug dealer is something you have to constantly work at. Mugging someone only takes a few seconds.
So why aren’t the drug dealers robbed?
Well, they are, but not as often as you might think. Because they too have guns and are ready, willing and able to shoot back. And that tends to warn away all but the most ferocious of criminals.
This is the risk to rewards issue. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. Those who are willing to take greater risks to achieve greater yields are known as robbers. The truly hard-core robbers are going to go after the most money whether it be other criminals or institutions.
But in comparison to other lucrative crimes, robbery is still a low work load crime.
The thing about these more lucrative crimes is that they require work. It is a serious misconception that ALL criminals are lazy. They aren’t. The higher up, more sophisticated and more lucrative crimes require hard work and planning. What’s more is that they require cooperation and personal restraint. Literally, crime is these people’s profession. And in a twisted way, they are professionals.
It is also a serious misconception that ALL criminals are stupid. A successful criminal has to be smart, savvy and aware to survive in such an environment. He must not only watch out for the police, but he must always be on guard with other criminals – who will turn against him. (In fact, a significant reason that the Uniform Crime Report’s numbers are acknowledged as low is that crime committed by criminals on other criminals are NOT reported to the police).
Recognize that criminals do NOT live in a world where they can believe they are sacrosanct from violence. They know violence can be committed upon them for their actions. But they also realize that violence tends to be causal. Certain crimes, lifestyles, actions and associations are more likely to result in violence. Therefore the smarter ones both take measures against violence (e.g. arming themselves) and/or tend to work rackets that are less prone to violent repercussions (e.g. identity theft and fraud). In the latter case, being themselves less violent and working non-violent crimes, they aren’t as likely to be attacked as more violent criminals.
We tell you all this because now you now know who is NOT going to rob you. Older, less-violent, smarter, slicker, hard working criminals, who know that the rewards are not worth the risk, generally aren’t the ones doing muggings. Or even the robberies.
And that leaves you facing either the dregs of the criminal world or the most violent. And sometimes both.
The mugger is coming after you because robbing you is quick, easy and a whole lot safer than going after a high risk/high yield target. He’ll settle for the lower risk/lower return yield because it’s a lot less work.
All the planning it takes to mug someone is putting a weapon in his pocket, walking out his front door and heading out to where there are people with something worth mugging them for. The workload is waiting until a viable victim walks by and then mugging that person
While robbers tend to have it more together than muggers, their work load isn’t that great. Contrary to what you might think from the movies, robbers do not spend weeks planning how to knock over an establishment. While it might be a matter of days between ‘casing’ an establishment and the robbery, it might be a matter of minutes … or the strategy developed on the spot. They’ve come prepared to engage in overwhelming violence to achieve their ends … how much planning do you really need?
Which brings us back to risk/reward. Unlike mugging someone in an otherwise deserted parking lot, robbers know that the police will actively pursue them for going after a business establishment. In the case of bank robbery it will be the FBI. This makes it a much higher risk to the reward. Risky because any kind of robbery is the most severely punished crime next to murder and kidnapping (as often the three are mixed). A murder one charge is only a trigger pull away if something goes wrong. Also there is issue of armed guards or armed business owners. Unless these are immediately overwhelmed, the danger is just as great to the robber as his target. If he’s going to risk his life and prison time, the returns need to be greater than the low returns one gets from mugging.
Understanding the reward/risk/workload issue will help you better develop effective strategies to keep yourself safe from both muggings and robberies.
Now let’s turn our attention to those who commit these crimes.
Literally every negative cliché about criminals tends to come to roost with muggers. They are stupid, lazy, violent and dangerous. And yes, they are often drug addicted. Add onto this that they often come from the most violent, dysfunctional and abusive backgrounds imaginable – and far worse than you can imagine.
To say that these people lack empathy is like saying that Genghis Khan dabbled in real estate — a massive understatement. They don’t care if they hurt you. Let’s start out with the idea that this person is willing to offer you violence to get what he wants. Take a look in your wallet right now and see how much money is there. If you don’t give it to him, he is willing to kill you for that amount.
Muggers are the most pathological, sociopathic and dysfunctional morons of the criminal world and they are the most violent and unpredictable. These are the guys who are so stupid and lazy that they only pry themselves up “to work” to engage in the least well paying and most violent of crimes.
It is important to recognize that the issue of these people’s stupidity is NOT an elitist comment, but rather a statement of fact. Low IQs are very common among violent criminals – simply put, they aren’t smart enough to realize that violence is a dead end long term survival strategy. All they see is that it works for the moment.
Another extreme is these are drug addicts who have sunk far enough into their addiction that they are no longer competent to execute more high yield robberies. Their goal is to achieve money for their next high and often what you have in your wallet is enough.
Still another issue affecting over-all intelligence is that criminals who tend to mugging people are themselves, often children, (not over, or just barely over eighteen). And that makes him MORE dangerous, not less! Because, on top of a dysfunctional, violent and pathological existence, you also have the self-centeredness, lack of foresight, lack of maturity and emotional capriciousness of a teenager. But this teenager has a gun.
If such a person perceives that something is going wrong with the mugging or carjacking, then it is the next logical step to pull the trigger — at least according to what he considers ‘logic.’ That’s if – using the same logic – he didn’t just walk up and shoot you in the first place.
Why would he do that? It makes sense to him that by just shooting you up front you
a) are going to be in shock and therefore won’t be able to identify him later
b) won’t be able to resist as you are laying there bleeding on the floor and
c) seeing you writhe and scream in pain shows how powerful he is.
The bottom line is that most muggers are young, dysfunctional and violent and they may or may not be borderline retarded. And yes, drugs are often a significant factor in their mental state. While it is easy to pity their abused, drug addled lifestyle from the safety of your office, when you are looking down the barrel of his gun, you are going to discover that these animals have fangs and they are so stupid and self-absorbed, they don’t care who they bite.
It is important to realize that when you are looking down the barrel of a gun, the mugger, whose finger is on the trigger, is literally an alien species.
He doesn’t hold the same values as you do. He has no sympathy or empathy for you – whether you live or die is no matter to him. Except as it might affect, him, he has no concern about your emotions or what you think. If those do affect him, he’ll view it as interference with him getting what he wants — and you won’t like the results. While he could pull that trigger on a whim, most people are harmed by muggers because quite frankly, they pissed him off. They either tried to stall him, argue with him, resist ineffectively or scare him away.
Realize the mugger is only concerned with two things: Himself and the NOW. He has no fear of the police, nor does he have any concern that his actions may have long term repercussions for him (the threat of prison is like threatening to send him to his room). Often he considers that YOU are holding HIS money for him (so it’s not robbery it is getting back what is rightfully his) And – most importantly – he has absolutely no hesitation about pulling the trigger, because to him, you don’t matter.
What matters to him is that he gets what he wants and with little to no risk to himself. And what exactly that might be in his stunted, drug addled mind is anybody’s guess. It can change from moment to moment and even he won’t know until after he’s acted.
Do you now see why avoidance of the whole problem is the best solution?
Remember earlier we mentioned that crime is the criminal’s profession? Well, as far as it can apply to violent crime that concept really comes home to roost with robbers.
Robbers tend to be a little more self-controlled than muggers. Well that’s both good news and bad news. We say this because they pose a different kind of danger. While a mugger might shoot you on a whim, robbers commonly are more predictable. The problem with this is that, if you give them reason, they will shoot you faster than a mugger.
And this can include announcing their presence by committing extreme violence (such as shooting or stabbing the security guard). Even if robbers do not kill anyone out right they need to overwhelm and take control of the situation immediately. Due to the more high risk high reward nature of their crime robbers cannot afford to chance an effective resistance to develop or an alert to be issued (e.g. silent alarm to be pressed. Which would bring an effective response).
Remember we mentioned that muggers tend to rob individuals? As such muggers can — and often do — work solo. While a robber can work alone when he overwhelms a single clerk at a store, it is just as common that robbers work as part of a team. This is especially important when there are numerous people to control in a situations (such as a bank robbery). This requires a greater degree of coordinated effort and by extension increases the danger of trying to resist a robbery. You may be focusing on one person and his partner will shoot you. This can be complicated by a not unknown strategy of robbers. Namely that not everyone who is ‘in’ on the crime announces his (or her) presence. The ‘sleeper’ goes in first and pretending to be among the customers, serves as a back up against something going wrong (e.g. an armed customer).
Another complicating factor with robbers is their love of risk. This is like the high of a gambling addict. There is often something within the personality of robbers that enjoys the rush of power and the thrill of knocking over a high risk/ high yield target. A successful robbery is a coup. It not only gives him the rush, but it also ups his status in the criminal world. This is why there is a distinction between robbers and muggers in that world. Unfortunately, this ‘rush’ can often lead them to making lethal decisions in the heat of the moment. Although most robberies are committed with just the threat of violence, it is very easy to slip over line of yelling, screaming and threatening with a weapon to using it.
It is both their willingness to use extreme violence against innocent civilians and to target businesses that makes robbers a higher priority than muggers. Realize that businesses are an integral part of a communities well being. If businesses pull up stakes and leave the community suffers.
The — and we use this term loosely — good news is that robbers tend to be more ‘job oriented.’ They want what they want and if they get it, then they are done. In many ways this makes them safer to deal with — if you cooperate.
That is to say their motives are based on financial gain rather than gaining the more subjective and fluid ‘props’ common among the younger, less experienced and dysfunctional criminals. As far as robbers are concerned they are offering you a choice, cooperate and give them what they want or be hurt. If you cooperate there is no reason to hurt you. In fact, if the target is the business money you may be no more involved than being ordered to the floor while the cash is collected.
This is why — unless you are ordered to a secondary location — it is advisable to cooperate with a mugger/robber who has gotten the drop on you. This gives your best chance of not being hurt.
When The Two Blend
Anyway you cut it robbers and muggers are dangerous. Although for explanation purposes we have differentiated between the two, there is often a great deal of overlap. Someone who has the character traits of a mugger will often attempt robberies of small businesses. In the same vein, a more experienced and dangerous robber will engage in muggings if the need or opportunity arises.
That makes it hard to predict what circumstances you will be facing. The simple fact is you can find yourself in the middle of either a mugging or a robbery just by going about your normal business. Walking to your car or waiting in line at the bank there is always the possibility of something happening. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whether you are going to be confronted by a ‘professional’ or a strung out addict trying to get money for more drugs. The former will probably take the money and run, while who knows what the latter is going to decide to do.
For ease of explanation we have largely talked about muggers and robbers operating as individuals. The unpleasant fact is both often operate in groups. This further complicates the situation because you can often finding yourself facing a mixed group.
For example, it is not uncommon for older, more experienced gangbangers to commit muggings and low scale robberies by using younger, less experienced gang members. The younger gangsters are used not only as ‘muscle,’ but also cannon fodder. The older gangster hangs back, while sending the younger ones forward to commit the crime. Not only does this protect the older gang member from immediate harm if something goes wrong, but it gives him time to react (e.g. pull his gun and shoot a person who is resisting). Unfortunately, this means that if you are the victim you will be facing not only both types, but possibly everything in between. The older member gets the lion’s share of the booty, while the younger ‘gangstas’ up their street credibility for having participated in a crime with the older, more respected gang member.
Another problem with these mixed groups is that any one member can decide to take the ‘threat of’ into the commission of violence. And there is nothing that the other group members can do to stop it. Often when this happens there is a lot of screaming and yelling between the group members before the group flees. This is an extremely volatile situation that can explode into complete and utter chaos. The robbers, having broken the contract of “don’t resist or we will hurt you’ now have to face people who have no reason not to resist. Furthermore, because of the actions of one member, they are now all facing murder one charges.
The intent of this page is to show the average person the problems inherent in dealing with violent criminals. While we don’t advocate paranoia or passively submitting to violent in order to understand the dangers, one must first understand who commits these kinds of crimes. For the average person — and even the average martial artist — there is no reliable way to muster enough firepower to effectively stop these people before they harm you. While it can be done, it takes intensive training and a different mindset than most people are comfortable living with. Knowing the dangers that violent criminals pose, hopefully will help you (the average person) understand the importance of avoidance. And why it is your best chance for personal safety.
IV. Profile of a rapist
(or a stalker, or an abuser)
In attempting to warn women against the danger, many rape crisis centers proclaim “all men are potential rapists.”
What a horrible way to live.
Who wants to go through life in fear of one half of the human race? Much less believe that about those we love and are intimate with.
The idea behind any learning should be to improve the quality of life, not degrade it. To this end, let’s leave the wild paranoia of ‘possible’ rape scenarios and move onto the more solid footing of ‘probable’ and ‘very likely.’ That you can do something about.
Someone rightly said, “Dishonest people are seldom dishonest in only one aspect of their lives.” In the same vein, the predilections that can, and do, lead to rape and violence are not isolated. They tend to permeate a person’s character and be regularly displayed in many small ways — and in other areas. These attitudes, behaviors and words are consistent among rapists and those who attack others.
IF you are willing to look, they are easy to spot.
The reason it is impossible to predict who will and won’t sexually assault someone is because how these behaviors manifest is a matter of style and preference. One person might choose to be blatant and habitually physically attack others, while another might be more subtle and rely on drugs and alcohol to render his victim helpless. The motives are the same, but the style is utterly different. And that is why it is hard to predict who will and won’t commit sexual assault or physical violence. A person who will physically assault one person will not engage in violence with a different person. The same goes for circumstances, he will attack in one set of circumstances, but not another.
What we can accurately predict is something bad will arise out of these character traits. However exact details of the ‘When, Where and How’ are impossible to predetermine.
If you see these behaviors in a person, take care. The more you see, the more care should be taken not to be alone him. Even if he doesn’t rape, these behaviors indicate serious character flaws.
1) Insensitivity for others/emphasis on self – Does this person put his wants above the needs, feelings or well being of others? Is getting his way more important to him than other people’s welfare? Often this can go beyond mere selfishness and border nearly on an “assumed divine right.” Often these people will justify a particularly vicious action with a flip comment like, “Hey, that’s how the game is played.” Such a person has no understanding that he must co-exist with others. Because he simply exists he thinks the world “owes” him whatever he wants. A common tactic of such a person it to make you feel bad for not doing what he wants.
2) Belittling behavior or attitudes towards others – Does this person habitually make nasty, belittling or degrading comments about others – especially under the guise of joking? Does this person think he is better than others? Does he look down on others? A nouveau riche aristocrat? Is he a racist? A person who thinks that race or social position makes him superior can also assume gender does too. When you think you are superior, an assumed right to ‘take’ what you want often follows.
3) Negating behavior or comments – Closely related to 1 and 2. Does he try to tell you what you are feeling or thinking? Or worse, tell you what you are not? Comments like “you don’t really mean that” are serious indicators of someone trying to negate you. A person who negates others is trying to take away the other person’s thoughts, feelings and needs and attempting to project his wants onto that person. The most obvious example of this is “Well even though she said ‘no’, she really meant ‘yes’”.
4) Hostile and/or threatening language – What words does a person use? Choice of words convey subconscious assumptions about a particular topic. For example a man who generically refers to women as “bitches” does not have good assumptions about females (or much respect). It is all too easy to dismiss this behavior as just “blowing off steam.” But if it is a constant behavior, it goes far beyond that. Someone who habitually uses violent or threatening language should be carefully watched for possible escalation. It’s on his mind already. It’s a uncomfortably short step from ‘thinking about’ to ‘doing’.
5) Bullying – This behavior is especially dangerous. Does this person use overt or subtle threats to get his way? A bully uses the threat of violence more than actual violence. Most often bullies are not willing to risk conflict with someone who can hurt them (an alpha male), and will instead chose to intimidate someone he considers weaker and safer. Someone who is bullying over other matters can easily turn to bullying you regarding sex.
6) Excessive anger – How easy does this person anger? Is he a “Short Fuse”? Does he boil over at the slightest problem? This is an indication of chronic anger. A person who explodes over a minor issue is like a full pot boiling over on the stove. It’s not that the issue is all that important, but that he has so much anger already, any more causes him to explode. Often people with chronic anger look for targets to vent their anger at. This could manifest as physical fights, abuse, or rape.
7) Brooding/ revenge – Does this person hang onto his anger long after the situation is over? Will he still be stewing over something while everyone else has moved onto other things? Will he become anti-social and glare at the source of his anger from across the room? Will he insist on taking revenge for real or imagined slights? Both indicate a petty and obsessive personality. A brooder fixates on something and then works himself into a frenzy over it. A person who seeks revenge “has to win” and is willing to take it to extremes. Refusing such a person’s sexual advances can turn this tendency towards you.
8) Obsession – This is a close cousin to number seven. It is a major factor with acquaintance rapes. This is the person who won’t leave you alone. He insists on ‘hitting on you’ long after you have told him no. He is always trying establish forced intimacy (see ‘bonding process’ below). Such obsessions easily turn into anger when his advances are rejected. One day he shows up in a fringe area, drunk and attacks.
9) Extreme mood swings – Beware someone who can go from wildly happy to deeply wounded at a moment’s notice. This sort of personality can feel justified to commit an unlimited amount of violence and damage, because you “hurt his feelings.” This is a common pattern among those with chronic anger about life.
10) Physical tantrums – How does this person get angry? Especially when denied “getting his way”. Beware of a person who regularly physically assaults his environment i.e. hitting walls, kicking things etc. It is only a short step from striking a car to attacking you.
11) Jock or gorilla mentality – This mentality promotes both acceptance and encouragement for the use of violence. It is especially common among participants of contact sports. What is most insidious about this mentality is the “jock” receives, not only positive reinforcement, but out-and-out applause for being aggressive and violent. This can easily lead to a failure to differentiate between the playing field and real life. Mike Tyson’s comment is a prime example: “Nobody ever objected before.”
12) A mean drunk – Nearly all rape and abuse cases involve alcohol. Watch what surfaces when someone is intoxicated. It shows what is always lurking underneath. Do not put yourself into a situation where you would deal with such a person while he is intoxicated. Most importantly, don’t allow your facilities to be diminished by alcohol or drugs in this person’s presence.
13) Alcohol or drug abuse – To begin with drug and alcohol addiction can in be traced back to selfishness and a refusal to change one’s world view. Alcohol and drugs are not the cause of bad behavior, rather they are used as an excuse! Often the attacker intentionally became intoxicated to ignore the social restrictions and inhibitions regarding violence.
While there are others, these behaviors are serious indicators of a potential rapist. This short list should acquaint you with the basics. Not all men are rapists, but a person like this has a higher probability than others. You not only find these traits among rapists and abusers, but also professional criminals.Philosophically there is little difference between such, they are all selfish. Most often it is just a matter of degrees, style and choice of victims.
So slick he could slide up hill
One Saturday morning our college-aged daughter, who had come back for a visit, mentioned she was dating someone who had been convicted of sexual assault. Marc tried to mask his immediate reaction by taking a sip of coffee. What nearly caused a caffinated spraying of the room was her follow up comment “But it’s okay, he explained to me what happened and it wasn’t his fault.”
Of course it wasn’t his fault…and while we’re at it, let’s free everybody in prison because they are innocent – and they will tell you that too.
When we mentioned the possibility that he probably lied about, or at the very least spin-doctored, his version of events she proudly told us that “she had checked it out” — by asking his best friend. She then proceeded to tell us a long litany of behavior that was bordering on stalking. We told her to drop him faster than an annoyed scorpion.
What was most disturbing was her outrage at our reaction. Why were we getting so upset, she knew ‘what she was doing’ and ‘she could take care of herself.’ This kind of gullibility born of both willful ignorance and arrogance is what leads people into danger. And she had a double-dose of both.
Fortunately, she broke it off with him shortly after returning to school, so nothing bad ever occurred. She was able to “flitterygibbit” off to other things convinced that mom and dad were once again over-reacting and being paranoid. She is, unfortunately, our risk taker. She insists on regularly putting herself into situations like that.
We mention this story because there is an old saying: You can’t cheat an honest man. If you don’t have much experience with the underbelly of life, that comment doesn’t seem to make sense. But it is very true. That is because most swindles rely on the mark’s greed. It is the person who is aversively trying to get a ludicrously low price or an unrealistic high return who is going to get hustled. Whereas an honest person knows this isn’t right. You don’t get those kind of prices and returns in legitimate business. If someone is offering them, then something is wrong. And yet because of greed, the mark proceeds with the deal.
In the same vein, a smooth talking individual can only convince you of something if you want to believe what he is saying. And the more you want to believe the less convincing he will have to do. But without this willingness to ignore common sense on your part, even the smoothest con-artist has no power and no chance to harm you.
The reason for this side trip into the nature of con artists is to acquaint you with the fact that many rapists will attempt to mask, justify, make light of, or explain away the dangerous behaviors that we have mentioned. How they will do this is totally unpredictable at this time — as it depends on the individual and his opinion and assessment of you. Know right now however, that he will tailor his response to what he thinks will work best with you. So it is going to sound real convincing when it comes your way.
Having said that however, there are several common tactics.
The first is to make light of it. To claim that he was just joking about a verbal attack. To “blow off” a significant event with a flip or short comment as though it didn’t matter.
Another common dodge is to minimize others by focusing on him. He was justified in doing what he did because his emotions were hurt or because the other person did something to him first.
Bullying is often common. The subject is closed because it angers or upsets him. Or they will have a long and elaborate story how it really wasn’t their fault.
These stories however, while tending to have great depths in some areas are prone to be as shallow as a puddle in a parking lot when it comes to their involvement. Not about what they did or what they were feeling – those are in depth areas – but rather why they chose a course of action that they knew was wrong. That will be quickly glazed over. Unfortunately this subject has massive influence on everything else they are telling you. But if they can baffle you with BS about other details, you won’t notice that this issue is prominently lacking in their story.
It is not uncommon for them to try to turn it around onto you. Your reaction to their action is wrong: That is what they will try to convince you. You are being narrow-minded and mean spirited. Don’t you know it was just a joke? How can you be so unforgiving to hold him accountable for something that wasn’t his fault. Or a very common one, how can you be so unreasonable, look how reasonable about this he is trying to be.
No matter what tactic someone takes there is always a core fortification of “me” that is involved in his arguments. It is hard to describe, but once you have learned how to recognize it, it is always there. This fortification is never touched. It is always talked around or quickly skipped over. And that area that is never addressed is accepting personal responsibility for one’s actions.
Another issue that is never mentioned is their responsibility to interact with others on an equal basis. It is always how other people are affecting them. Or how much they have done and how hard they have tried to make things work. There is no recognition that their words or actions might have affected someone just as, if not deeper than they themselves were affected.
If you can remove your emotional involvement from the equation, you will clearly see how people attempt to hide these behaviors . But before you can remove your emotional investment you must critically review your motives. What are you getting out of the situation? What do you expect to get out of the situation? What are you afraid of losing if you were to allow yourself to see this behavior and recognize its significance?
With our daughter, it was that this man was from a well to do family and spent money on her. He would take her out, buy her entertainment, dinner, drinks and gifts. Which for a ‘broke’ college student is very appealing. Because she was benefiting from the association, she chose to ignore the danger signals and accept a shallow and biased explanation of past events. It wasn’t until his obsessive behavior became annoying to her that she decided that the profit wasn’t worth the pain.
That which is hateful
The great rabbinical scholar Hillel is supposed to have been woken up in the middle of the night by a skeptic. The skeptic demanded Hillel explain the whole of the Torah in ten words or less. He replied “What is hateful unto you, do not do unto others — the rest is commentary” and then Hillel rolled over and went back to sleep.
Rapists tend to be very selfish people. While there is a chance of a rape occurring because an otherwise “nice guy” makes a bad and selfish decision, this is an exception rather than the rule. Usually people who rape others have long shown a consistent pattern of attitude and behavior. The sexual assault is another, albeit more extreme, manifestation of this kind of mindset.
This however brings up an interesting point. Bad behavior tends to be tolerated only by people who are expecting you to tolerate theirs.
If you are engaged in selfish behavior, you will eventually find yourself surrounded only by other selfish people. This shift is gradual and oft times not noticed by the individual. Once you start down this road, it becomes a matter of degrees – who is more selfish. And when that happens it is not a question of “if” bad things will happen but rather “when?”
If you see the warning signs we have talked about here, do not choose to ignore them. Do not minimize them. Do not assume that you can control the situation. That is an assumption of omnipotence. You cannot control other human being and the assumption you can is pure arrogance.
The best thing you can do is to get these kind of individuals out of your life. If you look around and recognize this behavior in ALL of your friends, then it is time to sit down and do a critical reassessment of your own behavior.
These danger signals are real as are the tactics we have discussed. Care should be taken when dealing with someone who exhibits them. Do not put yourself in a situation where such a person could successfully use violence. Literally, do not go off alone with such a person – especially if alcohol or drugs are involved.
Incidentally, many of these behaviors are shared with those who turn into abusive husbands and boyfriends. These are the seeds of that kind of behavior, but it won’t be until you are involved that abuse will manifest. This is another reason to avoid becoming involved with a person who displays these early signs.
To a greater or lesser degree, you can see these danger signals in many people you know. Do not ignore, rationalize or excuse these behaviors, especially if you see a significant number of them. Don’t make the mistake, as great many young women do, that because such a person hasn’t attacked you, he won’t.
A shark is a shark whether he is peacefully swimming or attacking. Just because you haven’t been attacked, doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t. You either haven’t had anything he wants or you haven’t been in a situation with him where he could successfully act.“