Dear Fellow Survivalist;
We seem to live in a world full of angry people. As I look at the news every day, it is filled with constant expressions of outrage, usually directed against the president and the latest thing he’s done, or that people think he’s done. But it doesn’t stop there. We are assaulted by a constant stream of road rage, neighbors fighting over trash blowing over the fence, domestic squabbles and people in a bad mood just pumping into each other, either literally or figuratively.
Contrary to Hollywood and the mainstream media, most murders aren’t planned events or even mass shootings; they’re mistakes that happen out of anger. A couple of guys had one or two beers too many and get into a scrap over who grabbed the last beer, a scrap that leads to a shooting. One spouse gets angry over what another did or said and reacts by reaching for a gun. Someone had a bad day, so flips another driver off on the highway, getting a bullet in return.
Police say that the most common thing that the murderers say in these situations is, “Why didn’t they back off?” The killers recognize that it was all a mistake, even before they recognize that they were the one to make the big mistake.
The reality is that we are all faced with situations where tempers run high, just about every day of our lives. About the only way to avoid that, is to become a hermit; but then, you have to watch out for your own temper as well.
Tempers and guns are as bad a mix as alcohol and guns; maybe even worse. When people get angry and have a gun at hand, it’s all too easy to reach for that gun, thinking it will solve the problem. But a gun doesn’t solve that sort of problem, except by replacing it with a worse problem.
In this, martial arts instructors have always seemed to take the right path. Self-discipline is a major part of learning any martial art form. I’ve known people who had multiple black belts and could kill you more ways than you and I can imagine. But all of them were people of the upmost self-control. They had to be, because if they let their temper get out of control, the results could be deadly.
You and I need to be the same, whether we depend on martial arts for our means of self-defense, a baseball bat or a gun. No weapon should ever be used in anger, but rather, only through cold calculation of the necessity of using that weapon to defend oneself. If we allow our anger to take over, we are likely to do the wrong thing, even if it starts out as self-defense.
One of the fastest things to set most of us off is being confronted by an angry person. There’s just something about anger, which seems to spread. One angry person quickly becomes two, then three and before you know it, we’ve got a whole mob of angry people. But we can’t be part of that.
So, how do you escape it?
First of all, don’t allow yourself to feed off of their anger. While you’re at it, don’t allow them to egg you on. Misery loves company and anger does to; so there’s a strong possibility that they are going to try and get you angry, just on general principles. Expect that and don’t let their attempts touch you.
We can say that the angry person is letting their inner child be in control. You know, the child that throws a temper tantrum. Our job has to be to find some way of settling them down. We can’t do that by taking the parent role. That will only make them worse. Rather, we need to take the adult role, the rational one who sees things clearly and doesn’t allow the emotion of the moment to touch us. Then, and only then, can we work on eliminating their anger.
We eliminate it by being soothing, speaking softly and calmly and allowing them to let off steam. Without anything to feed on, anger eventually dissipates, often faster than we would expect it to. Being the only angry one makes them look foolish and nobody wants that. So when they see you being calm, it will tend to make them calm down as well, just to avoid looking like a fool.
As you are speaking soothingly to them, find out what their problem is and propose a solution to it. Anger pretty much always has a root, and if that root can be eliminated, the reason for the anger is eliminated as well. While that won’t always cause the person to calm down, it often will.
Just because you’re dealing with that angry person; that doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. They could flip quickly, becoming angry again. When that happens, there’s always a chance of them becoming violent. So, while you are working to calm them down, stay in condition orange, ready to react. Just don’t allow yourself to react prematurely. You’re trying to diffuse the situation, not do a reply of the gunfight at the OK corral.
Don’t rush to disarm them, even though that will probably be your first reaction. That attempt could trigger their anger again. Rather, talk them into putting their weapon down of their own accord. Once that is down, the situation deescalates greatly.
Remember, your goal isn’t to shoot someone, it is to defend yourself and your loved ones. If you can do that, without even having to draw your gun, you’ve won. That’s really all that matters. And this sort of win doesn’t carry any legal or mental repercussions afterwards.
Until next time, always remember to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.