LAST WEEK: PART ONE – IDENTIFYING THE MOST COMMON CIRCUMSTANCE LEADING TO A LETHAL ENCOUNTER
THIS WEEK: PART TWO – TIPS TO REDUCE THE RISK IN THE MOST COMMON CIRCUMSTANCE LEADING TO A LETHAL ENCOUNTER
Last week Guns and Patriots in Part One of this two part series examined and analyzed FBI Crime Statistics for 2009 to identify the most common circumstance leading to murder. Surprisingly, we discovered that engaging in an argument is the most common circumstance leading to murder. More surprisingly, we discovered that most often it is a friend, acquaintance or relative that is the homicide victim.
Recognizing that statistically we have a greater chance of having to defend oneself from a lethal attack against friends, acquaintances or relatives in a heated argument, Part Two of this article suggests means to mediate those verbal encounters in the hopes of avoiding it becoming a lethal one.
Perhaps we should begin daily earnest practice in civility in our dealings with one another to reduce the risk of a lethal confrontation.
Unfortunately, everyone will become involved in arguments at some time for we do not always agree on matters. If we learn to disagree civilly we can hopefully avoid the furious anger that leads to homicide. Despite the fact that in 2009 over 3,746 murders arose from arguments; consider the fact that million upon millions of arguments occurred without a lethal ending. That fact should encourage everyone that it is possible to disagree without a homicide ensuing.
However, if you become embroiled in an angry, heated argument take a moment to recognize the danger, evaluate the circumstances carefully and take immediate steps to reduce the volatility of the situation.
Immediately take steps to decrease the intensity of the argument:
o Take a deep breath to clear the mind and calm down
o Smile at the person
o Soften your words
o Moderate your tone
o Lower your volume
o Restate common grounds
o Offer compromise if appropriate
o Empathize – consider their position
o Reduce the emotional content of the argument
o Postpone the discussion until emotions are cooled
o Change subjects; refuse to engage in the disputed issue
o Remember it takes two to argue – Disengage from the discussion
· If either party has been drinking alcohol or using drugs – disengage there is no reasoning with someone under the influence.
· If a Temporary or Permanent Restraining Order is in effect, immediately contact police for assistance. Do not engage in any discussions, this person’s propensity for violence has been established – call the police.
Women are more than three times as likely as men to be the victims in family arguments and thus should take heed of the advice to disengage the argument and leave. Once out of the quarrelsome environment women should assess the situation carefully before returning to a belligerent situation
If these suggestions do not decrease the volatility of the situation, then be prepared to:
· Remain calm and in control of your emotions
· Continue efforts to decrease the intensity of the argument
· Establish combat situational awareness by identifying:
o all potential opponents and their threat level
o the nature and condition of terrain
o routes of attack/retreat
o available weapons
o places of defensive cover
· Watch the other party for signs of becoming enraged:
o Entrenching of positions that leave no room for compromise
o Changes in the tone of voice
o Track the mood of the other person, rapid mood shifts may give rise to sudden uncontrolled rage
o Watch for stair stepping of emotions – incremental increases in anger
o Carefully observe the other party’s eyes which may give clues to impending action
o Watch for signs of impending attack such as shifting of weight aggressive repositioning or simply closing the distance between you
o If possible casually move to a place where exit is quick and easy or that can be easily defended
· Disengage from the conversation and depart
The key is if the disagreement becomes uncivil, loud, angry or abusive – Disengage. Move away from the subject that is contentious. Change the subject matter to one more agreeable, but if that is not possible, physically disengage by leaving and ending the argument. Perhaps time away from the person will help clarify the basis for disagreement or reveal a possible solution to the dispute. Remember you are likely to be related or friends with this person and have no desire to become a victim or produce one.
Part One of this article answered the question “What is the most common dangerous situation leading to murder that one might face?” Surprisingly, it is not the felonious stranger – rather it is an argument with a friend or acquaintance that leads to murder most often.
Part Two of the article suggests means and methods to help reduce the volatility of that encounter, with the ultimate means being disengaging from the argument and leaving the area.
Disagreements and arguments have been with man since he first trod soil. Even the Holy Bible offers; “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh one stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) This advice is still worthy of respect today in light of these FBI statistics.