Escalation of Force: How to Choose the Appropriate Response to Potential Violence

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by Daisy Luther

“I’ll just pull out my Glock/HK/Ruger and deal with those punks. Once they see their buddies drop, they’ll back off soon enough.”

“We could end this by just killing anyone who sets foot on our block.”

“All good Americans need to do is start mowing down protesters with their cars if the roads get blocked.”

Chances are, if you ever read the comments or visit any type of social media outlet online, you’ve read some comments pretty similar to the ones above. After all, this is America, land of the free, home of the brave. It’s up to all good patriots to defend our property and our country from scumbags with deadly force.

But not so fast.

Things are never as cut and dried as people with 3-second solutions like to make it seem in the comments.

You can’t escalate directly to lethal force in every situation.

Let’s take a look at the situation Terry Trahan wrote about the other day, where the lady was sitting in a restaurant having dinner when she got surrounded by an unruly mob who insisted she raise her fist in the air in support of a group of activists. The comments section is filled with people who are apparently ready to open fire on a city street into a crowd of people.

Is that really the appropriate response? While I absolutely agree that the behavior of that mob is horrible and that these things shouldn’t happen, is this a moment that requires the use of uncensored deadly force?

Have any of these folks stopped to think about what happens after they open fire?

Because I can tell you what is very likely to occur if you unload a magazine in a public space in the middle of downtown Washington DC. At best, you will be arrested and charged with brandishing a weapon or illegal discharge of a weapon. At worst, one of your bullets will go through its intended target and hit an innocent bystander – maybe a child – maybe even your own child who is making his way back from the bathroom.  Or you’ll kill a member of the angry mob and someone will take the gun away and turn it on you and you’ll be dead. Or you’ll valiantly take down three attackers and find yourself awaiting trial for homicide, among other charges.

And you know what else? Every idiotic off-hand comment you ever made online about blowing people away will come back to haunt you in court. If you think you’re anonymous online, I assure you that you are not. Even when you use a VPN, your actual IP can be traced given enough resources and time.

Choosing how you escalate your response

We’ve all heard the saying, “When your only tool is a hammer, you treat everything like it’s a nail.”  The same is true when your only tool is deadly force.

Obviously there are life and death situations in which deadly force is the only possible response if you want to live. When someone bursts into your home waving a gun screaming that they’re going to kill you, when someone in a mask is trying to drag you into a van with dark-tinted windows, when someone is clearly intent on beating the crap out of you until you’re dead – all of these things are situations in which your use of a lethal response is entirely justified.

But… a lot of situations require more finesse unless you want to risk a) spending the rest of your life in prison and praying you don’t drop the soap or b) vengeance from your adversary’s friends or family or c) criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits forever and ever until you die.

You need to have an understanding of the appropriate escalation of force.

A book I read last year has a place on everyone’s shelf during these times in which a conflict can arise for just about anyone, just about anywhere. That book is Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision Making Under Threat of Violence and it’s by Rory Miller. If you’ve been around here for a while, you may have seen my review of another of Miller’s books, and you may have seen Toby Cowern and Terry Trahan reference him as well. That’s because, in my opinion, nobody knows more about the science of violence than Miller. As well, he spent years working in law enforcement settings, so he knows a lot about what happens after the violence takes place.

To make a long story short, your goal should always be to use the lowest amount of force possible to get yourself safely out of the situation. Your ability to do this depends on understanding the different strategies you can employee and your skill at reading your opponent.

Identify what the threat actually is.

If you are in a situation in which you may have to defend yourself, it’s important that you understand what the threat really is.

  • Are you just being yelled at or mocked?
  • Are people just trying to intimidate or embarrass you?
  • Are they trying to have an actual discussion or just shout over you?
  • Are you outnumbered?
  • Are they threatening to physically attack you?
  • Are they capable of physically attacking you?
  • Are they armed with firearms, items that could be used as bludgeons, or knives?

While all of these things may make you angry, if you are not in physical danger, you have to temper your response accordingly.

Part of the book is a detailed description of pre-assault indicators that can help you identify a potentially violent encounter before it happens. This goes a long way toward reducing the likelihood of you being injured, killed, or imprisoned due to your response.

Here are some key steps to take during a potentially violent encounter.

In Miller’s book – which I strongly recommend – he suggests a pattern that begins with simply leaving the situation, to verbal de-escalation when you are not in imminent danger, with other steps all the way up to and including lethal force. He discusses in detail how to rapidly assess your situation to see where you should start. You can find these steps on the internet but they’re not detailed. You should truly read the book to get a deep understanding of them – and you need that now more than ever.

This is my personal take on what he wrote. Any mistakes or misinterpretations are mine alone.

Presence: The encounter requires your presence and there are two components to this. First, is, don’t be there. Any time you ask Selco and Toby what you should do in a dangerous situation, their immediate response is “don’t be there.” And that is true of many of the things happening right now. Going to a protest, for example, is automatically putting you at high risk of being involved in a violent encounter.

Your second option is to leave the situation. If you find yourself in a scenario in which you could be embroiled in a violent encounter, leave. This is like “don’t be there” but in action form. If you see a crowd gathering up ahead chanting and raising their fists in the air, turn around and go a different way. If you are in a setting in which someone makes you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and leave. Don’t talk yourself out of listening to your gut. You’re not being silly. (This is especially true for women.)

Use your voice. First, you can try to de-escalate the situation. If you can’t avoid it and you can’t leave, verbal de-escalation is your next best bet. This depends heavily upon your understanding of psychology. You want to calm the situation down and one of the best ways to do that is setting up what Miller refers to as a “face-saving exit.” If you are dealing with one member of a crowd, that person will have a lot of personal investment in not being embarrassed in front of his or her friends. You’ll want to think of a way to defuse things while sparing the person from that humiliation. This, of course, sucks, because we all want to kick the butts of someone who is treating us unreasonably. However, your goal is to get away from this encounter without being hurt or killed. If you are alive and uninjured, you’ve won.

Your other voice option is a sharp command if you seem like the kind of person who can back this up. Take me, for example, a middle-aged mama. A command from me is unlikely to have a huge effect on an angry group. However, a command from me backed up by a gun in my hand would be a lot more convincing. (This is something that has actually happened to me – you can read about it here.)

Touch. In some situations, touch can be used to de-escalate a conflict. Touch can be soothing, it can help to distract someone fixated on potentially hurting you, and it can help to defuse situations that haven’t gone too far. If you are not stronger than your potential opponent, this should be used very cautiously, as touching them puts you within their reach as well. For many women, this is not going to be a viable option.

Physical control. This is another thing that won’t work for everyone. But if it is within your wheelhouse, you might be able to prevent the violence from escalating by physically controlling the attacker. This prevents them from harming you or anyone else around you.  At this point, you’re beginning to get into territory that could have legal consequences.  This is also another thing that may not be particularly viable for women against a male assailant.

Use less than lethal force. The next step up the ladder is less than lethal force. This might mean pepper spray, a taser, or a physical blow, to name a few options. This can be a defensive preventative that will work in some cases. If you are able to stun your attacker, it can be the thing that allows you to move back down the ladder to step one – not being there. Physically overpowering an assailant and injuring them to the extent they can no longer hurt you is an option but, again, you’ll very likely face legal consequences unless it is well-witnessed or provable that you had no less violent options.

Use lethal force. The final solution in this hierarchy is lethal force. This should not be your first choice unless your life is in imminent danger. You can’t just shoot someone because you decide they “deserve” it or because you feel they’re inflicting an injustice upon you. Well, you can, but you can also expect a trial that will empty out your bank accounts and cause your family to potentially lose their home and any other assets while you finance your defense. Then, if you win, you get to start all over again economically. If you lose, you spend five years to the rest of your life in prison. Lethal force must be legally justified and even then, you can end up suffering immensely for having used it.

Again – I strongly recommend you read Rory Miller’s book on this topic, as it is far more detailed than I can be in a quick article and filled with personal anecdotes that make it a very interesting read. You really do have far more options than just killing someone and most of the time, the other options will be better for your future as well as the future of your family.

How do you plan to respond to the threat of violence?

We’re living in a world where unruly groups of people are spending their evenings out trying to intimidate people who they feel “deserve” it, without actually knowing anything about their targets. Any of us could become a target.

Understand that I sincerely believe in the right to armed self-defense. It is our basic human right to protect ourselves, our families, and our property. But I urge you to use temperance when making rapid decisions that could have long-term consequences. These aren’t problems with three-second solutions, and to look at them that way is both ignorant and short-sighted.

Have you considered how you would respond to the threat of violence? To intimidation by an angry mob? To the looting of your property?

It’s good to think these things through ahead of time and consider what your own options are. You’ll need to weigh your personal abilities and limitations against these steps. Remember that your response to potential violence can affect the rest of your life and make your decisions with this in mind.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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41 Responses

  1. Also what are the psychological effects of killing someone? Regardless of whether one is on the right side of shooting it must take a tool on one’s mental state.

  2. This was a thought provoking post for sure. I don’t know yet, but two of my cousins have been in nasty confrontations in a nearby city and were able to defuse the situation just by drawing their weapons. They are both Petite females, but comfortable with firearms. Thank goodness they were armed. I live in a nearby state were it is almost impossible to legally carry, so I am not.

  3. As long as people are too stupid and too cowardly for face the facts (including those in the prepping sphere) that the jewish community are the driving force behind ALL this stuff…. it’s going to continue until our demise.

    They’re literally out in the open about this now, not debatable.

      1. No YOU need to do a little more research. Your Adolph comment is predictable and telling.

        They ALWAYS play both sides to create confusion and give the impression of being on your side while being your ultimate enemy.

        Get a clue and damn fast or you and yours are in very serious trouble.

      2. @Fufkin,

        I just got off the phone with Mel Brooks, Ben Stein, Ivanka Trump, Winona Ryder, Adam Sandler, and William Shatner.
        They all said,
        “Oy! Vey! What is he talking about? Who is driving what? And where are we driving to? Should I pack a ham on rye, lettuce and tomato? Hold the schmaltz!”
        (note: Purple)

    1. Artie that right there alone wins the dumbest response on the internet today award.
      As a Jewish person myself i have no clue what you are talking about. Me and my family aren’t driving anything anywhere. Sounds like you might have a little bit of hate in ya. May want to get that checked out.

    2. Oh for the love of cats, Artie. You’re in the wrong place for your anti-semitic BS. We welcome anyone who wants to be better prepared. We’re not about hatred of entire groups of human beings based on nothing more than genetics. Bye, now.

      1. Thank you Daisy for that reply to him!
        And thank you for the wisdom in the article. Hotheadedness in a crisis is dangerous for all.

    3. @ Artie

      I’m sure there are many other websites full of anitsemites just like you where you’d feel at home. Castigating an entire people with aspersions makes little sense. It’s really like saying that “all Catholics”, or “all Italians”, or “all Christians” or whatever and smearing them with an accusation.

      Are there people of Jewish origin who are intimately involved in what is going on? Sure there are. George Soros is numero uno. There are far too many liberal leftist Jews for my personal taste, speaking as a Jew, involved in support of leftist groups and policies. But does this mean that ALL Jews think like this? Of course not. Believing that they do is of course antisemetic and the sign of an ignorant person who lacks critical thinking skills.

      I personally know and know of many Jews who are conservative, both socially and politically, and in no way support ANTIFA, BLM or their ilk. That describes me as well. And some of us do own guns and support their legitimate use. I’m so sorry that your mind is so clouded by hate.

    4. Where are you getting your information from? Most Jews in America are just keeping their head down and are terrified of what is happening including all the Jewish organizations. The smart ones are making Aliyah to Israel (immigrate to Israel). Here in Israel we are contacting our families and friends that still live in America, to make Aliyah be for it is to late. Reminding them of all the Pogroms, the Bolshevik Revolution and Hitler along with all the Arab expulsions in North Africa and the Middle East of Jews . The Jewish Activist who told the Jews to arm themselves have already made Aliyah years ago.

    5. In the last few months studying The Cabal that Trump is trying to take down (or supposedly trying), I have learned a thing or two about Jews, anti-Semitism, Zionism. Because Jews are “People of the Book,” they study a lot and have high IQs. This puts them at the top of EVERYTHING–including crime.
      Real Jews love charity even more than Christians do, which is plenty, and I have read remarkable stories of kindness. And that is a little like saying Mormons and the Mormon Church especially love children. Indeed they do. So the Mormons have one of the world’s leading child traffickers at the top of their church. Boy’s Town–founded to help boys, they attracted pedophiles. The Catholic Church is now notorious for things that violently defy their faith. Real Jews are the kindest, most honorable people–so that is what monsters hide behind.
      To a Jew, “Zionism” means acknowledging that the land now called Israel has always been their home. To a Palestinian Arab, “Zionism” means Jews and allies who think it is okay to STEAL land and resources and cause bodily harm to others living there. That is an outrageous violation of the Ten Commandments and the story of the burial of Sarah–but those people have experienced that.
      And there is a horrifying definition of Zionism: monster-Jews who really worship Satan–literally–and do horrifying rituals that may include drinking human children’s blood. Real Jews have always been puzzled by “the Blood Libel” because the Bible prohibits blood (including for Christians–see Acts 20). They salt and soak their meat for hours to get the last blood out, so that story is preposterous. Only, maybe it is True.
      There is no resolution possible by hating Jesus’ family.
      We have to trace down the actual monsters, despite the danger, and no matter “how deep the rabbit hole goes.” I wonder whether the monster-Jews are even genetic Jews. Maybe. (Note: one can convert to Judaism, and a convert is 100% Jewish, so the genetic thing is of limited importance.”

      Note: please leave the anti-Semitic comment up in this case, to provide a chance that the energy may be more productively re-directed.

  4. I prefer the strategy of “Not being there”. Yes, potential violent confrontations can occur anywhere, but we all know that there are times of the day and locations where the potential of violence being laid in your lap is a lot more likely. My wife and I have raised three sons and I have told each of them that nothing good happens after 11 PM when you are out, so don’t be ‘out’.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I just ordered it.

  5. There’s another factor that many people overlook: the mob may *want* you to use deadly force.

    If you pull out a 9mm and blow away a ‘peaceful protestor’ who hasn’t actually physically attacked you (yet), you’ve given them a martyr. You’ve proven to them that people can’t be trusted with guns, that people like you are unstable and itching to murder people you don’t like in the street, and that their actions are justified.

    They’re trying to provoke you into doing something you can’t undo to justify what they want to do next. Don’t fall for the trap.

  6. Daisy, great as this post is, the one you’ve linked to with your open letter to anti-gun women is a MUST READ–should be reposted far and wide…

  7. Are you gonna pull your Glock/CZ/SIG in Washington DC and do blah blah blah? No because your not allowed. Dont be in places where your “not allowed” to start with. That is dumb. Your pretending to be in preparedness and self defense if you are. Yes I’m talking to you. My vacations are even decided on my ability to control my defensive environment.

    I’ve followed the Use of Force matrix for 36 years professionally in both the military and law enforcement. I’ve even taught it on several occasions. The military is terrible at teaching it IF you even ever receive it. This is the part where AZ chimes in and tells me how much he hates me in an all cap rant.

    That being said I can tell you in areas there is a complete breakdown of how it’s supposed to work. Due process is no longer being followed and has become purely political as to whether or not you will face charges, the wrong charges or be imprisoned. You will be tried in journalist court first and your work will not allow you to clear your name and will fire you. In other parts of the country everything is as should be.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Get Carry Insurance. I use US Law Shield because they cover ANY weapon but you need to find something to cover yourself. Defending yourself is expensive, hard and will bankrupt you even if you are as right as it comes. I do not care who you use but please get it.

    You do not have to go step by step upgrading or downgrading in the UOF Matrix. You can go from passive aggressive to deadly in a second.

    Having multiple LTL (Less Than Lethal) tools is good sometimes. Most people are not trained enough to handle multiple weapons systems under duress. Be real about yourself and expectations. The recent example in Florida it was all the older gentleman could do to get his firearm out and defend while being assaulted. Hesitation of decision of which weapon can cost you.
    It can also work against you.
    If you have OC and don’t use it your going to be just like police officers at every shooting where everyone has said “why didn’t they use tasers?” Because the expectations are that (A) they have them and (B) it’s necessary.
    Y’all stay safe.

    1. I was not sure what OC stands for but I think I found it:

      Pepper spray, also known as oleoresin capsicum spray or O.C. spray or capsaicin spray or capsicum spray

    2. Don’t Be There includes finding places with sane self-defense laws. US Guv says 95% of mass shootings (4+ victims) occur in gun-free zones, so you’re not there 95% just by avoiding those.

  8. In the past I have been taught the aggressor must have 1) a weapon, 2) a delivery system, and 3) intent in order for me to be justified in possibly using lethal force.
    Take away any one of those and the justification isn’t there.
    I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, so please read your local laws.
    Right now with everything going on in the world one should make sure they understand the laws around them in order to safely and effectively use the tools they have.
    Personally I have found the “don’t be there in the first place” to be the best way to not have to escalate force.

    1. The weapon can simply be the person not just a tool and other factors weigh in heavily IE: my 92 yr female old in law defends herself with deadly force against 3 unarmed 20 yr old “unarmed by tool” men aggressors kicking in her door by shooting through the door.
      She’s going to be fine at least here in Free America. In other jurisdictions maybe not but that’s yet another factor to consider about not being there.

      1. Yes Matt what I stated is a very, very simplified version.
        “Totality of circumstance” plays a role as well as you showed by example.
        People seem to forget that the “weapon” part of the equation could be a foot and fist, “delivered” to your head via a kick and punch, while the aggressor screams “die rich pig” (shows intent of their actions).
        Going through “what if” scenarios in your mind will help you learn force escalation techniques and prepare your mind if you should ever be in a situation where force is required.
        Visualization and “what if” scenarios are under-rated by most people which is unfortunate because they can be an aid during a traumatic event to help you respond.

  9. I totally agree, if you can just don’t be there, especially if you have kids or the elderly people n your care. I just read facing violence by Rory Miller and he touches on in in this book too which is simple brilliant, it came yesterday and I stayed up to 3am to finish it. Thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll add that to my wish list for next time.

    1. Vi, I have thoroughly enjoyed ALL of Rory’s books and the interesting thing is that they’re applicable for more than just violent scenarios.

    2. Just ordered one of his books; sounds like a must read and looking forward to doing so. And yeah, basically I try to avoid trouble and just not be there. Would rather be in my garden at peace anyway. And not sure that being part of a potentially violent demonstration is going to accomplish anything useful at this point anyway. It’s interesting though as the demonstrations seem to skew towards younger people(Millenials and Gen Z) who I had thought were mostly interested in just clicking on something online to express their support or outrage. Now they are showing up to often violent protests and looting/arson rampages which to some extent seems to be taking a page from the demos that this country saw many years ago during the Vietnam War and the violent riots of the 60’s and 70’s in the black community. I’ve never been to any of those or saw them in action but it is interesting to me that this has gotten a revival.

  10. Aside from the other considerations being discussed here, a lawyer friend says, once a case goes to court, no matter what the facts and evidence are, it’s a 50/50 chance that either side will win. Those aren’t the best odds. I’d rather “not be there in the first place”.

  11. Get good at grappling, wrestling, jiu-jítsu. Practice getting kicked and slapped, because you will be. Harden your knuckles, your grabbing, toughen up, train falling, rolling and standing up. If you know how to fight, even if you face someone stronger/bigger/better and you stand your ground, they’ll respect you and chances are you both will de-escalate and maybe there won’t even be a fight, because in every fight you beat and you get beat up and there’s always a chance of getting hurt no matter how good you are. And you’ll kick everybody else’s ass in a one to one CC.

    Always carry a small pepper spray and a collapsible steel baton, if you travel rough areas. It’s enough to surprise and completely smash two or three assailants. It’s discreet, and hardly prohibited in most places. Once you hit the first opponent, it’ll be frightening enough for the others (unless they’re high on drugs) because a CSB hits really hard and can disable a big guy.

    Firearms: leave that for real SHTF, as everywhere else it’s more of a liability. If you don’t shoot you can get killed. If you do, you can go to jail. Guns are for when life is in real danger 24-7 and that’s SHTF only. Otherwise you’re making your own SHTF, in imagination and possibly in reality.

    But by all means, get good at handling guns and shooting, also tactical, so you don’t have to learn as the SHTF which is not smart. Learn and practice pistols, shotguns and rifles, because if SHTF like civil war or something you will need.

    For me, a couple of good, reliable 9mm pistols and some ammo for close combat defense in SHTF is enough. Unless there’s total chaos, civil war SHTF scenario but that’s another level and not really practical to discuss much.

    Every normal situation: just stay out of trouble. If you can hold yourself in a fight, with a gun or other weapon, you know it’s best to just keep s cool head, turn around and leave. I only fight if/when attacked, but in that case I use full force. So I do my best not to be attacked. “Chose not to be harmed, and you won’t”.

      1. Absolutely, agreed. Fighting in the middle of crowds vs. one-to-one fighting are two completely different worlds. In fact every fight is different unless you’re in the dojo, training.

        Real life fighting, aka street fighting is usually a no-win, “chance” battle. I have a friend who “won” a fight going out of a club, to find himself in the ER getting 13 stitches in the back from landing on broken glass. He beat the guy but got seriously injured. We know it can be worse. That’s why it’s always best to avoid at all costs. Fighting is 99% of times a matter of “picking” or being at the wrong place/wrong time.

        I think it’s just important to be aware and alert to avoid surprises and attacks (crackheads, criminals, the usual scum) because fighting in the middle of a city (during normal times) is something you really must actively pursuit… which is something stupid to do really.

  12. One action I have read about to de-escalate a situation is to just show the predators your gun and that usually quiets them down and they turn tail and run. Bullies are those who prey on the weak and unarmed so go armed but know how to use your weapon and how to de-escalate a situation.
    This reminds me of a quote from a TV show that I think about from time to time now with all the violence that is around us:

    Master Kan:
    Avoid, rather than check.
    Check, rather than hurt.
    Hurt, rather than maim.
    Maim, rather than kill.
    For all life is precious, nor can any be replaced

    I remember when this came out 47 years ago and it is still with me today, I hope I never have to kill someone. You who preach violence and death, think about what you are advocating, there is a time to kill but there is also a time to de-escalate.

  13. Two books that I consider required reading (more than once) are “Deadly Force” by Massad Ayoob and “The Law of Self Defense” by Attorney Andrew Branca. Both authors are both at the top of their fields. The books are easy reading, entertaining, and up to date. Branca’s book has state-specific appendixes on the relevant laws that he discusses. Massad has a bunch of excellent videos on the net.
    On a side note, anyone owning a weapon for self defense should consider joining The Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, out of Washington State. I joined
    years ago when it first formed, and I consider the $95 yearly membership fee well spent. Massad Ayoob is on the board, as are many of the top lawyers who deal in self defense (there aren’t that many) and top firearm trainers. It is NOT insurance. You get training videos and books with the membership. If a member is involved in a self defense incident, the phone is manned 24/7/365, and if the network considers it a viable self defense encounter, the member can expect immediate aid in money for counsel, investigators, bail, and even top lawyers on a plane coming to them. They have a large fund that has been built up, and are almost always successful in their defense of members, free of charge.
    BTW, I enjoy your newsletters immensely.

  14. Excellent post, Daisy. Not many people have the maturity to de-escalate a situation that may turn violent until it is too late.

  15. I am of the opinion that nothing good occurs after 11 PM and have hopefully educated my children, who are now grown, to that piece of wisdom. Today, I try not to look like an easy victim when I have to travel though less than ideal areas. If someone out there is seeking someone to victimize for whatever demented reason I want them to choose what they think will be an easier target. On the rare occasions I was required to visit large urban areas and was on foot, I made a practice of slipping my hand into a pocket of my coat if I had to pass by suspicious looking individuals. I had no weapon hidden in my pocket, but the other person didn’t know that. It was all a bluff, and it worked as far as I know. Know about “the interview”. Most every criminal looking for a victim will conduct an interview first of the possible victim just to feel you out. It might be just asking for a light or some seemingly mundane question to throw you off. They are sizing you up to determine if you will be safe (to them) to victimize. Don’t look or act like a victim!

    As for escalating response towards a perceived threat I strongly agree with Selco and Toby…. don’t be there in the first place! Read the recommended book. If you carry a firearm it will give you a much different look as to what your responsibility is, and can possibly keep you from making a life-altering foolish mistake… or a life-ending one.

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