VIOLENCE: Will You Panic When You Least Expect It?

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Violence is everywhere we look. We see it on television. We see it at the theater. We read it in books, magazines, articles, and social media posts. We view it in online videos, and we regard it in photographs and art. The video game market is flooded with games that “contain violence,” and so are the news headlines.

Some of us receive it, and some of us may even dish it out. But violence isn’t actually perceived the way most of us might expect it to be because we aren’t totally immersed in the event without availability to all our senses.

Until then, violence cannot impact us completely, which therefore taints our perception of its true nature.

How can this be accurate?

I know; I get it. Pretty much all of us have experienced violence in some form or another. And this is where I have to give a hard pass to dedicated farmers, ranchers, homesteaders, law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, military, and similar professions because they deal with the entire spectrum of violence ‘in real-time and in real life.’

But the rest of us, not so much.

What does a homesteader have in common with a police officer? They both run the gamut of life to death regularly. There is violence in both the first breath and the last; the newborn chick and newborn baby, the severed artery of the buck’s throat, and that of the lone pedestrian. However, the majority of human beings aren’t involved in any of this, and only experience one or two facets of violence at any given time.

I witnessed this over the weekend.

It was late, late Friday night, when all the storms were moving east, dumping snow on the north and building up power for tornadoes in the south, that I first heard the thuds and thumps. The wind was howling and blowing in all different directions, and the rain was driving first one way then the other, so it was the perfect time for a scary night.

In the beginning, I thought the loud thumping was my garbage container being blown down the street, but after checking, it clearly wasn’t that.  Securing the back door, I went to the front and, upon opening it, heard screams. Needless to say, I instantly became more alert, and the hair stood up on my arms and neck. And I felt shaken to the core.

We don’t live in a high crime area, and while I’ve had to call the police non-emergency line for things like vehicles pumping out loud bass, actually dialing 911 is almost a non-thing. This particular night would be different. As the dispatcher voiced those words we all hear in one form or another when someone dials 911 in movies or on television, I continuously heard high pitched screams, although they were slightly muffled, along with those damnable thuds and thumps, and my own words couldn’t wait to get out.

I had already panicked.

The 911 dispatcher heard it in my voice before I could even get my address out. I heard it in my voice, and as I struggled to calm myself down as the screaming continued, not only were my thoughts racing about what was being done to someone somewhere, but I was also trying to understand why I had panicked in the first place.

And, worse, and against all logic, I wanted to bolt out the door and find whoever was screaming and get them to safety instead of painstakingly telling someone else what was going on. Thankfully I was able to focus on the dispatcher’s voice and answer her questions. What was I hearing? Could I see it? Where was it coming from? Next door? Next street over?

It was at this point I remembered a neighborhood rumor; that our next-door neighbor beat his girlfriends. I had never seen it happen, but I did know from experience that he was far from being a kind man. But, I had never seen him hurt a human being like some of the older people in the neighborhood had.

So now, as the thumping continued, my blood began to run cold. Was that a body being flung around? Were the screams coming from his girlfriend?

And then all the raucous stopped.

As I stood on my front steps, the wind whipping around, the telltale smell of rain in the air, both the dispatcher and I seemed to hold our breath – listening. Then, the front door of that neighbor’s house slammed, and someone got into their SUV. And they clearly saw me, phone to my ear, before they backed out and drove off. Their house was now quiet.

The police were on their way.

I quickly moved back inside, knowing I was too late for anything. Someone involved had already seen me, and whoever had been screaming was now silent. Things didn’t seem good for either of us.

I told the dispatcher what I’d seen and that, after closing and locking the front door, I needed to get my husband (who has been sick) out of bed. I was visibly shaking at this point, and my heart was racing.

The police were already on their way, but I questioned if I’d just stood idly by while a person was beaten, perhaps to death? My imagination ran wild, I was flooded with guilt and helplessness, and so sunk into my computer chair, dispatch still talking in my ear, while my husband headed out the back door to hopefully see where the SUV went.

What causes some people to panic?

I, like many, have been beaten repeatedly as a child, sexually assaulted, debased and emotionally abused, and even brainwashed (if it’s even called that). So I had experienced violence before.

Why did I panic so quickly? I wasn’t in any danger at that moment; I wasn’t the one screaming or being hurt. So what caused me to become emotional all of a sudden? Others that have experienced violence, whether giving or taking it, know there is a certain detachment involved in surviving these types of violence. And in raising my kids, I used corporal punishment from time to time if it absolutely had to come to that.

Again though, there was a certain amount of detachment involved. I’d also seen people die naturally in real life, been to funerals, given birth – life and death were no stranger to me. And if all the violent video games I’d played and intense, sometimes horrific, movies and tv shows I’d watched amounted to anything, I should be desensitized – even if only a little.

So why wasn’t I?

The level at which we are immersed in the violence itself determines our response and how much it affects us.

Our senses, especially the main five, work to complete the perception we have of the world around us on a basic level, and actually trigger our emotions. If what we witness, though, if what we experience, is absent various senses, then we don’t fully experience it.

For example, if we watch an action movie where someone gets shot then run over by a car, we might wince, we might even momentarily turn away, but I can guarantee it will never affect us as it would if we saw it happen in real life.

By viewing the event in a fictional way, we’re using our sense of sight and sound, but not of touch – we don’t feel the night air or the environment, the heat from the car or the pain from the bullet – or of smell – because we don’t breathe in the car exhaust, the air outside, none of it – like we would if it were real and we were there. And when it comes to the sense of smell, that is arguably the most important sense we have.

“Our sense of smell plays a major, sometimes unconscious, role in how we perceive and interact with others, select a mate, and helps us decide what we like to eat. And when it comes to handling traumatic experiences, smell can be a trigger in activating PTSD.” source

What difference does that make?

Complete desensitization rarely occurs.

While we may think we’re being hardened by what we’ve seen, done, or experienced, if all our senses haven’t been utilized, then we haven’t.

In a normal, thriving, recovering world, that’s a good thing, and it’s what we strive for. In a catastrophe, emergency, or SHTF world, it can render us helpless.

Here’s why.

The Fight-or-Flight Syndrome

When our bodies experience an emergency or disaster event, regardless of the proportions, it becomes stressed. And when it becomes stressed, it enters survival mode, or what’s officially called the “Fight-or-Flight Syndrome.”

“When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed up your reaction time, and enhance your focus—preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.” source

That sounds like a good thing, right? It can be. But it can also go overboard.

The Ultimate Hijacking

As early humans, we were exposed to a constant threat of kill or be killed. It is thought by scientists that because of that constant threat, human brains were either created or evolved with the fight-or-flight mode.

When the body is in survival (Fight-or-Flight) mode, two small parts of our brain, called the amygdala (which plays a crucial role in processing our emotions), sends out a signal to the hippocampus (a part of the limbic system that connects our emotions and forms/stores our memories) to release stress chemicals known as cortisol, which then goes to the brain and causes the processes of the pre-frontal cortex to slow down. This phenomenon has a name all its own, called an “Amygdala Hijack.”  The pre-frontal cortex is the decision-making center of the brain, but it is now being controlled by the amygdala – who has all the emotions.

It’s in this state that we either become a blubbering, sniffling, quivering mess of frozen fear, or we attack with such force and fury that we leave nothing standing in our tracks. And, biologically, it’s the way we’re supposed to react – if we’re in a primitive world.

It is, after all, a survival mode.

How do we prevent this hijacking from occurring?

Panicking was a natural and biological response, and my emotions got the best of me.

And, regardless of what I’d seen, heard, or experienced in my life, I was never completely immersed in the event regarding my senses. Somewhere subconsciously, I knew that most of what I was seeing/hearing was fake.

What I experienced that wasn’t fake, like someone dying, my kid’s arm breaking, breaking my leg, a woman being hit, a stabbing – none of those involved all my senses, meaning that I wasn’t entirely ‘vested’ in the event.

But the takeaway from this whole experience, for me anyway, was that no matter what I’d been through in my life – none of it mattered.

Even though we are biologically created, or have evolved, to be reactive instead of thoughtful or critical in our thinking during a violent event or crisis, that’s no excuse. We have to train ourselves to be better, to be mentally stronger, to think clearer, and to leave as much emotion as we can out of our decision-making process.

This can be very difficult for some, depending on the violent act.

All my logic goes out the window when it pertains to a hurt animal or a baby, and I know I should be the last person to make a decision in cases like that. (And apparently, I lose control of my temper when it comes to domestic violence.) So you have to know yourself well and be totally honest with what you know sets you off and what you think doesn’t.

Then you have to train yourself.

How in the world do you train for violence?

There is an abundance of lists on how to act and what to do in a crisis or SHTF scenario, but, even though many events could contain violence, it’s not an absolute certainty they will. The problem with this is usually the onset of violence is not known until it’s already there, which means you have to act on your feet.

Let’s look at an ordinary event like a dinner date. You need details, right? You need to know where, when, how to get there, what time, who’s going to be there, what you should wear. But the very first thing you need to know is the kind of event.

It’s a dinner date. After that, it all falls into place as you logically ask questions, make arrangements, and do what needs to be done to make it a success.

What about a different event, like a hurricane? Even though the magnitude of the event has changed, you still need to know the same things, right? When, where, about what time… Ok, maybe not exactly what to wear, but you get my meaning.

Violence is the same, only faster.

When an act of violence occurs, the ‘kind’ of event you’re experiencing is already known, and the ‘when?’ part has already happened. So has the ‘where?’, ‘how?’, and ‘time?’. For the most part, it’s like you’re already dealing with the hurricane’s landfall, you just probably didn’t see it coming and so you weren’t prepared.

And that’s how you plan for violence.

I remember when I was about 12 years old, I had gotten used to my step-mother walking down the hallway at night after bedtime and listening at my door. I knew from experience that if I made any noise she could hear, she would come in and either hit me, yell at me (especially when my dad was gone), or find some way to hurt me. So I wouldn’t move a muscle. In my young mind, she could even hear my breathing, so I would slow my breathing as much as I could or put my face in the pillow. If she didn’t hear me, she would walk on by.

That’s a small example but, hopefully, it gets my point across. The only way to mentally train for violence is to prepare for it.

There’s no way to prepare for every possibility.

However, there are some basic things we can do that will better our outcomes.

1. The very first thing to do to lessen all violence is to have a plan in place in case a violent attack or event happens directly to you.

Know who you can call, program their numbers and make a list of them, and put them around the house. Try to find a neighbor you can at least call on for muscle or firepower if needed. If you live alone, let someone you trust know it. Put timers on your lights for night time, or leave a television on a channel that plays lots of commercials (commercials cause flashing against the walls and curtains, making it appear someone is moving around.) Keep a weapon you are comfortable using, even if it’s a bat. And if you have a friend with a dog, especially a few big dogs, see if you can make some good recordings of the dogs barking.

The next several steps are likely to happen in quick succession.

2. Acceptance.

Denial is usually the very first hurdle for everything bad, and violence can be very, very bad. Our thoughts generally gravitate towards some reason more desirable, or at least more manageable, and sometimes that denial leads people to ignore violence completely. So, right out of the gate, we have to accept that something violent has occurred. If you don’t accept that it’s happened, you can’t deal with it. (See Daisy’s article on this topic.)

3. Breathe deeply and slowly.

So many times, we find ourselves breathing fast, or maybe even holding our breath, which makes our hearts race, and we find ourselves more out of breath, then confused, and some even faint. Breathe, and breathe deep and slow. This will get oxygen to your brain where you need it most right now.

4. Think.

Above all else, allow yourself a moment to think. To recall plans you might have made for just such an event, the name and whereabouts of a person you can get in touch with for help, to methodically get your phone or a weapon to protect yourself.

Warning: It’s at this time that doubt and denial might creep back in. Trust your gut – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

5. Make sure you, yourself, are safe if at all possible.

Lock up, move to a place where you aren’t seen, cover yourself, etc.

6. Dial 911.

In the United States, it’s 911 for emergency services, in the United Kingdom and many British territories it’s 999, and in the United Kingdom and many British territories, it’s 112. Whatever your emergency number is, dial it.

Be prepared to give your address and name clearly, and any other information they ask for. Don’t rush, even though it may feel as if you’re being made to go slow – they have to type some information in so be patient.

7. Stay alert.

As you’re thinking and dialing emergency services, try to make note of various details you might need to share. What was the person wearing, how tall were they, what did you hear, how long ago, what color and type vehicle were they driving, which way did they go, etc.

8. Continue to breathe.

Most likely the worst is over, or soon will be. Try your best to keep emotion out of everything.

Prepping plays a huge role in mitigating violence.

It won’t always prevent it, but it can make you more prepared to deal with it, and hopefully have a lesser effect on the lives it touches. Here are some important numbers you can write down or print out and save.

The end of a nightmare.

I had certainly panicked, albeit not completely.

I apologized to the dispatcher who sweetly told me I wasn’t the worst call she’d had that night.  I bet she says that to all the panicky callers. But the night ended on a good note, and things weren’t as bad as I’d feared.

It seemed that this time it was the girlfriend’s fault and she’d had just a little too much to drink. She wasn’t beat up (although, from the sound of it, the floor sure was!)

And I learned to keep myself from running out the door to rescue somebody that I think is in trouble. And although she may have seen me, (she was the one driving the vehicle that night), she was so intoxicated I don’t think she can be certain who or what she really saw. In any case, I remain prepared – and hopefully less emotional.

How have you learned from the violence you’ve experienced?

Have you ever experienced violence? What was your weakest area in dealing with it? What would you do differently?

About Sandra

Sandra is a wife of 38 years, a mother of 3 awesome grown children, a published artist, photographer, fellow prepper, and animal advocate. She is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, an avid gun owner, a woman of faith, and values honesty and loyalty above all else.

VIOLENCE: Will You Panic When You Least Expect It?
Sandra D. Lane

Sandra D. Lane

Sandra is a published artist, photographer, fellow prepper, and animal advocate.

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  • Visualization–not a simple mental image or imagining–can be of assistance with preparation for things like this. The visualization needs to include as much detail and as many of the senses as possible, which is why this is different and more difficult than simple ‘what-if’ mental exercises or day-dreaming. If visualization is done correctly you will experience some or all of the same physiological effects as you would in the actual event, though not necessarily to the same degree of intensity. Properly done, visualization is a tool you can use to reduce counterproductive responses and increase the chance that you can keep your head and do what you can to deal with an emergency with focus and facility.

    • CR is right by using vizualization your mind will have already been there making it possible to get through the OODA loop quicker. Training helps tremendously. Formalized training is great but even stuff you do at home will help. Back in the day when I was a cop I used to pass out my card with the homeowners address and short instructions on how to get there before 911 was a thing because folks would freeze up and couldn’t tell me where they lived.
      As to those whining about nosey neighbors I’d rather go to 100 calls of nothing than one homicide. Quit acting like every cop overreacts to everything. I’ve met a lot of real good people on calls like that. I’m not the enemy and The People aren’t the enemy. The People is why you do the job to begin with. I’m totally not a social butterfly but I enjoyed talking with folks and getting to know them even on nothing calls. I found it made my job easier and more pleasant too. It’s people like you that make me glad I’m not doing it anymore.

  • Sorry, but I have to say that you are a nosy neighbor that causes more problems than you fix. You know nothing about these people it seems other than some local gossip that he beats his GF. He’s not a nice man. Well, that there is CERTAINLY an indictment of him, isn’t it? You could have caused a violent reaction or even death by cop for calling 911. And calling 911 for a passing car playing loud music? Sheesh, lady.

    Perhaps you need to MYOB. I am glad my neighbors aren’t like you.

    • If I heard a bunch of thumping and screaming I would damn sure call the police. And I would hope my neighbors would, also.

    • I’m not a great writer and I’m aware of this. However, I know quite a bit about these people but declined to share all their business on the internet. When I said he wasn’t a nice man, I was the one being nice. He has a police record for domestic violence. He wasn’t arrested that night because they found no bruises on her. However it was suggested, and she did comply, that she stay somewhere else for a few nights. And, if I’m not mistaken, I said nothing about vehicles *passing by* while playing loud music. Perhaps you need to read a little more carefully next time and not assume anything. Asking questions is perfectly fine. Thank you.

    • Nosy Neighbor hater,

      It is the attitude of folks like you that get people killed. “It’s not my business.”

      How do I know this? Many years as a police officer and a paramedic. Whether you think so or not, it IS your business. No one is asking you to rush out like a knight errant to the rescue, just call 911. From my perspective, failure to do even that little bit when someone’s life may be in jeopardy, is an act of cowardice on your part.

      The likelihood of the police coming in with guns blazing is very slim unless someone starts shooting at them first. In which case, they created their own trouble. I would say you read and watch too many liberal media outlets who don’t know what they are talking about in the first place. How do I know this? I’ve seen plenty of media stories about incidents I was at and I wondered if they were reporting on the same event I saw. Remember the media motto, “Never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.”

      Now a few words on the old freeze, flight, or fight syndrome (yes, freezing up is a potential part). It is very possible to inoculate yourself against the worst effects of FFF. In fact, inoculate is the term used by police and military instructors when teaching fighting and decision skills under stress. These days, simulation training is used to provide the inoculation by participating in force-on-force training (which can involve putting on pads and gloves, and participate in a simulation of a real life event, including punching. kicking, baton use, pepper spray use (usually using water simulators), Tasers, etc. ). Police force-on-force training often uses firearms as well shooting ammunition called “Simunitions” (or a similar brand). These are essentially paint ball rounds that can be fired from slightly modified real guns. The military also uses force-on-force using Simunitions and events taken from real life battles. Computerized simulations (often called shoot/don’t shoot training) is also used by police and military trainers. It helps develop judgemental skills under stress, though in my opinion, nothing like getting nailed with one of those “flesh seeking missiles” (Simunition ammo) to create a desire to improve your judgement and shooting skills. They are called that as it seems no matter how much padding you wear, they will find the one little bit of skin that isn’t protected and they do smart.

      Does inoculation training prepare you 100% for the real deal? No, but you will be much closer to not having FFF affect you to a debilitating degree when you first see the elephant. Also, you will never lose some amount of the FFF syndrome, nor do you want to. A little bit of fear helps keep you alert. I was a firearms and defensive tactics instructor at my department and a regional police academy. We used several force simulation events, including Simunitions, physical force-on-force, and computerized shoot/don’t shoot. Plus I was a member and later the commander of my agency’s SWAT team. I grew up in Detroit, went to Detroit public schools (a stress inoculator if there ever was one), spent six-years active duty as a Marine (including an all-expense paid trip to Vietnam), a year in the Marine Reserves, followed by 14-years in the Air Guard as a security policeman (and another all-expense paid trip to Desert Storm). I believe I am fairly well inoculated against excessive FFF.

      Here are a couple of books I recommend for more information on FFF and stress inoculation:

      “On Killing” by LtCol Dave Grossman
      “On Combat” by LtCol Dave Grossman
      “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker
      “Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge” by Bruce Siddle

      There are others out there, but most are very technical particularly as they relate to the body’s physiological reactions to fear.

      • Thank you so much! I plan on looking up those books and finding effective ways to ‘innoculate.’ Great information and fantastic tips. Again, thank you. I need to get to work on this.

  • I realize this article is about controlling panic. But somewhere in here the role of self defense comes into play. In number 1 you mention gathering devices to protect yourself with (a bat, dogs). But should you be attacked with the intent of killing you or a loved one then sometimes the only chance you have of surviving is all out attack. In olden times warriors in all out attack mode were called “berserkers”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker see the section on Theories. The popular comic book character The Hulk is a berserker. But no, people don’t get larger or green, with adrenaline pouring through your system you can be much stronger, although with degraded coordination and other costs. While I have never experienced this condition I have considered, for planning purposes as an unarmed last resort, how one might trigger (without drugs) it in an appropriate situation. Better would to be prepared with martial arts or weapons and never have to use this option.

  • When faced with violence or an unexpected danger, everyone panics to some extent.
    How you deal with it and how quickly you get back in control is the major difference.

    Although many of the things listed are great for today’s society, they do nothing for you Post SHTF or after the Rule of Law is gone.
    Getting you ” husband” or some one else to help you, is not likely always going to be an option. You must train yourself to act and react to the situation and to avoid panicking.
    Practicing to control your emotions can be a good starting place.

    Panic is based in Fear. Fear of injury, the unknown, death, etc. Fear is dispelled by Faith or confidence in your abilities to come through the situation.

    Training in dealing with various situations that might arise, especially post SHTF is highly important. The more confident you are in your abilities, the less you will Panic.
    It is also important to plan out what you would do in various emergencies. Run through it is your mind. That way it it easy to move from Panic to the Plan and start to follow it.
    Critical thinking and planning are hard to do when you are in panic mode, so having a well thought out and rehearsed , plan that you can just fall into and follow, is a real blessing.

  • S.D.L.

    There’s alot of information in your article that perhaps needs to be sorted out time wise.

    My experience was the partial memory of a motorcycle crash at fifty plus miles an hour into the side of a car that was making an illegal left turn.

    First thought, “S***, you ‘re not going … . Lights out.
    At that point it was over while trying to react to the impact.

    So, if that is considered an impersonal violence act then violence is COLD and FINAL. Are you death or alive? If yes, then the following question is “Do you want to live or die?”. How much determines if you act with a clear understanding of what will happen if you don’t. Being comfortably sedate buffers one from that reality. One second is over.

    Time is slowing now. Do I turn left or right? And, if there is still time, after turning, now what? Do I curl into a ball so as not to lose a limb? Turn the bike enough to lessen the impact by distributing the force not pinching a leg? And so forth, a series of binary choices. (John Boyd’s observe, decide, act, loop.). Forget any pedantic nuances. Two seconds is over.

    One moment you’re going thru life half-asleep, then suddenly everything is hyper-real, crystal clear, cold and final. If you try to hold-on to what what you knew, desire, or think how things should be, its too late. Perhaps, you’ll freeze into a catatonic state thinking this isn’t happening, hoping it won’t hurt too bad. Letting go of life, that is. Even Buddhist monks train all their life(s) being detached, yet still may hesitant when time stops.

    Selco’s suggestion, from the link above, of volunteering to help in an ER or something close maybe the most pragmatic to conditioning yourself to what does happen.

    Everything esle, fight or fight, aftershock, etc., is dependent on how distance in time from the point of violence it is, measured in nano-seconds to longer periods. And, thanks to your article it gave me the idea of sorting out what was written over progressive stages of time since if you don’t make it pass the initial violence second the rest is all a mute point.

    Btw, a visual image of the concentric waves following a stone dropped in water would be apt since sometimes you have an intuitive sense of approaching something not good. Othertimes, you’re just sucker punched.

    • “There’s alot of information in your article that perhaps needs to be sorted out time wise.” You are right John, thank you. It’s something I have to work on.

      • hey, Sandra

        What I meant to write was I need to sort out my reactions in a stressful situation, the types written about in your article. Sort of a Maslow Hierarchy for what needs to done at that particular moment (while I’m po*ping in my pants.).

        Your article was helpful. Thanks. best

        Btw, while I was posting your reply appeared before the one below. Hence, yet another post.

    • You may berate yourself for as indicated, ‘panicking’, which is understandable, but you did act. Many people wouldn’t have.

      In the movie “A Bridge Too Far” while rowing across a river while being fired upon one actor is repeating part of a phase over and over which is a typical reaction. A parachutist said he would get sick to his stomach while lining up to the airplane door for a combat jump, listening to the metal release cable hitting the side of the plane. He still gets queasy when he hears the sound of metal hitting metal. For me, hearing the sound of car tires on an asphalt road trying to quickly stop with the resultant hollow sound of collapsing metal during an auto accident causes me to instinctively make the sign of a cross, touching the forehead, the chest and then the right and left shoulders. And, I’m not religious, go figure.
      Selco in one of his earlier articles mentioned listening to the screams in the night made him feel as if his “bones were melting.”.

      The point is you’re human and that’s how humans react in a stressful situation. And, you still managed to act.

      (What is scary are people who don’t react like that. Then possibly you might be dealing with a walking monster.)

  • The best way to overcome a panic response to violence is to train for it. Go do a judo class where you do randori. Go do a boxing class and spar. These encounters are violent, but controlled. It will allow your body to respond better. Your brain will “remember” and initiate you onto the right path “faster” by having this already “catalogued”. Visualize events and scenarios and how you would come out the victor. Think about improvised weapons, different people, different weather, different lighting. Run these “what-ifs” and your brain will respond and help you fight panic.

  • Thank you for sharing Sandra. Real life experiences are extremely informative. Thankfully, this one ended fairly well.
    I have always been an ‘act first react later’ kind of person, and that stood me well thru my years as an ER nurse. Critical thinking, something not common these days (nor is common sense), is also important in how one reacts to any emergency, including violence.
    I thankfully had grandparents who lived thru the Depression, and a father who was a cop, who all instilled a lot of common sense into me, and I think that’s where I get my ‘stones’ from.
    No matter the situation, stopping and taking a deep breath helps one get grounded and respond to the situation better. Use the ‘panic/fear’ to your advantage. Don’t let it get the best of you.

  • What a tough choice! To call police or stick your neck out for a stranger. For me now… it’s a tough choice.

    I was that woman. Every other day there was screaming, breaking or hitting in my home. My husband was a vet. (big and burly man) A good man who was now a monster on many days. The best help I EVER received was my BRAVE neighbor. He did not know us. He heard loud violence in our house so he came and knocked on the front door. My husband answered. The neighbor asked if he (husband) was ok. Did he need any assistance with me!! I’m 5’1 and he’s 6’2 (Lol). This totally threw my husband for a whirl. But it calmed him down and he began to see what was happening. He was being defused. The men sat outside on the porch for a while. My husband knew the risk that this neighbor took by coming over during one of his rages. Afterward, He respected this man for his bravery and concern. It made an impact on him for sure. Many plus’s came from that interaction. After a few years had passed they became friendly. My husband even took to mowing his yard for him voluntarily. I would not have benefited at all if the police were called. When did this all get left up to the police?!?! They are a LAST RESORT. Yes, I had called them myself before and wished I hadn’t. Big mess and lots of money on top of what I was already facing and going through. Not to mention the fights and violence that ensued because I called them.

    Now after saying that …. I have since moved to a big city. Wholly socks it’s scary here! Not so sure I’d follow my own advice. 🙁 Be a good neighbor. Know your neighbors. Introduce yourself. So I did. Now I’m really locking my doors! I want to go back to live where life and people make sense. Where everyone carries a gun and knows that if you act a fool you will have to face more than one person. No police, just everyone you know! In my experience, shame and humiliation would stop the behaviors. Not sure about these city folks. The one thing I am sure about is most do not know God. What a scary world for our grandchildren. Just as a footnote, I’m happily married still and no more abuse. We’ve never stopped striving for better than yesterday!! Glory be to God. ????

  • Dear Sandy,

    My own grampa once stopped a husband beating his wife. This story was told by my mom when she was like 13 or something. He was a slim, but way strong, tall handsome kind of guy (It’s in my FB page, the young men on the right). He never threw a fist. Just told the guy to beat him, instead of his wife.
    The next day, the abusive MF left and never came back.
    35 years later, when Grampa was heading to his last resting place, within all the dozens of people who loved him and respected him, were the wife, the now grown up children, and all of their descendance, to pay respect to a gentleman of a man.
    Unfortunately, nowadays getting into these type of problems is not so advisable.
    Our society is quite different now and the wife could have sued him by getting into something that it was not his problem.
    You did the right thing. One just can’t go running with a gun and start kicking doors down.

    It can get pretty nasty pretty quick.

    Jose.

  • You need to know what you are going to do in a situation. Past performance is often an indicator of future results.

    Freeze?
    Flight?
    Fight?
    Disarrayed mayhem?

    The best way to have better decision making skills is training and preparation. Nobody wants to die.

    Am I going to go run up to a burning car if I have a rental that has no fire extinguisher? Am I going to run up to someone who is being attacked by a dog if I’m bare legged and have no first aid kit nearby? Probably not.

    Whether you are aware or not, your brain makes hundreds of decisions every minute. Hormones released allow you to ignore certain things you might think about.

    You can train yourself and you can limit the decisions you have to make by being prepared. If you hear a bump in the night do you have a flashlight, phone, and firearm within 30 seconds? Or do you stay there waiting for it again before you contemplate stumbling around for a flashlight that doesn’t have dead batteries?

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