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If confronted by a mob,
   Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:04 am

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If confronted by a mob,

Permanent Linkby wisconsin_cur on Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:04 am

I heard the question asked recently, how do you defend yourself from a mob. Assuming you have done your best (and failed) to avoid the mob, I see the options as:

1. Turn and run (flight)

This will engage the prey drive of the crowd. they will think they got you if they can only catch you. How big is the crowd and what percentile of the population can you out run? I'm not an avid runner but still in good shape, at least for the first mile or so. When I was tested for a job (self-selection bias at work here since only people who were willing to be tested in their 1 mile time applied) I was in the top 90%. So lets say for the population as a whole I'm in the top 5%. If there are 20 people, the odds are good that at least one of them will catch me.

I am also of the age where I will begin slowing even if I start to run more for exercise. Another question is if I have the lead that will allow me to make the first 400 meters necessary to degrade the sprinters who could have me dead to rights?

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Which brings us to option,

2: Turn and face (fight).

Armed or unarmed, make myself look as big and bad as possible. The mob is not a thinking organism but an instinctual one. If you can get enough of the swarm simultaneously feel, "I don't want to mess with that SOB," they will pass without thinking that they have you outnumbered.

I am happy to report that from my experience today's young people are, by a wide margin, bigger wussies than Xer's, Boomers or the GI's. This does not mean that they are less dangerous, in fact they may be more likely to form a mob. It just means that instead of having a 3% chance to turn a Rodney King era mob (I'm picking this number out of the air) you might have a 6% chance.

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Look in the mirror and decide for yourself: fight or flight? If neither one of those will work for you, there is always:

3. Duck and cover,

There is something to be said for submission to get out of a situation alive. Yes you will get the crap beat out of you but if you can protect your head and there is a functioning medical system perhaps you'll only permanently sacrifice a few IQ points. Most of us are not using them anyway.

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Last edited by wisconsin_cur on Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: If confronted by a mob,

Permanent Linkby Newfie on Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:33 am

We live in downtown Philly, which has seen it's share of flash mobs recently. A few years ago I witnessed a bunch of teenagers beating up another girl on a downtown corner. Instinctively (and stupidly) I stopped the car, got out leaving the door open and engine running, and approached the crowd yelling "STOP, STOP." About 10 were involved in beating the girl, but when I yelled maybe 20 or so folks ran away; both the mob and associated on-lookers, and the beaten girl.

Having been the victim of some pretty sever bullying as a kid a mob scares the hell out of me. So maybe I don't have the most balanced perspective.

In my mind a mob occurs when the collective instinct over rides the individual rational thought process. This is what happens when (otherwise docile) domesticated dogs run in a pack and attack a child. There is no good way to assure survival once beset. Running shows you are scared, and they will close for the blood kill. Fighting is ineffectual because they know they have the collective power behind them. Playing dead goes back to #1.

IMHO the only way to deal with a mob is to avoid it. After that, it's all luck. My personal approach, not recommended as sane or effectual, is to take out as many of the bastards as I can. It's just what happens to me when my adrenalin gets up.

To the gun nuts who want to blast every on? Grow up!
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Re: If confronted by a mob,

Permanent Linkby wisconsin_cur on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:29 am

If I may quibble but on a distinction that I think is important?

Quote: "a mob occurs when the collective instinct over rides the individual rational thought process."... "Fighting is ineffectual because they know they have the collective power behind them."

Fighting is ineffectual but my point is that the mob does not, indeed cannot, think. Because it acts on instinct, like a school of fish or a flock of birds it is the consequence of the combined instincts of the whole.

By "turning to fight" I mean merely to instill fear in the constituents of the whole, hoping to sway them away from you. As with certain predators if met in the wild, the human traveler is not to run but to make themselves look as big as possible. The human traveler could not win a fight, still hopes to avoid a fight but by keying in on certain triggers in the bear or mountain lion, convince it you are not worth its trouble. The very point of "turning to fight" is to, in fact, avoid a fight.

We probably mostly agree. The odds are never good if you are faced with a mob. The odds are probably best just to take the beating (note the various new articles of people who have been beat up and live). Protect your head and get into a ball. Better to avoid the mob altogether but failing that I don't know that one just need to accept death.

There are always choices to be made, right up to that last breath.
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“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: If confronted by a mob,

Permanent Linkby Newfie on Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:49 am

You are correct, we mostly agree. In fact I went back to edit my post after rereading you and couldn't find an edit button. I realilized that in my actions where the girl was being beaten I did just that; make myself appear big and fearless (and stupid!)
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Re: If confronted by a mob,

Permanent Linkby Newfie on Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:49 am

You are correct, we mostly agree. In fact I went back to edit my post after rereading you and couldn't find an edit button. I realilized that in my actions where the girl was being beaten I did just that; make myself appear big and fearless (and stupid!)
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Re: If confronted by a mob,

Permanent Linkby General Doom on Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:30 pm

I've been in one (out in the street), and barricaded inside my house for 3 days from another one.

In the first one I was a young adult and I ran - it's always good to have an escape route planned ahead. At least one. I did, because I knew a mom might form, so I had already planned my route back to safety by thinking about where the least people would be, and it worked.

The barricades held too, with no shots fired thankfully.

Before I knew how to defend myself better, when people would mess with me I would act crazy and scare them. I would turn around and walk toward them and say things that implied if they didn't back off I was going to go nuts attacking them, and didn't care if I lived or died. I was angry enough, and big enough, to pull off this bluff quite a few times back then (I really *didn't* care a lot of the time). Possibly sometimes it was because males had qualms about hitting females, but not in most of these confrontations. That tactic would not work with a mob, though. Only with small groups who are in control of themselves.

My Sensei always tells people they have to know where the exit is, get out of the way, and run. That's always the first lesson he teaches a new student and he says it's the most effective technique.
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Re: If confronted by a mob,

Permanent Linkby eastbay on Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:08 pm

The tae kwon do instructor where my kids studied (a few years back) wouldn't give out a black belt unless the student could run fast and far ... I don't recall exactly the time/distance, but it was about a mile in under 8 minutes, something like that. Obviously there were a few common sense exceptions.

The point here is that the most important part of a complete self defense regimen is to be able to distance yourself from a serious threat before it strikes.
Last edited by eastbay on Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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