The Funnel of Violence

funnel-of-violenceImagine the shape of a funnel. Large and open at the top, and tapering down to a small also tapering tube ending in a hole. Now, when dealing with a possible violent encounter most people will be at the top of the funnel. There’s plenty of room at the top of the funnel. This represents the many options you have at that time. The threat is some distance away. It could be that you’re just leaving the mall as it closes with bags in both hands. As you walk in the now almost empty parking lot, you notice someone standing near your car with a hood on covering their face and a hand in their pocket. The problem is it’s 85 degrees. Your at the top of the funnel of violence, your far from the threat. If you’re alert and aware, you listen to that little feeling you get inside. You stop and quickly say ” Crap I forgot my keys”. You start walking back to the mall and pretend to make a phone call as you watch the possible threat from a distance. The person walks away. When it’s clear you walk back to your car, bags now in one hand and pepper spray or other weapon in the other. You’ve made yourself a hard target and avoided a possible confrontation. As you can see, when you’re at the top of the funnel, it takes less physical skill to deal with a threat.  Now, lets look at another way that situation could have worked out.

This time you leave, again late at night and walk through the dark parking lot to your car. This time bags in one hand, pepper spray in the other. You’re alert and aware. There’s nothing to raise you up or make that inner feeling happen. As you are steps away from your car two individuals suddenly appear. They block your path and one approaches you demanding the gold chain around your neck. You have just started sliding down into the funnel of violence. It’s going to take more skill to survive now. Before he gets within your lunge-able area you kick him in the lower leg, throw up a finger jab, and juice him good with the pepper spray. The second approaches you. At that time you use an elbow strike to keep him from closing the gap and share the goodness of the pepper spray with him. As they are both blinded you run to your car and drive away to a safe area. Let’s take this tale deeper into the funnel of violence into that small tube at the bottom.

This time you leave the mall at closing, walk to your car in the dark parking lot while you’re busy texting. You glance up from the phone just in time to see that you are face to face with someone who is grabbing you violently by the shirt while he holds a knife to your chest demanding that gold chain around your neck. Welcome to the bottom of the funnel.

It will take the most amount of skill and violent intent to survive this attack with the least amount of blood shed. You clear the knife and strike repeatedly. You feel like you’re getting punched and you get that feeling of water running down your arm. You’re bleeding. You continue to strike. His throat becomes exposed and you strike with full intent to cause injury and stop his action. He drops the knife and holds his throat coughing and gasping for air. You run to your car and drive to a safe area to get help. You have slid all the way through the funnel of violence and survived. However it wasn’t a free lunch. Even when you win, you lose. You were injured and you will bear the scars of that encounter for life. There is no glory, no trophy, no medal. There is only survival. You survived because you trained and developed a plan.

You should strive to remain at the top of the funnel at all times. Awareness and avoidance are the easiest skills to employ. However so few do so, and they are prime targets for the predators that are out there. Trust me, I’ve met and gotten to know many of them. They will take what you have, step over your broken and bleeding body and then go have a ham sandwich. In their world violence is a normal part of life. They are socialized that way. If you’re not part of that world you need to train and make a plan to defend yourself. Don’t wait till you’re sliding down the funnel to think about it. It’s too late then. It will be up to your attacker to decide how much you will bleed.


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