In This Hub:
Appeal of High Risk Behavior
Body Sacrosanct
Economy & Stress Violence
Five Stages of Violent Crime
High Risk Behavior And Rape
Is It REALLY about SD?
Kinds of Violence
Mental Preparation
Monkey Brain
Negotiation In Extremis
Provoking An Attack
Reduced Capacities
Respect
Romans and Barbarians
Social Prohibitions
Survival Mindset
Unintended Consequences
Violence
Walking on Ice

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Robbery Hub
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Just because something is dangerous doesn't automatically
mean you are going to get hurt if you do it. I have noticed
that the young, inexperienced -- or simply imagination
impaired -- often take this to mean there is no danger at all.
                        Juanita Watkins

High Risk Behavior and Danger

On this page:
High Risk Behavior Redefined | Appeal of High Risk Behavior | Body Sacrosanct | High Risk Behavior And Rape | Getting Attacked | Modern Romans and Modern Barbarians | * Reduced Capacities | Social Prohibitions | Unintended Consequences | * Violence | Violence Comes in Different Flavors | Walking on Ice | When It's Time To Be Concerned

Let's start with the fact that in light of Marc's ... shall, we say ... "dim" past, it would be the height of hypocrisy for us to preach about everyone else needing to be "good little boys and girls."  That's not what this section is about.

What this section is about is informing you
      A) Not going into a minefield is the safest strategy, but failing that,
      B) There are better ways to cross it than pogo-sticking.      
      C) If you opt for pogo-sticking, don't be surprised when things get loud,
          wet and messy.

We use the pogo-sticking through a minefield analogy because of the number of people who engage in high risk behavior and then are shocked and traumatized when things go "boom" (this is of course assuming that they survive). This horrendous trauma is accompanied by a commonly used and  popularly accepted (in some circles at least) claim. The claim, no matter how it is framed, essentially boils down to "I didn't know I was in a minefield!" 

This claim is astounding to many people (those in different circles). The reason people have such a hard time accepting it is because how often it is made in spite of the warning signs the victim ignored, fences he/she climbed through, the sentries he/she snuck past  and all of this carrying a pogo stick ...

The sad thing is ... these victims are telling the truth. Or to be more accurate, the truth as defined by them. They are legitimately shocked and traumatized by the unintended consequences of their behavior. Because they didn't imagine that those were the possible consequences of those actions.

The average person tends to disbelieve the victim's claim that he/she "didn't know." To Joe and Jane Average this claim seems like the height of both stupidity and shirking responsibility for their actions -- or outright lying. The simple fact is that while the victim's advocate groups are much louder, people who think this way are by far the majority. The common attitude is, "Pogo-sticking through a minefield? What did you expect to happen?"   That is their 'truth.'

So how do we reconcile this contradiction? Which truth is 'right?'

The fact is, they both are. We have done a lot of study in the subjects of cognitive process, perception, world views and how that affects one's actions. And what we have found is how one thinks has a lot to do with what you perceive, understand and believe. This not only affects what you believe is reality, but what you believe is the truth.

The simple fact is that to many victims -- before violence happened to them --  that 'mine field' was a mythical place. You might as well have been telling them "Watch out for being attacked by ogres." As such, they did not realize their actions were taking them into the minefield, much less that things could go "boom."

And this, in essence, is the problem with communicating about high-risk behavior. From one perspective it looks like the person willfully ignored signs, crawled over fences and slipped past the guards. Another perspective thinks it's all fairy tales designed to control their behavior. From still another it looks like they were just walking along when suddenly and unexpectedly everything blew up.

There are several complicating factors involved when it comes to high risk behavior that make any simplistic answer unrealistic. It is easy to proselytize about "Don't do (fill in the blank)" But the raw truth is complex issues -- like biology, physiology, psychology, neurology, cultural tendencies, socio-economic/familial upbringing, experience, boredom, impulsive behaviors and simple bad judgment -- render simplistic dictums about high-risk behavior meaningless.

These dictums are especially useless if they are phrased as simply "don't do it." It isn't enough just to say "DON'T!" In order to navigate safely through life it helps to know why one shouldn't do something. And granting that people have free will and often make decisions that are perhaps not the best, if you still choose to do this, here's how to do it safely.

This is why our approach to high risk behavior is the same as what we told our teen-aged daughters about under-aged drinking: It's better if you don't. However, since that is unlikely, here are the rules about drinking and the whys behind these rules ...

High Risk Behavior Redefined
Our attorney has a saying: Everyone knows what something means until there is a problem.

This is a man who makes his living ironing out disputes over contracts and misunderstandings. He uses that saying when people start getting restless about him going over what appear to be semantics. His saying is based on the fact that individuals often have their own definition of something and act according to that definition. Often that definition is in conflict with another person's definition ... to the point that it requires his services.

We tell you this because that saying can easily be modified into: Everyone know what high risk behavior is -- and why what they are doing isn't -- until it blows up in their faces.

The popular connotation of high risk behavior (HRB) involves sex, drugs and alcohol. Believing those elements define HRB, people do not realize that there are countless other ways they can put themselves into danger. Ways that do not have any 'shady' or moralistic overtones. The simple fact is, you can put yourself in more danger by deciding to jog alone, or by getting angry at the wrong person, than a "wild party girl." That's right -- because of other factors -- she could be safer partying with bikers than you walking to your car.

Remember the quote at the top of the page? The one about not automatically getting hurt? Danger is not a constant. It helps if we look at danger as a constellation of factors that come together for a period and then separate again. While the factors are always there, the 'alignment' of those factors to create circumstances where violence is likely comes and goes.

Notice in that last line we used the word 'likely.'  Just because these factors have developed doesn't mean that violence will automatically occur. All it takes however, is a catalyst to set things off and violence will explode. This is why we liken high risk behavior to standing in a room filled with explosives and gas fumes while holding a lighter. Your decision to 'flick your Bic' or not is going to determine whether things go "boom" or you'll walk out of there safely.

With this in mind, it is easier to understand why our definition of high risk behavior is: Any behavior that puts you into circumstances where violence is probable.

Again notice the use of a specific word. We did not say 'possible,' we said 'probable.' When these factors have come together you have found yourself in the middle of a minefield. Now is the time to set aside the pogo-stick and proceed with caution.

Appeal of High Risk Behavior
Face it, if there wasn't a perceived profit in it, people wouldn't engage in high risk behavior.

Body Sacrosanct
Inherent in the paradigm of certain people (especially within certain cultural and socio-economic levels) is the assumption that their body is sacrosanct. They believe they cannot be touched without their consent, much less attacked. This core belief can -- and does -- have a strong influence on their actions. Actions that not only increase their danger, but creates a steadfast refusal to prepare for the possibility. Unfortunately, this unconscious paradigm greatly adds to the trauma of being assaulted.

Getting Attacked 101
Unfortunately, in trying to either establish control over a situation or warn away a potential attacker, there are core mistakes a person can make. These mistakes will escalate the situation to physical violence. Here is a handy set of guidelines on ways not to provoke an attack.

High Risk Behavior And Rape
Politics, religion, gun control, abortion, they have nothing over the kind of frothing at the mouth fanaticism that you'll encounter when you bring up the subject of high risk behavior and rape. Well, we hate to be the ones to break tradition, but we're going to take a rational look at the subject.

Modern Romans and Modern Barbarians
Before you can understand how behaviors that are not only acceptable -- but normal -- in one social/cultural level will get you killed in another, it helps to realize that we do not live in a homogenized world. Assuming that the 'rules' that govern the circles you normally operate in apply everywhere is both a very common and very dangerous mistake. We use the analogy of Romans and Barbarians, to convey important concepts about recognizing the differences between how social classes operate. Making this distinction can be the first step in saving your life.

The Nature of Social Prohibitions
Often people do not understand either the nature or the purpose of social prohibitions. Nor do they realize the danger isn't immediate upon breaking them, but continuing on down that road.

Reduced Capacities
It's hard to avoid being raped, robbed, shot or beaten if through drugs and alcohol you've reduced your capacities to out maneuver, out think and resist an attacker. Some rule of thumb rules about partying safely.

Unintended Consequences
Why is it so traumatic when things go violent? A huge part of the problem is that most people were not only not mentally prepared for violence to occur, but because of how they were thinking that option wasn't even considered. As such they face both the shock and trauma of the violence, but also the psychological fall into unintended consequences.

Violence
Most people think they know what violence is. The simple fact is they have no idea how often they are being incredibly violent ... without ever throwing a blow. One of the most dangerous forms of high risk behavior is being verbally violent around a physically violent person. Because he'll see you and raise you.

Violence Comes in Different Flavors
Many people don't know what 'self-defense' is because they don't understand there are different kinds of violence. Not only do different kinds of violence have different goals, but your actions have significant influence on whether or not the situation goes physical. If you blindly react to any threat as though it demands you to unleash your self-defense training you are seriously increasing the chances of the situation escalating into the most dangerous kind of violence -- an event you may not survive.

Walking on Ice
Sad to say when it comes to high risk behavior many people are offended at the idea that they should the ones who change their behavior. Unfortunately, these people do not realize High Risk Behavior = Walking on Ice. It's doable, but you have to change some things if you don't want to get hurt

When It's Time To Be Concerned
The Five Stages of Violent Crime is an internationally recognized check-list to tell when danger is developing. No matter where you are, when you see these elements developing it's time to either get out or prepare for violence. The situation is turning ugly.

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