Considering self-defence

Dave Killion — November 10, 2011

Sam Harris (about whom I know nothing other than he is an author) has a fascinating blog post called “The Truth about Violence“, in which he lists and explains three principals of self-defense –

Principle #1: Avoid dangerous people and dangerous places.

Principle #2: Do not defend your property.

Principle #3: Respond immediately and escape.

These may read like principles well-suited to a chickenshit, but Harris is not arguing against self-defense. Rather, he wishes us to understand the dynamics of violence, and to recognize that there is more to self-defense than mastering a martial art, or getting trained in the use of firearms –

“It may seem onerous to prepare yourself and your family to respond to violence, but not doing so is also a form of preparation. Failing to prepare is, generally speaking, preparing very well to do the wrong thing. Although most of us are good at recognizing danger, our instincts often lead us to behave in ways that increase our chances of being injured or killed once a threat emerges.”

On the whole, I think Harris is a little too quick to dismiss stand-and-fight, but I feel much better about that conviction now that I’ve read his post.

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