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The Weak Spot in Our Armor

If you're half the person your dog thinks you are, you have a self-defense problem: you're not a terrible person, and that puts you at a serious disadvantage.

People who live with violence and commit violence as part of their daily lives are comfortable with it.  It's nothing special to them, and they have accepted it.  They don't hesitate.  They don't second-guess themselves.  They already know what the consequences might be for their actions legally, emotionally, and socially so they don't have to think about them.  They are generally unencumbered by worry and guilt.

What about you, though?  If someone attacked you, would you hesitate for a split second before you, for instance, broke their arm?  Would you have an empathetic thought that it would be lousy to have a broken arm?  Can you almost feel the other person's pain?  Do you imagine hearing the snap of their elbow in your dreams for years?  Would the prospect of those consequences haunt you for just long enough that you would lose the opportunity?  What would that hesitation cost you or your loved ones?

I don't want to discourage you from kindness or empathy.  Any decent person should quail at the prospect of irrevocably damaging another person.  It is a horrible decision to have to make.  But you also need to understand that a predator will feel none of those things.  You are at a disadvantage because you care, because you have something to lose.

The article I am linking to below is very emotionally difficult to read and I hesitate, at least in some ways, to recommend it to the general public because it is scary and sobering.  However, I encourage all of my advanced students to absorb its lessons.  Please BE WARNED: it is called “Betrayed by the Angel” and is a graphic account that a woman gives of being raped, along with her analysis of the role of her “angel” in her life – that psychological voice that tells us to be polite and consider others before ourselves no matter what.

It is up to each of us to balance our humanity with our caution.  Personally, I refuse to surrender my choices in life to the lowest common denominator.  There is a danger in that stance that I’m prepared to accept, and I try to keep my eyes open for both the good and the bad in this world.


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