Threatening and Raging
Managing Two Menacing Behaviors along the Confrontational Trajectory
Threatening: Threatening is an art among successful felons and vigilantes. Take all threats at face value, immediately defaulting to actionable intelligence—verbal, postural, and combative—in order to resolve or diffuse this situation.
When we think of threats we tend to think of words, although many—indeed most—threats are nonverbal. In fact, assault is often legally defined as a non-verbal threat. Simply crowding a person in a menacing way is a threat. If someone makes a verbal threat:
Do remember it.
Do take it seriously.
Do take appropriate action.
Do take such action at the most advantageous time.
Your immediate peril lies in an adversaries actions rather than his words. Now, if he is a status member of a group and he says “Get him, get his wallet, stomp his ass!” well then his words are a source of immediate peril. However, outside of this pack attack situation, which is more and more common, non-verbal threat is the focus of aggression.
Recently, in the Perry Hall area of Baltimore County, a white dope fiend living in Florida, vexed that Dad was no longer paying for his drugs, had sent his local black criminal connection to rob his father in his house. Thinking that all white people where easy marks, this fool, thoroughly coached in the interior of the house by phone, walked in on the father in the master bedroom and said, “This is a robbery.”
His father said, “No it’s not,” and shot him dead. The county police kept the race of the sainted robber and his oppressive murderer hushed in the press so there has been no call “for justice.” I reference it here, because effective aggression usually has minimal verbal components and this aggressor is an example of why. To give warning to prey is not a good hunting strategy.
Below are five cues that he is working down his mental attack checklist and ticking off the preconditions for your demise:
- Looks behind him over his shoulders. This could be to scan for police, see if he has backup, or check for witnesses or others he might suspect could be sympathetic to your cause. Hit him as he turns back around, right in the chin.
- Checks your hands. Hit him with the left while he looks to see where your right hand is.
- Looks over your shoulders. If you are inclined to push, and/or need space to draw a weapon, push him away now and step off.
- Steps close enough to grab you. Put a hand up between you as you side step slightly. Don’t step back as this may seem timid. Get to an advantageous angle away from his dominant hand and hold up the open, halting hand.
- Focuses on your eyes, chest, chin, any point [most likely down your center line] that will permit him to detect motion on your part and also keep his peripheral vision open for changes in the scenario. This guy is focusing for combat. Disrupt his focus by stepping off to your right away from his right, but not getting further away. Make him turn repeatedly to reengage, then step away. This usually takes the wind out of his sails.
- Looks down and away. He will most likely hit you as he looks back at you, having disguised his weapon draw or punch readiness [like a dropped shoulder] by the head motion. You may make any of the tactical responses outlines above. However, since a sucker punch from him is likely, and since it figures to be a right hand, extend your left hand to touch his right shoulder as you step off with your right foot. As he swings and you drag your left foot back pivot off of your right foot and throw a right cross into his turning chin, or check slap the top of his head. It is unlikely that every portion of this recommend counter punch will work, but if any part of the attempt meets with success you have avoided eating a nasty sucker punch, as this is a fellow who has done it before based on his preparations.
Raging: Raging is troubling to the calm, frightening to the skittish, and an opportunity for the dangerous predator to set his man up. Do not rage. Managing rage is simple, and will be covered in detail.
A man that has lost control of his anger is a simpler tactical problem than the threatening man with his series of cues, his search for an advantage and his ongoing assessment of you. Whereas I recommend staying proximate to the threatening man and seeking a better angel of separation, I advocate distance from the raging man.
Do not speak with the raging man. He is in an emotional loop and you want to let that spiral fall, not rise by feeding into it. For this simple reason men with rage problems tend to get physical with women more often than with men, because women are very verbal and will usually feed the rage with words.
- Keep quiet.
- Step back.
- If he follows, step off.
- If he turns to follow, put out a calming [measuring] hand and step back again.
- This simple process may be repeated.
- Do not raise the measuring hand initially.
- When you do raise a hand only do so while stepping back or off.
- Never raise both hands.
Putting your hands up in a fighting guard usually antagonizes raging men and gets them to focus more on getting at you.
If contact is imminent, engage your rear leg by lifting the heel slightly.
Do not put your back to a surface that you cannot slide off of. Do not get backed up to something that you cannot rest your shoulders against and slide. Bushes, railings and trashcans are very dangerous. Be mindful of low vehicles too.
If a raging man charges, you want your contact interception point to be the shoulders and or the top of the head, which you should check with your open hand, stepping off with a sharp pivot and keeping your knees bent and rear calf flexed.
Rage will manifest itself in grabbing and striking, grabbing and throwing & rolling, and in two-handed punching.
Remaining conscious of your distance and aware of what is at your back, implement the anti-fighting methods discussed in the last section, with a mind to letting the raging man blow off his steam and lose interest in attacking you. Not striking the face and limiting contact to shoulders, elbows, hands and hips, and only checking the top of the head when necessary, will go a long way toward not reigniting his rage as his fury abates.
As he expends energy he will gradually become less irrational, unless he has had success or has suffered a threatening setback or injury. Limit contact without putting him in danger and continue to restore range as often as necessary.
Do not talk with him until he begins breathing hard after a failed attempt to get at you, then say something neutral that gives him a way out, like, “Are we cool?” “Is that good?” “Can I leave?”
These are all questions, asked when he is out of breath, with the idea being to get him to expend that next breath answering, perhaps realizing how gassed he is getting. You are attempting to satisfy his ego before disengaging, making it his call, leaving him with the illusion of dominance.
Do not say, “I don’t want any more,” I just want to walk off,” etc, as these speak to your emotional needs not his all important and world shattering angst.
If he lets you go, do not say anything about hard feelings. Thank him, and walk off in a cagey manner.
You absolutely must internalize as part of your strategy for dealing with rage, the pacification of his ego and the projection, after hostilities, that you are vigilant and alert. The single most common action now taken by men who rage unsuccessfully and/or are beaten and humiliated in front of others, is to come back and stab the guy.
Don’t be that guy.