To Attack or Not to Attack

Be the attacker or attacked?

Please do not watch the following clip of a home invasion if you cannot bear witness to real violence, which is consequentially different from that dramatized in action movies, video games and combat sports. However, if you are willing to examine this appalling incident as an informing opportunity, let us assume the violent act captured below was unexpected and unavoidable — as are most such confrontations.

Most humans are reasonably socialized since youth to not hit or hurt others, yet there are dangerous exceptions who deliberately flaunt this golden rule to great effect. Unfortunately, they often cannot be stopped by other than raw physical means, the very ones they employ and we abhor. The regrettable fact is that criminals can and do attack members of their own species. Our primary, albeit tenuous, comfort is their relative rarity. Though this behavior is the norm among animals, our anthropocentric bias likes to project us as above the natural fray. The immediacy of unprovoked violence precludes psychosocial analysis of the predator, who is better evaluated after his incapacitation. Conversely, success behooves the imminent victim to flip off that inner switch controlling our thoughts, words and deeds of rationalizing civility, for these are irrelevant if not detrimental to survival. Continue reading