The first image that comes to mind when thinking about a violent criminal predator is that he/she is big, mean-looking, ultra-tough, very dangerous, and almost superhuman. Many people believe that criminal predators cannot be beaten, that they control the victims’ destiny. They believe that if you survive an attack, you were very lucky that the attacker allowed you to live.
Criminals will do unspeakable things to achieve their goals
Criminals and especially violent criminals are very dangerous. They will do unspeakable things to achieve their goals. They think differently than you and I. They always see themselves as the attacker and you as their prey. They have absolutely no feelings for you. Some do not even regard their victims as human. To them, you are just a resource. When you and I think about making a living, we typically think that we have to go to work to earn a salary or running your own business. The money you earn through your hard work is then deposited into your bank account and when you need some cash, you go to the ATM, insert your card, and withdraw some money. A robber on the other hand feels that the world owes him and he is prepared to take what he wants with force. In the same way, you will stick your bank card into the ATM to withdraw money, he will think nothing of it to stick a knife into your gut to get money from you. It is not personal. It is what he has to do to get money. That is how they think. To us that is unthinkable.
Most good people see themselves as victims
One of the biggest challenges is that most good people see themselves as victims when attacked or when thinking about being attacked. Criminals on the other hand think about the best way to surprise their victims, the best way to stun and overpower them and achieve their objective as quickly as possible so that they can get away from the scene.
I have trained a lot of people. One of the most common questions I get is something along the lines of “So how do I get out if he grabs me like this?” Ladies especially are very concerned about how to escape if a male attacker is on top of them during a rape situation. If your first thought is how do I get out when he holds me like this or like that, it means that you are in a victim mindset. You have already become prey. You are the baby impala desperately trying to escape the suffocating neck-bite of a lion who just caught you.
Criminals have vulnerabilities
One must understand that criminals are dangerous and do unspeakable things, but they are still just human beings. They have physical limitations. They have vulnerabilities:
Most criminals have zero tactical training. Watch as many videos of real-life attacks as you like. You never see tactical maneuvers when they rob their victims. Guns are not held properly, guns are often stuck into pants, pointed away from victims, placed in belts, put down while collecting loot, etc. In South Africa, the exception may be situations where Police or Army Personnel are involved in criminal activities. But those incidents are in the minority and usually involve property crimes such as cash in transit robberies and vehicle hijackings.
Criminals rely on fear and intimidation. That is the reason why they bring weapons to the robbery and why they operate in groups. That is why they often strike the husband first or threaten to rape his wife if he does not comply. They want to intimidate and dominate. Because they have this mindset and because most people are very scared when attacked, most people offer no resistance. Criminals count on that.
Because they rely on fear and intimidation and expect no resistance from their victims, most criminals make little to no backup plans in case things go wrong. Some will shoot or stab their victims but most run when things go wrong. Granted, sometimes they appear to be brave when confronted in that they do actually stab, shoot, or physically fight back, but they always end up running or escaping. Why is that? Because they do not want to get caught or killed. Arrest means limited freedom in jail and less opportunity to benefit from a life of crime.
Most criminals are cowards. That is why they prey on weaker targets. That is why they operate in groups. That is why they carry weapons. They are too scared to take on a victim on equal terms.
Good people have options available
So, if criminal predators are human beings like you and I, they have little to no tactical training, they rely on fear and intimidation and when things do not go as planned, they have limited back plans, are they still so invincible? Are we really powerless against them? Or do we actually have options available to us?
By options, I am not saying you should underestimate them and do foolish things. What I am saying is that they have vulnerabilities and through proper self-defense training which is based on facts and reality, you can dramatically improve your odds of preventing an attack or if it cannot be prevented, mitigate the effects of an attack and surviving it.
Lions may be the king of the jungle, but they are not invincible. Lions, cheetahs, leopards, crocodiles, etc. are not always successful with every hunt. I am sure you have seen footage where a buffalo or antelope got attacked by a predator and refused to give up and managed to escape or where a predator got severely injured by the antelope’s horns. Similarly, human criminal predators are also not always successful and it is possible to avoid, escape, and defend against their attacks. The benefit that you have over impalas is that you can plan upfront, you can get proper training, you can use your brain, you can use multiple parts of your body to fight and you can use weapons.