You will have to deal with a lot of angry people when disaster hits and society breaks down. Regardless if you are right or wrong, you need to learn how to diffuse a hostile situation. When having to deal with a lot of unknown factors during a crisis, the last thing you need to worry about is how to handle an angry individual.
During SHFT, you have two choices when engaging with desperate or angry people. You can engage them at their level and see how that plays out, or you can try to diffuse a hostile situation without making enemies. There is no doubt about the fact that if you engage your adversary, things can escalate to dangerous levels. Rather than using excessive force, you should find a satisfying solution to the conflict.
Even if you didn’t start the dispute, there are some steps you can take to diffuse a hostile situation. You should reduce the chances of going from verbal to physical because there are many unknowns you will have to deal with. It’s up to you to learn how to keep your cool and deal with angry individuals before the face-off happens.
Steps to follow to diffuse a hostile situation:
Never respond to anger
All that angry people are waiting is a gesture or action that entitles them to move things to the next level. No matter what the circumstances are, you should never reciprocate his or her aggressive words or actions. You want to put out the fire and not feed it and reach a point of no return. Soften your words in volume and meaning and pay attention if your aggressor does the same. If there is no word or action that increase the anger of your opponent, his or her intensity level should start to drop. However, keep in mind that during SHTF you should always keep your guard up.
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Always keep a safe distance
I’ve seen many people recommend to keep a safe distance and some suggest TAR (two arms reach) as being the safest bet. While I do agree that you need to keep a safe distance to diffuse a hostile situation, you need to be close enough to actually have a conversation. It would be unnatural to try to reason with someone when he or she can barely hear you. I recommend staying out of reach or punch range to avoid unpredicted actions. If you move too far, he may follow you and gain confidence while at the same time his aggression will increase.
You should also pay attention to how close he gets. If it’s too close you may receive an unforeseen punch or kick. The opponent can even grab you and your movements will be limited. You should find a comfort zone that allows you to retreat and if needed, defend yourself.
Figure out what the issue is
During times of panic, the reason behind the hostile situation may be misunderstood or misinterpreted. In this case it would be very difficult to diffuse a hostile situation and figure out a solution that leaves all participants unharmed. Look behind the profanity and personal insults or any other taunts. Those can be words totally unrelated to the issue at hand. Make your opponent to stay on track and state out the reason that triggered such behavior. It will provide you with enough information and time to find a solution that is beneficial to both of you.
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Even if you’re in the right, you should apologize and offer a solution.
Yeah, I know that this sounds like a pain to do, but it could be the only solution to diffuse a hostile situation. Swallowing your pride is not an easy thing to do, but you should put your ego aside and apologize. This can make even the most hostile aggressor to calm down. All they need is to hear you say sorry and they will feel better about themselves, leaving you be. This tactic works most of the times and you should use it to diffuse a hostile situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s not your fault, you have to deal with more important things anyway.
Be ready when you reach the point of no return.
No matter how much you try to keep things under control, you may not always be able to diffuse a hostile situation. When people are panicking, there is big chance for the situation to reach its breaking point. Enraged people have a blurred mind and they sometimes act like drug addicts. They will not listen to logic or rational words and are there only to pick a fight.
If what you said and tried has no effect on how your aggressor behaves, it’s time to move forward. You can either leave the scene or engage in a physical attack. If you leave the scene, watch your back and be ready to repeal any sudden attacks. When engaging your opponent, do so while keeping in mind that you need to deal with it as fast as possible. You don’t need to involve others into your altercation and you should distance yourself as fast as possible once your aggressor is incapacitated.
Be prepared to deal with it quickly
Being able to defend yourself properly requires practice an each situation is different. When dealing with an aggressor you can incapacitate him until you reach a safe distance or you can stop him for good. This all depends on various factors and you need to keep into account that you may have to face legal consequences.
Using your bare hands to defend yourself is the most appropriate response in most cases. You can also use non-lethal or lethal weapons, but you have to keep in mind that people will be drawn to the scene. You may have to deal with a crowd that sees you as the aggressor and things can escalate even more. And as a last advice, use the self-defense technique or tool that you can master in any circumstance and any stance.
Learning to diffuse a hostile situation is the way to go when it hits the fan because you don’t need extra factors that could endanger you. You also cannot draw and shot as you please because laws may still be in effect and you will be held accountable when the dust settles. It’s better to figure out how to diffuse a hostile situation rather than reach the point of no return.
Other Useful Resources:
A Green Beret’s guide to combat and shooting
The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us
The Best EMP survival and preparedness guide available for the general public
Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation
2 thoughts on “Urban Survival – Learn To Diffuse A Hostile Situation”
I would suggest that there is a substantial difference between an “ordinary” domestic dispute (which still gets a lot of people killed) and a confrontation during or after a SHTF scenario. In the latter case, a “safe distance” would be about 100 yards from the end of the muzzle of my AR-15.
Excellent article. If there’s anything I learned in my time as an LEO, it’s that sometimes you have to swallow your pride and let the other guy (gal?) think they’ve won an argument in an effort to diffuse a bad situation. Besides, we could always go back and take appropriate action against a problem child when they weren’t expecting it.
But as a private citizen who has been faced with an aggressive person during a SHTF and/or WROL situation, you have a huge balancing act to endure if someone has focused on YOU and your personal safety is at risk.
Learning aggressive behaviors isn’t always easy but you can sometimes see smaller episodes in the checkout line at your grocery store when there are long lines, outside temps are up or some event causing mad dashes happens and you are caught in the fray.
Another place to watch for similar activities is at a busy bar when there is an event of significant importance, especially if one of the teams are a local team. Drinks flow, inhibitions can lower and drunks can get ignorant or they can make a pass at a female (wife, girlfriend, sister, etc.) that certainly isn’t appreciated.
My point is if you study the participants you can see how things can escalate or disolve. Pretty good training.
All that said, I’ll mention this here.
Assuming a SHTF and WROL situation that has been going on for more than just a few hours, you could find yourself the focus of someone who has a disagreement they aren’t willing to work out in a civil manner.
Knowing body language and how to spot and interpret “furtive” movements can be a HUGE advantage that allows you to go home unscathed, with minor boo-boo’s or force you to go 0-100 RFN.
Obviously the last option is to be avoided unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, but if the situation has escalated and the time for Fight or Flight is at hand and Flight options have evaporated, depending on the specific situation, if you have no choice but to go Full Tilt Boogie in order to survive, strike Fast and strike HARD.
Unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, killing should be the very LAST option but rendering your opponent incapable of continuing the aggression should be your primary purpose. The idea of exchanging blow for blow as if you are using The Queens Rules is ludicrous!
Put them down RFN (throat punch anyone?) with whatever you have but keep it simple (expanding baton, capsicum resin spray, etc.), make it QUICK, disengage and leave the AO RFN.
Chances are if your opponent goes foe a gun or knife, you are WAY behind the power curve in regards to response time unless they are stupid drunk. So what do you do is such a case?
Well, this is where your being able to “read” their body language comes into play and, hopefully, you’ll have already started to make you way to a (concealed) handgun, but trying to out draw an opponent is going to end badly for you. Forget all the Hollyweird Quick Draw McDraw stunts or Marshall Dillon from Dodge. Ain’t gonna happen.
So as the article mentions and I’ve added my $0.02 worth, learning NOW how to read people will give you a leg up should the situation arise and you actually need the skills.
Tomorrow may be too late.