That may sound like strange advice in light of the horrific events of last night. The temptation is to leap into the debate over gun control and mental health issues and even the role and responsibility of family in these terrible events. There have already been several attempts to exploit this tragedy for political purposes.
The only appropriate response right now is sympathy and support. That’s all.
At these times, we must keep some perspective…
“Despite the recession, despite joblessness, despite guns and drugs and Al Qaeda, murder, rape, robbery and assault dropped 4% in 2011.
“That continues a long fall from violent crime’s high in the early 1990s — a plunge that continues to astound everybody.” (Matt Pearce, LA Times)
This drop is astounding because there are no clear and definable reasons for the declining crime rates. It seems to be a combination of factors including an aging population, higher levels of incarceration and advanced technology in policing.
Still- we’re generally a little safer right now.
As a self-defense professional for nearly 30 years I’ve studied and analyzed hundreds of these cases. I’ve designed and taught response tactics to civilians and law enforcement personnel.
With all of this study, training and analysis I can find only two indisputable facts:
- You can never completely eradicate the risk of a violent attack.
- No amount of training makes you immune from such an attack.
Unless we’re willing to simply arrest or eliminate every person who poses a potential threat, we must deal with the reality that there are potentially violent psychopaths walking around and that occasionally one of them will act on his impulses.
What is most important is that we don’t obsess over the possibility of this kind of horrible assault. Attacks of this type are still extremely rare.
What you can do is to be vigilant. In most of these cases, and I predict the same will be true here, there are usually clear signs of potential danger. Too often we ignore those signs instead of seeking help for a person who we suspect may be capable of violence.
You can also train to respond in the event you face a violent assault. Just remember that even comprehensive and diligent training at best increases the odds that you’ll react effectively when and if the time comes. You could spend your life training and still fall victim to a surprise and random attack. In this case, several eyewitnesses have already said that they thought the shooter was part of the show. Context is a very important factor in our reaction to the threat of violence and in the Aurora shooting, the context of the environment definitely added to the shooter’s tactical advantage.
As I said, it’s best not to obsess. Let’s wait until the facts are in and then do the only thing we really can do in response to these events; try to learn a little more and do our best to prepare to respond appropriately should we ever encounter this level of danger.
Best Thoughts to all who are affected by the tragic events in Aurora.