It’s a terribly illuminating thing to shut off your social filters and listen to killers talk about killing. With our filters on, we naturally recoil, feel like prey, and try to figure out how to counter all the atrocity he’s talking about so blithely. The killer’s perspective flies in the face of principled self defense, moral rectitude, and general fairness – the things we cling to deep down inside even when we profess not to. But if we can let all that go and simply look at the mechanics of using violence, it’s all really very straightforward and simple.
I watched a documentary on a notorious prison gang and was particularly struck by how an enforcer for the gang — with 11 inside kills to his name — spoke about how it all worked.
There was, as you might imagine, a complete lack of defensive or fighting terminology; there was nothing about protecting himself, engaging in a contest or going toe-to-toe. It was all about him doing things to other people until he was done with them. Devoid of conflict or contest, his descriptions of how to get violence done were dry, mechanical and straight to the point.
With the social filters up, the number one thought is defensive: “How do I deal with a person like that?” With the filters down you realize he’s unrolling a blueprint for success in violence:
1. Have a total and utter disregard for the other person’s desires, stratagems or actions.
The other man literally doesn’t matter. It isn’t about engaging his strength, or skill, or countering what he’s doing. Worrying about what he’s doing (or might do) just makes you the perfect victim for whatever it is he wants. It takes you out of the driver’s seat and puts you in the trunk.
Or: Just stab him.
2. Focus solely on direct action to produce results.
Essentially, go for crippling injury when you’re using violence. Anything else is a waste of time and only works to delay your winning or to give him an opportunity to do it to you.
Or: Stab him someplace important.
3. Repeat those actions until the desired result is attained.
Be in a constant state of attack. If you don’t get the results you want, keep going. Keep using their own violence against them.
Or: Keep stabbing him until he stops moving.
Another way to sum it up: There’s no such thing as knife-defense — there is only stabbing.
NOTE: Though I think it’s obvious, I’ll state it here. I don’t idolize these people and neither should you. They’re locked up for a reason — a really, really good one. You neither want their lifestyle, nor the consequences of their life choices.
But from a purely mechanical view, they know what it takes to win in violence. The mechanics of winning are what we need to pay attention to.
I don’t like giving them press beyond the generic. If you’re interested in the topic, the documentary series National Geographic Explorer has several informative episodes.