I think my own post was too long. I think the post on knowing when violence will start is important, it covers a lot of stuff you really should know. But I think it’s a TL:DR (Too Long: didn’t Read) post. So I wrote a simplification.
The question is “How do I know when it’s OK to hit someone?” Which really boils down to “How do I know when I’m going to get attacked, so I can hit him first (without getting into trouble).”
And here’s the thing – you already know that it’s about to go bad.
There are basically 3 situations where shit happens
Situation 1 – You (most likely a guy) are out somewhere where people drink or take drugs (bar, pub, club etc.). Somebody takes a dis-liking to you and comes up to give you shit. You already know he wants to hit you, he’s just building up a bit more steam before he does. Maybe he just walks up and hits you straight away. Doesn’t matter – someone walking up to you looking angry, in a place where violence is “acceptable”. You already know this is not a peaceful social script. This is a Monkey Dance script. A pissed-off-tipsy-young-male script. You know where this road leads.
TL:DR – you’re in a place where it’s a OK to walk up to someone, but they walk up and they’re angry (and you know what this looks like)
Situation 2 – You walking down the street and the 3 guys walking towards you start spreading out. You’re walking towards your car and the guy who was keeping pace with you for the last half a minute asks you for directions. In other words you’re out and about somewhere where it’s not common for someone to approach you (walking down the street, at the ATM, in a car park etc.), but someone is coming close anyway. Straight off the bat this could be bad. While there are plenty of reasons why someone would approach you here, there’s nothing they need from you they can’t get from someone else. While it definitely helps to know what being set up looks like, your response is the same as the other situations in this post.
Situation 3 (I wrote this one from a woman’s perspective because it’s somewhat more likely to happen to them) – You’re at this guy’s place having dinner (and yes, you’re interested), and things are “going well”. But then he’s starting to get a bit too forceful. So you figure this as good a time as any to call it a night and leave. But then he gets even more forceful. I.e. you’re in a social situation, and then you find out that it’s actually not a social situation, the social stuff was just bait to get you alone. What do you do now?
In all of these situations you already know that normal has gone out the window, and something bad is brewing. Let’s face it, you can generally tell that you’re about to get hit. The problem is stopping to try figure out “why is this happening?” or being confused. You’re confused because you know what’s going on but you don’t want to know, so you’re doing mental gymnastics to avoid admitting it. Stopping making yourself confused and deal with what’s in front of you, not what’s in your head.
How should you deal with it?
Pissed off drunk dude at a bar? Getting approached in a parking lot at night? A cute “love interest” turning into something not so lovey. What do you do? Get away.
In a social (bar type) scene? you walk away. As they say – you can’t reason with a drunk, but you can lie to, cheat and deceive one. Whatever you have to do to get away from some angry dude at a bar – do it. Even if you have to go the very difficult extreme of apologising.
In an asocial (ATM at night) scene? You walk away. You might have to run away. You might have to shove your trolley into the dude’s shins while grabbing your kid out the top seat and run the other way, but basically you get away however you have to.
In a fake social scene turning out to be asocial (date turning into rape)? Get away. Maybe you have to lie about “being right back”. Maybe you have to speak loudly and forcefully to draw attention. Maybe to you have to draw your knife from its sheath on your hip and stab him. Get away.
Sometimes it’s easy to get out of the situation, sometimes hard. But this is a nice little line in the sand: If you are in a bad situation and the other person tries to stop you from getting away, if they try to keep you there, if they interfere with you leaving – that’s a pretty decent green light that you can hit him. Anybody trying to MAKE you stay is trying to use force. If you can’t leave (and it’s someone doing it) then they indicated they’re probably going to “turn violent” (i.e. going faster down the road of violence).
This is why Preclusion is so important, it’s not just because it’s a legal requirement to qualify as self defense, it’s because it’s what helps you KNOW that a situation needs you to hit someone.