Kind word and a gun vs. unarmed rudeness – Marc MacYoung

I originally posted a snarky comment over a link to “I’m tired of being kind to creepy men in order to be safe.” Yes, that is the title. Here’s the link……
My snarky comment was: ~spitting on the floor~ Rude doesn’t do shit against a predator. It hurts the innocent (and socially awkward). It provokes everyone else.

It’s usually misused and abused by people who have nothing else except social scripts and demand that everyone else behave a certain way.

Or, as Eric Hoffer said: Rudeness is a weak man’s imitation of strength. *** Comment, comment, yada, yada, until I replied: Here’s the thing way too many people believe they have a ‘right’ to walk around in their own Private Idaho and then get obnoxious when they are surprised out of it. Or if someone dares to break the rules.
The fact that the person is silly enough to behave in that way has already sent out all kinds of messages — especially to predators *** And then someone for whom English is a second language asked me about why is it silly and if I was suggesting women stay home. ~Sigh~ It turns out explaining that is a huge can of worms. *** We live in a unique period of human history. And by that I mean you can spend a lifetime looking at our lives are different from our ancestors AND how those differences influence out thinking, assumptions, beliefs, awareness, consciousness and finally behavior.

I’m going to have to use an analogy here. I come from California (Los Angeles to be precise). That is earthquake country. I literally grew up knowing the stability of the earth was not reliable. There are certain ‘habit’s you develop when the earth moves. This is why I had a subconscious glitch when I walked into homes elsewhere and very expensive, breakable things were placed right at the ledge of shelves, display cases and counter-tops. Many traveling Californians have to fight the urge to push these things back and away from the edge in places where there aren’t earthquakes. People who haven’t dealt with earthquakes think this is weird and rude (“Why are you adjusting my home’s decoration?) But basically –unless you come from a place of earthquakes –you assume the earth is NOT going to move. Thinking otherwise is just stupid and paranoid.

What were the realities, dangers, limitations and solutions to issues that your ancestors not only lived with, but took for granted? You flip a switch and lights come on. How did you get light — which also could burn down your home — before electricity? Have you ever seen early electrical switches? Do you know how many people died during the early days of electricity turning on the lights before switch safety improved? You HAD to pay attention when you were turning on the lights.

Do you? I ask because there is an assumption of safety — which is generally speaking true — in modern society. Now what does that do to your mindset? Seriously, if you put on earbuds while on a train, during the rush hour commute, that’s one thing. But wearing earbuds while walking through a crowd? Are you fuckin’ nuts? Oh gee, you’re on the subway at 2 am and wearing your earbuds. HELLLOOOOO!

There are times and places that you can ‘zone out’ safely and there are situations where your attention and brain cells better be on the clock. Even in this, our modern and safe world. And yet, many people have developed the idea that they exist in an isolation bubble. It has in fact, become a new form of politeness. If I crawl into my isolation bubble, and you crawl into yours we can politely ignore each other as we go about our business.
We do this because we can get away with it.

That is until it doesn’t work. With most people, when it doesn’t work, they completely fall apart OR they become verbally abusive. (Hoffer quote.) But here’s the issue, people who have bought into these systems DON’T have alternatives.

In the 1986 movie “Crocodile Dundee” you have an Australian in New York City. The cultural shock of him being ‘friendly’ with New Yorkers (who at the time were famous for their rudeness and aloofness) also exemplifies the development of these isolationist habits. At the same time, when dangers presented themselves Dundee had other resources other than social scripts, expectations and assumptions. Resources that city dwellers didn’t have.
Okay so it’s a movie, but it demonstrates some of the many differences between someone — who has come from an environment where self-reliance is a fact of life — and those who rely on social scripts, words and others following the rules. “Civilized people” often have a mindset that requires no commitment, participation or responsibility for most of life’s needs — especially safety.

I tell you this because the woman in that article is functionally complaining that her life choices, socialization and the –let’s flop this dead stinky fish on the table — source of her power and control over others doesn’t always work. She is literally being forced out of her comfort zone.

Here is where things glitch for me. Instead of saying “Okay, this usually works, but occasionally we have to do something else” things go the other way.

We’re looking at an escalation of commitment. A “this HAS to work!’ A ‘We just need to pour more energy, money, time, raising awareness and legal back up to MAKE it work.’ But most of all it’s a call for someone else to do something about her problem.
“We gotta get out of this hole! Dig faster boys!”

What makes it worse, she doesn’t want to leave her comfort zone. Hey you think this guy is dangerous and wants to hurt you? Carry a knife and use it if you have to. Because that might be what it takes to stop him, and far better to have and not need…

But I don’t wannnnaaaaaaaaa!!!!! My self-image and comfort zone is that I’m a nice person and I shouldn’t have to stab anyone to stay safe. Someone else do something to make this bad person leave me alone!!!
“Oh yeah, and while we’re at it you privileged, sexist oppressor DON’T tell me that I can’t wear my earbuds while walking down the street at 2am, by myself after drinking. That’s interferring with my rights and freedoms. And I already told you I’m NOT going to carry a knife or a gun when I do that.”
Take a good hard look at those attitudes in the context of power and controlling others. The results can be …interesting.

Here’s something else to consider, what’s the difference between an annoyance and a danger?
If you can’t tell the difference, you’re in a heap of trouble. Some guy makes a comment at the train station? Yeah that’s annoying. But if you look over your shoulder and he’s still standing there as your train is pulling out that was annoying. NOT dangerous.

Same dude in the middle of the night, jumps onto the train at the last minute, gets off when you do and starts following you? THAT’S dangerous.

And what you need to do is WAY out of the average person’s comfort zone. Starting with getting over the fact that it’s what YOU are going to have to do. Even if it’s calling in support.

In closing let point to the wit and wisdom of Al Capone “You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.”

I can assure you there’s another level to that. It is very true the kind word will usually get you further than rudeness. But the armed kind word gets you much, MUCH further than unarmed rudeness.

But way too many people choose that last option thinking they’re ‘protecting themselves’ from the big bad world This is a bad idea because unarmed rudeness is a great way to provoke an attack — even if the guy wasn’t planning to attack before.

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