The Little Black Book of Violence
The first thing that struck me about the book is that it states it is focused on young men as men commit about 80% of violent crime and are the recipients of violent crime at twice the rate of women. Funny then, that the authors give an example a few pages later of a male friend of theirs whose sister snuck up behind him while he was doing the dishes and tried to kill him with a steak knife. "One moment he was leaning over the dishwasher and the next there was a wedge of razor-sharp steel whistling toward his lower back. Why? She simply wanted to know what it would be like to murder someone..." Uh, okay.
Do authors ever read what they are writing when they are trying to make points? If you are going to talk about how men are the ones who are violent and this is why they need your book, stick with the program. But okay, enough with my pet peeves. This is a book for guys, hence the title, and it is actually pretty good.
It begins with a section entitled, "Before Violence Occurs" that shares a good first rule of self defense: "Don't get hit." The authors talk about how to avoid situations or locations where violence is more likely to occur. These places include traveling through the wrong neighborhoods, hanging out with the wrong people, or frequenting the wrong night spots, and/or acting inappropriately in these places. The authors--two experienced martial artists--point out that there is almost always a build-up to violence, one that many people are not aware of. They teach you to have situational awareness without being paranoid or mentally exhausting yourself. They discuss simple tips like when it's time to leave a party before violence escalates. It's good advice, especially for young men who often have to learn how to deal with aggression, even if they don't want to.
The next section gives advice on what to do during a violent encounter. This chapter is full of information on how to deal with drunks. Their advice? "Never argue with a drunk....They can be unpredictable, violent, and very difficult to corral....Hitting a drunk really doesn't work all that well most of the time....A better strategy is to either dodge his blows in order to let him overbalance himself and facilitate your escape or spin him to cause disorientation and make him fall. Once he's down,you can control him or move to safety."
In the same section, they state, "Never hit a girl...Unless she's armed." They smartly state that, "In today's world, distinctions of gender are made by friends, family, police, and courts. The role of combatant is, oftentimes, secondary." They give advice on how to deal with women, though I would have liked to see more. They do say that if "she is armed with some sort of weapon, all bets are off."
Finally, the last section is on the "Aftermath of Violence" where there is good info on how to perform first aid, handle blows to your self-esteem, deal with psychological trauma, and deal with the police without getting yourself hurt or shot. They even give advice on how to avoid a domestic violence charge and suggest that you conduct a background check on your prospective partner to protect yourself before she moves in. They at least suggest you listen to any warning bells you have and take them seriously. It seems to me that if you feel the need to hire a private investigator as they suggest or conduct a background check on your partner, you already have the answer you need about the relationship.
Anyway, the book is a good one to give to a young man (or read yourself) to fine tune his knowledge of what to do before, during and after a violent encounter. I will definitely keep it on my bookshelf.