Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Part 2: Assault on 4 year old boy for wearing 'gang colours'!

Well, my last post has resulted in a few interesting emails and I really wanted to touch on one more point that one of our senior students, Brendan, bought up.

Several people’s responses have questioned the actions of the boy’s father. What did he do about the situation? Why didn’t he “beat the s**t out of him” was one comment.

There are so many angles to this that this would be a never-ending blog topic if I even tried to go into them all. As we have always said, and the principle that our entire training structure is built upon, is there is no ‘black-and-white’ answer to violence or to self defence. None of us could ever say what we ‘would have done’ - and therefore what anyone else ‘should have done’ – in any situation unless we were actually there.

Perhaps the whole event was over before the boy’s father was even aware of it, and when he was made aware of it maybe his focus was on taking care of his child rather than taking the law into his own hands.

Maybe he was considering the future safety of his son, himself and his family. It’s so easy for armchair critics to say that he should have ‘bashed the guy’, but what about the fact that this is a gang member, in a gang run area, where the father has to live with his family. Do these people really believe that there would be no retaliation against him and potentially his family if he had decided to respond physically? Get into the real world people. I have no idea what the boy’s father’s options were as I only know what has been reported, but if he did have the option to confront the offender - after the event was already over and his boy was now safe and in need of support – and chose not to and to instead take care of his boy then I have absolute respect for his decision. That to me is perfect ‘self defence’.

This is not the Wild West, it is not about ‘defending your honour’ or appearing ‘yellow’, it is about making rational decisions which will ensure your safety and well being. Based on my understanding of the event, that is what the boy’s father did and it is not always easy to do in high pressure situations.

A common opinion seems to be that the boy’s dad should have physically assaulted the offender. Did he deserve it? You know the answer to that. But would it have been right to do it at this point? Would it have been right to lower himself to the same level as the criminal? What would that have solved? Would it really have ‘taught him a lesson’? Of course not. These guys live their lives around violence, if you think that would have deterred him from committing other acts of violence in the future you are very mistaken, if anything it would only strengthen the violent tendencies.

Let’s look at a few potential outcomes if he had decided to confront the offender. Let’s keep in mind that the event was already over and his son was safe at the point when he had to make this decision. It would have been a different story if he was there right in the middle of it and needed to protect his son as he would not have known where the situation could have escalated to, in which case an intervention would have likely been required and justified, but that is not the case here. The event was over, nothing could change the fact that it had happened and now a decision needed to be made as to what action to take and he chose to take care of his frightened son.

What if, instead of receiving the urgently needed support and caring of his dad while he was frightened and upset, the 4 year old boy (an age where children are HIGHLY influenced by violent imagery and events) was left alone while his dad confronted his attacker. The little boy is now even more afraid, afraid that he is alone, afraid for his dad, afraid of what is unfolding right before his eyes, and every second that goes by is affecting him more and more.

And then we look at two of the possible outcomes of the situation; The first is that the dad – who some people seem to assume should be a mix of the talents of David Tua, Bruce Lee, and John Rambo rather than a normal everyday dad who probably would rather not confront a violent gang member at risk of his safety and the safety of his family – is hurt in front of his child. Even if we sideline the impact on Dad himself and just look at the impact on the little boy, after what he has just been through himself he now gets to watch his dad beaten, or stabbed, or having his head stomped on, when the other option was to simply let it go and let the law deal with it.

The second option is that dad did ‘give the guy the bash’. All other factors aside such as the legal repercussions, retaliation against him and his family, emotional and/or physical trauma, let’s just look at what dad has just taught his little boy. Violent visual imagery influences and affects all children and the younger they are the more susceptible they are to it. Witnessing an actual event is many times greater than witnessing it on TV or other media, but witnessing it done by your role model and a person who is responsible for moulding your values and beliefs is going to be disastrous and maybe even irreversible. Dad would have just shown his son that violence is ok. That letting raw emotion guide your decisions - consequences be damned - is the way to go.

And the consequences of that little boy growing up with those beliefs? Well, you already know what they are and where they could lead.

Gaining control of our own natural (and normal) responses to fear and anger, under extreme stress situations is one of the most important aspects to self defence and in my opinion - based on my understanding of how the situation unfolded - the boy’s dad did that and should be praised for his actions not criticised for them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.