When Violence Is the Answer: Learning How to Do What It Takes When Your Life Is at Stake
In WHEN VIOLENCE IS THE ANSWER, Tim Larkin aims to change our view of violence, and explain what we can do about it. The key is the right mindset + the right training.
The author makes it clear that one must undergo specific, skilled training to really handle a violent attack. It’s not enough to just “sort of” have an idea of how to respond; rather, your response must be automatic. Tim calls this approach turning your brain into the “ultimate concealed carry.”
The author includes lots of stories about ordinary people who were trained to use these principles. Of special note is the surgeon who was attacked on his way to the hospital. The doctor saw what was happening, he knocked out his attacker, then ran in to perform the surgery. The author notes the reason the doctor was successful was because he didn’t have to think. He was “trained in targets and the tool of violence.”
Tim makes a crucial distinction between “Social Aggression” and“Asocial Violence.” The first is about competition; the second is about someone committing destruction. So, if we are faced with merely aggression, one should try to avoid it, rather than escalate it.
On the other hand, faced with violence, our response must be instinctive and fast. The author calls this “intent.” The point is to disable your opponent first. It’s a tie until the first big injury, so one must be ready to “use the very same tool of violence that your adversary wants to use against you.”
Keep in mind that this book is not intended to be a substitute for training. Tim emphasizes the importance of thorough training, so that you will not hesitate when your life is in danger. In particular, practice must be slow and deep so that you can act without hesitation.
So all in all, I found WHEN VIOLENCE IS THE ANSWER to be a good introduction to this subject. The author writes clearly and I found the book easy to follow. It’s not too gory, but the anecdotes do relate quite a violent incidents. I was encouraged by the numerous examples of normal folks who successfully protected themselves when they had to.